Horse Breeds - From their formation to current day, plus standards, strengths & weakness of each.
HORSE BREEDS listed alphabetically below:
Breeds of Horses are listed lower on this page. Click on each horse breed-name to read about origins, history, the strengths of each and the weaknesses that have been found by horsemen, plus the modern day use of each.
Two other breed pages are as follows:
Horse breeds have a history as long or longer than the history of man on this planet. There are ancient, extinct, rare and endangered, current day, popular, as well as new and developing breeds. Some of course are called a breed yet scientifically are not.
You will find photos at the top of each individual page, and often more photos lower on each page. More images are added as they are donated and submitted. We are constantly adding and updating.... Enjoy!
INDIVIDUAL HORSE BREEDS:
The ancestors of the ancient and elegant Akhal Teke were also fundamental in the creation of the Thoroughbred and many other light breeds across the world. The current Akhal Teke emerged around the 8th century!
The Alter Real became famous in high level dressage as early at 1760 in the Royal Riding School of Portugal. The Alter Real is a branch of the Lusitano, with the added influence of Spanish mares.
American Bashkir Curly
The American Bashkir Curly is native to America, derrived from older Bashkir type horses found in the American Northwest. There is a lot aboui the American Curly that is not true of any other Curly type.
American Paint Horse
The American Paint is not simply a color breed, as they also carry the conformation and bloodlines of the Quarter Horse, offering the same abilities but with lots of color added.
The American Saddlebred, reated in the United States after 250 years of selective breeding, is today’s 5 gaited, ultimate show ring star and also a champion in many other disciplines.
Known today as PRE (pure Spanish), the Andalusian traces to the Iberian wild steeds from prehistoric times and has provided foundation bloodlines for many breeds, including almost all in America.
The Anglo-Arab is a combination of Arabian and Thoroughbred and has been a preferred all around favorite for over 150 years in Britain, France especially, and Europe in general.
Every Appaloosa is totally unique in color! The Appy is known world wide and was created by the Nez Perce Indians, who are now in the process of creating yet another breed!
The Arabian with his characteristic high forehead and delicate dry profile, proudly carried tail, intelligence and gentleness is of ancient heritage and has provided foundation blood to many, many other breeds.
The Argentine Criollo is renown for endurance over great distances and varying terrain, is easy to handle, agile and quite speedy too for competition sports.
Australian Stock Horse
The Australian Stock Horse , once called the Waler, is the working horse of its country. Once world famous as cavalry mounts, cow work and carriage transport, a perservation societiy was formed in 1971.
Azteca is the first breed developed in Mexico, and is both lively and docile, famous for their paces and action, and as suitable for ranch work as they are for dressage.
The Barb originated in northwestern Africa, and is similar to the Iberian in build, with a convex profile and a good degree of collection in way of going. A Barb stallion was one of the foundation sires of the Thoroughbred.
The Bashkir, from the Russian steppes, is noted for endurance and a great tolerance for work in all weather. Bred pure, they are also used to improve other Russian breeds. Koumiss, a health product is made from a Bashkir mare’s milk.
The Boer or Boerperd was developed in South Africa, but was also influenced by American Quarter blood, along with Saddlebred and Standardbred. A stud book was finally formed in 1942.
The Brumby is the wild horse of Australia, with those who wish to preserve them and those who do not. There is no doubt Brumbies would be excellent in endurance competitions! Their plight is similar to that of America’s Mustangs.
Bucksin is a color, not a breed, although there is a Buckskin registry. The color is admired by many and sought after. Knowing the genetics of color is the key!
Budenny, also spelled Bodenny, Budyonny, Budennii, or Budennoysky, is a Russian and was begun in 1920 and complete by 1948. They are used for riding, racing, international sports, and to improve other breeds in their home country.
The Canadian Horse helped develop its home country, and then went further to achieve popularity in other countries. They are always registered with a three part name. They excel internationally in driving and dressage.
