Breed influence

A previous conversation got me thinking about breed influence and what one might expect with mixing different ones.

The topic being breeding a nice wb mare to a non traditional (dressage type) local stallion.

I have not personally seen these boys. One was a Morgan, one was a Cleveland Bay and one was a Mountain Horse, likely a Percheron/Quarter Horse with maybe some TB…
Assuming each was a good quality type for their breed what challenges could they bring, what bonus could they bring?
I was thinking the CB would bring good quality hooves, good bone and a good mind, maybe a longish back.

What would you expect?

I think the CB makes a nice heavy hunter crossed with TB, never seen one IRL.

I don’t know why you’d breed a QH Percheron TB mix. Why is he a stallion?. A QH TB can be a registered QH or Appendix, can be a nice sport horse or kind of a mess if neither parent is exemplary. But why throw in the Percheron? You can’t always predict the outcome of F2 draft crosses, they might be heavier than the parent. Do you want a pack horse or back country trail horse?

A Morgan would give more upright neck.

Honestly if I had a nice WB mare I wouldn’t be crossing to just anything in the neighborhood that had retained it’s balls. The mare is valuable enough that I’d want to create a foal that had value.

Another WB. A really nice TB, though it’s harder to find TB studs that aren’t dedicated to race breeding and race breeders don’t do AI. Also a nice Iberian x WB makes a nice dressage horse that looks very Iberian. I’ve also seen drop dead gorgeous Arab x WB on the Arab circuit that don’t look very Arab at all.

But you need to look at the mare in front of you to decide what you like and the stallion as well.


regarding the Morgan it would depend upon its breeding that is if it Old Line blood such as a Lippitt or Government lined based horse verses what is considered a new line which is more Saddlebred in appearance

The old lines are more compact than the newer versions


This is a ‘mountain’ horse, kept because of his good temperament to produce more mountain horses. they like some substance because as a guide/outfitter some of the people they get in are not horse savvy and lets just leave it at they need a substantial horse.

Good point about the Morgan, know idea what the lines are.

The trouble is in our area to breed to a wb you have to do AI and its an 8hr drive to the closest AI specialist. The local vets will do it but it is reported there is a low conception rate.

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Nowhere in this post is it mentioned what the intended use would be for the offspring. What you are suggesting is all a huge crap shoot. You could end up with some nice mut who’s useful for a lot of general stuff, or you could end up with FrankenHorse.

It also depends exactly on what the attributes of the warm blood mare in question are. This just sounds like a really bad idea. Totally random breeding that has been determined by local access. If you wanna make a nice horse, do what it takes. Get in the truck and drive.

Just specifically to answer the question…if you breed to a Cleveland bay, be prepared to get an extremely heavy horse, depending on the bloodlines of the warm blood mare. I can’t personally imagine why you would breed to a draft type like the second stallion mentioned for a sport horse. And a Morgan is another crapshoot. Not very well known for good canters.

This sounds like backyard breeding with all of the accompanying issues as such.


I appreciate the thoughtful replies. I am not a breeder, prefer to buy one I can see but the
conversation simply got me wondering about how they ‘might’ mix.

The intended use would be mixed lower level dressage and jumping.

I see many mixed breed horses available in my budget and always read with interest when others post about their non traditional horse.
I was wondering about potential outcomes. Can’t speak for the owner of the mare but for me,
I think I would rather deal with the neck of the Morgan than the heaviness of the CB :thinking:

If you want to get a foal that does jumping and dressage then find a sire that gives evidence of talent in this. Yes, there are breeders creating budget sport horses with careful draft x TB crosses but I’ve seen a lot of those locally and they range all over the place and can come out looking like plow horses. And that’s with a TB cross which is lighter and hotter than a WB.

The “nice WB mare” is not herself going to prevail over the stallion choice here. A lot depends too on her lineage. What is her lineage? None of these stallions are going to make a copy of her or “improve” her for sport. All of them are likely to take the foal further away from sport horse competency.

Yes I’m sure someone somewhere got lucky with a cross like that and it’s true it takes little natural talent to do a First Level test or jump a 2 foot course. But in that case why not just go buy a random horse on the ground that you can see?

I know people find draft horses cute for dressage and jumping, but their heaviness is an issue and they aren’t honestly built for the job.


@Arlomine Are you very familiar PERSONALLY with several Cleveland Bay stallions and their produce out of various mares? There really are not many draft bodied CB stallions around. And what the stallion looks like standing still, is seldom a hint of what he can do moving. They are big, in bone, girth, body size, but they CAN move lightly and so can their foals.

