Breeders are not the only ones who have the knowledge of different horse breeds. Many horse lovers do, too. The history of horse breeding as well as the features of different breeds are interesting learning that can give you a better understanding of these magnificent creatures.
History of Horses
Let us first examine how the relationship between men and horses has evolved, as this will help us better understand different horse breeds. Believe it or not, horses first became valuable to humans because they produced milk and could be eaten. Later on, however, humans realised that horses were strong and fast and began to use them to carry or draw loads and as a mode of transportation.
Now, horses are no longer just used to do labors. Rather, they are more often kept for sports or leisure riding. Hence, people are breeding horses to serve the different needs by human beings.
What the breeder do is to select specific male and female horses with the desired characteristics to mate, so that the new-born horses will carry the traits desired by us humans. With the success of purposeful breeding, more horses are now bred in planned ways to meet specific needs. A widely known example is the racing horses. In fact, there are different registries around the world that document the various horse breeds.
To know about the different horse breeds is probably a hard mission for an average person, but a true horse-lover can usually tell a lot of the breeds. This is especially true for someone who is fond of horse racing or simply would like to get himself a horse. Often, knowing the breed of your horse would tell you what the horse is capable of doing and whether its price is truly justified.
Despite the vast number of horse breeds, horses are generally placed under three main groups – pony, light, and heavy horses.
The smallest kind of horses are known to us as ponies. As they are so small, some would even not consider them horses at all. Even so, ponies can be as hardy as other horses. Some breeds can carry adult riders and pull heavy loads. Because of their size and mild nature, ponies are often kept as pets by children. Examples of pony breeds are the Shetland and Welsh ponies.
Next to ponies are the light horses. Some of the breeds under this group are the beautiful Arabian and the fast Thoroughbred. Other breeds are the Quarter Horse, Appaloosa and Morgan. These horses are primarily meant to be ridden for fun or for sport. In the past, they were popularly used to pull light wagons, carts, carriages or chaises.
Some horses belong to the heavy group. In the past, these horses were used for war. They were also used for carrying and pulling heavy loads. Heavy horses are therefore ideal for farm work. They are large but have well-formed, powerful muscles, shoulders and legs. Heavy horse breeds include Shire, Clydesdale, Percheron and Lipizzaner.
Keep in mind that even within the same group, different horse breeds can carry very different traits. Hence, it is always important to understand what sets your horse breed apart from the rest.
I do not know what inspired me, but as a young teenager I was quite determined to have a foal. I had a mare and all I had to do was find a stallion and my wish would come true. The sad fact is that no one around me knew any better. Horse breeding costs, in time, in money, in care, there is always a cost involved.
I found two farms in our area that had stallions and both were willing to attempt a cover for free. It would cost me nothing or so I thought. I took my mare to stay with a stallion in his pasture for a couple of weeks hoping that nature would take care of itself. My mare never became pregnant and lost a riding horse for that time.
Young as I was, I just took things in stride, but now that I know better I am quite frustrated with the facts. Had I have known anything about breeding horses I would of at least spent money to have a veterinarian come and inspect my mare. That way we would have known when she was in season.
If you want to breed you really need to spend money. Your mare needs to be in season that means that her reproductive cycle is at the stage where she is most likely to conceive. You can, if you know what the signs are, watch and chart your mare’s cycle to know when to take her to the stallion.
On the other hand if you do not have the knowledge you should have your veterinarian palpate your mare. He will examine her and tell you exactly the day, sometimes the time (morning or afternoon) that she is most receptive. It is money well spent.
The stallion fee is usually the largest sum of money you will part with for breeding. Stallion fees are based upon several factors such as breed, performance and bloodlines.
Bloodlines contain genetic history, who the father (sire) and dam (mother) were and their parents, much like our own family tree. A bloodline is preferred when on both the sire and dam’s side there are horses that have performed and excelled in a discipline.
Stallion fees are usually paid upfront; it is to your advantage to select a stud that offers live foal guarantees. That way if your mare aborts or if the first cover is not successful, you can take your mare back for another cover at no extra cost.
A good horse breeder will have the veterinarian do several visits to the mare to ensure her health and that of the foal. The cost in my opinion is worth it, for example when a veterinarian detects twins during an examination he will be able to remedy the situation which will better your chances of having a live foal.
When cost is not a concern you could choose to stable your mare at the stud and have the trained staff take on the responsibility. They will keep a record of your mare charting her cycle, veterinarian visits, coverings and care. Once your mare is in foal you would arrange to collect her and take her home.
