Determing a Horse's Breed
How can you tell what breed a horse is?
Great question, Jennifer! There are well over 100 recognized breeds of horses! Being able to distinguish individual breeds can often be a difficult task, though. For example, when a standardbred horse is standing still, you might think that he’s a thoroughbred but as soon as you see him move in that classic gait, he is easy to identify.
As a general rule, we can look at four horse “types:”
- The cold-blooded horses are heavy boned and less reactive, such as the Clydesdale and Shire.
- Horses who are more finely boned and easily aroused and excited are called hot bloods. Arabians and thoroughbreds fit here.
- In the middle of these two extremes are the more medium-boned and even-spirited horses, known as warm bloods. These horses have an ancestry of “mixed blood,” as they were created from the mixture of cold- and hot-blooded breeds. Trakehner and Hanoverians are good examples of this type.
- A pony is defined by size. If a horse is under 14.2 hands, he or she is a pony.