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 horse for everyone.

The diversity among breeds grew out of its domestication. As people wanted or needed horses to do a wide variety of jobs–draft horses to work the field, war horses to carry knights into battle, cow ponies of the West, racehorses for the sport of kings–the diversity of the horse grew.