Crossbred foals are seldom as bulky as the pure CBs. They usually will jump like deer, do elegant dressage, cover ground with long strides, while being comfortable to sit. Clevelands can be used in any discipline, though maybe not superior in reining, they do well as ranch horses, trail horses too. Many are multi-skilled, change the saddle, he jumps today, trail ride tomorrow, Combined Driving horse on the weekend. This is a horse who is flexible, agile, cooperative!

The genetics are very tight on Clevelands, so the stallions are very prepotent. They throw themselves strongly, foals are like Daddy. Mares do have traits passed on, but Cleveland partbreds usually have a “Cleveland-ish” look to those familiar with the breed. Clevelands tend to have excellent feet and hooves, proportionate to their size. Nice minds, like being with people when well handled from a young age.

Have to say you CANNOT believe everything you read about ANY BREED that is written in books! There is a lot of misinformation put before the public, who often take it for gospel truth! And as one author reads other authors, misinformation gets passed on, spread wider. Few authors actually are very familiar with or ever met any individual animals of the many rare horse breeds they write about! Could not tell breeds apart in a lineup of horses!!

The USDA records all classify Clevelands as a draft breed because of a mis-spelling in hearing UK English pronunciation of draught, sounding like American English draft. Big breed, must be a draft breed! WRONG. UK English word draught means it pulls loads, carriages, as well as being ridden. Not nessessarily being a plow horse or moving like true draft breeds! The Clevelands gallop just fine and for long distances too! Somehow Hackney horses didn’t get labeled as drafts, they also ride and drive.

OP, consider what you want to do with the foal. Keep it or sell on to what market? Do you have that kind of market around you? Look hard at your mare, mark her faults. Look at the various stallions, mark their faults. Are they the same faults the mare has? He (any breed) is not going to “fix” her faults if he has similar ones. Try to see some of his foals and their dams. Look for similarities in his foals, differences between them. I strongly believe a GOOD stallion will mark his foals. Your foal from him will probably be somewhat like his other foals, allowing for differences in the dams.

Clevelands cross well with a variety of breeds, all seem to be nice horses. They do usually have shorter backs, good for weight carrying and flex easily. We used an Oldenburg stallion on our partbred Cleveland mares, with wonderful results. Wish now we had bred more of them!! We have not found our Cleveland partbreds to be “heavy” when used. They hold themselves up, not me!!


I have never seen a CB IRL but as a child understood from British horse books that CB x TB made a very desirable fox hunter and jumper, before German WB were a thing so honestly for a sport horse I’d be most inclined to that

And yeah, I can usually ID a horses breed visually IRL if it’s purebred and not an outlier phenotype, and something I’m familiar with. I don’t think it’s an amazingly rare skill. Obviously crosses are a challenge and in particular the TB/Percheron crosses being bred locally by an eventing barn were all over the map, extremely variable phenotype. And a really bulked up TB can look like a WB because after all many WB are at least half TB.

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It’s really hard to give any sort of concrete answer, because it depends on the individuals being bred. There are morgans shaped like submarines, and then there are morgans who look like WBs. Without seeing the horses in question we can’t really give you accurate feedback.

As far as your question about percentages… Yes, on a superficial level your friend could say she is 50% WB. However as others have said WBs are not a breed, they are bunch of different registries with different standards. So it is not the same as TBs and “blood percentages”, where you can still have 50-70% blood in a WB with no recent TB ancestry. TBs are a closed studbook and have been for over 200 years, so their type is very consolidated and consistent and when you breed two TBs together you are always breeding two horses with shared ancestry together, further consolidating the type.

WB books have been open since their inception provided horse[s] meet certain criteria, so they are a genetic goulash and are not always as prepotent. With TBs, if you introduce a TB to a bloodline that has some TB further back, you are doubling on lots of common ancestors, which is why TB blood can be so prepotent. But with WBs, they dont all come from the same ancestry and a 1/2 Hanoverian could be from Detectiv, or they could be from Adeptus xx. That is before factoring in different registries: a Trakehner doesn’t always have the same type or ancestors as a Hanoverian, so if you have a halfbred Trak and cross it with a halfbred Zangersheide, on a genetic level these are distinct bloodlines that don’t share the same ancestors the way TBs do.

Going back to the question about morgan/WBs - there are morgans who are competing GP, and there are dressage-bred morgans. They are different than the morgans most people think of when you say “morgan”, that look like this"

But if you found a morgan that looked like this (Marle Hill Majors Apollo, no affiliation, I just looked for a high level morgan on google) and did not move in the typical morgan action, you could get a very nice sport horse from that cross:

The other thing is… a lot of people assume quality when they hear WB - there are a lot of average WB mares out there. So it is not always a given that the WB half is the improver in a cross, and it does matter what type of WB is being bred.


Thank you, what you say makes perfect sense, I guess I just needed it spelled out to consolidate in my mind. :slight_smile:

nice picture of a Morgan in the second picture.