Basic costs of horse breeding include the stallion fee and veterinarian exams for the mare. Other costs to consider are transportation, boarding and veterinarian visits during the pregnancy and after. Once the foal is born you have the cost of his care as well as your mare.
Warmbloods are amazing animals. They are some of the most beautiful horses in the world, with a versatility that is unbelievable. Warmbloods, unlike what many people think, are a true breed. All of the studbooks are closed. What this means is only a horse of that breed can be registered in that studbook. The only exception is individuals of other breeding that are deemed to be able to improve the bloodline of the current breed. This is shown through performance records and the success of offspring in competition. There are various types of Warmbloods:
The Hanoverian’s originate from Germany. There primary use is for dressage and show jumping. These horses are mildly temperamental, with more of a calmness in nature than many horse breeds. The most common coloring in the Hanoverian are Chestnut, Bay and Grey.
The Hanoverian Horse is a well built, well put together horse with much success in the disciplines of dressage and show jumping. This breed tends to be very versatile.
The Holsteiner originates from Germany, usually reaching 16 to 17 hands. These horses are mildly temperamental and are used for show jumping, dressage and reining. They tend to usually be bay in color, but mostly any solid coloring. Most Hosteiners have a defined canter that tends to be very expressive, but lacks an impressiveness at the trot. They are typically well known as excellent jumpers but have made their imprint on the dressage community.
The Dutch Warmblood’s originate from Holland and are very easy going, typically calm in nature. These good tempered horses are built well running around 16 to 17 hands. They are known to excel at whatever discipline they are trained by.
The Friesians originate from Holland and Germany with the studbook now kept in Germany, the FPZ. They are mildly temperamental growing to a huge size of 17 hands. They are primarily used for Dressage and reining but are sometimes seen on the show jumping circuit. These horses are also used for trick training, being widely versatile and very easily trainable. There are distinct characteristics of the Friesians. Baroque, which is mainly upright, with higher action and more feathering with a heavier mane and tail. Traditional, which is heavier and more drafty usually used for driving, and Sport Horse, which is used for all types of riding and driving. These horses are amazing. Very versatile with a very calm temperament for such an enormous horse.
The Swedish Warmbloods originate from Sweden, obviously. They will grow to be 16 to 17 hands. The are used for show jumping, dressage and reining. There coloring is all solid, predominantly Chestnut. The Swedish Warmbloods are one of the youngest warmblood breeds , so true “type” is not quite defined. Mainly having solid movements, with the conformation and their temperament being highly variable.
The Trakheners originate from Poland and East Prissuia. They tend to be a little more temperamental than a lot of other warmbloods. They are used for dressage, jumping and eventing. Coloring is mainly solid with defined characteristics of nice movements with good push from behind. They tend to be a bit stubborn and even difficult at times. Although there are some very lovely Trakheners. This breed possess a strong competitive drive owing perhaps to the large amount of Thoroughbred blood most carry.
The Oldenburgs originate from Germany. They grown to the large size of 16 to 17 hands. These horses are very calm and loveable. There coloring is solid but any color. They are primarily used for dressage and jumping. They were the first studbook with an American Division. Interestingly enough, all American Warmbloods approved by the ISR are registered as Oldenburgs, regardless of their actual parentage.
The Andalusians originate from Spain. They are smaller in height, ranging from 14.3 to 16 hands. They are used for dressage, bullfighting, parades and trick training. They come in solid colors, including mulberry. Bay and grey are the most common. Black and Dun are the least common. Andalusians are classically styled Baroque horses. They have thick manes and tails and tend to have high , lofty actions for their size. The Spanish Olympic Team was comprised entirely of Andalusians for the 2000 Games.
Horses are an amazing animal, no matter what the breed or bloodlines. They love their owners and one forms an attachment to their horse like no other. I couldn’t imagine my life without my horse.
If horses are your passion, it is relatively easy for you to identify various breeds of horses. What is more, you will not find it hard to train or take care of them. There are more than one hundred varieties of this animal. All of them have different traits which require specific care and attention in order for you to get close to them. If you do not know anything about horses, training or rearing them will be really difficult. This is the reason why you need to study or know more about them before you think of buying one. If ever you decide right away and you are not prepared, you will end up with a hind-leg kick from your horse.
Comprehending horses means that you have to delve into the relationship that you have with your horse. Compared to other farm animals, the former has always been very special to the humans. Even in the past, the horses are relied upon for different things. They are depended upon for transportation, for milk, for entertainment, for companionship, and sadly for some, food. If several years ago horses are used mostly to carry or lug heavy loads, this animal is now kept for leisure purposes or sports. The most common places that you will get to see horses are farms, ranches, and racing stables. When it comes to a specific breed, you have to buy a horse which you know fits your requirements accordingly. If you want to acquire the right variety for your children, you should choose a horse which is gentle and sweet. On the other hand, the best breed for horse racing is one which is fast and swift.
