different types of horses

Types of Horses: Domestic to Wild and All You Need to Know About Them

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Horse, what comes to your mind when you think of a horse? For me, it’s a symbol of strength and grace. From being a creature who can sleep standing up to one with lightning-fast reflexes, there are various reasons a horse can get you interested in wanting to know all about them and that’s what we are here for. Let’s see types of horses. Horses fall under kingdom Animalia and class Mammalia. They are herbivores in nature meaning they survive on a completely vegetarian diet. They are related to donkeys, zebras and asses to some extent. 

Horses are a part of the scientific family Equidae and genus Equus and are known by the scientific name Equus ferus caballus. There are a few hundreds when it comes to different breeds of horses, which can be difficult to remember and understand their purposes and characteristics. To make this simpler they are classified into 5 different types of horses based on physical traits and specialties. 

Different types of horses are explained with the help of a horse breed chart below:

Warmblood horsesWarmblood horses are a type of horse that are commonly bred for sporting events as they have a tall and athletic build. They fall under the middleweight category.
Light horsesLight horses are fast and agile and are used as racehorses. They are commonly found in North Africa and the Middle East.
Draft horsesDraft horses are the type of horses with heavy and muscular build with relaxed temperament. They are used as the working breed.
Small horsesSmall horses are horses weighing between 600-800 pounds.
Pony horsesIf a horse stands lower than 56 inches, it can be known as a pony. Pony horses have thicker manes and tails.

Let’s dive into more detail about the different kinds of horses that are mentioned above.

1. Warmblooded Horses: 

different types of horses: Warmblooded Horse

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Warmblooded horses are a type of horse that is tall, athletic, and strong in nature. They are known as middleweight horses and also called warm-blooded as they are a perfect mix of hot and cold-blooded horses. They are a result of cross-breeding of large cold-blooded draft breeds with smaller and quicker hot-blooded breeds.

They have high energy coupled with a sensible attitude. They are perfect for equestrian sports like dressage and jumping harness. They weigh between 1300 to 1700 pounds. Examples of warmblooded horses are Swedish, Hanoverian, Dutch, Forest horse, Rhinelander, etc.

2. Light Horses:

different types of horses: Light Horse

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Light horses are bred for speed, endurance, and agility which are essential for riding for longer periods. They are diverse and come in various heights, weights, and colors. Some may have a different build as compared to others. They are bred for riding purposes and that includes various types of riding.

Light horses are fleet-footed, have high energy required during rides, and get easily excited.  Examples of light horses include Arab, Pinto, Hanoverian, Paso fino, Friesian, and more.

3. Draft Horses: 

different types of horses: Draft Horses

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Draft horses are heavy, tall, and strong kinds of horses with an average weight of 1600 pounds. They stand approximately 64 inches tall and are bred to carry heavy loads, pull carts, and perform heavy work as they can carry twice their weight. 

They have been used in the past to carry soldiers and their heavy equipment. Draft horses are also used for a lot of farm work and are labeled as cold-blooded due to their calm temperament coupled with an astonishing amount of strength. They have a good temperament and are level-headed. 

Examples of draft horses include Shire, Breton, Irish draft, Noriker, Boulonnais, and many more. 

4. Small Horses:

different types of horses: Small Horse

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Small horses are a kind of horse that is similar in ways to the light horses as they were also bred for riding. The only difference is that small horses are meant for smoother rides and are also known as gaited horses.

They have various gaits, namely running, walking, foxtrot, gallop, etc. They are also known to be gentlemen’s hoses as they were historically bred for and used by officers, generals, and other men of higher class and wealth. Examples of the small horses include Fjord, Campolina, Campiero, Icelandic and more.

5. Pony Horses:

different types of horses: Pony Horses

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Pony horses are the smallest variety of horses. They are smaller than the rest and usually measure less than 5 feet due to the presence of short legs as compared to other horse types. There are hundreds of breeds when it comes to pony horses.

