Mustangs are ferel horses that are found in the western United States.  They began as stray Spanish horses, but over the years, the Spanish breeds had mixed with European breeds as settlers expanded westward and have now been named mustangs.  There is also some French horse breeds and wild horses from the eastern US mixed in the gene pool as well.  The first ones came to AMerica in 1493 and they have been a bucnh ever since then creating the mixed breed.  The word mustang comes from the Spanish word monstenco, which means wild.  The population of wild horses in the US was 2 million in 1900, but had been reduced a lot since then to the point that congress created an act in 1971 that protected them.  There are about 30,000 wild horses today.

Physical Characteristics:
The average height of mustangs is 16 hands which is higher than the average of all equine breeds however they do tend to have a shorter life expectancy than most horses since they only live about 20 years.  They average about 750lbs which is vary light compared to most horses which makes them better suited to remain free and wild.  They come in a wide variety of colors since there are so many breeds that make up mustangs.

For more information on Mustangs, you can check out this site:

Tennessee Walking Horse

tennesseewalker.jpgOrigin and History
The Tennessee Walking Horse is a light horse breed which originated in middle Tennessee in the late 19th century. They began as a combination of Narragansett Pacer and Canadian Pacer bloodlines. During the Civil War, Confederate Pacer and Union Trotter lines were added, creating the Southern Plantation Horse, or the Tennessee Pacer. Later Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred lines were added to increase refinement and stamina. In 1885 the foundation sire of the Tennessee Walker breed, Black Allen, was born. He was sired by a Standardbred stallion and out of a Morgan mare. The Tennessee Walking Horse registry was formed in 1935. The stud book was closed in 1947, so every Tennessee Walker must have both parents registered to be eligible for registration. Tennessee Walkers were originally bred as a utility horse, but today are more suited for recreational riding.

gaits.pngBreed Characteristics
A typical Tennessee Walking Horse range between 14.3 to 17 hands in height and around 900 to 1200 pounds in weight. They have a pretty head with well-placed, small ears. Walkers also have long sloping shoulders and hips as well as a short back. Their bottom line should be longer than their top line to allow for a long stride. Tennessee Walkers come in all colors and patterns. Their most notable characteristic is their distinct gaits. They can perform the flat foot walk, running walk and canter. The running walk is a unique gait that is inherited and natural within the breed. Many Walkers can also perform the rack, stepping-pace, fox-trot, and single-foot gaits, which are all variations of the famous running walk. These gaits are undesirable in the show ring, but make comfortable trail riding gaits. This website provides a great introduction to the Tennessee Walking Horse breed,

An unfortunate part of these gaits is the practice of soring, or the act of burning the horses' hooves to accentuate their gait. Chemical agents are applied to the pasterns, bulbs of the hooves or coronary bands and cause extreme pain and scarring. Soring has been banned at shows and sales for decades, but is still practiced. The Horse Protection Act of 1970 outlawed the practice. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working with the industry to enforce the law. To learn more about soring, visit this website



The Andalusian originated in Southern Spain and is said to be one of the oldest breeds, sometimes known as the "Original Pegasus". This breed has been recorded from all the way back in the 15th Century. The name "Andalusian" comes from a region in Spain called Andalusia, but is also known as the Spanish Horse. Because the breed is so old, it has been used in the development of other breeds, such as the Lipizzan, the Friesian, Hanoverian, Mustang, Peruvian, and many more. The breed has been highly regarded for all of its existence and Carthusian Monks were the first to take Andalusian breeding very seriously. They were very serious about keeping the bloodlines pure. The Andalusian was a common mount used in war, and they are also used in mounted bullfights because of their courage. However, in 1492 a large number of the breed were killed off and the breed risked extinction. One herd was hidden and used to get the breed back "on its feet". Because of this, the breed is very rare (the largest amount of Andalusians in the US are in California) and there are only about 20,000 Andalusians worldwide. Finally, because the breed has always been so highly regarded, it is known as the most common horse for royalty to ride and can be seen in paintings of various kings and their horses.

The Andalusian has some very distinct features, such as its compact body. They have a very short back, as well as a broad forehead, chest, and hindquarters. They have a strong body and clean cut legs. Their mane and tails are generally very thick and can even be wavy. The average height for the breed is anywhere between 15.2 to 16.2 hands. The most common color to see in the breed is white and grey, however they also come in bay and black. The foals are born dark brown or black, and as they mature they usually turn a gray or white color. Their gates are very distinct as well, known for their high-stepping gates, energetic pace, and smooth, rhythmic canter. Here is a video that shows the basic gates of an Andalusian.

Andalusians Today
As mentioned before, the breed was commonly used in war and bullfights because of their kind temperament and their bravery and courage. Today, the breed is becoming more common to see in disciplines such as dressage and show jumping. Andalusians are known to be friendly and intelligent and typically have a docile temperament, making them easy to train. 
Here you can see an Andalusian jumping and here you can see an Andalusian practicing dressage movements. 

Australian Miniature Pony

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The Australian Miniature Pony became a recognized equine breed in 1974, and not-so-surprisingly, originated in the country of Australia. This tiny, unique horse was derived through the crosses of the small Shetland pony, the Fallabella (which contributes to its slimmer, more horse-like appearance), and a few other miniature pony breeds. The Australian Miniature Pony is a relatively new breed, as it took decades of breeding and perfecting its height and structure to make the horse what it is today. The Australian Miniature Pony had a great number of followers that were incredibly enthusiastic in promoting this new breed, and therefore established The Australian Miniature Pony Society Inc. in July of 1974, in Liverpool, NSW, Australia, which currently has over 1,200 members from across the continent of Australia who are represented in each state.

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The Australian Miniature Pony has many unique qualities that differentiates itself from most other equines. The first, and most obvious characteristic of this horse is its height. Typically, equines are measured in hands, however since mini horses are not particularly comparable to horses of a normal stature, they are measured in centimeters. Miniature ponies can only reach a maximum height of 87 cm and have an overall, evenly proportioned body structure. When discussing the characteristics of the animals head, it's relatively small, yet again proportional with the rest of its body, The eyes rest on the sides of its head and are rather round and expressive, which can be very beneficial in assessing the horse's well-being. The size of the ears can be categorized as small to medium, as they too must match the rest of the body, and the teeth should evenly align with each other and really not vary in size. The coat can range from all kinds of colors, which isn't surprising since The Australian Miniature Pony derived from several different kinds of breeds. Miniature horses, and in particular The Australian Miniature Pony, are excellent pets for kids since they stay child size, the kids can ride them, and as foals, they love to cuddle, play, and basically demand attention-just like kids. In addition to being a fun-loving pet, miniature horses have oftentimes been used in nursing homes and children hospitals to aid disabled and/or elderly people with therapy and rehabilitation.

