Horse Breeds: What Should You Know?
History has been witnessing great contributions of horses to different parts of the world. This animal species is an integral part of human beings’ day to day lives in terms of emotions and spirituality.
Moreover, equines are also a great part of the philosophy, song, myth, poetry, etc of the world, in terms of philosophy most of the time. Horses possess great importance and reputation and have largely appeared in age-old art. Horses would work as a mode of transport. Also, ancient warriors used to take horses on battlefields.
The first association of equines and human beings started around 50,000 years ago. Various horse ages are there and they are as follows:
Age of Consumption: This era started in 50,000BC and it still continues today.
Age of Utilization and Status: It started in 4000BC and continued up to 1900AD.
Age of Herding: This horse era began in 3500BC and still continues to date.
Age of the Chariot: The era started its journey in 1700BC and ended in 400AD.
Age of the Cavalry: The horse era began in 700BC and concluded in 1942AD.
Age of Agriculture: It started in 900AD and lasted until 1945AD.
Age of the Carriage: The period of this era is from 1700AD to 1920AD.
Age of Leisure: The era started in 1900 and continues today.
History and Breeds
Horses existed on Earth for over 50 million years, as per the report. It is thought that horses were the first tamed animal in Asia throughout the span of 3000 and 4000 B.C.
A crucial aspect of the equine-human relationship lies in trying and boosting the improvement as well as maintenance of a powerful, positive relationship. According to a 2012 study, present-day domestic equine’s wild ancestors originated about 160,000 years back in Eurasia. Equines were first tamed almost 6,000 years back in the Eurasian Steppe.
Two primary types of horses are there in the world. They are horses as well as ponies. Horses have a height of 56.8 inches or more. On the other hand, ponies are below 14.2 hands high. Various types of horses exist, such as driving types, draft horses & ponies, stock horses, gaited horses, light horses, and so on.
It is almost impossible to calculate the exact number of horse breeds in the world. Some breeds are linked with other breeds whereas some are amalgamations of existing breeds over years.
Classifications and Types of Horse Breeds
Classifications of Horse Breeds Depending on Groups:
It is time to take a look at different types of horse breeds based on groups:
Have you heard about “cold” and “hot” blooded equines? Warmblood horses are a result of a between the above two horses. Europe is the origin of the warmblood horse, as a result of the cross between war or carriage equines with Thoroughbreds as well as Arabians.
Warmblood equines come as the refined version of the cold blooded ones. Moreover, warmbloods are bigger as compared to the hot blooded horses. Besides, warmbloods do exhibit a gentle nature. They are one of the prominent Horse Breeds in the classifications based on groups.
The examples of the warmblood horse breed are Dutch Warmblood, Hanoverian, Trakehner, Irish Draught, and American Warmblood. People witness these horses in various horse shows. Due to exhibiting great athletic ability (inherited from “hot” bloods) and mild nature (inherited from “cold” bloods), warmbloods become a popular choice as a show horse.
Are you searching for an ideal horse show companion for the next event? Then, you can consider warmbloods. In short, warmbloods have inherited the best qualities of both “hot” blood as well as “cold” blood.
Warmbloods are powerful, athletic, and tall equines having a logical attitude and great enthusiastic nature. They show excellent performance in harness, jumping, dressage, and equestrian Olympic sports.
An adult pony comes with 14.2 hands or less. However, exceptions are there as well. Besides, ponies do not exhibit a similar appearance as the horse equine breeds. The striking traits of these horse breeds include thicker coats, tails, and manes.
Ponies feature relatively shorter legs, stronger bones, thicker and brief necks. They exhibit excellent intelligence and predictable temperaments. Moreover, these equine breeds do not call for high grooming requirements. They show more independence as compared to other equine breeds.
Ponies were actually bred to perform almost every possible activity. They would perform harness, plowing, jumping, pulling, riding, ranch work, and packing. Examples of these horse breeds include Shetland Pony, Welsh Mountain Pony, Hackney Pony, and Icelandic Pony.
Draft horse breeds are considered the largest of all horse breeds. These horses were bred to perform heavy, athletic activities, such as plowing fields, pulling hefty loads, and various other activities that call for a strong workhorse.
Some people call Draft horses draught horses. They are also popularly known as heavy horses. They exhibit quiet and sensible nature, and so they are referred to as “cold” blood horses.
Draft horses come in the weight of 1600 pounds or beyond while the height is 15.2 to 20 hands. These horses are not faster but stronger as compared to the light equine breeds. Draft horses can transfer more than twice their weight when it comes to short distances.
One of the horse breeds in this list is gaited horses. They exhibit an extraordinary intermediate gait of four beats. And it is obvious to these horses. Gaited horses exhibit smooth gaits, which are available in different forms. However, different breeds can come with different forms.
Moreover, a gaited equine is much more efficient as compared to a non-gaited equine. It is because these horses do not spend their energy in combating gravity as well as free fall.
