All About Equine
Breeds of Horses
The Arabian is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses in the Middle East that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses have spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and strong bone. Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less; some have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph. The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with almost 3 million American Quarter Horses currently registered. The American Quarter Horse is well known both as a race horse and for its performance in rodeos, horse shows and as a working ranch horse. The compact body of the American Quarter Horse is well-suited to the intricate and speedy maneuvers required in reining, cutting, working cow horse,
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses, known for their agility, speed and spirit. The Thoroughbred as it is known today was developed in 17th- and 18th-century England, when native mares were crossbred with imported Oriental stallions of Arabian, Barb, and Turkoman breeding. All modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions originally imported into England in the 17th century and 18th century, and to a larger number of foundation mares of mostly English breeding. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Thoroughbred breed spread throughout the world; they were imported into North America starting in 1730 and into Australia, Europe, Japan and South America during the 19th century. Millions of Thoroughbreds exist today, and more than 118,000 foals are registered each year worldwide. Thoroughbreds are used mainly for racing, but are also bred for other riding disciplines such as show jumping, combined training, dressage, polo, and fox hunting. They are also commonly crossbred to create new breeds or to improve existing ones, and have been influential in the creation of the Quarter Horse, Standardbred, Anglo-Arabian, and various warmblood breeds.
The Clydesdale is a breed of draught horse derived from the farm horses of Clydesdale, Scotland, and named after that region. Although originally one of the smaller breeds of draught horses, it is now a tall breed. Often bay in color, they show significant white markings due to the presence of sabino genetics. The breed was originally used for agriculture and haulage, and is still used for draught purposes today. The Budweiser Clydesdales are some of the most famous Clydesdales, and other members of the breed are used as drum horses by the British Household Cavalry. They have also been used to create and improve other draught breeds. The breed was developed from Flemish stallions imported to Scotland and crossed with local mares. The first recorded use of the name "Clydesdale" for the breed was in 1826, and by 1830 a system of hiring stallions had begun that resulted in the spread of Clydesdale horses throughout Scotland and into northern England. The first breed registry was formed in 1877. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of Clydesdales were exported from Scotland and sent throughout the world, including to Australia and New Zealand, where they became known as "the breed that built Australia". However, during World War I population numbers began to decline due to increasing mechanization and war conscription. This decline continued, and by the 1970s, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust considered the breed vulnerable to extinction. Population numbers have increased slightly in the intervening time, but they are still thought to be vulnerable.
The Dutch Warmblood is a warmblood type of horse registered with the Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland (Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands), which governs the breeding of competitive dressage and show jumping horses, as well as the show harness horse and Gelderlander, and a hunter studbook in North America. Developed through a breeding program that began in the 1960s, the Dutch are some of the most successful horses developed in postwar Europe. Dutch law has made branding illegal, so today only the oldest Dutch Warmbloods from the Netherlands still bear the lion-rampant brand on the left hip. Instead, the horses are microchipped. However, North American Dutch Warmbloods may still be branded. To become a breeding horse, mares must stand at least 15.2 hands (62 inches, 157 cm) and stallions at least 15.3 hands (63 inches, 160 cm) at the withers. There is no upper height limit, though too-tall horses are impractical for sport and not desirable.
The Shetland pony is a breed of pony originating in the Shetland Isles. Shetlands range in size from a minimum height of approximately 28 inches (7.0 hands; 71 cm) to an official maximum height of 11 hands (44 inches, 112 cm) at the withers (11.2 hands (46 inches, 117 cm) for American Shetlands). Shetland ponies have heavy coats, short legs and are considered quite intelligent. They are a very strong breed of pony, used for riding, driving, and pack purposes. Shetland ponies originated in the Shetland Isles, located northeast of mainland Scotland. Small horses have been kept on the Shetland Isles since the Bronze Age. People who lived on the islands probably later crossed the native stock with ponies imported by Norse settlers. Shetland ponies also were probably influenced by the Celtic Pony, brought to the islands by settlers between 2000 and 1000 BCE. The harsh climate and scarce food developed the ponies into extremely hardy animals. Shetland ponies were first used for pulling carts, carrying peat, coal and other items, and plowing farm land. Then, as the Industrial Revolution increased the need for coal in the mid-19th century, thousands of Shetland ponies traveled to mainland Britain to be pit ponies, working underground hauling coal, often for their entire (often short) lives. Coal mines in the eastern United States also imported some of these animals. The last pony mine in the United States closed in 1971. The Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society of the United Kingdom was started in 1890 to maintain purity and encourage high-quality animals. In 1957, the Shetland Islands Premium Stallion Scheme was formed to subsidize high-quality registered stallions to improve the breeding stock.