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The Akhal-Teke is a breed that was developed less than 3,000 years ago. The exact date this breed was created is not known, but it said to be around 3000-4000 B.C. It was thought to have originated in Turkmenistan and was known to be a national emblem for the country. The breed was named after the "Teke" tribe in Central Asia. Unfortunately, this breed is the only purebred left from the ancient Turkmen horse. The Akhal Teke was uniquely bred for its stamina and endurance, as well as its ability to travel along far distances in the desert. It has been kept a purebred for thousands of years and is still considered one to this day.  Today, the Akhal Teke is found all over the world, still known for its endurance and strength. This breed will be seen racing, as well as dressage. This history of this breed is still being greatly studied today.

The Akhal Teke's physical characteristics are much different than many breeds. First noticed would be their gold, metallic coat, thought to serve as camouflage in the desert. However, not every horse of the Akhal Teke breed has a gold coat. The colors of their shimmery coat comes in numerous shades of black, brown, and gold. The necks are long and flexible with larger eyes and ears. The mane and tails of this breed are silky with short hair. The Turkmen tribes cherished the Akhal Teke due to its ability to travel on harsh terrain through deserts and mountains with challenging climates. In ranges in size from about 13 to 16 hands which is similar to its descendant, the English Thoroughbred. The Akhal Teke has a quiet and passionate personality and is said to develop a bond with their owner that is similar to a dog. This horse is a loyal companion that can be easily handled and trained.


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The Appaloosa horse was first bred by the Nez Perce Indians after horses introduced to the Americas by the Spanish made their way to the northwest in the 1700's.The Nez Perce quickly became renowned for being excellent horseman and breeders.  It is estimated that about 10% of the Nez Perce's horses were spotted.  Settlers in the Northwest began refering to these spotted horses as "A Palouse Horse" in reference to the Palouse River, which ran nearby.  Over time the name evolved into the Appaloosa horse. Appaloosa's flashy coat patterns  caught the attention of the public  in the early 1900's when they started appearing in rodeos and roundups.  Today the Appaloosa can be found throughout the U.S. and the world.

The Appaloosa is best known for it's distinctive spotted coat, which occurs in several different overlay patterns including leopard and blanket ( pictured).  Other core characteristics of the Appaloosa are mottled skin around the eyes and muzzle, striped hooves, and eyes with a white sclera.  Average weight of the Appaloosa is 950 to 1250lbs and average height is from 14 to 16 hands.  "Old -type" appaloosas were tall, narrow bodied and rangy due to their Spanish horse ancestry.  However, with the addition of Quarter horse and Arabian Bloodlines, appaloosa now have a more modern, stock type build.  Appaloosas are used in both English ad western type riding and excel in disciplines from cutting, reining and roping to jumping and eventing.
The Appaloosa Horse Club is the official International breed registry for Appaloosa horses

Bashkir Curly

The Bashkir Curly Horse is one of the most unique looking horses that I have ever seen.

It is a highly debated topic when exactly the Bashkir Curly or "Curlies" were first introduced into the World. Similarly, there are different variations of the name of this horse, such as "The North American Curly". In any sense, some argue that this breed has been in existence since 161 AD. However, the first documented Curly was in the early 1900's in the town of Eureka, Nevada. This breed was originally a wild breed, but after a rancher by the name of John Damele was able to catch one and sell it, the breed quickly became domesticated as well. However, in the early 1930s, the winter was horrendous and by the time Spring came around, the only breed of horse that could be found in that area were the Curlies. Eventually the Curlies were bred with other horses, as well as bred together, and today, there are hundreds of Curly pedigrees in the United States.

Breed Characteristics
Curlies, as a whole, tend to be loyal, gentle and caring horses, who enjoy being around people. Not only this, but their stamina and strength allows them to be very good pets. In regards to being pets, due to their curly coats, they are hypo-allergenic and that is something that is really important to those with allergies. However, due to the fact that the curly hair trait can be carried and expressed heterozygously, not ever single offspring has this curly coat. The Curly is medium size horse that is agile and moves well. They have all different types of coat colors from chestnut to Pinto. Their athletic ability and their tough hooves are superb and thus they are able to compete in a variety of different events such as jumping, hunting, and barrel racing.

Further Information

The Shire Horse

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About the Shire:

The Shire breed can be traced back to the seventeenth century Old English Black Horse of England.  From this horse, two types evolved, the Fen and the Leicestershire.  The Fen was larger, while the Midlands was more refined in appearance.   One of the Midlands type, The Packington Blind Horse, is credited as the Shire breed foundation stallion.  His offspring were born starting in 1755 and continued until around 1770.  However, it wasn't until 1853 that Shires arrived in the United States.  Within forty years, the American Shire Horse Association was established.  America's interest in the breed continued to grow until World War II, when heavy restrictions on resources made keeping these horses more difficult.  Shire numbers decreased rapidly, coming to their lowest numbers in the 1950-60s.  At this time, the breed was crossed with Clydesdales, which altered their conformation.  The recognizable feathering on the lower legs became very fine and almost glossy, changing from the rougher, less refined hair prior to the crossbreeding.  In the 1970s, the breed made a steady comeback, but the Shire population is still low enough today for there to be a concern about the breed dying out.


Shire Physical Characteristics:

  • One of the world's largest horse breeds
  • Stand from a minimum of 16.2 hands to 19 hands
  • Can be a range of colors: chestnut, grey, bay, or black
  • Long, arched neck
  • Short back
  • Leg feathering
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Shires Today:

Shires still work to pull heavy loads, both in practical and show settings.  Known for its calm temperament and gentleness, today the breed is also used under saddle, a recent development for the draft horse world. 

For more information on these gentle giants, check out these links.

American Shire Horse Association

The Shire Horse Society

The Camargue

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The Camargue horse is from the Camargue, which is a wetland area that is at the mouth of the River Rhone in France.  These horses are considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the world and are related, pretty closely to prehistoric horses.  It is not exactly known when its origin was, but it is possible that the Camargue horse descended from the Soutre horse.  The bones of the Soutre horse were dated back to 17,000 years ago and found in the southeast of France.

Camargue horses are technically ponies because they are only thirteen to fourteen hands high. The main use of these horses is rounding up Camargue bulls.  They can also withstand extreme weather, hot or cold, very well.