Horses for sale are common nowadays, what with the huge number of individuals wanting to buy their own. While you can look into your options when you visit farms, there is a more convenient way of checking out selections. This is possible when you check out online sites that offer free classified listings. One of these sites is HorseClicks, which provides photo classifieds of various horse breeds. You can take a pick from Arabian horses, Thoroughbred, Appaloosa, Quarter, Buckskin, Paint, and other breeds. The classified listings of Horses Click provide information such as the name of the horse, age, date of birth, gender, breed, color, height, and price. There is also a comment on the traits of the horse and what it has accomplished.
Through the free photo classifieds of HorseClicks, you will be able to find the perfect horse breed. There are three general classifications of horse varieties. These are heavy, light, and pony. Heavy breeds have well-developed muscles, legs, and shoulders. They are suitable for farm chores, especially with the pulling of heavy carts. Examples of this breed are Percheron, Shire, and Clydesdale. On the other hand, light breed horses are useful for racing, riding, carriage-drawing, and rounding up of cattle. These horses are sleek, swift, and tall. Common examples of this breed include the Arabian, Appaloosa, Quarter, and Thoroughbred. The last breed would be ponies, which are suitable as pets or companions for children. Their size is small and their nature gentle. Common examples are Welsh and Shetland.
While most people are familiar with many of the pure breeds of horses, there are many interesting crossbreds. Each breed has its own benefits, and it is not unusual for people to try to get the best of both breeds by crossing them. The following are some common crossbreds and their usual characteristics.
Most Arabian crosses are designed to refine the horse, without adding much height. Arabians are known for being highly sensitive and intelligent horses, who can be a bit flighty or silly at times. Most of the breeds they are crossed to tend to be solid citizens who could use a bit more pep. Many Arab crosses make excellent all-round horses who do well for children and for pleasure. Some make excellent dressage horses or hunters, combining the beautiful Arab movement with the solid personality of their crosses.
Some of the most common Arabian crosses include the Morab (Morgan x Arabian), the Quarab (Quarter Horse x Arabian) and the Arapaloosa (Appaloosa x Arabian). Another common Arabian cross is the Anglo Arabian (Thoroughbred x Arabian). Anglo Arabians are unlike the other crosses in that they are highly sensitive, have good height, and are excellent athletes. The cross has been so well established in France, that it became the foundation of their Selle Francais breed. Arabians also cross very well with some pony breeds such as Welsh Ponies.
Thoroughbreds are the most common horses to see crossbred into other breeds. Adding size and refinement, the Thoroughbred is an amazing athlete who generally produces crossbreds with excellent performance potential.
One of the most popular Thoroughbred crosses is the Appendix Quarter horse. Not only are half-breds accepted as Appendix Quarter Horses, a high percentages of Thoroughbred blood is permitted in the registry.
Smaller thoroughbreds are also crossed onto many pony breeds to produce pony-sized offspring with horse-type bodies. This type is highly popular in the hunter ring. Many successful ponies that near the highly desirable 14.2hh size are in fact part Thoroughbred.
Many breeders like to cross Thoroughbreds to draft horses. These crosses are lighter weight than drafts, and are well suited to riding. Many draft crosses become field hunters, but some of the more refined crosses become good performance horses.
Appaloosas are hardy horses who are renowned for their unusual coloring. Some breeders like to cross other types of horses to Appaloosas to attempt to get the Appaloosa coloring on a horse while retaining the type of the breed they are crossing to. Arapaloosas are the Arabian x Appaloosa cross mentioned earlier, but other popular crosses include Pintos (Pintaloosa) and Tennessee Walkers (Walkaloosa).
A cross between a Shetland pony and an Appaloosa mare produced the colourful Pony of the Americas, now an established breed.
Some people enjoy crossing the highly popular gaited breeds, such as Tennessee Walkers, to other breeds. They try to retain the gait, but gain the size, substance or coloring of the other breed. Some gaited crosses include the National Show Horse (Arabian x Saddlebred) and the Tennuvian (Tennessee Walker x Peruvian Paso).
No matter where you look, you will see other types of crossbred horses. Some are popular enough that breed registries have been formed for them. Others are still rare. While many breeders consider crossbreds to be no different than grade horses, others will defend their crossbred “breed”, claiming that it has as much validity as other breeds. Either way, you can find a cross of almost anything if you look hard enough.
