Did you know that there are approximately 350 registered horse breeds, plus about 100 pony breeds? In this post, we’ll explore ways to classify horses then some of the most popular breeds.
When horse lovers mention the temperature of a horse’s blood, they’re describing its temperament, features, and bloodline. Cold-blooded horses are known for being calm and steady. Hot-blooded horses, by contrast, are energetic and excitable.
Warm-blooded horses are middle of the road in terms of weight and personality. They’re tall and powerful but not too high-strung.
You may hear about purebred, crossbreed, and grade horses. A purebred, as you would imagine, has a pure bloodline without any influence from other breeds. Crossbreeds are intentional combinations of two breeds, while grade horses are unplanned crosses.
Draft horses are your typical work horse, like the Clydesdale. These calm, cold-blooded creatures have been used for centuries to haul loads ranging from farm equipment to soldiers weighed down with heavy armour. They can briefly pull loads of over twice their weight.
With their thin legs and small bones, light horses are fast and great for any type of riding. Their weight and appearance vary, from the patchy pinto to hot-blooded Arabians.
Gaited horses, like the Tennessee Walking Horse, are light horses that move particularly smoothly. These horses used to be known as “gentleman’s horses” because wealthy men enjoyed riding them. Today, you might experience a stepping pace or fox trot if you ride one of these beauties, but the one thing that you’re unlikely to do is fall off.
Some people are confused about how ponies relate to horses. Ponies are basically small horses, always measuring less than 14.2 hands. They’re smart and stocky, with duties ranging from pulling loads to giving children their first rides.
Specific Horse Breeds
The Spanish brought splotchy American Paint Horses with them to the United States. Paint horses are good all-around horses for different types of English and Western riding.
American Quarter Horses are some of the most popular mounts for both beginner riders and professionals. These animals are both sporty and gentle. Their colour varies enormously, and some animals have white markings on their head and legs.
You can recognize an Appaloosa right away because of its distinctive spotted coat. If you look more closely, you’ll notice that it has striped hooves. This breed is hardy and an excellent choice for long-distance trail riding and herding.
Arabians are one of the oldest breeds in the world. All light horse breeds have their origin in the Arabian. These gorgeous solid-coloured horses are spirited and powerful but loyal.
Thoroughbreds are best known for their success in horse racing. With their lean bodies and long, flat muscles, they can reach speeds of over 60 kilometres per hour.
We hope you enjoyed our overview of horse breeds. Is there anything that you would like to know about horses? Let us know in the comments!
Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.