The Caspian resembles the primeval equine and is most probably an ancestor of the Arabian showing all the Arab features except it is smaller in size.
The Chilean is the oldest South American registiry, dating to 1893, but today is used more and more to compete in Rodeo sports. This “Caballo Chileno”, shares a strong genetic and cultural background with the Criollo registries of other South American countries.
The British Cleveland Bay was unsupassed in coaching until the reign of George II. The stud book closed in 1936 and they survive thanks to Queen Elizabeth II. They proved top notch in international driving competion and we hope they may thrive.
The Criollo, reknown for hardiness and endurance, remains the choice of the South American cowboys who need such a mount, with reining abilities and cow-sense.
The Danish Warmblood has risin to the top in international sporthorse competition, and are now viewed as Denmark’s national breed.
The Don of Russian is most often a chestnut color with a golden sheen probably inhertited from the Karabakh, also of Russia. The Don of today is often raced in long distance events, as well as used in other compeitions.
The Drum Horse is being recognized as a breed in American, and is also used as a heavy riding horse. Competitions include traditional kettle drums and regimental skills.
The Dutch Warmblood is native to the Netherlands, but includes Thoroughbred blood. This sporthorse is valued by riders everywhere and performs in all disciplines internationally.
The Finnhorse, sometimes called the Finnish Universal, of Finland has existed for 100 years as a lovely all around riding animal, and even a trotter, but its studbook dates form only 1907.
The Florida Cracker derives from Spamish Iberian ancestory after the Spanish ‘discovered’ Florida. An official associationa and registry was finally formed in 1989. The name comes from Florida ranchers use of cow whips, or crackers.
The French Trotter has no equal, and interestingly a good percent of races are under saddle. Apart from harness racking the French Trotter was important int the development of the Selle Francais and is a noted sire of jumpers too.
The Friesian, have been saved twice from extinction, belongs to history as well as the future, displaying romance, beauty and elegant usefulness.
The versatility of the Gypsy Cob is formidable, suitable for competition or the whole family. Another obvious characteristics is hair --long, silky, feathered and beautiful.
The Hackney comes from crossing an early Thoroughbred stallion with the British Norfolk Trotters. No other can claim the success the Hackney owns in harness. Further when out-crossed the Hackney is dominant.
The Hafligner originally comes from the mountain regions of the Sarn Valley in Italy and Austria, although they are in many counties today. The color is alway sorrel with a flaxen mane and tail.
The Hanoverian , thanks to King George II when he resided in Germany prior to becomming England’s king, is an elegant and highly successful warmblood that has given the world many famous show jumpers and dressage champions internationally. Development dates from the 1700’s.
The Holsteiner stud book in Germany, is one of the smallest in Europe, but has produced an extremely high percent of international and Olympic champions.
The Hucul or Carpathian developed along a mountain range covering quite a distance, with varied country borders, but dates from the 13th Century. Having basically developed in the wild, they are sure footed and can trot at speed anywhere, includeing mountain trails.
Some historians claimed that the domestication of the equine first took place in the Ukraine. However, there is the evidence of cave paintings in Iberia, showing the Iberian steed existed as early as 25,000 B.C.
The Icelandic has never been allowed out-crossing, so remains very pure and has been used for all kinds of work and in sport. The small Icelandic can carry grown men at speed over long distances and difficult terrain.
The Irish Cob was created by the Travellers (gypsies) and have long been prized by their intelligent, willing temperament, their athletic ability and their capabilities of endurance are the stuff of legend.
The Irish Draught was developed after imported draft animals were not what the Irish farmer wanted, because hunting was equal to farmning. These days the animal is known as the Irish Sport Horse and is famous internationally.
The ancient Kathiawari dating from the 1500’s, with inward pointed ear tips and elegance in total form, is an ongoing favorite yet today in India.
The Kiger Mustang herd is the most uniform wild herd in the West, having been isolated from other influences. They are a natural in working cattle and are succesful in many competitive events today.