Celtic and Roman invaders who entered the Iberian Peninsula used these horses.  In 1976, the horses of the main breeders of this time were registered to keep the breed pure.  In England today, there is actually only one breeding herd of the Camargues.

The Camargue has a short muscular neck, its shoulders are upright, they have a short body and large eyes, their ears are broad and short, the mane and tail are long and think, and the whither are very noticeable.  Also the chest is wide and deep and the legs have a long forearm.


When these horses are born they are actually a dark brown color and can even be black.  They turn white when they are about four years of age, but they technically are grey because they are not pure white everywhere.  Their skin is black and also when Camargue horses are born, they have a white blaze on their forehead.


Internet Sources:

The Dutch Warmblood

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The Dutch Warmblood is a breed created specifically for competition riding. A relatively new breed, the Dutch Warmblood first evolved in the 1950's. After World War II and a heavy increase in industrialization, horses were no longer necessary to complete tasks on the farm. Therefore, the purpose of breeding shifted from farm work, such as pulling carts, to sports.

They originated in the Netherlands with the combination of the Groningen and Gelderlander. Soon after, Thoroughbred bloodlines were also introduced, creating a fierce competitor. To maintain a calm temperament, other warmbloods were also used in breeding.

The Dutch Warmblood is primarily used in jumping and dressage competitions. In fact, one member of this breed holds the title for being one of the world's greatest dressage competitors!

Here's Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Dutch Courage!



The Dutch Warmblood stands at an average of 16.2 hands, some growing up to 17. They are primarily bay and chestnut horses, however the occasional black or grey horses can be found. They are built like athletes, with long arched necks and strong legs and shoulders. Their hind legs are incredibly strong, which makes them strong competitors in jumping competitions.

The Dutch Warmbloods are not only loved for their natural athleticism; they also are very calm and even-tempered, making them easy to train.

Some Fun Facts!

  • By Dutch law, it is illegal to brand Dutch Warmbloods. Now only elderly members of this breed will be seen branded.
  • Dutch Courage's Son, Dutch Gold, was also a world class dressage competitor.
  • They're actors! A Dutch Warmblood played the part of Aragon's steed in all 3 Lord of the Rings movies! Below are two pictures of Dutch Warmblood Brego acting as Hasufel.



For more information regarding Dutch Warmbloods, check out these websites:


 The Bardigiano Breed of horses originated from the Emilia region of Italy in a small town called Bardi.  The Bardigiano's were especially suited for the mountainous environment. These horses have adapted well to the rough, steep surroundings mostly because of their short and agile attributes.  Analysts have traced their heritage back to the Abellinum breed that was by used Romans during their invasions. More recently, Bardigiano mares were bred to produce high quality mules during World War I and WWII.  They are still widely used in Italy for farm work and competitive driving and riding. After the world wars the breed was influenced by a variety of other breeds diluting the genetic pool. The breed started to lose some of its defining characteristics and in 1972 a committee was formed to re-establish the breed. In 1997 the stud book was reestablished by the Regional Animal Breeders of Parma. Most of the breeders are located in Italy.  There are breeders in 26 Italian Provinces and currently 3556 stud book entries.



Bardigiano's are very useful because they are very tough, enduring and most importantly surefooted. They are also very calm, friendly and intelligent making them perfect for any aged person to use for trailing riding or other activities. Their stout frame also makes them suitable for farm work and pulling competitions. They have smaller heads with a thick, muscular neck and mane. The breed can also be defined by a short wide back through their shoulders to their hips. Also, very wide hindquarters that follow down in to short legs with big joints, short cannon bones and small hard hooves. These characteristics are essential in the breed's ability to endure rough terrain. Most are bay colored but can also be found in black or brown with variations in small white markings. They can stand as tall as 13 hands. 


This beautiful and athletic breed of horse is one of the oldest European warmbloods, with its roots based 400 years ago in Eastern Prussia. The breed originated when the "Schwaike", a Prussian breed then known for endurance and versatility, began being crosses with larger imported stallions to breed war mounts. When the king decided he liked this new lighter faster, yet solid,  style of war horse, he chose the best horses from his royal breeding farms and had them moved to a new royal stud at Trakehnen to develop the breed. The first official Trakehnen was published 1877 and is still used today to authenticate pedigrees. The breed continued to excel as moth a military mount and doing light draft work in fields. Today, the horse is used as a performance horse in many areas of competition including eventing and other hunter and jumper events.
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Breed Characteristics
They tend to be large, easily between 16 or 17 hands. One of the defining
 characteristics of the breed is their balance large bone structure and refinement. They were bred to have a "floating trot" and elegant way of going,  that is enhanced by a sloping shoulder and long back pastern, that lends itself to dressage. They tend to be rectangular in build with a medium length back and somewhat short in the cannon bones.  The breed is also strong in the hindquarter which allows them to excel as jumpers. The breed registry accepts all solid colors. The Trakehner's head is usually refined and chiseled looking with a defined jaw and slim tapering muzzle. 
For more information on this breed:

Morgan Horse



   The Morgan horse is the first documented American breed. The horse breed originated in the United State of America in 1789. The stud, Justin Morgan, was the original horse that started the Morgan horse breed. Justin Morgan was a small, thick dark bay from West Springfield, Massachusetts. Robert Evans was the original owner that noticed that this horse could run faster and pull more than any other horse in that area. The Morgan horse helped to create other North American breeds including the Saddlebred, Standardbred, and the Tennessee Walking horse. In the past Morgan horses were used to clear fields and forests, and for transportation. Also, during the Civil War the Morgan horse breed was favored by cavalry soldiers. Today, these horses are used for show horses, harness racing, pleasure/trail riding, and driving.


Physical Characteristics

   The Morgan horse has been seen with all of the traditional colors in this breed. The temperaments of this breed are athletic, strong, brave, and eager to please. Some features of the Morgan horse are that this breed has an average height of 14.1-15.2 hands, and this horse was made to work and run. The appearance of these horses include a long flowing tail, strong legs and joints, short and broad back, large body with a deep girth, medium sized head, and broad shoulders.









Haflingers originate in Austria in the Southern Tyrolean Mountains. The breed was developed because of the mountainous terrain; a hardy animal was needed to navigate. They are depicted in artwork in the early 1800's but the first documented Haflinger was in 1874 and was the foundation sire 249 Folie. Folie's mother was half Arabian and all purebred Haflingers today can trace their lineage back to this horse. They went through many changes based on how the world was faring. In the two World Wars and the Great Depression inferior horses were bred into the line to keep it from going extinct and because of the lack of regulation. Also during World War II the Haflinger was bred with a packhorse in mind and was stockier and more draft like. After the war they became more refined for riding like they are today, but were also bred indiscriminately and the pure Haflinger was feared for extinction. In 1946 it became more focused on the purebred breed and there was a closed stud book with no new blood being introduced. The Haflinger was not imported to the United States until the 1960's and even today the majority of breeding occurs in Austria. A Haflinger filly named Prometeahorse1.jpg was born in 2003 and is the first cloned horse in the world.

