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 …

Light Horse Breed American Saddlebred


Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

‎The American Saddlebred (saddle type) was developed in Kentucky and influenced by the Narraganset Pacer, Morgan, and Thoroughbred.

Of all the foundation sires of the American Saddlebred, Denmark, foaled in 1839, was the most influential Thoroughbred sire to impact the Saddlebred breed. In 1851, Gaines Denmark was foaled and brought increased popularity and fame to the Saddlebred breed during the Civil War.

The American Saddlebred has an elegant long neck that …

Light Horse Breed Standardbred


Standardbred Horse Racing

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Standardbred (saddle type), once called the American Trotting Horse, was a product of crossbreeding among Morgan, Thoroughbred, Canadian Trotter, Narrangansett Pacer, Hackney, Arab, and Barb horses. The name Standardbred came from the ideal that these horses must trot or pace a mile under a standard time.

The Standardbred can be traced back to Messenger, a gray Thoroughbred of the Darley Arabian line. Messenger’s bloodline appears three times …

Light Horse Breed Thoroughbred


Thoroughbreds Racing

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Arabian played a major role in the development of the Thoroughbred (hunter type), which originated in England in the 1600s. All Thoroughbreds can be traced back to the lineage of three foundation sires.

The Darley Arab, Byerly Turk, and Godolphin Barb were imported to England for the purpose of increasing the speed of horses for sport racing. These sires were bred to royal mares to produce the characteristics that were …

Light Horse Breed Tennessee Walking Horse


Tennessee Walking Horse

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Tennessee Walking Horse (saddle type) was developed in, you guessed it, Tennessee; actually, the middle basin of Tennessee.

The breed traces back to:

The Tennessee Walking Horse breed was formally recognized in 1935 with the establishment of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association (now the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association). At that time, Allan F-1, otherwise known as Black Allan, …

Sport Horse Breeds

Warmblood Horse in the Dressage Arena

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Today’s sport horses have a size and scope that enable them to demonstrate their strength and endurance in highly intense events such as show jumping, dressage, three-day eventing, and combined training. When we think of warmbloods, we generally think of the following breeds:

Hanoverians. Hanoverians originated in a section of Germany called Hanover. Hanovarian and Hanovarian crossbreeds can now be registered by the American Hanovarian Society, established in 1978. These horses are considered …

Draft Horse Belgian


Belgians Plowing a Field

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Loved by American farmers, the Belgian soon became more popular than the Percheron. The predominant color is sorrel or chestnut. Lighter shades of these horses soon became known as blonde sorrels.

Their very docile nature and uniformity in coat color made Belgians ideal for pulling contests. They have a very slow motion and do not have much knee action; however, some have been crossed with breeds that have increased the amount …

Draft Horse Clydesdales


Clydesdales pulling a Wagon

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Clydesdales are well noted for their white faces and leg markings as well as the bell-bottom effect created by the excessive feathering on their lower legs.

Six to eight horse hitches are used for advertising a well-known beer brewery and other companies. The Clydesdale’s long, springy stride, with extreme flexion of the knees and hocks, makes this horse ideal for a spectacular hitch.

Clydesdales are taller, weigh less, and are cleaner and flatter …

Draft Horse Percheron


Percheron's Pulling Sled in Competition

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Percheron was imported into the United States in 1839, and the Percheron Horse Association of America was established in 1876.

This breed is primarily composed of black and gray horses, with some having white markings. Percherons lack the heavy feathering behind the fetlocks characteristic of most draft breeds. Percherons are light on their feet and have high knee action and a bold trot that makes them desirable for draft-horse shows.…

Miniature Horses


Miniature Horses

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

There are no specific breeds of miniature horses. These horses are used by very small children for driving and riding. Unlike many of the pony breeds (see the following section), the miniature horse is known for its very horse-like conformation. It is thought that this horse was primarily selected from Shetland ponies. Miniature horses come in a variety of colors that range from the solid to the very loud painted haircoat.

There …