They were bred to pack, harness, pull, jump and ride. Ponies are popular for sports and recreation, especially for children due to their small height and size. Examples include Connemara, Shetland, Gypsy, Hacknet, and American Miniature.

There are two other types of horses that are not classified in the above table as they are not commonly used for domestic purposes like sporting, riding, or working, since they are Feral or Wild in nature.

A Feral horse is a free-roaming horse that lives in an untamed state and has ancestors that may have been domesticated. Mustangs are a type of feral horse.

Wild horses are undomesticated breeds of horses that graze on grass and leaves and are often found living in herds. Przewalski’s horse is a type of wild horse.

Let’s Get to Know Some of the Most Popular Horse Breeds in the World

American Quarter Horse

different types of horses: American Quarter Horse

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The American quarter horse stands tall at 55 to 64 inches and weighs approximately 900 to 1200 pounds. They are the favorites of equestrians all over the globe. Famous for their docility, agility, strength, and athletic ability they perform extremely well in the track as well as the show ring.

The American quarter horse has a finely chiseled head, wide forehead, and flat profile. They are medium-boned horses. They were originally bred from English Thoroughbreds and Native American Chickasaw horses in the 1600s, making them one of the oldest and most popular horse breeds in the world with the largest breed registry.

They are beautiful, versatile, and perfect for a beginner as well as professional level riders. They are used for fun or recreational riding as well as in competitions. American quarter horses are friendlier than most hotblooded breeds of horses. They come in many solid colors with brownish-red sorrel being the most common version.

Morgan

different types of horses: Morgan

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Morgans are a definition of beauty and grace. They are excellent horses for riding purposes which makes them an amazing saddle buddy for one. They have a rich history and an exceptional heritage, they have been used for more than 200 years for recreational and commercial purposes.

They are one of the most versatile horse breeds on the planet as they are used for trail, recreational or pleasure riding, competitive riding, or as show horses. Their strength is coupled with elegance and they are sure-footed over rough trails. 

Morgan is the official breed of Vermont and was used for clearing and tilling the farms in New England during colonial times. The morgan has expressive eyes, a crested neck, and small ears. They stand 56 to 60 inches tall, weighing between 900 to 1200 pounds.

Gypsy Horse

different types of horses: Gypsy Horse

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There are very few of them left and each of them is greatly treasured. They are powerful, fast, and beautiful, making them a perfect horse breed with everything you can ask for. They are also known as Galineers cob, Irish cob, and Gypsy vanner. They usually have piebald coloring with feathering long hair on legs, which is their decorative feature.

The Gypsy was bred by travelers of Great Britain to pull their vardoes. They are extremely friendly in nature and love to bond with their rider. They enjoy human touch and caressing. They are mighty yet gentle in nature and probably among one of the most magical breeds.

The Gypsies stand 52 to 64 inches tall, weighing around 1100 to 1700 pounds. They have a laid-back temperament and are a good one for riding. They have a lifespan of approximately 24 years.

Arabian Horse

different types of horses: Arabian Horse

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The oldest horse breed to be registered in the world is the Arabian. Its lineage goes way back to 3000 B.C. The ancestry of light horse breeds like the Morgans, Appaloosas, and Andalusians can be traced back to the Arab horse. 

They are spirited horse breeds which makes them tough to be handled by inexperienced people or beginners. They are of loyal and loving nature. The Arab horses are elegant, graceful, and extremely intelligent. They have a compact body and a long, arched neck, wedge-shaped head, powerful hindquarters, and a short back with sloping shoulders.

Arabs are known to be the champion of all steeds and survive the harsh conditions of a desert. The white Arab horses that are born dark, grow lighter as they age. When the dark horse turns white, it is ready to be tested for its skills as this is when they become mature and full of strength and wisdom.

They are loyal and loving towards their rider and know them as their person, which makes them much more affectionate in nature than most horses. They stand tall at 56 to 65 inches in height and weigh between 800 to 1000 pounds.