The Haflinger's coat color ranges from a pale chestnut to a dark liver chestnut with a flowing pale mane and tail that ranges from white to flaxen. This coat color is one of their most distinctive characteristics. They have a delicate, fine head that comes from the small amount of Arabian blood in them. Haflinger's have wide set eyes which are intelligent and friendly. The breed is described as being strong and hardy with their well-muscled hindquarters and hocks and is normally seen in height from 13 to 15 hands. Some are made for farm work and are stockier while others are lighter and are used for a variety of different disciplines.

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Many things have changed in the way the breed has been used. For a long time in history they were mostly packhorses, agricultural, or army horses. Only in more recent times has the Haflinger developed to be so versatile. It is able to do draft work or showjumping and is often a very good children's pony.

If you want to learn more check out these links:

Icelandic horse

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  • History/ origins

The Icelandic horse came to Iceland over eleven centuries ago by Scandinavian settlers sometime around 860 and 935 AD.  The horse is thought to have originated somewhere in ancient Norway/ Germany, as it shares many similar bone characteristics to the horse breeds of the time. These ancient horses were later interbred with other European horses, but the Icelandic horse remained relatively pure, resulting in the horse we see today. Some attempts were made to interbreed the Icelandic horse with eastern horses, which lead to the degradation of the stock.  However in 982 the Icelandic parliament passed regulations which stopped the importation of foreign horses. This has lead to the Icelandic horse being pure for over 1000 years. The Icelandic horse used to be raised entirely by free range, but during the 1900s this trend changed and the Icelandic horse is now reared like any European horse.

The first formal export of the Icelandic horse was in the 1940s to Germany, where they have become very popular. The first ever import of the Icelandic horse is thought to be sometime in the 20th century to Britain to work as pit ponies. Although, there is little evidence of this since it was never really well documented.

The Icelandic horse is also remarkable disease free. This is a result of strict laws passed by the Icelandic government on the importation of horse equipment and on horses. No Icelandic horse which leaves the country is allowed to return, and only new and unused horse equipment is allowed into the country. The Icelandic horse is the only horse breed in Iceland.

  • Breed description

The Icelandic horse is described as a rather small horse yet sturdy and strong.  The Icelandic horse is usually about 13-14 hands tall, and is usually around 330-380 Kg.  The Icelandic horse is known for being particularly calm, which is thought to be a result of living in a country where natural hazards are prevalent, thus causing the horse to assess the situation rather than resorting to its flee instinct in order to survive. The breed is well suited for its environment with a double coat to protect it from the harsh Icelandic cold. Icelandic's aren't done growing structurally until around the age of 7 and aren't ridden until the age of four. the breed comes in chestnut, dun, bay, black, palomino, roan, pinto, and gray.

The Icelandic is a six gaited breed, meaning it is capable of preforming two additional gaits namely the tolt and the pace. The tolt is a four beat lateral ambling gate known for its signature explosive acceleration and speed. While the pace is a two beat lateral gait with suspension between footfalls.

  • additional info

Here's a demonstration of the tolt

Icelandic resource 1 (okstate website)

Icelandic resource 2 (Icelandic horse registry US)

Irish Sport Horse

This picture above is of Connaught, Phillip Dutton's 15 year old Irish Sport Horse

The Irish Sport Horse is a cross between the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred. The Irish Draught's origin is unknown because of a lack of early breeding records. They have exist on the Irish countryside for well over a thousand years. The modern Irish Sport Horse is most likely the direct result of Thoroughbred sires being crossed with the most powerful mares on the countryside. In 1917, the Department of Agriculture created a book that established this new breed.

They were historically used for many purposes including transportation and working the land. They have more recently been used for a competition horse because of their natural athletic ability and exceptional jumping abilities. The most common competition that they are used in is eventing. Some of their characteristics include a sense of honesty from the Irish Draught and the athleticism, speed, and endurance of the Thoroughbred. They have an excellent temperament, being calm but also lively when needed. This horse has an attractive head with sometimes a "Roman nose". They also have an arched and muscular neck, long, sloping shoulders, and a deep but not overly broad chest. Their back is short and compact, with an often sloping, long, muscular croup and powerful hindquarters. This trait comes from the Irish Draught and improves jumping ability. They also usually have high withers from the Thoroughbred and their height usually ranges between 15 and 17 hands. The Irish Sport Horse can be found in any color but of course some are rarer then others.

If you want to learn more about this amazing breed, check out these links below:

Also, this link below will take you to the list of the USEF 2008 Olympic team which includes Phillip Dutton and his Irish Sport Horse:

Rocky Mountain Horse

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Contrary to what one would imagine from the name, the modern Rocky Mountain Horse actually did not originate in the Rockies, but rather the Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky to be exact. Rocky Mountains have a similar origin to the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse (sometimes the breeds are grouped and called "Mountain Pleasure Horses.") The specific origin is really only a story. Generally, folklore says that in the late 19th century a stallion was brought as a colt from the Rockies to Eastern Kentucky. This horse had the trademark flaxen mane and tail as well as the "chocolate" coat. He was bred locally and eventually this local line produced the stallion generally known as the sire of the breed, Old Tobe. Sam Tuttle, Tobe's owner, bred him throughout the mid 1900's and was primarily responsible for the formation of what the Rocky Mountain horse is today.

Defining Characteristics

Perhaps one of the most recognizable aspects of the breed is its distinctive coloring. Rocky mountains can be a combination of various colors but generally the desired combination is a chocolate coat ( a fairly rare gene in other breeds, it is the combination of a black coat with a silver dapple coloration) and a flaxen mane and tail, but it is almost always that the mane and tale are lighter than the coat.
The Rocky Mountains are generally on the small side, ranging from a little over fourteen hands to sixteen hands. The other physical characteristics can be pretty different from horse to horse, considering the variety of breeds that were used to breed the Rocky Mountain Horse.
Temperament wise, the Rocky Mountain is known for its gently and easy going nature, as well as its physical ability to be able to stand cold and rough terrain.
Finally, a very interesting characteristic all Rocky Mountain's have is the ambling gait ("single-foot.") This gait falls between the walk and canter. The horse possesses it in lieu of a trot. It is very smooth due to the fact that the horse constantly has one foot on the ground. It falls into a four beat pattern as opposed to the two beat provided by the trot. 

