Horses are beloved pets, for casual riding and competitive sports alike. They come in an array of colors, coat patterns, sizes, and manes to fit any lifestyle or preference.
Although there are hundreds of horse breeds worldwide, some are more popular than others. Here is our list of the five most beloved equestrian species around the globe.
The American Quarter Horse is one of the most beloved horse breeds in America, known for its gentle demeanor and versatility. These horses excel at many horse sports such as rodeos and Western competitions, plus English disciplines like riding, show jumping, and dressage.
This versatile breed is renowned for its agility, speed, and teamwork capabilities. Its compact physique enables it to move quickly through events such as barrel races, reining, and calf roping. Furthermore, the cow sense” that this versatile animal possesses has been dubbed its “cow sense.”
- Hardcover Book
- Sly, Debby (Author)
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- 512 Pages – 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) – Lorenz Books (Publisher)
The American Quarter Horse Association, or AQHA for short, is the world’s largest breed registry with over 5 million registered quarter horses in its database. Established in 1940 with one mission in mind – to preserve their ancestry – AQHA remains dedicated today to this cause.
Since then, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has recognized American Quarter Horses for their contributions to the sport with the Silver Spur Award – an equine equivalent of the Academy Awards. This honor is only granted when a horse proves its mettle in an event.
Another reason the American Quarter Horse has become such a sought-after breed is its steady, gentle demeanor which makes it an ideal choice for novice horse owners. These horses are easy to train and can be utilized both for pleasure riding as well as other equestrian activities.
Horses come in a range of colors, such as sorrel, chestnut, bay, gray, dun, buckskin, and black roan. Some horses even sport white markings like stars on their faces or socks or stockings on their legs.
The Arabian horse is one of the world’s most beloved breeds. It stands out for its durability and stamina, making it an excellent endurance animal. These horses also excel in racing as well as other equine sports like jumping, dressage, and trail riding.
The breed was developed in the Middle East and bred for their endurance and strength, making them ideal war mounts. As Islam spread, purebred Arabian horses became highly prized possessions – some even believed that God had given them to them as a gift!
Today’s Arabians have a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from other breeds. They feature an elegant, chiseled head with a dished profile, large nostrils, big eyes, and an arched neck with a short back.
Horses tend to have a naturally high tail carriage, strong legs, and hard hooves. Their coat colors range from bay, and chestnut to gray; however, black horses are occasionally seen too.
Their heads come in a range of sizes and shapes, with the dished type dominating sport and equestrian show arenas due to their appealing appearance. Their dished profiles – also referred to as teacup muzzles – were once avoided by the original desert Bedouins because they believed they hampered their ability to breathe and chew efficiently.
Modern Arabians tend to be smaller than other horse breeds, standing 14-16 hands high on average. They possess fine-to-medium bone structure and typically weigh 800-1,000 pounds.
Three legendary Arabian stallions – Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian – were imported to England during the 1600s. These horses helped shape modern Thoroughbred breeding practices and make it a globally popular racehorse.
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The Thoroughbred is one of the most beloved horse breeds in America. While they are primarily used for racing, they also excel at other equine sports such as dressage, jumping, and even trail riding.
Thoroughbreds are bred for their speed and endurance in races. Most thoroughbreds stand around 16 hands tall and weigh between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds.
Their Arabian heritage has contributed to their lean physique, making them ideal for racing. They feature a refined head with wide eyes and an arched neck, along with well-defined high withers, deep sloping shoulders, and short muscles on their legs.
Thoroughbreds are known for being some of the fastest horses on Earth, as well as for their stamina. They can run at an astonishing speed of just under a one-quarter mile per minute.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, horse racing became increasingly popular across America; Kentucky became a breeding ground for thoroughbreds. In 1894, The American Jockey Club, which regulates all Thoroughbred racing in this country, was formed.
Today, The Jockey Club utilizes one of the most sophisticated computer systems in the world to process daily results for all Thoroughbred races. Their database houses information on over 3 million horses.
In the seventeenth century, Thoroughbred horses were created through a cross between English brood mares and imported Arabian stallions. Its name, Thoroughbred, derives from its athletic capabilities as well as being an allusion to thoroughbred racehorses.
The Appaloosa is one of the most beloved horse breeds in America due to its distinctive spotted coat pattern and versatility in various disciplines.
The Appaloosa has a long and storied heritage in the United States. It was first brought to North America during the 18th century when Spanish settlers brought them from Mexico, California, and Oregon. Later, Nez Perce tribes took control of these spotted horses and established strict breeding regulations to maintain their population levels.
Today, the Appaloosa is officially recognized by both the American Paint Horse Association and American Quarter Horse Association as a registered breed suitable for dressage, jumping, and driving.
Appaloosas can be registered with any color base coat (red roan, bay roan, black, brown, chestnut, palomino, dun, gray), along with any combination of facial markings or leg marks such as bald, blaze, stripe, or star.
Mottled skin, distinct from pink or non-pigmented, can appear around the muzzle, eyes, and anus. This skin type features small round dark spots that appear around these features.
Another distinguishing trait is white sclera, or the area around the eye that covers the iris and should be visible when held in a normal position. Other breeds can have this trait too, but Appaloosas tend to show it more frequently than other horses do.
The Appaloosa is a robust breed that can live for 25-30 years or more, but they are susceptible to certain diseases. For instance, they have an increased likelihood of equine recurrent uveitis and congenital stationary night blindness than other breeds due to their vulnerability to sunlight – thus needing protection from the sun at all times.
The Morgan horse breed is one of the most beloved horse breeds in America, renowned for their temperament, athletic prowess, and versatility. As such, they make excellent family horses due to their calm dispositions, kind natures, and eagerness to please.
The American Morgan Horse Association is the official breed registry for Morgans in the United States. Its headquarters are situated in Shelburne, Vermont and its National Museum of the Morgan Horse is situated in Middlebury, Vermont.
Morgan horses can be traced back to a single stallion: Justin Morgan born around 1790 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was purchased by a school teacher and initially known as “Figure”; eventually, his name was changed to Morgan.
His exact ancestry remains uncertain, though it is believed he had Arabian, Thoroughbred, Welsh Cob, and Friesian bloodlines. His offspring inherited clean limbs with muscular builds as well as intelligent heads featuring large expressive eyes.
Their body type makes them ideal for farm or draft horses. Their strong legs and deep muscled bodies enable them to carry heavy loads like lumber, rope, and other materials with ease.
They come in a range of colors such as bay, black, chestnut, gray palomino creme dun, and buckskin. These horses tend to be hardy creatures that can live an extended life on grass and hay but tend to gain weight if overfed.
In addition to dressage, many Morgans excel in events like Park Saddle and Harness, English and Classic Pleasure Driving, Western, Hunter, Jumper, Eventing, Reining, Cutting, Endurance, and Competitive Trail. With their gentle natures, they make ideal therapeutic riding horses due to their steady gait.