And that is why gaited horses exhibit more natural endurance as compared to their rough trotting counterparts. The gaited horses’ efficient movements have come with the advantage of the smooth ride.
Moreover, the gaited horse breed comes as a light horse, which was bred for smooth riding. These equines feature three gates, and they include gallop, trot, and walk.
Gaited horses feature different types of paces, such as the stepping pace, the fox trot, the slow gate, and so on. According to history, gaited horses were known as a ‘gentleman’s horse’. They are an ideal choice for smooth pleasure riding on paths and for show rings.
Most of the riding horses throughout the world belong to the classification of the light horse. The Arabian horse breed plays the role of the origin of each and every light horse breed. Did you know the Arabian horse comes as the most ancient equine breed, as per the recorded lineage?
Light horses can be either ”warm” blooded or “cold” blooded. These horses are completely different from those of their draft equine counterparts. Light horses are recognized for their stamina, riding, swiftness, and speed.
Most of the light horse breeds come with a height of 14.2 hands high to 17.2 hands. They are taller as compared to ponies as well as less weighty as compared to their draft counterparts. Light horses are an ideal option for shows as well as recreation. Examples of these horses include Paints, Polo Ponies, the American Quarter horse, Morgans, Pintos, and Rocky Mountain horse.
Various kinds of horses do belong to the category of the light horse breed. Moreover, these horses can differ in multiple traits, such as color, structure, height, and weight. Some light horses come as the “hot” blood breed. And so they are fleet footed, highly energetic, and very sensitive.
Classifications of Horse Breeds Based on Characteristics
Based on Color:
Some equines are bred for certain coat patterns or colors. It includes the palomino, the pinto, the buckskin, the appaloosa, and the paint. They may not always be real equine breeds. However, they are recognized as “color breeds.” Some of these breeds also need to cater to other requirements.
Based on Temperament:
When it comes to temperament, horses are classified into three types. It includes hot blooded, cold blooded, and warm blooded. On the other hand, “cold” blooded equines exhibit mild temperament. They are bulkier Draft type equines. However, “warm” blooded equines share similarities with the European competition equines.
“Hot” blooded horses are athletic. These horses are bred primarily for their agility and swiftness. On the contrary, “cold” blooded horses are quiet, mild, powerful, and patient. These horses are primarily bred for their strength for managing heavy carriages or dragging plows.
Due to all these reasons, “cold” blooded equine breeds are extremely large, slow, athletic, and powerful. “Warm” blooded horses exhibit an amazing temperament. They are trainable, quiet, athletic, strong, and effortless to work with.
Based on Types and Uses
Various kinds of equines are there throughout the world. And they were bred to perform specific jobs. For instance, mule, “Hot” blood, pony, or mule horses perform various sets of tasks.
Moreover, cold bloods, hot bloods, and warm bloods are also there, which indicate generic terms to refer to the nature of a horse. Besides, these generic terms also indicate breed traits as well as lineage history. Over 300 breeds of equines and ponies are present throughout the world. However, they belong to five major classifications listed down below:
Besides, non-horse breeds of equines, which are closely associated with horses, are also there. Non-horse equines also interbreed with horses. However, they are not actual horses. Examples in this regard include zebras, mules, and donkeys.
When it comes to opting for an ideal horse, it is essential to know what you need the animal to do for you. Are you looking for a horse mainly for riding?
Do you need a horse for racing? Are you searching for a horse to take it around and take part in various competitions or shows? In order to know the correct answer, you need to check out the classifications of horses based on uses.
Almost every horse breed can be used for riding. However, different horses come with different performance levels. For instance, some horse breeds are ideal for younger riders. On the other hand, some others need riders to have enough experience for getting up.
Some horse breeds perform well in every type of terrains. On the other hand, some breeds exhibit excellent endurance to move on and on.
Some of the popular riding horse breeds include The Peruvian Paso Horse, The Arab Horse, The Tennessee Walking Horse, The Thoroughbred Horse, etc.
One must choose a horse breed for riding carefully after analyzing the criteria and requirements.
Apart from pleasure riding, horses are also used on farms. Work horses are an integral part of ranch life. An ideal ranch horse may not perform rigorous tasks.
However, they can have almost each and every skill at a decent level. Quality ranch horses are reliable, kind, and skilled with good stamina.
Do you want your horse to travel to many places, participate in competitions, and receive awards for having some excellent traits, such as the cleanest mane or the greatest shape?
Are you searching for a horse to stand out from other horses in competitions? Then, you should consider show horses. However, as an owner, it is your responsibility to take care of your horse and maintain its health to perfection.
Some of the show horse breeds include Andalusian, Caspian, Alter-Real, Ariegeois, Akhal-Teke, Gelderlander, Einsiedler, Clydesdale, Brabant, Jutland, Marwari, Tersk, Thoroughbred, and so on.
Do you want to make your horse a winner in equestrian sports? Then, you should consider a good sport horse. However, proper and sufficient training is essential for these horses to remain in their best physical condition to ace in competitions and races.
