Hanoverian Horse Temperament and Personality

Hanoverians are one of the oldest warm-blooded breeds that exists in the world today. They were originally bred to be a carriage horse, though there have been Thoroughbred lineages added to the breed over the years that make it a good competition horse as well. These horses are agile, athletic, and are graceful.

These traits are combined with personality traits that are more similar to cold-blooded breeds than those that are warm-blooded. The typical Hanoverian is a bold horse, but intelligent with the choices that it will make. Most are sensible with their attitudes toward humans or their herd, while having a willingness to train or work that is atypical of many warm-blooded breeds. That is why they are so popular for dressage, along with recreational riding or mounted activities.

The History of the Hanoverian Horse Temperament

Developed in Germany, there was a need to have a horse that was versatile enough for farmers with limited income or resources. With the right horse, they could have a worker who could be out in the fields plowing, yet still be able to drive the carriage if the family needed to go into the town. That is why this is one of the oldest breeds that is still actively managed in the world today.

The temperament is remarkably calm for such a warm-blooded breed and its history. It’s calmness was initially bred into the horses so that it could transition from activity to activity with ease, but in the 19th century, this calm temperament also made Hanoverans the perfect war horse in Europe.

Since the end of World War I, the breed’s temperament has evolved more into a horse that is willing and easy to train. It has transitioned from being a work horse into a performance horse. You’ll still see some attitudes that are reflective of the older days, especially when the lineage comes from a rural area, but for the most part, the Hanoverian is an athletic and strong horse breed that has some fire within its personality.

That fire, however, can be controlled effectively well when the right owner or handler comes along for each individual horse.

Personality Traits in the Hanoverian Horse Temperament

When you see a Hanoverian for the first time, what stands out are the clean and muscular lines of the breed. Once you approach the horse, you’ll notice how patient the breed tends to be with others. They tend to be somewhat docile in their interactions, but approach work, training, or a ride with a specific fierceness that few breeds can match.

They’re able to take this fierce approach to work because of how discipline most individuals are with their temperament. They keep their new traits or skills and continue to build upon them on a regular basis. Hanoverians also implement what they’ve learned with a consistency that is almost unmatched when comparing them to other warm-blooded horses.

There are negative behavior traits that can develop in certain individuals over time within this breed. For the most part, negative behaviors are the result of boredom with this horse. Hanoverians like to be active on a regular basis. If they are kept in a stall or turned out in small areas, then their energy gets the best of them and the negative traits will begin to show.

For inexperienced owners, the intelligence of this breed can also be challenging. These horses shouldn’t be left on their own to figure out new skills. They are incredibly crafty, able to figure locks, latches, and even weaknesses that may be in a fence. 

These traits also grow in Hanoverians that are kept on their own. It is a breed that is extremely social, so horses that are kept alone need to have regular human interactions to maintain their positive personality traits. Without a stall-mate and regular tending, the characteristics which are so prized within the Hanoverian horse temperament will  slowly fade away.

What to Know About the Hanoverian Breed

Hanoverians are usually patient as a breed, though there are individuals who will become stubborn and impatient at the drop of the hat. They are quick horses who think on their feet and the troublemakers within the breed use their intelligence to look for “alternative” ways to have some fun – often at your expense. 

Hanoverians are known to be practical jokers. You can tell if it was a prank or a negative behavior trait based on the body language of the horse. If your Hanoverian seems to be laughing at you, then you’ve been had. If not, you might consider changing the environment for the horse.

If you have some experience with horses, most will be able to handle the temperament of the Hanoverian breed. Most make for good riding horses.

What you need to watch for within this breed are three specific health issues.

  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Wobbler Syndrome

Up to 1 in 4 horses within the Hanoverian breed may experience one or more of these issues. Because of the rigorous testing which occurs within this breed, those with health issues are usually restricted from breeding so that the lineage of the breed can continue to improve. 

These health issues are more common within the Hanoverian breed than most others. The presence of one of these concerns can alter the temperament of the individual horse as well. You’ll see signs of distress develop over time, with high levels of discomfort creating a horse that will be agitated and defensive. Treating the health issues can ease the symptoms the horse experiences, which can then begin to restore the true personality of the individual.