The Curly is a breed of horse. Curlies, also called Bashkir Curlies, American Bashkir Curlies, and North American Curly Horses, come in all sizes, colors, and body types but all carry a gene for a unique curly coat of hair. The Curlies are known for their calm, intelligent and friendly personality. They show an easily trainable temperament. They are also known for having a tough constitution and great stamina. Most people have found that the curlies enjoy being around people. The curlies are typically not flighty. They tend to do more reasoning than most breeds. They are very reliable and have a great work ethic. Curlies are claimed to be the only hypoallergenic horse breed; most people allergic to horses can handle Curly Horses without suffering any allergic reaction. Research indicates a protein is missing from the hair of Curlies which may be what causes allergic reactions to horses in allergy suffers, but the study was never officially published. Members of the Curly community are working towards funding more research on the topic. The origins of the Curly horse is highly debated in the Curly community, but research is mostly still in progress. Disagreements of the Curly horse's history result in confusion of what the breed is, and what it should be called. ABCR members prefer "Bashkir Curly" while CSI and ICHO members lean towards "North American Curly". The addition or removal of 'Bashkir' to the breed name is highly debated. A 1990 study indicated that it is unlikely that the Bashkir horse, which also has a curly coat, is an ancestor. It is said that Curly horses were documented in Asian artwork as early as 161 AD. Charles Darwin documented curly horses in South America in the early 19th century and the early Sioux Indians regarded curly horses as sacred mounts for chiefs and medicine men. Native American artwork shows Curlies carrying warriors in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Another theory is that the origin of the breed is Iberian. It has been noted that foals of cross bred horses have the curly hair. This suggests that the curly gene is dominant. There are multiple theories for how the American Curly developed. The Curly horse was first documented in Eureka, Nevada in the early 20th century by rancher John Damele and his sons. While Mustangs were a common sight, curly coated horses were unusual. Years later, the Dameles managed to catch one, broke it to ride and sold it, thus starting their relationship with the breed. In 1932, an unusually harsh winter hit the area, and come spring the only horses that could be found were the Curlies. This evidence of hardiness was noted by the Damele family, and they decided they should include more of these horses in their herd. After another harsh winter in 1951/52, the Dameles started to get serious about breeding these horses. They went out and found their foundation stallion, a two-year-old chestnut in one of the mustang herds. They called him Copper D. The Dameles didn't care much for keeping the breed 'pure', and wanting to improve their horses, added some other blood to their herd. Among the stallions introduced were a Morgan, Ruby Red King AMHR 26101 and an Arabian, Nevada Red AHR 18125. These two stallions created many offspring for the Dameles, and are in hundreds of Curly horses' pedigrees today.
The American Saddlebred is a horse breed from the United States. This breed was referred to as the "Horse America Made". Descended from riding-type horses bred at the time of the American Revolution, the American Saddlebred includes the Narragansett Pacer, Canadian Pacer, Morgan and Thoroughbred among its ancestors. Developed into its modern type in Kentucky, it was once known as the "Kentucky Saddler", and used extensively as an officer's mount in the American Civil War. In 1891, a breed registry was formed in the United States. Throughout the 20th century, the breed's popularity continued to grow in the United States, and exports began to South Africa and Great Britain. Since the formation of the US registry, almost 250,000 American Saddlebreds have been registered, and can now be found in countries around the world, with separate breed registries established in Great Britain, Australia, continental Europe, and southern Africa. Averaging 15 to 16 hands (60 to 64 inches, 152 to 163 cm) in height, Saddlebreds are known for their sense of presence and style, as well as for their spirited, yet gentle, temperament. They may be of any color, including pinto patterns, which have been acknowledged in the breed since the late 1800s. They are considered a gaited breed, as some Saddlebreds are bred and trained to perform four-beat ambling gaits, one being a "slow gait" that historically was one of three possible ambling patterns, and the much faster rack. The breed does have a hereditary predisposition to lordosis, a curvature of the spine, as well as occupational predispositions to upper respiratory and lameness issues. Since the mid-1800s, the breed has played a prominent part in the US horse show industry, and is called the "peacock of the horse world"
The Fjord or Norwegian Fjord Horse is a relatively small but very strong horse breed from the mountainous regions of western Norway. It is an agile breed of light draught horse build. All Fjord horses are dun in colour, with five variations in shade recognised in the breed standard. One of the world's oldest breeds, it has been used for hundreds of years as a farm horse in Norway, and in modern times is popular for its generally good temperament. It is used both as a harness horse and under saddle. The Fjord horse has a distinct appearance. The breed's conformation differs from many other breeds in that it is a blend of draught horse muscling and bone, with smaller size and greater agility. It has a strong, arched neck, sturdy legs and good feet, and a compact, muscular body. The head is medium sized and well defined with a broad, flat forehead and a straight or slightly dished face, with small ears and large eyes. Despite its small size, the breed is fully capable of carrying an adult human and pulling heavy loads. The hair coat becomes particularly heavy and thick in the winter. The natural mane is long, thick, and heavy, but is usually clipped in a distinctive crescent shape to between five to ten centimetres (two to four inches) so that it stands straight up and emphasises the shape of the neck. This roached mane is thought to make for easier grooming. It also accentuates the horse's strong neck and full-length dorsal stripe. There is some feathering on the lower legs; however, the breed standard discourages profuse feathering.
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