The American Quarter Horse is the first breed of horse native to the United States. The breed evolved when the bloodlines of horses brought to the New World were mixed. Foundation American Quarter Horse stock originated from Arab, Turk and Barb breeds. Selected Stallions and Mares were crossed with horses brought to Colonial America from England and Ireland in the 1600′s. This combination resulted in a compact, heavily muscled horse that evolved to fill the colonists passion for short distance racing.
Nature itself has always had an impact and influence on breeding over the years. In the wild only the strong survived, horses roamed free and were unprotected by man. The stallion (male leader) fought other stallions to protect and maintain his herd. Any weakness threatened his entire lifestyle.
Today man has a major role in breeding, no longer is the need for strength and survival so important. Rather we are able to do selective breeding for traits such as color, breed, conformation and athletic ability.
When horses were first domesticated we either needed them for transportation or as work animals to help on farms. All work was demanding of the horse and man saw what he needed from horses.
Certainly no thoroughbred should endure pulling a tank in the snow for weeks on end.
A heavy set horse is far better suited for that job. And so began the mixing and mingling of bloodlines and breeds.
As we have progressed in life with conquering new lands so we have taken our trusted steed along for the ride. Horses that travelled to distant lands were bred with the native horse of that land. A new breed evolved and man bred to refine the qualities and characteristics.
Horse breeding is natural, but not all horses are meant to be bred. In order for two to make three we need a stallion (male) and a mare (female) which mate. A mare can only be bred with when she is in season. If the covering (mating) is successful she will give birth to a foal (baby) ten months later.
If you are interested in breeding for what ever personal reason, the best place to begin is with a sound, healthy horse. Generally the stallion owner offers his horses services during the breeding season for a fee. If you want to make money breeding then you certainly need to own a stallion that has good bloodlines, good conformation and temperament.
Those three aspects are essential ingredients for breeding. A mare has a little more elbow room in her requirements. This is only because she is going to produce a single foal per year, whereas a stallion is bred to around 40 mares per season with live cover and a lot more when using artificial insemination.
The resulting foal is definitely a combination of mare and stallion qualities, the stallion does not have more influence in the gene pool. You do not need a top competing mare in order for you to breed for a foal. Any horse owner with a mare can choose to breed.
With that said I do not mean that any horse owner should choose to breed. If you are interested in breeding become educated in horse breeding first. Talk to people who have bred, visit stud farms and learn about the industry.
Horse breeding is a fascinating and wonderful career. If you cannot afford the stud fee for the top horses you could investigate working on the stud farm. There are a number of studs that offer benefits and incentives to staff which can include a free service to a mare.
When deciding to breed your horse, know what kind of horse you would like from the match. Know the rules of the horse breed, some horses will not be accepted into the breed registry without specific traits like color. Always look for a stallion that compliments or improves on the qualities of your mare.
Contrary to what some people believe, not every horse is an ideal candidate for barrel racing. Though there are fewer particulars than there are when looking for a Thoroughbred that will be a winner on the race track, there are a number of different characteristics that will be found in great barrel horses. Temperament can play a role in the success of barrel horses just as much as the horse’s skills, character, training and lineage.
You read that right – even with barrel horses, you’ll find that one of the major considerations that many buyers have is the lineage of the horse. A barrel horse’s bloodlines can help to identify how successful past generations in the line were, what the horse was bred for and can provide a sense of what the horse will be able to accomplish during the race.
Of course, more than the bloodlines, most buyers find that, with barrel horses, it is about the build and health of the horse. A good barrel horse has legs that are straight, and if you’re buying a horse that’s already been raced, you will want to be sure that its legs are free of any bumps or external scars. It’s important to be sure that the horse’s hooves are healthy, that its back is strong and that the horse is flexible and athletic.
To some extent, you will be able to tell whether or not horses for sale are healthy based on looks, however, before you make a commitment to making a purchase it is usually a good idea to have a veterinarian check to make sure that there’s nothing underlying that cannot be seen by the human eye.
If barrel horses have been worked with by trainers to get them ready for the sport, you will want to gather information about the trainers and their experience. The trainers, much like the horse’s lineage, can tell you a lot about whether the horse that you are looking at is going to be ideal when you’re looking for barrel horses that you will be able to take around the country to ride at events with the hopes of – someday – competing in some of the sports’ biggest competitions.