These horses are very talented and can perform multiple tasks with relative ease, even if they have been shown limited training. They pick up jumping and general riding skills quickly and many love the challenge that a dressage competition presents. Their abilities as a breed are one of the primary reasons why this breed is such a popular one. 

Is the Hanoverian Breed Right for You?

One of the issues that owners and handlers face within the Hanoverian breed is the cross-bred genetics that are occurring right now. In an attempt to alter the health issues that this breed faces, there have been instances where negative behavior traits have become the norm. Certain individuals may even become overly aggressive as the cross-breeding temperament overwhelms the desired Hanoverian traits.

On the whole, however, the Hanoverian breed is considered to be one of the best family horses that you can find right now. They are consistently patient, have strength and energy to spare, and enough speed to create an exciting trail ride. Assuming that the breeding patterns remain as they are, with the occasional exception to the rule, the Hanoverian horse temperament is one that is highly valued and will continue to be as the years pass by.

12 Heavy Horse Breeds

Heavy horse breeds are often tied to a specific location. Certain regions of the world have specific breed preferences because of the unique environmental conditions where the horses would have been working in the past. Though heavy horse breeds are not needed for drafting purposes as often today, the regional preferences still exist.

For that reason, there are several heavy horse breeds which are unfamiliar to many. Here are some that may be more unfamiliar than the Clydesdale, Shire, or Suffolk.

#1. Italian Heavy Draft

This heavy draft horse is one of the more recent additions to this type of breed. Its developed can be traced to 1860 and has continued since by focusing on domestic Italian horses. It is a versatile breed that has helped to improve local stock, while having a horse that can be competitive in pulling and harness events.

Since the 1970s, selective breeding programs have focused more on meat production than competitive or riding preferences. The Italian Heavy Draft is considered more of a livestock animal regionally than the traditional definition of a horse.

#2. Freiberger

This heavy draft horse had its foundations established in the 17th century, but it never really had any guidelines or conformations established. It wouldn’t be until the 1800s when it would become established as a formal breed. This horse tends to be one of the smaller heavy breeds, especially with recent breeding efforts to cross Alsatian genetics into the bloodlines.

The studbook has been closed since 1997 and a better overall set of guidelines has been established. For competition purposes, Freibergers tend to excel in harness events. Some individuals with Thoroughbred bloodlines in their lineage can also compete in some racing events. 

#3. Posavac

This breed was developed in Croatia in a region that runs along the Sava River. It has often been used for pulling wagons because of its strength, though the size of the horse is somewhat diminutive. It is usually less than 15 hands and weighs about 1,200 pounds. The head and neck are short and small, but the body of this breed is very stocky and muscular. The shoulders are deep and broad. 

Like many heavy horse breeds, the temperament of the Posavac is easy-going, patient, and obedient. This horse prefers an environment where hard work is available on a regular basis.

#4. Rhenish-German Cold Blood

In the Rhineland, local farmers were struggling to work their fields. Their horses were just not powerful enough to work the heavy soils that were in the region. Seeing the heavy draft horses from other regions, the communities got together to import Shires, Suffolks, and Clydesdales to breed with their local stock.

The result would be this unique heavy draft horse. Used for farm work and pulling wagons, the aftermath of World War II almost destroyed this breed. More than 50 years of division prevented any interbreeding, which allowed three distinct sub-groups to develop. These sub-groups are now genetically distinct from one another, but still considered to be part of the same overall breed.

#5. Soviet Heavy Draft

This heavy horse breed was established in the 1940s, but its foundation was started in the late 19th century. Multiple regions were used to begin the breeding process for this horse, allowing for a wide range of genetic diversity. Belgian, Suffolks, and Percherons were used to incorporate the desired genetics for a heavy Russian horse.

This breed generally stands above 15 hands and can weigh over 1,700 pounds. Soviet Heavy Drafts have a pronounced jaw, a lean profile compared to other heavy breeds, and a back that is wide and strong.

#6. Jutland

This endangered breed has an estimated population of just 1,000. They are calm, like most cold-blooded breeds, but there is also a playful energy to them that makes Jutlands more active than most heavy breeds. Used to transport heavy goods, it was one of the best horses anyone could how for heavy draft work. Even the US Government promoted the benefits of owning this breed at the turn of the 20th century.

