The Knabstrupper can be divided into two main horse categories, namely the elegant, well-balanced Baroque type and a more athletic Sport Horse type. During their performance tests these horses are evaluated according to the unique characteristics of these two distinctive types.
The ideal classical Baroque Knabstrupper will have three equally proportioned body parts, preferably with equal length and height, and a good muscular build with good depth, breadth, and adequate height. The shoulder should be long, sloping and muscular with long bone in the upper arm and should be flexible with good freedom of movement. The withers should be well defined, but may appear short due to a high set neck and muscular crest. The head must be expressive with large, calm eyes widely set. A noble head with a slightly pronounced nose and the lower jaw broad and defined is common to a stallion of this type.
The Knabstrupper Sport Horse is a more refined, big framed horse with good depth and breadth. The head is attractive and smaller than the Baroque Knabstrupper. The Knabstrupper Sport Horse resembles the modern European warmblood with colour that may include a percentage of approved warmblood breeding. The inclusion of a percentage of warmblood breeding offers the possibility of genetic variation to avoid high levels of inbreeding while maintaining the valuable characteristics of the Knabstrupper warmblood breed. When followed in a structured manner this breeding principle offers endless possibilities.
A good example of modern Knabstrupper Sport Horse breeding can be seen in Sartors Showtime, a young stallion taking the world by storm.
The ideal height of a classical Knabstrupper horse should preferably be above 148 cm up to about 165 cm (16.1 hands). Knabstrupper Sport Horses can have heights taller than that of the classical Baroque type and can be as tall as 17+ hands.
An old saying goes, “A good horse has no colour,” but this is only partially true of the Knabstrupper. Knabstruppers are not always spotted, but neither is every spotted horse a Knabstrupper. The Knabstrupper’s most significant characteristic is the particular colouration. There are numerous permutations of the colouring. Therefore, the extent of the colouring has no bearing on the assessment and classification. However, a horse with the graying gene, distinct piebald or skewbal d markings as well as the appearance of a “wall eye” or “rat tail” is ineligible for grading.