HORSE BREEDS: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AND EVERY ACTIVITY
It’s only natural that specific breeds of horses are better suited to specific “disciplines,” the term used by horse people for the various equestrian sports. For example, American Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Appaloosas are often referred to as “stock” breeds because they’re most commonly known for herding livestock and similar ranch chores.
Arabian and Morgan horses are recognized for their beauty, strength and spirit. Thoroughbreds are racehorses you’ll see at events such as the Kentucky Derby. Outside of horseback riding, Standardbreds are “harness horses” that race at a trot or pace, pulling a racing cart with a driver.
Of course, it’s also possible to find horses of any breed, as well as horses that are a result of crosses between breeds, that excel at a particular discipline. Thoroughbreds, for example, also excel at jumping. Arabians are prized for their stamina, making them popular for Competitive Trail and Endurance Riding.
Following are some of the most popular horse breeds in the U.S. today. For contact information regarding horse breeds and disciplines, check out the American Horse Council’s Horse Industry Directory at www.horsecouncil.org/flipbook-2021.
The origins of the American Quarter Horse can be traced to colonial America. The name “Quarter Horse” reflects its ability to outrun other horse breeds in races of a quarter of a mile or less, making it popular with colonists for whom casual horse racing was a common pastime.
Shetland ponies are among the smallest of horse breeds (not including miniature horses). Their diminutive size belies their physical and mental hardiness, however. First developed in the Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland, these ponies adapted to the harsh climate and limited food supply.
The origins of the Pony Of The Americas – commonly referred to as POAs – is more recent than many other breeds so more is known about their foundation. In 1954, a Shetland Pony breeder in Iowa named Les Boomhower purchased an Arabian/Appaloosa cross mare that had been bred to a Shetland Pony.