Additional Resources

The Rocky Mountain Horse Association was founded in 1986 to promote and regulate the breed. Their site provides wonderful information for people seeking to generally learn more about the breed or interested in showing or registering a horse.

The European Rocky Mountain Horse Club is the first outside organization for these horses. It provides similar information to the the association listed above, but is good for someone seeking to breed a Rocky Mountain outside the United States.

Interesting Fact:
The Rocky Mountain is actually a  fairly rare breed and is currently on the "watch" list ( global population is less than 10,000, US population is less than 2,500) so it is registered with the American Livestock Breed Conservancy. This website can help one learn more about what exactly this means and what the conservancy's mission statement is.


Brief History of the Breed

The Arabian horse breed is one of the oldest human-developed breeds in the world today. It is thought that the breed originated in the Arabian Peninsula/Middle East around 2500 B.C. because the breed's high-carried tails and refined heads were depicted in ancient drawings and artwork.  Early Arabian horses lived with man in the desert, which required them to be dependent on humans for most of their food and water needs. 

The early Arabian horse was bred to be a war horse with high alertness, speed, endurance, soundness and intelligence. Since then, the Arabian breed has traveled to all four corners of the globe and nowadays is used in virtually every equine sport, including racing, endurance riding, hunt seat, dressage, reining, cutting, jumping, pleasure riding, trail riding, and even working ranch horses. It is one of the most popular horse breeds today. 

Defining Physical Characteristics

The most defining characteristics of the Arabian breed are its refined, wedge-shaped head and its thin, arching neck.  They also have a long, level croup and high tail carriage.  One thing that is special to the Arabian breed in particular is that some Arabians will have only 5 lumbar vertebrae and 17 pairs of ribs, whereas most horses will have 6 lumbar vertebrae and 18 pairs of ribs. 

The recognized coat colors of the Arabian breed are bay, gray, chestnut, black, and roan.  Regardless of color, all Arabians will have black skin underneath their coats, except under white markings.  Their black skin provides more protection underneath the intense desert sun. Some Arabian horses will appear white, but these horses are not genetically white. They are simply a very light grey. 

More Information

For more information on the Arabian breed, follow the links below!

Falabella Miniature Horse

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Origin of the Falabella Breed:
      The Falabella miniature horse begins its story in the meadows surrounding Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a ranch owned by the Falabella family. Unlike many horse breeds, a very different, intensive approach was taken in the early 1800s to develop these miniature versions of the standard equine animal. What makes this breed so unique in the equine world is that it was developed from standard sized horses, with many successive generations becoming shorter with each highly selective breeding. In order to obtain a proportional horse, the progression of selecting shorter dams and sires took many generations. Some of the breeds used in this process include Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Arabians, Mustangs, as well as some draft horses including Percherons and Friesians. It is to be noted that no pony breeds were used in the Falabella lineage. With the development of the first herd, and continued breeding between the miniatures, the horses developed a unique DNA sequence to mark that they were indeed their own breed. However, only the bloodlines originating from the Falabella family ranch are considered the pure Falabellas.
      In 1853 the first declared miniature horse was born, and by 1893 the Falabella family had created the first perfected herd. The man responsible for this idea was Patrick Newtall; he passed the knowledge of the breeding practices necessary to create and continue his work down to his son-in-law Juan Falabella. It is said that Juan believed in evolving this breed for the sake of creating a child-sized horse; so that the younger generations could master the basics of horsemanship at an early age. In fact, these miniature horses became the life-blood of this family and Julio Falabella, Juan's grandson, is the man noted for making this breed famous by growing the herd further and establishing the roots of the Falabella Miniature Horse Association in 1940. 
     Falabellas can be used for a variety of tasks. Other than training children how to groom and ride, these miniature horses have also been used for pulling carts, herd companionship, therapeutic purposes, and even show performances. 

Defining Characteristics:
      The Falabellas were created for their most notable trait, their height. Class A Falabella horses are considered to be within the range of 28-34 inches tall at the withers (7-8.5 hands) at maturity. Also, a distinct trait of the Falabella is that they only have 16 to 17 vertebrae, as compared to other horses which normally have 18 vertebrae, these vertebrae are missing from the lumbar region. Furthermore, these minis are missing at least one pair of ribs, and up to three pairs from the horses directly from Argentina. 
      To create these minis, many different breeds of horses were pooled in the process, especially since the goal was only to obtain a shorter horse; ergo, many different "breed hallmarks" may appear in the minis. Most commonly traits of the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Arabian breeds can be seen; however there are lines of the stocky draft-type minis as well. The body structure is very versatile, however to be a Falabella, correct body proportions must be maintained to that of their ancestry. As previously noted, no ponies were used in the creation of this breed, making the Falabella a "true horse" and therefore the proportions are identical to standard horses. Falabellas can be any color including black, bay, grey, pinto, palominos, dun, buckskin, and chestnut. In short, this breed was designed to be the horse for everyone, the body build, the color, their performance abilities, their tractability. These horses have many uses in today's equine world, and their small size continues to capture hearts every day!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for IMG_1426.JPGDid you know...? :
  • Despite their small size, miniature horses can pull up to 3x their weight, whereas their larger cousins can only pull twice their weight. 
  • Falabellas often live up to 40-45 years if they are healthy. 
  • Baby Falabella horses weigh about 10 pounds at birth, and grow up to 90% of their mature body weight in their first year of life. 
  • Although the Falabellas were developed from many different breeds of horses, of many different coat colors, the appaloosa coat pattern was the most cherished by Julio Falabella. 
  • In 1972, a herd of 29 miniature horses was introduced to Pennsylvania, establishing America's first Farm Park in Gettysburg, Pa. One of the original Falabella's from Argentina still lives there today, at 42 years of age! 
  • Today, there are less than 900 registered Falabella horses internationally, making them extremely rare. 

Where can you learn more? :
 Online Sources:
Hands on:
*Photos taken at Land of Little Horses Farm Park, Gettysburg, PA: Top Photo (Left to right)-Treasure and her filly, & Summer; Center Photo- Touch of Gold (stallion) ; Bottom Photo- a few members of the miniature horse heard at LOLH preparing for winter, along with Quarter Horse "Tom," and Shetland Pony "Cookie" as comparison (see if you can find them!). Here you can see a sampling of the wide variety of body structures and coloring patterns within the Falabella breed. 

