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 size …

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 comes …

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 in …

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 slurred …

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.…

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 of …

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,

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 are …

Shetland Pony Breed

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

One of the most popular pony breeds is the Shetland. The Shetland is a smaller pony with a maximum height of 46 inches (11.6 hands); however, most Shetlands stand approximately 40 inches tall at the withers. This hardy breed was developed in the highland country 100 miles north of Scotland near the Arctic Circle (Scotland Island).

The Shetland’s strength and size made it ideal to work in the mines in England and Scotland. …

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 the 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 …