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Posts from the ‘Breeds’ Category


Horse Breeds: Which Types of Horses Would Suit You Best?

For centuries, horses have been one of the most popular domesticated animals. While today, people enjoy riding and racing them, in the past they were domesticated because they were the primary mode of transportation for many.

People from almost every corner of the globe have owned horses for one reason or another, and it is for this reason that there are now so many different breeds. However, all horses fall into one of three main categories: pony, light, and heavy classifications. If you are unfamiliar with horse breeds, this is a good starting place.

From this point, some people like to further classify horses into the subcategories such as draft horses, gaited horses, and warmbloods. So these are terms that you might hear when people talk of horse breeds. But for all intents and purposes, we will stick with the three main categories for this article.

Knowing about these different breeds might give you an idea of what kind of horse will be best for your situation – and will let you in on which horses are good for children, which are good for the whole family to ride, which ones are good for racing, and which ones will help out on the ranch.

Pony Breeds

The smallest of the popular pony breeds is the Shetland Pony, and for this reason, it is often the first horse given to children. While the Shetland is usually sweet and relaxed, this breed can, on occasion, get feisty. So no matter what breed of pony, children need to be supervised with horses of any kind.

The Connemara Pony, is larger than the Shetland, and for this reason, often makes a great pony for older children. Another good breed for this young adults and young teens is the Welsh Pony, which is just a little bit larger than the Connemara.

Light Breeds

People often mistake the Miniature Horse for a pony, but it is not classified as one because it does not have the same characteristics as those of the pony breed. This light breed horse is often a companion for children as well as a guide for the disabled.

One of the most loved horse breeds around falls into the category of Light Horses – the Arabian. These horses are not only attractive, but in general, are also known for being sweet, loving, graceful, and speedy. Everything about this horse seems to be perfect – from its kind nature to its speed and endurance while racing.

A descendent of the Arabian, the Thoroughbred, is another popular light breed. This horse is quite fast, so it makes for a great racing horse. Because of this, this breed of horse can be quite expensive. If you are looking for a horse for the family, though, this might not be the best choice since these can be too fast and dangerous for inexperienced riders.

If you are looking for a horse that could help out on a farm or a ranch rounding up cattle, or for a tough horse that can compete in races and competitions, then you may want a Quarter Horse. This is an American horse breed that got its name for being able to race at a good pace for a quarter of a mile. It is a pretty tough breed, but also good for taking on a leisurely ride.

A smaller horse that is also family-friendly as well as hard working is the Morgan Horse. A man named Justin Morgan, who was amazed by the strength and loving nature of his little horse, developed the Morgan breed. This breed has a strong body with a friendly disposition.

Other popular light horse breeds include the Paint, the Standardbred, the Appaloosa, the Saddlebred, the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Paso Fino.

Heavy Breeds

There are two types of heavy horses: horses that were once used in battle and draft horses. The warhorses went through tough training to ready them for battle, while the draft horses were used to work on farms or to pull carts and wagons.

The Percheron is a smaller heavy horse, but still quite powerful. This horse breed is intelligent and has a friendly nature, so it is easier to train than others, and can be a good animal for the family or the farm. However, if color is important to you, you might note that it only comes in gray or black.

The most famous of the draft horses is probably the Clydesdale. This attractive horse has been bred to do hard work, but it also has a friendly nature, so it makes for a good horse to ride on, too.

Some other popular draft breeds include the Belgian, and then the rarer Shire and Suffolk Punch breeds.

Of the war horse breeds, the Lipizzaner is the probably most famous. This is most likely because these horses often travel around doing performances for Austrian events.

As you can see, there are many breeds to choose from, and hopefully this will give you some idea of what type you are looking for. The best thing to do, however, is to see how different horses interact with you individually when shopping for a horse for you and possibly for your family.

Katya Coen is a regular contributor to All Horses, where you can find a wealth of information on everything pertaining to horses and you can even browse our gallery of horse pictures.

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Origins of the Thoroughbred


As mentioned in our previous article, the origins of all horses belonging to the Thoroughbred breed have been attributed to three Arabian Stallions. The Byerley Turk (the earliest of the three), The Darley Arabian, and The Godolphin Arabian.