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The Percheron is a beautiful, large draft breed, usually in black or grey color. The Percheron originated from Huisne River Valley, Le Perche, in France around the 17th century.  They are a hard working breed that were initially bred to be used in war and pulling mail and passenger coaches.   The Percheron horses were also used on farms for pulling heavy equipment and goods and eventually started to take place of oxen in the agriculture industry.  uPercheron.jpgThe population of this breed severely declined after war and the French Revolution, which meant the breed was close to extinction .  To prevent extinction of the breed, people began breeding the current Percherons to Arabians to increase the numbers, which is where the Percheron's get their elegant appearance from.

The Percheron has exquisite physical features, they are a large muscled breed with beautiful coats. They range from 15-19 hands, and can weigh up to 2600 pounds, averaging around 1900 pounds.  Although the breed is mostly black and grey, there are some known to be roan, bay, and chestnut, they also usually have white markings on their face and legs.  19_Hand_Percheron_Team_01_by_escapist1901.jpgThis large majestic breed is known for its intelligence and willingness to work.   They are also known to have a very powerful and alert look about them.  The Percheron is a very admirable breed with great confirmation. They are also known to adapt very well to a variety of climates. Percheron's are bred to pull heavy carts, however, their elegant and graceful stride allows them to be ridden and are actually very good jumpers.

Below are links if you would like to learn more about this breed:

Pony of the Americas (POA)


The Pony of The Americas is a breed discovered by a Shetland pony breeder and lawyer named Les Boomhower. Boomhower discovered this breed in 1954 in Mason City, Iowa.  The first foal born who inspired this breed was named "Black Hand." This colt was bred from a Shetland pony stud and an Arabian/Appaloosa mare. The first POA colt was named "Black Hand," because of his distinct black spots all over his white body, and on his flank, these spots formed the shape of a hand. Boomhower started the Pony of the Americas Club which was the foundation of this new breed registry.

poa.jpgBreed Registration and Characteristics:

ColorMeAwesome.jpgWhen the breed was still new, the guidelines for a pony to be registered under the POA breed were very specific. The pony's height had to be between 44 to 52 inches, which was only about 11 to 13 hands.  A POA's head had to be small and resemble an Arabian. Their bodies required a good amount of muscle, and their coats had to be spotted resembling an Appaloosa. Boomhower's goal was for these ponies to be gentle and safe to work around, and for them to be small for young children to ride and compete on. By 1985, the height for POAs was raised to 56 inches which is 14 hands or the height of a large pony. The breed no longer included Shetland ponies, but the Welsh, Mustang, Indian Pony, Arabian, Quarter horse and Appaloosas were mixed to create the look of a POA.


imagesCABJ07EW.jpgA POA is known for its leopard spotted coat and skin. The skin around their muzzle is often spotted and around a mare's teats. They can also have what is called a blanket where just their hindquarters are draped with a white pattern filled with darker spots. It is also common that the whites of their eyes are visible, and their hooves have vertical stripes down them. This breed is gentle in nature and is mainly used for pleasure riding, but they are quite versatile and can vary in their disciplines. Here is a website that tells you even more about this unique breed! 




The Freiberger originated from the northwest corner of Switzerland called Freiderg. This breed was developed in the middle ages it was a light draft used as a plow horse and for military reasons. This horse is used today for many different disciplines from driving to dressage and western. This is Switzerland's official horse. The Freiberger was very important to the Swiss military they pulled up to 260 lbs of equipment for the military over mountains. This breed was refined to what it is today by crossing English and French warmbloods in the 1800's. Freibergers are the last of light cold blood in Europe. Tofay the horse goes through a test including evaluation of conformation, disposition and movement. Only after passing can the horse receive registration papers.
The Freiberger can weigh anywhere from 1250-1450lbs, can stand between 14.3-15.3 hands and has a generally athletic build. The head has a broad forehead and small hears and large eyes. The normal colors for this breed are Bay, dark bay and sorrel with white markings. They have a deep chest and rounded neck. These horses require minimum maintenance and are very hardy in the winter. They are a very mountainous horse so they tend to be very sure footed and are great in mountainous areas.





The Friesian Horse is native to the Netherlands. They were named after the Friesland providence in the northern Netherlands.  Originally they were bred as draft horses, but because of nimbleness, they were used in battle during the middle ages. Their size enabled them to carry a knight with full armor with ease and agility. They are one of the oldest horse breeds out of Europe, originating over 3,000 years ago. It is believed that their linage branched from the breeding of Andalusians and West German Horses. Being an ancient breed, the Friesians have developed many other breeds seen today, such as: The Oldenburg, Fell Ponies, Standardbred and Morgan Horses, just to name a few.

Physical Characteristics:

Friesians are known for their black color and thick manes, tails, and feathering. They look of romantic. Built large and strong, much like a draft horse, but are typically more agile than draft breeds. They are characterized by their high gait, slightly arched neck, short noble head, and small tilted-inward ears. They have a strong, muscular back which curves only slightly. Their back and wither gradually transition into the neck. Friesian's have well proportioned legs positioned reasonably distant forming a broad chest. Friesian's have wide, sound hoofs covered in luxurious feathers. The ideal height for a Friesian is around 15.3 hands, but they can typically range between 15 and 17 hands. Jet black is the preferred color, a small white star on their forehand is an accepted feature. Friesians are loyal, docile and affectionate. They are often used in dressage and driving and fare well in both.

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Sources & Additional Information:


Belgian Draft Horse

Belgian.jpgThe Belgian is know for its kindness, gentleness, and willingness to work. In the United States the number of Belgian Draft horses outnumber all other draft breeds combined.


These horses originally developed in the Brabant area of Belgium. Belgium contained the lush pastures, good hay and grains necessary to develop the large, powerful draft breeds of horses.Belgians are said to have been descendents of the horses known as Flemish horses (often called the "Great Horse"). These horses carried armored knights into battle during medieval times. In the late 19th century Belgium was regularly exporting these horses throughout the world. Although the American Association was officially founded in 1887 in Wabash, Indiana it was not until the St. Louis World's Fair in 1903 that this breed became popular here in the United States. Farmers, who were using them to do agriculture work, were the original breeders here in the United States. During the early 1950's the popularity of the draft horse was on the decline due in most part to the use of the tractor and the push for mechanization after World War II. The registered number of Belgians even dropped to under 200.


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Today's Belgians are typically sorrel or chestnut colored with a white mane and tail. An interesting fact is that the early Belgians were mostly bay but American's preferred the "blond" look and breeders bred for this. The height of these horses usually range from 16.2 to 18 hands and weigh anywhere from 1800 to 2000 pounds. The breed should have short strong legs with very little feathering, "double muscling" over the croup and a wide back. The Belgian is said to have a kind expression. Today's breeders prefer a more elegant looking horse with smoother lines and more slope in the shoulders. It is a sad fact that the life expectancy of a Belgian is only about 14 years.


