There are so many horse breeds that it could take hours to discuss all of them. There are breeds for every purpose. And horses come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Despite the stiff competition, a number of breeds have become consistent favorites in equestrian circles. Here are the top ten breeds.
1 – Arabian
The Arabian horse has long been a favorite the world over. Coming from the Arabian Peninsula, this breed is easy to spot with its distinctive head shape and high, proud tail carriage. It is thought to be one of the oldest horse breeds and is known for its spirit and endurance. Arabians are used today in many disciplines, including western, saddle seat, and even dressage.
2 – Quarter Horse
This breed is arguably the most popular breed in the United States, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world. Known as the fastest breed of horse over short distances, Quarter horses are popular mounts for both trail and competition. They are often used for pleasure riding and other events such as barrel racing, roping, and cutting. They also make excellent hunt seat mounts and even racehorses.
3 – Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is best known for its use in horse racing. Developed in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, this breed is high spirited and known for its heart. They make excellent sport horses, and are used as hunters and jumpers, and as mounts for dressage, polo and fox hunting.
4 – Tennessee Walker
The Tennessee Walker is a breed of horse that was developed in the Southern United States during the 18th century for use on farms and plantations. Its smooth gaits, such as the four-beat “running walk,” make it comfortable for riding long distances. Today, Tennessee Walkers are used as both show horses and pleasure mounts.
5 – Morgan
Compact, brave and agreeable, the Morgan horse is best known for its versatility. It is one of the oldest breeds developed in the United States. They are small in stature but big in heart. Morgans are used today as a riding horse and driving horses and excel in the western and saddle seat disciplines. It is also the state animal of Vermont.
6 – Paint
The American Paint Horse is a unique combination of the characteristics of the western stock horse and the colors of a pinto. While many consider the paint a “color breed,” the American Paint Horse Association considers them a true breed, as paints have a strict bloodline requirement and distinctive breed characteristics. Like the Quarter Horse, they excel in many western disciplines and are often used as pleasure mounts.
7 – Appaloosa
Developed by the Nez Perce Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest, Appaloosas are best known for their colorful spotted coat pattern. They are tough, independent, hardy and sure-footed, with big bodies and sparse manes and tails. Appaloosas are often used as stock horses and pleasure mounts, and make excellent trail horses.
8 – Miniature Horse
The miniature horse was developed in Europe in the 1600s. The breed’s two registries have different height requirements, but both agree that the horses must fall under 34-38 inches, measured from the last hairs of the mane. While they are extremely small, they are considered horses and not ponies. In the past, the breed has been kept as pets by nobility and used for work in coal mines. Today they are used as driving horses and sometimes even as service animals.
9 – Warmblood
Technically warmbloods are not a breed but a group that encompasses a number of types and breeds, including the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg, and Trakhner horses. Warmbloods are characterized by open studbook policies and are known for their prowess as sport horses, excelling in jumping as well as dressage.
10 – Andalusian
This Spanish breed originated in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and was first recognized as a breed in the 15th century. It was known for its prowess as a warhorse and prized by nobility. With long, thick manes and tails, the Andalusian is strong, compact and elegant. While in the past many different coat colors were found, most present-day Andalusians are grey or bay. Today they are used for dressage, driving, saddle seat and even jumping.
You can always catch stories and blogs like these on our blog page. And when you are done checking out this informational top ten list, you can go to the products page on RHMEquine.com for a wonderful arrangement of equine blankets, English saddles, Western saddles, English saddle pads, Western saddle pads, as well as feeding and watering supplies, and buy the winning jockeys some gifts. If you are shopping on this website, you are already halfway there.