What is a Horse Breed?

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

A breed is defined as a group of horses with a common origin and possessing certain distinguishable characteristics that are transmitted to the offspring, such that the offspring possess the parents’ characteristics. These characteristics make a breed different from other breeds. This is called breed character, or the quality of conforming to the description of a particular breed. (Illustrated Dictionary of Equine Terms, by New Horizons Equine Education Center, 1998. Published by Alpine …

Light Horse Breed Types

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Some of the most predominant types of horses today are those that we commonly refer to as light horse breeds. Throughout history, humans have adopted light horse breeds for their swift, efficient travel and, in more recent years, their ability to provide leisure on the trail, speed on the racetrack, style in the show ring, and agility on the ranch.

Major light horse breeds will be covered below and classified as stock type,

Diversity Among Breeds of Horses

 

Youth leading a horse

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Some people may think a horse is a horse is a horse. In fact, horses are quite unique in their size, color, conformation, and manner of movement. These characteristics set each breed apart and determine its general purpose.

Within the horse industry, there are over 300 different breeds of horses. While some breeds look similar and are used in similar activities, there is great diversity. This diversity ensures that there is a …

Light Horse Breed Appaloosa

 

Appaloosa Stallion

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Appaloosas were Spanish horses that were managed by the Nez Perce Indians. The term Appaloosa was first used to describe these spotted horses of the Palouse region around the late 1800s. The Palouse, or Palouse Country, is the area of Washington and Idaho drained by the Palouse River. Early white settlers referred to the spotted horse of the area as a Palouse horse. Over time the ‘a’ and Palouse were …

Light Horse Breed Arabian

 

Arabian Horse trotting

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Arabian, (saddle type) originated in the wild desert of the Middle East in 5000 B.C. from the foundation stock of the Kohl breed and from five Al-Khamesh mares. It is the oldest and most influential breed.

The Arabian is known for its

  • Endurance
  • Speed
  • Overall toughness

Arabians are small in stature, with a concave face and large dark eyes. Their characteristic arching neck comes high out of their withers and ties …

Light Horse Breed Morgan

 

Morgan Horse

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Morgan (saddle type) horse breed traces back to Justin Morgan, foundation sire that was foaled in 1789 in Vermont. Although his breeding was unknown, many thought it to be of Dutch, Thoroughbred, or Arabian descent.

Today, every registered Morgan traces back to Justin Morgan through his best-known sons–Bulrush, Sherman, and Woodbury. The first Morgan horse registry was established in 1894.

Present-day Morgans differ little from their mighty progenitor. The average …

Light Horse Breed Palomino

 

Palomino Horse

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Palomino(color breed/stock/type/hunter type/saddle type) breed is considered the golden horse. The ideal color of a Palomino is that of an untarnished United States gold coin. The mane and tail must be at least 85 percent white, and the skin must be primarily dark in color.

Many Palominos are double-registered with the Palomino Horse Breeders of America (PHBA, established in 1941) and the appropriate breed association. Currently, PHBA accepts registry from …

Light Horse Breed American Paint Horse

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Paint Horse (color breed/stock type/hunter type) was introduced into the United States by Spanish explorers. It is primarily comprised of stock type horses such as Quarter Horses. Some have Thoroughbred influence.

American Paint Horse

The two characteristic coat patterns of the Paint Horse are tobiano and overo.

  • The overo pattern has no white crossing over the back; has one or more dark legs; is often bald-, apron-, or bonnet-faced; has body markings that are irregularly

Light Horse Breed American Quarter Horse

 

American Quarter Horse Cutting

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Unlike the imported Arabian and Thoroughbred, the American Quarter Horse (stock type) is the oldest surviving American horse breed. This horse was developed by the colonists and was often raced down the main streets of early American towns. The Quarter Horse quickly earned the reputation of being the fastest at one-fourth mile, thus leading to its name. The American Quarter Horse was instrumental in settling the West and possessed excellent cow sense …

Light Horse Breed Rocky Mountain Horse

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Today, the Rocky Mountain Horse (saddle type) is being used as a pleasure horse, for trail or show, and for competitive or endurance riding. This medium-sized horse originated in Eastern Kentucky and has an easy ambling, four-beat gait for traveling the foothills of the Appalachians. Sam Tuttle of Spout Springs, Kentucky, owned the stallion Old Tobe, to whom much of the Rocky Mountain stock can be traced.

The Rocky Mountain Horse has …