Besides, proper instructions are necessary to perform as per commands and sprint, as per the requirements. In short, they must be well trained and directed to perform, according to your timings and needs.
Some examples of sport horses include the Thoroughbred, Irish Draught, Irish Sport Horse, The Hanoverian Horse, The Danish Warmblood, The Hanoverian Horse, The Selle Francais, and so on.
It is not mandatory to have all horses larger than life. Small yet sweet ponies are also preferred for their quiet temperament. Ponies are an ideal breed to learn riding as a beginner. However, if you are searching for a bit advanced pet, then you can consider a pony breed.
The horse comes as an excellent animal, and so owners must take proper care of their health. In short, they need sufficient care and attention. Owners need to dedicate enough time to maintain their general health in order to increase their longevity and retain their happiness. Besides, proper day-to-day care would lessen veterinary bills in the long run.
Equines call for sufficient exercise in a proper day-to-day regimen. Owners must arrange enough space for their horses to walk as well as run around if a regular workout is not possible. Owners need to take care of their feet, teeth, vaccination, and so on along with water, feed, shelter, and paddocks.
Owners must take care of their horses’ diet, as they have very particular dietary requirements. Horses are herbivores animals with a quite different digestive tract from humans. Since equines’ digestive system is long, they call for a fiber-rich diet. Moreover, the owners need to serve fiber-filled food in small quantities for a long duration. Did you know equines dedicate maximum time to eating food?
The natural diet of the equine is tender plants as well as pasture grass. Quality pasture comes with the maximum nutrition whatever an equine needs to remain healthy. Moreover, the silica content helps to maintain their dental health. Whenever grass gets unavailable, hay can be served to them as the next best option.
When it comes to serving grains to horses, oats come as the traditional option. Moreover, concentrate mixes are also available, which is a concoction of beet pulp, grains, molasses, bran, flaxseed, minerals, and vitamins. Water comes as an integral part of their diet. Owners must arrange clean, fresh water for their horses.
Grooming and Upkeep:
The first step for horse owners is to make use of a lead rope for safeguarding their equines. Hence, before starting grooming the horse, it is essential to secure the animal utilizing a quick-release knot. After ensuring security, owners can start grooming their horses.
The second step is to make use of a rubber curry comb and apply the same in small circular motions to remove excess mud and dust from the horse’s body.
Owners should make use of a hard brush to make their horses stay away from mud and dirt. Then, they need to apply a soft brush to eliminate dust (if anything remaining) to groom their sensitive portions.
It is important to take a washcloth or sponge for cleaning the face of an equine. Then, using a mane and tail brush is also an integral part of equine grooming. In order to clean the equine’s hooves, owners need to make use of a hoofpick.
Note that it is extremely important to clean out the equine’s hooves prior to as well as after riding. It helps to prevent injuries in them.
Do you wonder how to get rid of horse flies? Start using fly spray (manufactured for horses) when it seems necessary to safeguard your equine.
Horse Breeds – Superlative List:
Largest or Biggest Horse Breed:
The Shire comes as the largest or biggest equine breed. It belongs to draught horse’s British breed. These horses mainly come in the colors of grey, black, or bay.
Fastest Horse Breed:
Thoroughbreds are recognized in this category. It stands out in the horse racing field whereas Arabian horses are popular for their sharpness and excellence in endurance riding.
Tallest Horse Breed:
The Shire again managed to come first as the tallest equine breed in the world. These horses have already had records multiple times for both being the tallest horse as well as the largest horse breed.
Most Expensive Horse Breed:
The Arabian horse comes first in the list of the most expensive equine breed. Moreover, this breed is also among the oldest horse breeds.
Most Spotted Horse Breed:
Appaloosa comes as the most spotted equine breed. This breed is popular for its vibrant spotted patterned coat. A great variety can be seen in the body types of the Appaloosa breed.
Did you know the initial horse adoption cost might be a small portion of the entire expense? It might be the reason that many people perceive the horse owning a luxury.
Various factors affect the cost of equines. However, these factors are not much related to the horses with the cost of $10,000 and more. These horses are adopted for high-level competitions. Nevertheless, many people look for adopting horses with a cost of under $10,000.
Rare Horse Breeds
Horses have been contributing to society for many years. The species have witnessed many ancient civilizations. Humans have been using them for many activities all around history. Unfortunately, many horse breeds have already joined the list of endangered species. And they could be disappeared from the world in near future.
Some of the most endangered equine breeds include Dales Pony, Eriskay Pony, The Suffolk Punch Horse, The Canadian Horse, The Caspian Horse, Newfoundland Pony, The Cleveland Bay Horse, The American Cream Horse, and Akhal-Teke Horse.
Things to Know About Horses
Horses sleep in a standing position. However, they also sleep by lying down for a very short time.
Horses cannot breathe or vomit by using their mouth like human beings.
An equine’s age can be roughly calculated by its teeth.
Equines can live for over 30 years.
The most popular equine breed in the world is the American Quarter Horse.