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.

AMERICAN PAINT HORSE

The American Paint Horse is easily identified by the liberal amounts of white markings all over the body–hence the name “Paint Horse.”

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AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE

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.

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APPALOOSA

The Appaloosa is one of the most recognizable horse breeds, thanks to its distinctive spotted coat. Similar to American Quarter Horses and Paint Horses, Appaloosas are typically considered a “stock” breed hailing from the western part of the U.S.

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ARABIAN

The Arabian is the most ancient of the horse breeds. A large number of today’s horse breeds trace their roots to the Arabian, which contributed hardiness, distinct beauty and athletic ability as those breeds were developed.

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MORGAN

The Morgan horse was the first breed developed in the U.S.  Today’s Morgans are known for their beauty and versatility and can be found participating in any number of equine sports.

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STANDARDBRED

Standardbred horses were developed in the U.S. in the 1800s, primarily for use in harness racing. Standardbreds were so named because a “standard” was established that required breeding horses to be able to trot a mile in less than two minutes and 30 seconds.

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THOROUGHBRED

The Thoroughbred is most widely known as a racehorse. The popularity of the Kentucky Derby means many people are familiar with these sleek, speedy horses with jockeys crouched in their saddles racing to the cheers of the crowd.

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AMERICAN SHETLAND PONY

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.

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PONY OF THE AMERICAS (POA)

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.

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WELSH PONY AND COB

Welsh ponies and cobs originally developed thousands of years ago in the hills and valleys of Wales. The rugged terrain, harsh weather conditions and limited food supply resulted in a strong, adaptable animal suited for a great number of roles.

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