  • The largest Belgian ever was a stallion named Brooklyn Supreme who weighed 3200 pounds and stood 19.2 hands.
  • The most money ever paid for a draft horse was $112,500 for a two year old Belgian stallion named Captian Jim who sold at the Mid-American Draft Horse sale in 2003.
  • The tallest horse in the world is Big Jake an eleven year old Belgian who stands over 20 hands.

Although mostly used for farming today only by the Amish and Mennonite communities, we are seeing an increase of interest by organic farmers and the logging industry. Loggers find that horses can move around in the woods easier than machinery and cause less damage to the forest floor. Belgians are becoming increasingly popular with trail riders. Their calm temperament makes them a great choice for pulling wagons and hitches. The breed is now making a huge comeback and the registration numbers are up over 4000.


American Paint Horse

The American Paint Horse was first introduced to our country by Spanish explorers in the year 1519. They were easily identified by their unique spotted pattern. They roamed the lands in wild herds, and were eventually captured, starting in the 1800's, by the American Indians who used them for riding horses. The use of horses for riding made hunting and simply travel in general much easier than doing the same tasks on foot. By the 1900's, a group of people became very appreciative of the designated color pattern of the American Paint Horse, and they isolated them so they only bred with other paint horses. Then, in the 1960's, the American Paint Stock Horse Association was formed and officially declared the breed as the "American Paint Horse".

paint horse.jpg The physical characteristics of the American Paint Horse include any coat color plus the addition of white spots. There are three coat patterns that help to identify paint horses even more: Tobiano, Overo and Tovero. Paint horses fit into one of these categories, depending on where the pattern of white falls on their body. The primary American Paint Horse organization is the American Paint Horse Association, which strives to perfect the breed. More information about this association can be found here. If you are more interested in the local and state Paint Horse Clubs, the closest one to state college is the Pennsylvania Paint Horse Club, whose contact information can be found here.



All Thoroughbred lineages can be traced back to three specific sires, The Darley Arabian, The Godolphin Arabian, and The Byerly Turk. All of which were named for their respective owners, Thomas Darley, Lord Godolphin, and Captain Robert Byerly. These three stallions were imported to England from the Mediterranean Middle East at the turn of the seventeenth century to be bred with England's stronger, but less valuable dames. The result was a horse with an unusual combination of great speed, stamina, and grace. These creatures were born to race, and thus the Thoroughbred shaped the sport of horse racing as we know it. Although the Thoroughbred was and continues to be bred primarily for racing, they also found much success in other disciplines such as, dressage, jumping, eventing, cross country, and steeplechasing. As a result of their unique qualities and attributes, few breeds have impacted the equine industry like the Thoroughbred. 

Physical Characteristics:
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The Thoroughbred's physical appearance exposes its 
Arabian ancestry. On average, a Thoroughbred stands just over sixteen hands tall. They possess refined heads with widely set prominent eyes. The head then
ties into a long, lean neck. Also, their withers are high and well-defined. In addition, the Thoroughbred's legs are long and strong, which allows high amounts of muscling to be present. Their unique confirmation enables them to reach speeds up to forty miles per hour. In particular, their hind legs work like springs to propel the body forward as its front legs provide pull. The neck and head are crucial in creating the smooth motion, as they move in unison with the front extremities. Furthermore, the synchronicity assists the horse with its forward motion and increases its arc of flight. In conclusion, the Thoroughbred's physical confirmation and attributes are what ultimately enables them to be best suited for racing as well as other disciplines.

Additional Information:                                                 


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The Clydesdale originated in the Clyde Valley in Clydesdale, Scotland, now known as Lanarkshire between 1715 and 1720 by the 6th Duke of Hamilton. The bred of the horse has been around for over 300 years, where they were first used as warhorses and later became known as draft horses in Scotland on farms.  It is known for the strength and power it has to pull heavy loads from farming equipment to the Budweiser wagon.   They were always seen pulling carts and farming equipment like plows because of their large feet and strong legs that were ideal for walking on hard, cobblestone roads.  They are known for their "cow hocks" and longer legs compared to other draft breeds that helped them fit into the plow furrows so that farmers could use them for agricultural purposes.  The estimated population of the Clydesdale breed is over 5,000 and with its growing popularity, it has an approximation of 600 foals a year.  They are now one of the most popular heavy horses in the world.



·         Females: 16-18 hands, 1,500-2,000lb.

·         Males: 17-19 hands, 1,700-2,200lb.

·         Bred for hauling and farm work, large feet and legs

·         Bay (deep mahogany) and brown color usually with white on the face and legs, sometimes they may be gray, black, or roan

·         Body is adapted for speed but also swift and strong

·         Silky hair on their legs called "feathers"

·         High withers

·         Smart, brave, friendly




In the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany the Holsteiner horse was carefully bred over seven hundred years ago. The ancestors of the modern Holsteiner carried knights into battle. When the use of horses in warfare slowed down, the Holstein proved its versatility and began working the fields. These horses were native mares crossed with Andalusian and Arabian bloodlines. The British Yorkshire Coach and Cleveland Bay were also crossed into the bred when they once again switched careers and became coach horses. These two breeds added refinement and gave the breed its high motion. Today's Holsteiners also have Thoroughbred and Selle Francais bloodlines to give us the modern riding horse. Originally the breeding of the Holsteiner was carefully managed by monk but eventually private breeders took over. 
The breeding of Holsteiners is carefully controlled. The mares are especially regulated. They are evaluated under the following catagories: type, movement, and legs. In 1885 the very first Holstein mare inspection was held and each mare was given a "stamm number" which are passed on to their daughters throughout the generations. Stallions are evaluated for free jumping, movement, and conformation. They must pass an inspection to receive a breeding permit. The naming of foals is also regulated. Fillies name's first letter corresponds to the year they were born and colts first letter is the same as their sires.


Holsteiners are large framed animals. Their temperaments are kind and they are known to be sensible but bold. They typically have a smaller head but a large eye, followed by a long naturally arched neck. They have a long sloping shoulder which lends to their ground covering stride. Holsteiners have strong legs and are known to move proudly. Their canter is known to be smooth and balanced. All of these physical features lend well to their athletic careers. Holsteiners dominate the show jumping ring as they are built to compete and perform. They are also used in the dressage ring.

