Horse breeds are groups of horses with distinct characteristics that are consistently passed down to the offsprings. These characteristic include but are not limited to conformation, color, disposition and performance ability. Certain breeds are also well-known for having certain talents.
They are usually divided into 4 categories
- Light horse breeds
- Heavy horse breeds
- Feral horses
Horse breeds can be such a vast topic as there are hundreds maybe thousands of different horse breeds in the world. In this article I will talk about the light horse breeds, focusing on their origin and their use.
The light horse breed usually stand 14.2 hands or higher with a weight of 900 to 1500 pounds. They are used for recreation, performance and many other activities as well.
American Paint horse – the origins of the Paint Horse in North America can be traced back to the two-toned horses introduced by the Spanish explorers, descendants of horses from North Africa and Asia Minor. Over the years, breeders have improved the breed, focusing on conformation and athletic ability.Today, the American paint horse is used for pleasure riding, showing, ranching, racing, rodeo, trail riding, or just as a gentle friend for the kids.
American Quarter Horse – it is believed that the Quarter Horse was developed in the southwestern part of the United states, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, eastern Colorado, and Kansas. The American Quarter Horse is well-known for its performance in rodeos, horse shows and as a working ranch horse. His well compact body is well-suited for the speedy maneuvers required in reining, cutting,working cow horse, barrel racing, calf roping, and other western riding events, especially those involving live cattle. The American Quarter Horse is also shown in English disciplines, driving, and many other activities.
American Saddlebred – the saddlebred gaited talents were passed down by the Galloway horse who were brought in America in the 1600s, they were then crossed with Thoroughbred in the early 1700s. In 1788, the Saddlebred horse was developed. And in 1817 was the first recorded horse show for this type of horse, taking place in Lexington, Kentucky. Today, the American saddlebred is used for show jumping, dressage, endurance, carriage driving and even as family riding horses.
Appaloosa – The Appaloosa as a breed originated in the American west. It is dependent from horses bred by Indians who lived in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Today the Appaloosa is used for a lot of English and Western events, show jumping, foxhunting, as well as pleasure. They are also genetically designed to go fast and also bred for racing.
Arabian – The Arabian horse originated from the Arabian peninsula, mostly in the ancient desert sand. Arabian horses have been used throughout history to improve other breeds, by adding speed, refinement, endurance and strong bones. Today the Arabian horse is one of the most versatile horse on earth. They excel in a variety of competition discipline, endurance and racing.
Buckskin – The buckskin, sometimes classified as a “color breed” can occur in any number of breeds. I added it on our list because since 1963, the ABRA has been keeping track of the horses with this coat color. It is believed that the buckskin originated from the Spanish sorraia, a Spanish feral breed. They are considered to be working horses. Regardless of the breed, they are viewed as above-average in strength which makes them suitable for ranch work, farm work and even some trail work with the right temperament.
Morgan – Morgan horses originated in West Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1789. It is said that a colt by the name of Figure was given to a schoolmaster as a partial payment on a debt. This name was Justin Morgan. The Morgan horse is used in many Western and English events, such as dressage, show jumping, pleasure, cutting and endurance. They may also be used for driving.
Palomino – According to some records, the palomino was first introduced in 1519. When the Mexican war ended in 1848, the United States acquired what is now called California, in which may golden-colored horses we found. Originally they were not recognized as a breed or a type but simply as a color. Today, the golden color, along with meeting a few other criteria are recognized as a breed in either of two registry associations. Today they are used as pleasure horses, parade horses, stock horses, saddle horses, fine harness and walking horses.
*Fun Fact – In Spain, Palomino horses were being used exclusively as mounts for the Royal Family, the nobility and high military officials. They were known as “The horse of the Queen” and commoners were prohibited from using them.
Peruvian Paso – Originated in South America, then brought to Peru and bred selectively to produce the genetic miracle that became the “National horse of Peru”. In the 1960, the Peruvian Paso was re-introduced to the United States and Central America. Today, all over the world he is used for pleasure riding, trails, horse shows and endurance riding. They are known internationally for their good temperament and comfortable ride.
Rocky Mountain horse – Did not originate in the Rocky Mountains as the name suggest but in the Appalachian Mountains. A stallion was brought from western United States to eastern Kentucky in 1890, where the breed was developed. The Rocky Mountain horse was originally developed to be a multi-purpose riding, driving and light draft horse. Today, he is mainly used for working cattle and trails.
Standardbred – An American breed, the standardbred is a descendant from a thoroughbred foaled in England, then imported to the US in 1788. From there, the breed was developed and the Standardbred registry was formed in 1879. Standardbred are known for harness racing, being the fasted trotting horse in the world. They are also used for hunt seat, show jumping, show hunter and eventing. The breed is also seen in dressage and pleasure riding because of their excellent temperament.
Tennessee Walking horse – Developed in the late 18th century when Canadian Pacers and Narragansett Pacers from the Eastern US were cross-bred with the Spanish Mustang in Texas. In 1886, a foal named Black Allan was born and is said to be the foundation sire of the breed. The Tennessee Walking Horse is mostly used in horse show events, particularly English riding but is also a very popular trail riding horse
Thoroughbred – Developed in the 17th and 18th century England, when mares were bred to imported stallions of Arabian, Barb and Turkoman breeding. In the 18th and 19th century, the breed spread throughout the world. They are mainly used for racing but also excel in show jumping, dressage, polo and foxhunting.
Light is the way to go
As you can see, the light horse breed is a very versatile breed, with its origins coming for all over the world. In today’s horse world, we have the tools and the resources to help our horses adapt to almost anything we would like them to do. Let me know in the comments what light horse breed is your favorite and why. I’m excited to hear from you!!!