The actual origin of this breed is shrouded in mystery. Some believe that Jutlands came from the lineage of Viking horses that were brought to Great Britain in the 9th century. There is some belief that the origins could date back to ancient Roman horses. Most of the horses in this breed today are used for urban work or bred for horse shows. 

#7. Latvian

This is one of the few warm-blooded heavy horse breeds. Bred specifically for harness work and racing, purpose-driven breeding since the 1960s have transformed this breed into more of a sporting horse. It is a horse that is average in height, but weighs more than 1,300 pounds on average. 

Ten different breeds were used to establish the foundation of the Latvian in 1890. This included Oldenburg’s, Hanoverian, and Holsteiner horses. Some of the harness-type horses still exist, though most of the breed has transitioned to a lighter, more sporting type of horse thanks to Arabian and Thoroughbred infusions that occurred through 1970.

#8. Noriker

This Austrian heavy horse breed comes from the Alpine region. Legend has it that the breed came out of the highest mountain in Austria, called the Grossglockner. What is unique about this breed is its coat, created because of 5 different sire lines that are within the Noriker breed. Standing up to 16 hands and weighing around 1,700 pounds, the coat is dependent on the line.

It is the Elmar Line that is most distinctive. Most of the Norikers from this line are leopard spotted and have the appearance of an Appaloosa. Some of the other lines produce smaller horses, while others were created to for specific working purposes. About half of all Norikers belong to the Vulkan Line, which was established in 1887, and tends to be the heaviest of the lines.

#9. Murakoz

This is a smaller heavy horse breed that was developed in southern Hungary. Although it may not be classified as a heavy draft horse in other nations, it is the established breed of this type for Hungary. Much of the initial breeding for this horse breed occurred around the farms that hug the Mura River. Ardennes, Percheron, and Noriker lineages were brought together with native mares and a handful of stallions to establish this breed.

It does stand at 16 hands, though the weight tends to be more toward the generalized average for all horses. What is notable about this horse is that it has a high work output with extremely low care requirements. The breed matures young as well, allowing horses to begin working sooner than other draft breeds.

#10. Vladimir Heavy Draft

This horse is a strong all-around draft horse, coming out of the former Soviet Union. It is the heaviest of all the Russian breeds, with stallions weighing up to 1,700 pounds and standing above 17 hands on average. Mares average 16 hands and about 1,600 pounds. This breed has a distinguished look, with a Roman nose, supported by a face that is long and quite large.

The temperament of this horse is very calm, but it does have an active gait and a headstrong personality when it comes to work. Most of the horses are bay in color, but chestnut and black are possibilities. White markings on the legs and face are believed to be influenced by Clydesdale bloodlines.

#11. Finnish Horse

This breed is strongly muscled and dry, with solid hooves and a sturdy bone structure. It is a versatile heavy breed, though on the lighter side of this category, making it a good candidate for racing, riding, and general work needs. Early examples of this breed in Finland date back to around 1400 AD, though an official studbook was not established until 1907.

This breed stands at an average of 15 hands, though there are pony versions that are licensed and registered in a separate section of the studbook. There are two other specific breed sections in the studbook as well, with each having distinctive breeding goals. Horses can be registered in multiple sections at once.

The Finnish Horse is also one of the fastest cold-blooded horses which excel at trotting. Many are still used for harness racing.

#12. Comtois

This may be one of the oldest proven heavy horse breeds. It is believed that the Comtois was brought from Germany to France around 300 AD. Breeding programs have existed since the 6th century. They have been used for agricultural work, as war horses, and for hauling wood. The ancient Comtois was likely very different from the modern, however, because several draft horse bloodlines were bred into this breed, producing a horse with stronger legs and better footing.

These heavy horse breeds have been influenced by some of the more popular cold-blooded breeds. Some stand out with centuries of breeding. Many of these horse breeds are endangered, so action needs to be continue to preserve their history. By doing so, we’ll also be preserving our own history. 
 

12 Chinese Horse Breeds

Horses have had a long history in China. One of the world’s oldest civilizations has kept documentation of horses being used as early at 1600 BC. Chinese horse breeds were generally used for sporting purposes and this tradition lasted for centuries. It wouldn’t be until the 4th century BC that horseback riding would become part of Chinese culture.