The Kinsky, along with fame as a steeplechaser and hunter, is also famous for color, and is a cultural Czech gem.
The Kaldruber stud was founded a year before the one in Lipiza, for the Lipizzan! The Kladrub was a favorite of royalty and in demand throughout Europe, and are in demand again for the same reasons owning the status of “World Cultural Monument”.
The Knabstrupper dates from the late 1700’s, and always carried color patterns like the Appaloosa. Known today as a Baroque and used for dressage, the blanket or leopard markings remain typical.
The Lipizzan dates from 1580 (over 400 years ago), and is of course as famous all across the world as is the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The Lipizzan is successful too in all levels of competition dressage and driving.
The Lusitano or Puro Sangue Lusitano (PSL)which means pure blooded was prized for bull fighting ability, which is wonderfully identical with the ability for high school dressage. The Lusitano has a long history and is assuredly Iberian.
The Mangalarga Marchador originated in Brazil, neither trots nor paces, but travels with a naturally smooth marching gait. The Mangalarga Marachador is good with cattle or pleasure and is a safe mount for children.
The Maremma from Italy, is famous for working cattle in its native habitat, can also be a talented jumper, and is used in sports and recreational riding. Still bred in semi-wild herds, a stud book was founded in 1980.
The Marwari has rare status today, although the history extends to Medieval times. This is a gaited animal, with many unique features and is now supported by the government of India.
The Minaiture Horse, while not new in the world, is today official with many registries, and has become popular throughout the word.
Missouri Fox Trotter
The Missouri Fox Trotter, developed in the Ozark Mountains of America, is centuries old, possesses a very unique gait, is very sure-footed and provides a very comfortable ride.
The Morgan was the first great American breed, based on one famous foundation sire named Figure, but later called Justin Morgan. Morgans are used in many disciplines and favored across the world.
The Murgese , Murgesi or Murge, traces to Spanish rule in Italy, and was re-established in the 1920’s. Once a cavalry mount, they have a decided aptitude for classical dressage, sharing some bloodlines with the Lippizan.
Mustangs were once seen in many, many colors. And those who know, who were there, and who saw much to admire, say the look of eagles in a tame horse’s eye is but a poor reflection of the steady radiance which was the essence of the wild ones.
National Show Horse
The National Show Horse is an exciting new cross, a combo of Arabian and American Saddlebred. In the UK a registry was set up in 1986 then handed over to the United Saddlebred Association in 1997, who still run it today.
The Norwegian Fjord came in the boats along with the Vikings, is found in variant types throughout Scandinavia but is bred principally in Norway. The Fjord is an excellent worker and outstanding in harness.
The modern Oldenburg is lighter than its ancestors and moves with greater freedom, rhythmical and very correct gaits, and is known as a very successful international dressage, jumping and driving champion.
Palomino color results when the animal that would normally be born a sorrel or a chestnut inherits the cream gene as well. That gene then dilutes the basic body color to a golden tone.
During the nearly 500 years that Paso Fino hase been selectively perfected in the Western Hemisphere, they have been called upon to perform a diverse role, first in the conquest of, and then in the exploration and development of the Americas.
The Peruvian Paso, small in size and with hundreds of years of selection is a most distinctive animal of great endurance and is also a show ring star in many countries.
The Pinto is a color breed, with patterns that descend from 1600 America and the influx of Spanish exploration. The Pinto is found world wide, but has breed status in American.
Assessing today’s semi-wild Polish Konik, one must take into account that there has been some outside blood, but also, that they trace back to only one local variant, which may or may not have differed from Tarpans of other regions.
The Polo Pony is not a breed, but is definately a type. While Thoroughbred in appearance, they have a typical, wiry quality of their own, ively, intelligent and full of character.
Pryor Mountain Mustang
The Pryor Mountain Mustangs originated from the ealry settlers although there were also other minor influences. These mustangs as a group really vary in phenotype.
