6 favorite horse breeds | Living the Country Life

6 favorite horse breeds

Not all horses are alike. Use this breed guide when selecting a horse for your family.
  • A horse is not a horse, of course

    Understanding the unique traits and backgrounds of breeds is important when you are choosing a horse. Horses are bred for many activities, including racing, trail riding, rodeos, and showing. Appaloosas and American paints are examples of horses bred for distinctive markings. Size may also be a factor in determining the breed. The requirements for a specific breed depend on the rules set by the horse breed associations.

    When you set out to choose a horse, first take a look at the three primary ancestral categories of horses.

    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Hot or cold?

    1. Hotblood horse. These horses are known to be quick and light. Arabian and Thoroughbred horses are part of this bloodline originating in the Middle East and North Africa. Hotblood horses are often considered to be high spirited.

    2. Coldblood horse. These horses originated in northern Europe and were domesticated about 3,000 years ago. Heavy draft horses such as Clydesdales are a part of this group. Coldblood horses are known for their calm, relaxed temperaments and large size. They are used mainly for pulling and farm work.

    3. Warmblood horse. These horses are a mix of the hotblood and coldblood horses. They have a good temperament and are generally easy to handle. Many breeds, such as the popular American Quarter Horse, fall into this category.

    Having knowledge of the various breeds will help you choose the right horse for your riding style and needs. Here are six of the most popular breeds, based on breed association registry numbers.

    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • American Paint Horse

    The most obvious indication of an American paint horse is its coat color and distinct stocky conformation. They have a combination of white with any of the colors of horses. Each horse is unique in coat pattern.

    American paint horses are used in all types of events. There are strict bloodline requirements, and the registry is one of the largest in the U.S.


    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • American Quarter Horse

    Possibly the first horse breed native to the U.S. is the American quarter horse. Their foundation is Arabian, Barb, and Turk breeds crossed with selected horses brought to Colonial America from Ireland and England in the early 1600s. The result was a muscular horse known for short-distance racing. These versatile horses got their name because they were thought to be the fastest horses to run a quarter of a mile.

    The American Quarter Horse Association is the largest equine registry in the world. Guidelines are determined by bloodlines.


    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Appaloosa

    The Appaloosa got its name from the Palouse River or from the Palouse tribe in Washington state and was called the Palouse horse. These animals were prized by the Nez Perce tribe and are known for their strength, speed, and intelligence.

    These spotted horses have unique markings and characteristics. They have white encircling the pupil, striped hooves, and mottled skin. Their coat patterns and colors can vary. This breed nearly died out in the early 1930s, and in 1938 the Appaloosa Horse Club was established to preserve the breed.


    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Arabian

    Arabian horses are the basic stock for a number of horse breeds. Origianally bred by the Bedouins in the Middle East as a war horse, they are known for their stamina. They were domesticated as early as 1500 B.C.

    Arabian horses come in a variety of colors and stand from 14.1 to 15.2 hands. They weigh 800 to 1,000 pounds as adults. Arabians have unique dished faces with large eyes and small muzzles. Bloodline requirements must be met to qualify for the Arabian Horse Association.


    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Morgan

    All registered Morgan horses trace back to a single bay stallion named Figure. Born in Massachussets in 1789, the colt was given as part of a payment of a debt to a poor music teacher named Justin Morgan who lived in Randolph, Vermont.

    Morgans are known for their stamina and have distinctive conformation. Their necks are slightly arched, and their heads have broad foreheads, large eyes, and slightly dished faces. Morgans are often used at driving and carriage events as well as riding.


    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012
  • Pony of the Americas

    This breed began in 1954 by a group of Iowa horsemen who felt that a breed exclusively for children was needed. The original dam was an Appaloosa horse mixed with an Arabian horse, and the sire was a Shetland Welsh-type pony.

    Coat patterns vary on this breed. They share similar characteristics to the Appaloosa in appearance such as the white around the pupils and striped hooves. The height ranges from 46 to 56 inches at the withers.


    Date Published: September 26, 2012
    Date Updated: November 9, 2012

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