On the other hand, if you only plan to participate in a race or two during the local rodeo season, you’re likely to find that you are looking for a very different horse. Yes, the animal’s health and build will still be important to you, but you won’t want to focus as much on professionally trained barrel horses. Choosing a horse that is good for overall riding as well as barrel racing can, quite possibly, save you $20,000 or more.
In either case, you are going to want to focus more on the health and build of the horse than on the coloring and markings – characteristics that those who are looking for a horse for afternoon rides can focus on a bit more. When you are looking at horses for sale and trying to find barrel horses, you’ll want to focus your attention on Quarter Horses which are great at running at high speeds in short bursts, or, if you prefer, Pintos and Paints.
Whichever horse you choose as your barrel horse, it is important to recognize that you won’t just be heading into the ring to compete. In order to keep barrel horses ready – and to get them ready if they haven’t previously been used for barrel racing – you are going to need to focus on building the horse’s lung capacity with long trotting on a regular basis. A good goal to set for barrel horses that you are conditioning is the ability to keep a fast pace for six to eight miles at least three days a week.
To that end, keep in mind that conditioning barrel horses is not just exercise for them; it’s also exercise for you.
It is natural to believe that wild horses have “always” roamed America’s Western States, but that simply is not the case. Horses were native to North America until the end of the last ice age, 10-12,000 years ago, and then they died out.
It took the joint actions of Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortez, to bring horses back to North America. In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought horses from Spain to the West Indies, during his second voyage to the Americas. In 1519, the Spanish conquistador Cortez brought horses to the mainland, as the captain of the third Spanish expedition.
Horses arrived in North America, by way of Mexico and Florida, as a tool of the Spanish conquistadors and were used to great effect by Cortez in the defeat of the Aztec empire.
Many horses went wild after their riders were killed. Other horses escaped from their corrals, and many more horses were integrated into Native American societies. Within just a few decades, horses had migrated from Mexico and Florida and entered into the North American interior.
The History of American Horse Breeds
Nearly all of the horses currently running wild in the ranges of the Western United States hailed from the Iberian Peninsula of Southwestern Europe, in a region defined by modern day Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations suggests that there are 17 individual horse breeds that can be defined as “Iberian horses”. Three of the breeds hail from Portugal and the remaining 14 originated in Spain. Most of the Iberian horse breeds are considered to be Baroque horses, comprised mostly of horses of Andalusian, Arabian and Barb ancestry.
Many of the Native American tribes became master horse breeders, most importantly, the Comanche, the Shoshoni, and the Nez Perce nations. Through selective breeding by the Native American tribes, the first truly American horse breed was the Appaloosa.
The wild horses of the Western United States are actually more accurately referred to as horses that have gone “feral”, or horses that were once domesticated and now are wild. Just as there is a huge population of feral dogs near the big cities of America, most notably near Miami, Florida, there is also a substantial population of feral horses in America.
Free-Roaming Horses Eventually Required Protection From Congress
In 1900, it was estimated that there were as many as two million free-roaming horses in the United States. During the early years of the twentieth century, the free-roaming horse population was severely diminished through a combination of factors including the capture of horses for use in the military, and more revoltingly, by companies who killed the horses to make dog food.
By the 1970′s, the plight of wild horses in the United States had attracted the attention of the U.S. Federal Government. This newly focused attention eventually led to the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
In recent years, it has been estimated by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management that there are as many as 29,000 feral horses and burros on BLM-managed lands in ten western states. The ten Western U.S. states that have feral horses running wild includes: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
It is estimated that more than half of the wild horse population resides in Nevada, and Montana and Oregon are the other states with significant wild horse population numbers. There is another few hundred head of wild horses free-roaming in Alberta and British Columbia, in Canada.
Through the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the Bureau of Land Management has the responsibility of managing the numbers of wild horses and burros, to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. Within the mandate of the BLM, they are responsible to manage the herd numbers of wild horses and burros that roam the American West.
The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption and Sale Program
Wild horses left to their own wits can literally double their population within four short years, provided that drought and wildfires do not diminish their numbers naturally. Horses do not have natural predators within the rangelands of North America, so their numbers will generally run unchecked without BLM intervention.
The beauty of the 1971 law is that as the BLM culls horses and burros from the wild population, those horses and burros will become available for adoption and sale through the BLM program to individuals and groups willing and able to provide humane, long-term care to these beautiful animals.
To learn more about the adoption of purchase of horses or burros, you can visit the Bureau of Land Management website at: http://www.blm.gov or give them a call at: (866) 4MUSTANGS. You can actually adopt and purchase feral horses through the BLM program in states on both sides of the Mississippi River. Sales are held yearly throughout the South, the West and even in Illinois.