Thoroughbred Horses

different types of horses: Thoroughbred Horse

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The thoroughbred has been designed and perfected for over 250 years. They are elegant and have high speed and endurance. They are one of the most fascinating and popular horse breeds in the world. Thoroughbred are commonly used as racehorses in North America and are considered hot-blooded in nature. 

They are multipurpose and can be used in various equestrian competitions other than racing. They are good at dressage and jumping or can simply live as a companion animal with occasional recreational riding. 

They are bold and high-spirited animals. They aren’t just anyone’s cup of tea and need a good equestrian to handle them. They usually have a solid coat that is brown, black, gray, and chestnut-colored with white markings on the face and legs.  They have long, flat muscles on a deep-chested and lean body.

Thoroughbreds stand tall at 60 to 68 inches and weigh between 1000 to 1300 pounds.

Andalusian Horse

different types of horses: Andalusian Horse

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A horse breed that is one of the most loyal and intelligent. They are so generous that they try to be the best they can be and more for the love of their owner. They were first recognized in the 15th century. They were used as war horses and were prized possessions of the nobility and the royals.

They have thick and long manes and flowing tails with a strong and graceful body. They are a light horse breed that is from the hilly regions of the Spanish peninsular region. They were developed as cavalry horses due to their agile and courageous traits. In current times, the Andalusians make for a fantastic horse for riding and are also used in bullfighting and dressage.

They are found in shades of grey but can also be black, palomino, dun, and chestnut in color. Andalusians stand tall at the height of 65 inches and weigh around 1200 pounds with males being heavier than females.

Friesian Horse

different types of horses: Friesian Horse

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This amazing breed owes its existence to the Friesian breeding centers of the Netherlands as in 1913 there were just 3 registered stallions of this breed in the pedigree register. They are gentle-natured and popularly known to be the Harley Davidson of horses. They have fantastically beautiful bodies and are equally graceful.

In the 20th century, the Friesian horse became very popular for sport and leisure activities and was used for horse riding but later their use was expanded to shows and competitions and is currently one of the most fascinating breeds.

Seven percent of the total horses in the Netherlands are the Friesians and are used both, in harness and under the saddle. Sjees are traditional carts that are high-wheeled, designed for Friesian horses during some events.

The Friesian is mostly known for its deep black color although some breeds do carry the gene for red color. They stand about 63 to 65 inches tall, weighing approximately 1200 to 1400 pounds.

Also Read: What Do Horses Eat? Complete List of Nutritional Horse Food

Appaloosa Horse

different types of horses: Appaloosa Horse

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Appaloosa is one of the horse breeds that is spotted and has been stealing hearts for centuries. They have a striking appearance and are known for being friendly, gentle, and loyal in nature. They have an eagerness to please their owner which makes them easy to train and great for equestrians with different experience levels.

They have a life expectancy of 30 years and have a compact, muscular build with colorful coat patterns, striped hooves, white sclera, and sparse hair on the tail and mane. The Appaloosas’ name comes from the Palouse river area where they first lived.

The Nez Perce people who lived in the Palouse river area used Appaloosas for hunting, transport, and battles. The modern varieties are still very versatile. Some of the famous coat patterns found in the Appaloosas are Blanket, Leopard, Snowflake, and Marble.

They stand tall at 56 to 60 inches in height and weigh from 900 to 1200 pounds.

Some Interesting Facts About Horses

  • Domestic horses live for about 25 years of age.
  • A horse’s height is commonly measured in hands with one hand making about 4 inches.
  • Horses have been domesticated by humans for 5000 years.
  • Horses can sleep while standing.
  • They can breathe through their mouths.
  • Horses are highly intelligent animals.
  • They have a 360 degrees field of vision.
  • They are extremely social.

Every horse is different with a specialty in one or the other area, the information we provide is to help you know more about these beautiful creatures and help decide which one’s the best suited for you if you’re looking to own one.

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