Many of the modern horse breeds tend to come out of Europe, but China has been very influential in the development of the equine world as well. Several horse breeds have been maintained over the centuries, creating distinctive looks and temperaments.

Here are some of the top Chinese horse breeds to consider. 

#1. Lijiang Pony

This breed is one of the newest to come out of China. It is currently restricted to the Lijiang District. It is a region that has a varied climate and several areas of high altitude. The Lijiang Pony was developed because, in the days after World War II, a stronger horse than the one native to the region was required for transportation purposes. The local economy was going to crash without a new horse breed being developed.

Several different breeds were introduced to the local pony breed, including Arabian, Ardennes, and other Chinese horse breeds. This crossbreeding program created a pony breed of horse that is about 12 hands and incredibly strong. There is a current population of about 4,000. 

#2. Baise Horse

Sometimes called the Guangxi, this is a pony-sized horse breed that comes from Southeastern China. It prefers to live at higher altitudes and loves to roam open spaces. Adult horses are typically around 11 hands, but the breed has a straight profile and a heavy head. Strong hooves and legs help it handle the sometimes rough terrain of the Guangxi region.

This breed of horse is often included in traditional wedding celebrations in the region. It’s a breed that is willing and able, but also strong and quick. It’s used for recreational riding and as a pack horse today.

#3. Riwoche Horse

This breed came to the attention of the world in 1995. It has a look that seems primitive. Along with its small size, some initially believed the Riwoche horse could be an evolutionary link between the ancient wild horses and the modern domestic horse. That turned out to be an incorrect assumption.

Their unique look is because of narrow nostrils that are reminiscent of a duck’s bill. It has a bristly mane, a beige coat, and many features that look like ancient art that depicts horses.

#4. Tibetan Pony

Found throughout Tibet, this breed is believed to have developed from Mongolian breeds in the past. Oral traditions say that the Tibetan Pony descended from ancient stock, but there is also evidence that shows breeds in the area have been pure-bred for more than 1,000 years. Despite their smaller size, these horses are incredibly strong. It is another pony horse breed that can be used extensively as a draft horse. They are also used for riding and pack work.

Strength isn’t this breed’s only coveted trait. The mountainous region has helped the Tibetan pony to have a remarkable sure-footedness. These horses are also quite resilient and ready to work every day. They have strong legs, solid joints, and are fast enough that they are sometimes used for racing and other forms of competition. 

#5. Balikun Horse

This light horse breed is also used for recreational riding and pack work, but its size also helps it to be used for some draft work as well. It stands at 14 hands on average, with a thick, short neck and a well-muscled frame. The tail is low-set on this breed, but the back is flat and strong. It’s most notable physical trait, however, is its extremely thick coat. Balikun horses are known to live on steppe pastures at temperatures which reach as low as -40F.

Its natural habit is frequently harsh, which has helped the breed develop a superior level of sure-footedness. Balikun horses are often used for transportation purposes because of their ability to carry a heavy pack for dozens of miles every day.

#6. Guizhou Pony

This small pony was developed in a mountainous region of China, with a history of agricultural work that dates to around 800 BC. Trade in the area focused on salt and horses, which made the Guizhou Pony a highly-sought commodity. Although some other horse breeds have been brought into the region to improve the Guizhou Pony, those attempts have been relatively unsuccessful. It is a breed that is still bred in it pure form and is a native breed.

The horses have a straight profile, a solid build, and a compact stature. Their ears are small and sit up naturally. Two types exist: a riding type and a pack type. Riding Guizhou Ponies have a sloped neck and a chest that has some added depth and width. Their temperament is like that of cold-blooded horses.

#7. Heihe Horse

This breed of horse comes from the border region between China and Russia. It is a land of changing terrain, with tundra and forest biomes both readily available. The average temperature can be quite cold in winter, but quite warm in summer. This makes the region a good agricultural area and has led to the development of the Heihe horse as one of China’s most versatile breeds.

The horse is believed to be descendant from the horses that migrants brought to the area during a 19th century lumber and gold rush that occurred in the region. In 1930, Orlov Trotter bloodlines were added to the Heihe to firm up its conformation. It’s an obedient horse, which is medium in size, and ears that are noticeably long. The hock isn’t usually straight, but it does have short cannons and long forearms.