The Thoroughbred Jockey Club has documented some 3 million Thoroughbreds in their “Stud Book” and approximately 40,000 registered each year. The extreme diversity of Thoroughbred Stallions is reflected by the industries’ demand for a “Live Cover” by the Stud being used. That is to say the Thoroughbred industry does not permit transported semen or artificial insemination of any kind. The Arabian Jockey Club does allow for transported and frozen semen which limits the diversity of Stallions.

The Thoroughbred Jockey Club owes its beginnings to James Weatherby who created the first “Stud Book” in 1791. He listed pedigrees of over 350 mares, each of which could be traced back to “Eclipse”, a descendant of The Darley Arabian, Matchem, a grandson of The Godolphin Arabian or Herod, A great grandson of The Byerley Turk.

The first TB to reach America was a Stallion named “Bulle Rock” in 1730. Some 186 Thoroughbred’s would be imported to the colonies forming the foundation of the Thoroughbred family tree. Colonel Sanders Bruce published the first American Stud Book in 1873 and was subsequently taken over by The Jockey Club.

Progeny of Stallions and mares relate primarily to earnings on the race track. “Storm Cat” commanded a stud fee of $500,000.00 and his sons and daughters have won over $100,000,000.00 and he is considered to be a “Sire of Sires.” Just as important as the Sire is the Mare, and one of the most important bloodlines of the 20th. Century is the Mare “La Troienne.”

A number of Champions trace back to her including Seattle Slew, A.P. Indy, Sea Hero, Go For Gin, Easy Goer, etc., etc. Smarty Jones also has two crosses to La Troienne and he has bloodlines that go back to a War Admiral and La Troienne cross.

So it must be obvious that with 40,000 registered Thoroughbreds it is impossible to give anything except a brief overview of Thoroughbred bloodlines. I would refer the reader to three excellent books: Designing Speed by Ken McLean; Racehorse Breeding Theories by Frank Mitchell; and finally The Byerley Turk by Jeramy James in which he characterized the first and greatest Arabian Stallion and his rise to prominence through Capt. Robert Byerley.

We’ll next take a look at the Standard bred Horse as well as the ever popular Quarter Horse.

Joy D. Cox

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Understanding the Importance and Popularity of the American Quarter Horse


Quarter Horse seems like a strange name for an animal, but only until you understand that Quarter horses are able to run a quarter mile faster than any other horse can run the same distance (in some situations, a Quarter Horse has been recorded at over 50 miles per hour while running at full speed), then its given name makes good sense. In part, that is a testament to the horse’s athletic ability, along with its strong, well-muscled hind legs.

Combine versatility and an even temper with those characteristics (athleticism and muscle structure) and you can see why Quarter Horses are some of the most popular choices among those who are buying from a list of horses for sale. Not only is the American Quarter Horse common with a lot of general buyers, but the breed is popular overall; the majority of horses registered worldwide are registered with the American Quarter Horse Association.

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Friesian- The Black Horse of Friesland

Friesian in beautiful driving headset.

by Crystal A. Eikanger

The Friesian Horse, one of Europe’s oldest domesticated breeds, originated in Friesland, a province of The Netherlands. It is considered to be a Warmblood because of its easy-going temperament with a companionable nature. The Friesian horse is also a talented show horse when it comes to dressage. This is due to its intelligence, willingness to learn and to please, and readiness to perform.

Friesians are known for their wavy, long hair.

It is difficult to date the precise origin of the Friesian but it is believed to be descended from the ancient Equus robustus (big horse). Frisian horsemen served in the Roman Legions, e.g. the Equites Singulares of Emperor Nero (54-68), and in Great Britain near Hadrian’s Wall which was built in 120 AD. There is certainty that the horse was well-known in the Middle Ages since it is found in art work of that era. Breeding horses was very important for the Frisians and before the reformation, the monks in Friesland monasteries did a lot of horse breeding.

In the 1600’s it was adopted to carry heavy weight under saddle. During the 16th and 17th centuries, and maybe earlier, Arabian blood was introduced through the Spanish Andalusian horses. This gave them the high knee-action, the small head and the craning neck. The Friesian horse has had no influence from the English Thoroughbred and during the last two centuries it has been bred pure. Read more »