Believe it or not, there are more than 100 different Horse Breeds! On this page, I have included some of the most popular and interesting Horse Breeds out there.
Why is it important to know about all the different Breeds? Not only is it fun and interesting, it means you will be able to tell them apart! Different breeds of horses excel in certain activities, more than others.
This is because they have special physical traits, allowing them to perform better.
Confused? Let me explain...
Heavy horses, won't do well racing against a light breed of horse.
Whereas, the light breed won't be able to do the hard pulling work that the heavy breed does.
An example of a heavy breed is a Shire Horse and a light breed would be a Thoroughbred. Horses can be described in many different ways. You get breeds, types, purposes and even bloods.
The reason for this is, there are so many Horse Breeds that are purebred and also crossbred. They all have unique or special traits that make them individual. That's why they have been classified into different categories, to help tell the difference.
Here, we will just call them breeds as it is easier to understand.
For thousands of years, horses have influenced history and are said to be the most important of all the domesticated animals. They give us transport and friendship, while still playing a major part in agriculture, sport and even in wars.
Through the different tasks, they have gained different traits and characteristics.
Man has used genetics, selecting the best out of each breed characteristic, forming different breeds. This selective breeding has created over 100 breeds of horse, generally only using horses with positive traits.
Most Popular and Widely Used Horse Breeds
Horse Breeds differ in shape, size and temperament. They are all special and unique!
For each breed I have listed defining characteristics:
Below I have listed My Top 7 Breeds, I have even included two breeds from my home country, South Africa.
Andalusian Horse Characteristics
Andalusian Horses - Elegant and strong, these Spanish bred horses are known for stamina and athleticism.
Height: 15.2 - 16.2 Hands High
Colors: Gray, Bay and Black
Origin: Iberian Peninsula
Temperament: Proud yet Kind, Intelligent, Brave and Cooperative
Uses: Riding and driving
Interesting Facts: Andalusian Horses can perform different gaits, one in particular is a high gait called The Spanish Walk.
Appaloosa Horse Characteristics
Appaloosa Horses - These horses are uniquely beautiful! They are easy to spot out in a herd and are extremely versatile.
Height: 14 - 16 Hands High
Base colors include: Bay, Black, Chestnut, Palomino, Buckskin, Cremello or Perlino, Roan, Gray and Dun.
Spots include: Spotted, Solid, Leopard, Marble, Snowflake, Blanket and Frost.
Temperament: Intelligent and Very Independent.
Uses: All Round Riding Horse
Interesting Facts: Appaloosas were influenced by Andalusian Horses, Barb Horses, Turk Horses and Arabian Horses.
Arabian Horse Characteristics
Arab Horses- These beautiful horses are from Arabia, in the Middle East. They are one of the most recognizable horse breeds in the world.
Height: 14.1 - 15.1 Hands High
Colors: Bay, Gray and Chestnut
Temperament: Intelligent, Loyal and Bold
Uses: Riding Horse
Interesting Facts: Arabs were brought into the tents of their owners to keep them safe from thieves and storms in The Middle East..
Basotho Pony Characteristics
Basotho Pony - This surefooted pony used as transport in the rugged mountains, has evolved from natural selection.
Height: 13.3 - 15.3 Hands High
Colors: Bay, Chestnut, Brown, Gray
Origin: Lesotho, South Africa
Temperament: Bold, Self Reliant
Uses: Riding across rough terrain
Interesting Facts: Basotho ponies have five gaits, they are walk, trot, canter, the tripple and pace.
Boerperd - This is my favorite of all the breeds! Home grown and close to my heart. They make wonderful horses for children and adults.
Height: 13.3 - 15.3 Hands High
Colors: Black, Bay, Gray, Chestnut, Palomino, Dun, Roan
Origin: South Africa
Temperament: Alert, Calm, Intelligent, Willing and Bold
Uses: Riding and Harness work
Interesting Fact: Boerperds are able to perform 5 gaits! Walk, trot, canter, short-gait and also the rack.
Shetland Pony Characteristics
Shetland Ponies - These little ponies are strong and full of character. They enjoy interacting with people and other horses. They make great first ponies.
Height: 7 - 11.2 Hands High
Colors: Black, Chestnut, Gray
Origin: Shetland Isles
Temperament: Adapts well, Gentle, Kind and Bold
Uses: Riding and Light Harness Work
Interesting Fact: Shetlands are very strong, they can pull nearly double their own weight! Amazing!
Thoroughbred Horse Characteristics
Thoroughbred Horses - Fast and sleek, Thoroughbred Horses are the fastest of all the horse breeds reaching nearly 65km/h! These leggy horses are bred to race, but make lovely general riding horses too!
Height: 14.2 - 17 Hands High
Colors: Bay, Black, Gray, Chestnut, Brown
Temperament: Brave, Intelligent and Bold
Uses: Racing and general Riding Horse
Interesting Fact: The very first Thoroughbred Horse to arrive in America, was Bulle Rock. He was by The Darley Arabian Stallion.
There are so many many breeds to choose from! A breed for everyone! Horses have been helping man throughout the ages. They are a major part of our history. What is your favorite breed? I hope you have enjoyed my pages showing the various Horse Breeds.