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I reread my post and see I was not clear, the conversation was with someone who is considering breeding her mare.
I am not breeding anything. Tempted at times but understand I know nothing about breeding and don’t consider myself to have a very good eye.
But am in the market if someone has a yearling I would love to see it.

If I was going to cross, I would be inclined to either the CB or the Morgan. The CB is a very true to type breed, so one would be closer to an F1 cross rather than an F2. They are not heavy horses at all, really closest to some of the warmbloods of the three possibilities. They are also known for having good temperaments. The Morgan, would depend on the type of Morgan.
As much as I love my drafts, the Percheron/TB/QH plus the WB would have way too many possible hind ends and necks in the genetic bank for my taste. Unless I could look back at the previous ancestors. There are some really weird Percheron hind ends out there. And some really Quarter horse hind ends. I think you would have either an awesome mutt or a Frankenhorse.


The Cleveland Bay has been bred true for a couple of centuries and is, itself, a “warmblood” in the European tradition of not being “hot” e.g. TB or Arab or “cold” as a Percheron. It was widely exported as a fancy carriage horse in the 19th century and is foundation blood in many European stud books. Stallions tend to be prepotent and will improve many types of mares. They are versatile and can turn a hoof to many things.


Re Cleveland Bays - some years back a friend had decided to start breeding them as they were considered a somewhat endangered breed. She had a nice TB/CB mare she was eventing at lower levels and foxhunting, and she had purchased two purebred CB mares in the UK that she was going to import to the US. Unfortunately she developed serious health issues and passed away less than a year later, so the purebred mares never left the UK and her husband sold the crossbred mare to a fellow foxhunter.

These are photos grabbed off the CB website, but the pictures I saw of the her horses looked much like these. She said her TB/CB mare was the most fun and level-headed horse she had ever had and she trusted her to carry her anywhere - safely and with great aplomb.

Edited to add that the horse in the second photo is apparently a partbred CB stallion.


This is a pet peeve of mine.
The words “draft” and “draught” are just the American/British English spelling of THE SAME WORD. whether you are talking about pulling something, the air that blows under the door, beer out of a keg instead of a bottle, or a preliminary version of a piece of writing.

Draught and draft mean the SAME THING.

The relationship between “draught” an “draft” is EXACTLY the same as the relationship between “colour” and “color” or “theatre” and “theater”


What is your basis for this statement? Cleveland Bay re not particularly heavy horses. If you end up with a “heavy” CB x WB, I would suspect the heaviness came from the WB more than the CB.

The Cleveland Bays are often considered the descendants the “native mares” that were crossed with imported Arab, Barb and Turkoman stallions to produce the Thoroughbred breed. When European Warmbloods were cavalry horses rather than sport horses, Cleveland Bays were much desired for Three Day Event Horses- and a “heavy” horse wasn’t going to make time over a “long format” (with steeplechase, two sets of roads and tracks, as well as cross country).

When I was horse hunting a couple of decades ago, I looked at a number of CB and CB crosses (all at the same farm). I didn’t buy any of them, because I thought their legs were a bit crooked, but that was almost certainly the result of that particular breeding stock, not the breed as a whole. I have seen CB with very good leg conformation. But in terms of size, build, temperament and movement, I was very impressed. None of them were “extremely heavy”.


To go back to the original question, a lot is going to depend on the strengths and weaknesses of THAT PARTICULAR WB mare, and the PARTICULAR stallions.

Also, in the context of the amount of time and money invested in breeding a horse, the cost of driving 8 hours for AI is well worth it to have a better selection of stallions.

As mentioned, the Cleveland Bays are pretty consistent, and there is a LOT of variety in Morgan “types”.

Based on what you have said about the “mountain horse”, he doesn’t sound like a good choice for a horse to do dressage and jumping. When I was horse hunting (for an Event horse) I looked to several Percheron crosses. When galloped they were SO heavy on the ground that I doubted they would stay sound.

If those are really the only choices, and based only on the information you have provided, I wouldn’t breed to the “mountain horse”.

If the Morgan is a sport horse type, rather than a saddleseat type, I would think the Morgan and the CB would both be acceptable. A CB cross would probably be bigger than a Morgan cross, but it really depends on the specifics of the particular horses.


I admit I have limited experience with Cleveland Bays, but the ones that I have met personally were quite heavy. They were perfect to be combined with thoroughbreds, and the three-quarter thoroughbred seemed like a lovely mix.
Of the choices originally outlined, the Cleveland day would make the most sense for producing a Sporthorse potentially. Of course it depends on the mare, if she’s an old style Warmblood…then Well yes, I would expect to heavier type


Here is an article regarding the endangerment of the Cleveland Bay breed and how QE2 was instrumental in their return;