Pet Owner Club

The Horse - Breed Overview Part I

The horse has been one of the most popular domesticated animals for centuries. While most people today ride horses to relax or compete in a variety of equestrian sports, these animals were once a primary mode of transportation. For the knights of the Middle Ages, the feared Ghengis Khan and cowboys throughout the world, horses were essential.

With the many ways in which horses are used, it is no surprise that many different breeds have been developed. However, all of these breeds can be placed into several categories. These categories are the light, heavy and pony classifications. Some people prefer to further divide some of these categories with classifications such as warmbloods, draft and gaited horse varieties.

While each horse breed has its own breed association, there is no overall horse breed registry, as there is for dogs and cats. However, there are national horse associations for the different horse sports and competitions, such as the United States Equestrian Federation and the British Equestrian Federation.

Light Horse Breed Overview

One of the oldest light horse breeds is the graceful, speedy Arabian. This horse breed is known for its stamina and endurance and has been competing in desert races for hundreds of years. However, this breed is also popular for being beautiful inside and out. Unlike some other breeds, most Arabian horses are known for being sweet natured and loving.

Another popular light horse breed is a descendant of the Arabian, the Thoroughbred. These horses command some of the highest prices in the world, since horse racing has become a big business. If you are looking for a safe family horse, you may want to think twice about buying a Thoroughbred, since this breed is often a bit high strung and likely to run away when being ridden by less experienced riders.

If you are looking for a horse that is versatile enough to help you round up cattle, compete in races, complete grueling trail competitions or just go for a leisurely ride, you may want to look at a breed that started as an American cow horse, the Quarter Horse. This breed was named for its ability to race at high speeds for a quarter mile.

For people looking for a family friendly, hard working horse on the small side, the Morgan horse is probably the perfect choice. The Morgan was developed by a man named Justin Morgan, who was amazed by the strength and sweet nature of his little horse. It was simple to create a breed from this single animal, because all of the Morgan's foals had his characteristics. As the breed was refined, the Morgan became a bit more elegant looking, but kept its powerful, compact body and gentle disposition.

Of course, the tiny Miniature Horse is also extremely popular today. Although some people think this breed is a pony, it is classified as a horse because it does not have pony characteristics. This breed is kept as a companion animal and is sometimes used as a guide horse by blind or disabled people.

Other popular light horse breeds include the Appaloosa, the Standardbred, the Saddlebred, the Tennessee Walking Horse, the Paint and the Paso Fino.

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