Did you know that there are over 300 different breeds of horses? Wow! That makes for a lot of variety and a multitude of equine companions. With each breed featuring different characteristics, colorings, and athletic prowess, you’ll surely enjoy learning about the different types of horses. In this blog, we explore five of the most common breeds of horses in the United States and what makes them so special.
American Quarter Horses
With nearly six million Quarter Horses registered by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) since 1940, they are the most popular breed of horse in the United States. Named for their ability to sprint short distances—such as a quarter-mile—they are both athletic and level headed. Originating in the United States, individuals prize the Quarter Horse quickly for their ability to work on the ranch and their capacity to work with cattle. Now, the Quarter Horse can be seen competing in stock horse disciplines, ranch horse competitions, gymkhanas, rodeos, and hunter/jumper classes. They are also a terrific family horse.
The oldest breed of horse, the Arabian horse is the basis of all of the light breeds of horses we know today. With a dished face and high tail set, they are also one of the most recognizable horse breeds. Originating in Saudi Arabia, Arabians were bred for their endurance and ability to traverse the desert with their owners. This also led to them becoming highly personable because the nomads of the desert, known as the Bedouins, often invited these horses into their tents to keep them safe at night. Now, Arabians are a versatile breed that competes in a wide array of disciplines and is especially adept in endurance competitions.
Fun Fact: Arabians have one less rib than every other breed of horse!
Developed in England, the Thoroughbred is well known for its speed. Top-quality Thoroughbreds compete in the “Sport of Kings,” running races such as Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. In addition to their racing careers, people value Thoroughbreds for their athletic prowess. They can be seen competing in various disciplines, including hunter/jumpers, dressage, fox hunting, and eventing.
Bred by the Nez Perce Native American tribe, the Appaloosa is characterized by its highly recognizable spotted coat pattern and striped hooves. Many Appaloosas also featured mottled skin and white sclera around the eyes. Appaloosas can be seen in English and Western riding competitions and are a popular parade mount due to their flashy coloring.
A compact breed that originated in New England in the early 1800s, the Morgan horse was highly regarded for its stocky, strong build and excellent work ethic. Every Morgan horse is a descendent of “Figure,” a stallion owned by the schoolteacher Justin Morgan. They were a popular mount for the cavalry in the Civil War, and their popularity has only grown since then. In 1961, the Morgan was named the Official State Animal of Vermont; the breed was also deemed the Official Horse Breed of Massachusetts in 1970.
No matter what breed of horse steals your heart, you must prioritize proper nutrition and routine care. At Lucerne Farms, we proudly produce quality horse feed products that are appropriate for horses and ponies of all breeds. From Miniature Horses to Draft Horses, and every breed of horse in between, Lucerne Farms Forage has a product for your horse.