Here are some links of sources and additional information:




  The Appaloosa breed began with the Nez Perce tribe, Native Americans that resided in northwest America.  After the Spanish introduced horses to them, around 1700, the culture of the tribe was completely altered.  The incorporation of horses into their lifestyles enabled impressive capabilities with hunting buffalo, gaining them renowned for both their skill and craftsmanship. Soon, they became the only known Native American tribe to selectively breed their horses, furthering their hunting capabilities and expanding their territories.  The more they learned about the animals, the more they realized that they could reproduce horses that would enhance their abilities to hunt.  
Strength, speed, sure-footedness, and intelligence were the broad traits they attempted to recreate.  From a physical standpoint, they hoped for short manes and tails, prevented them from getting caught in the brush as they raced through the trees.  

  In 1806, Meriwether Lewis, a famous explorer, gave an account of his impressions of the Nez Perce horses; "Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, eligantly [sic] formed, active and durable...some of these horses are pided with large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with black, brown, bey [sic] or some other dark color."   
  It is estimated that about ten percent of the Nez Perce horses had the spotted features that now separate the breed from others.  Settlers, who had never seen this sort of characteristic in a horse before, started to refer to them as "Palouse" horses, for they resided near the Palouse River that runs through Idaho.  When the settlers began to isolate the Natives to reservations, conflicts arose.  The dominating idealism of the time soon resulted in the Nez Perce War of 1877, when settlers overwhelmed their reservation.  The defeat of the tribe resulted in the scattering of their horses.  Most, however, were taken in by the settlers.  

  The name evolved over the years, from "Palousey" to "Appalousey," to finally its official name, "Appaloosa."  The Appaloosa is now the state horse of Idaho!

  Appaloosas characteristically have five different coat color trends:

  1. Leopard -- Large dark spots completely covering a white body
  2. Snowflake -- a dark body with light spots or speckles
  3. Marble -- A light coat covered in small dark speckles
  4. Frost-- A dark coat covered in small light speckles
  5. Blanket -- White on hips and/or loins
  There is some deviation from this five color schemes, for some may be completely solid, or have a very patchy appearance.  Even the skin of Appaloosas has a mottled, irregular pattern to it. They also have eyes similar to humans, having a very white sclera, or area around the pupil, as well as a striped appearance to their hooves. Their height is generally from 14 to 16 hands, and their weight is from 950 to 1250 pounds. They are deep chested, have prominent withers, and a muscular build.  

  Appaloosas have a reputation as being rather stubborn, but they are highly intelligent, agile, willing, and well-dispositioned horses that offer a lot of versatility to the owner.  
For more information, check out the Appaloosa Horse Club site, at!


1.jpgSome History:

The Palomino Horse Association is the original Palomino registry which officially began in California in 1935. Dick Halliday started this by registering his beautiful golden stallion. After he did research for many years on this golden horse he then gained the interest from many people by writing magazine articles. Within a few years he had hundreds of breeders interested in this and specializing in the production of the Palomino!

The first of the Palomino breed in history is still unknown but we do know of many stories going back as far as the Crusades, where it was used as a powerful war horse.  The place of the palomino will probably never be conclusively determined because there a various myths and legends of the beginnings of this golden horse. Paintings and tapestries appear in Europe, Asia, Japanese and Chinese history. They have never been officially recorded until 1935 but most horsemen agree that Palominos have descended from the Arabian and the Barb Horse. 


Defining Physical Characteristics:

  • Coat color- yellow or gold coat (often changes lighter from winter and spring) with white or cream colored mane and tail
  • Dark skin and brown eyes
  • General structure -  light riding type, draft or pony characteristics - usually 14hh-17hh
  • Can be represented in any breed 
  • Used for - any equine sport! Rodeo, western pleasure, English, dressage, jumping, racing, trail riding, and so many more!

For more Information:

American Quarter Horse


      The American Quarter Horse breed was named so by the breed's ability to out run other breeds over distances of a quarter mile or less. This American horse breed surpasses others at sprinting short distances, some horses have been recorded at speeds up to 55 mph. The American Quarter Horse Association is one of the largest breed registries in the world, having more than 5 million horses registered. This breed is not only famous for its sprinting speeds but also for its performance. The Quarter Horse is a very versatile breed, stretching across the Equine Industry from the racetrack to the show pen, from ranch work to children's animal. 

      The breed originated along the eastern portion of the United States in the 17th century. The breed came about by crossing the English Thoroughbred with the then "native" horses that were decedents of the Spanish Conquistadors, who brought over Lberian, Arabian, and Barb stock. The result of crossing the Thoroughbreds to the native horses was a stocky, hardy, and quick horse that was used as a work animal during the week and could run races on the weekends.

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As time went on the pioneers pushed westward in the 19th century they needed hardy and willing horses. Out on the plains those moving westward come upon more descendants (mustangs) from Spanish Conquistadors. As the 'Colonial' Quarter Horse was crossed with the mustangs, the new crossbreed was found to have 'cow sense' and soon became very popular with cattle ranchers. 

Breed Characteristics: 

      Some distinctive characteristics that the modern American Quarter possesses are that they have a short refined head accompanied with a short muscular neck and strong abundantly muscled body. The body of a Quarter Horse features a broad chest and powerful hindquarters. The typical Quarter Horse can be anywhere from 14-16 hand in height, although due to breeding for specific disciplines some halter-type and Hunter-type horses may mature to a height of 17 hands. There are two main body types within the Quarter Horse Breed, the Stock-type and Hunter/Racing-type.


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The Shock-type Quarter Horse is shorter, stockier,and more compact yet still very well-muscled and agile. The Stock-type horse is most often used in Reining, Cutting, and Western Pleasure due to its stocky build that is accompanied with its quick, nimble movements and very powerful hindquarters.


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The Hunter/Racing-type Quarter Horse is taller and smoother muscled than a Stock-type animal and they resemble the Thoroughbred. A Quarter Horse race horse is bred to sprint short distances of anywhere from 220-870 yards and to do so they need longer legs and a leaner body than the Stock-type horse.

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     The American Quarter Horse can be nearly any color. The most common coat color is sorrel, a brownish red copper color. Also Chestnut, Bay, Black, Brown, Buckskin, Dun, Palomino, Gray, Red Dun, Grullo, Red and Blue Roans, White, Perlino and Cremello are recognized colors of the AQHA. 

     The American Quarter Horse has so many different abilities and natural talents. These talents make them one of the most versatile breeds that it would take forever to describe all that a Quarter Horse could do. 

Additional Sites for Information:

American Quarter Horse Associatoin 

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