The Przewalski is not the ancestor of our domestic breeds. Also the Przewalski of today is a re-introduced variety and not the orginal, pure blooded animal.
The Quarter Horse was developed from an American Indian gene pool, especially that of the Chickawaw, which were of Spanish origin, plus imported stallions from England. It is said no other holds a candle to this breed when it comes to cow work.
The Roadster arose from the time when the best high stepping trotters took their owners to work and church in high style and great speed!
Roadster classes are popular as a show class today.
Roadster classes are popular as a show class today.
The Rocky Mountain Horse, originating in eastern Kentucky, is chocolate in color, with an ambling, easy riding gait that has become very popular. The stud book dates from 1986.
The Selle Francais, le cheval de Selle Francais, or the saddle horse of France was primarily developed as a show jumper, but also for racing.
The Senner, of the Senne area of Germany, was first mentioned in 1160 and eventually had some influence on most warmbloods of the country. Declared extinct in 1935, but there are ongoing attempts at reconstruction.
The Shagya Arabian, developed in Hungary, retains all that is Arabian, yet is greater in substance and size, with improved movement and conformation.
The Sorraia is not only a variant of the Tarpan, but also a primitive ancestor of the Andalusian and Lusitano breeds. Their genes have even been found in a few American mustangs.
The Spanish Barb never existed! There was very little influence of Barbs in Spain or Portugal, and practically none of the Arabian. So, the term Spanish Barb is fictitious and lacks a historical basis.
The Spanish Horse was a known fact to the invading Greeks as far back as 3000 B. C. when they quickly learned to fear the Iberian cavalry, and they continued to be prized over the millennia and influenced a vast number of breeds.
The Spanish Mustang, which became the ancestor of the wild horses of both, North, Central, and South America, were those that came with the Spaniards and Portuguese when they came to claim the land.
Under the title Sport Horse, are the disciplines of Show Jumping, Dressage, Eventing or Three Day Event, Combined Driving, and Fox Hunting.
The Standardbred, the American harness racer, expanded from a Thoroughbred (Messenger)who was the great grandsire of a horse named Hambletonian. All modern day Standardbreds trace back to four sons of Hambletonian.
Sulphur Springs Mustang
The Sulphur Springs Mustang, a small population (around 300) survived in Utah and represents one of the two most interesting and important feral herds in the United States.
The Swedish Warmblood is an elegant horse well-known in Olympic and other international competitions and is exceptionally good in the dressage ring because of the extreme forward reach in the trot and suppleness in the shoulder.
The Tarpan was a true wild animal in the zoological sense, with his unique phenotype that was different from the domestic equine. All crosses with the Tarpan looked like the Tarpan!
Tennessee Walking Horse
The Tennessee Walker was developed in the central basin of Tennessee for hardy utility, but became famous in competition with his incredible gait, the running walk.
The Thoroughbred and his legacy in racing is quite well-known and famous, but his influence on so many other breeds is also global. The Thoroughbred himself excels in a vast number of disciplines.
The Trakehner, in type, was always an Anglo-Arab. This practice has maintained the elegance and refinement in a sporthorse that so often gives them the edge in competitions.
The definition of Warmblood today, simply means a modern sporthorse, but always with some Thoroughbred blood. However it’s fairly impossbile for even experts to recognize a Warmblood’s origin, be it Hanoverian, Oldenburger, Holsteiner, etc.
The Welsh Cob came from the base stock of Welsh Mountain pony and is referred to as Section D in the stud book. This cob is stupendous in harness and also makes a good hunter.
The Westphalian Warmblood is one of many developed in Germany and has produced world-class individuals since the 1930’s with international and Olympic champions. This warmblood is of good size, from 16, 17 hands and taller!
Out of 3 subspecies of Wild Horses existing; only 2 have a continuous history of living wild; and only 2 are ancestors of our domestic breeds.