It has also adapted to the extreme climates that are available in its local region. These horses prefer the cold, often staying outside in temperatures lower than -30F without any health issues.

#8. Xilingol Horse

This horse breed is found in the central regions of Inner Mongolia. It is a light horse breed that is often used for drafting and riding. It is also relatively new as a breed, having been developed in the 1960s. It stands at 15 hands and comes in all solid colors.

#9. Yili Horse

This rural horse breed comes out of Northwestern Xinjiang and is more of a livestock breed for the local population. Outside of riding and milk, these horses are also bred for food purposes. The breed is believed to have originated around 1900 through the crossing of Russian horses with local Mongolian breeds. It has withers that are very pronounced with a back that is strong, but short.

In the early days of the breed, the goal was to create more of a trotting horse. With the need for food locally, however, and an added need for equine work, the breed’s focus since the 1960’s has been to create a refined draft-type horse.

#10. Ferghana Horse

This horse breed was one of the earliest imports in the region. Often featured during the Tang Dynasty, the Ferghana Horse is often the breed that is thought of when people think of Chinese horse breeds. Its profile is widely depicted in Chinese art. Emperor Wu of Han China sent tens of thousands of warriors out to the Ferghana region simply to bring back horses. With his first army defeated, he sent a second to negotiate specifically for the horses, which eventually brought 3,000 of them back to stablish this breed.

The Ferghana horse is an ancient breed that does not exist today. One notable feature about the horse was that they were said to sweat blood. It is believed that this was caused by a small worm that would create skin sores that would seep blood without changing the temperament or energy of the horse. 

#11. Guoxia

This breed of horse comes from the prefecture of Baise in Southern China. The name translates to “under fruit tree horse.” It is not currently reported as an official breed, partially because it was thought to be extinct. It was rediscovered in 1981 and has had a breed association established since then to aid in its preservation.

Guoxia horses are gentle, very hardy, and well-rounded. They work well for a child’s mount, but are too small for riding purposes otherwise.

#12. Nangchen Horse

Although this horse has been bred pure since the 9th century, it only came to the attention of the equine world in 1994. These horses are fast and powerful, with traits that are like the hot-blooded breeds. Their ancestry, however, is believed to be free of common source influences like the other Chinese breeds. 

Chinese horse breeds have been pure-bred for centuries. They are uniquely equipped for their local environment and have been an integral part of the local economy. Many are some of the hardiest breeds in the world today. That is why they are such an attractive option for so many, especially since so many new breeds have appeared on the global stage in the last 30 years.
 

Shire Horse Temperament and Personality

Shire horses are a heavy draft breed. They are generally described as being cold-blooded, which means they have a personality that is inclined to want to work. They are generally described as being a docile breed, being both calm and patient in most circumstances. This makes them an exceptional horse for general work purposes and for recreational riding, even though many of them stand up to 19 hands.

Shires originated in England. Their foundation, like most heavy draft horses, is believed to go back to the Destriers. Called the “Great Horse,” the calm disposition of this large horse, along with its ability to not spook easily, made it an attractive war horse for the armies of Medieval Europe.

Over time, as conflicts subsided, the heavy nature of the Shire made it an attractive investment for farmers and those in agricultural work. One Shire could pull a plow, take the family to town, and perform a wide range of jobs. They were often considered to be part of the family, with some even getting to live in the home with their owners. This led to the development of a close relationship between this breed and humanity which still exists today.

How Has the Shire Evolved Over the Last Century?

The last century has brought about several incredible technological changes. We’ve gone from using horses for carriage work and driving to driving automobiles. Farmers use tractors instead of horse-drawn plows. Lumberjacks have heavy equipment to haul logs now instead of relying on the strength of a Shire.

These changes have threatened all the heavy draft breeds, including the Shire. This has led breeders to work on refining the breed so that it can be adapted to the modern world. There is still a need for a work horse, especially in difficult areas where mechanized equipment cannot go, but those areas are growing fewer with each passing year.

Today’s Shire has had Clydesdale influences to help it become taller and improve the quality of the feathering. There has been an emphasis to include show ring qualities with this breed as well, including hock action, knee action, and added height.

Yet the Shire horse temperaments have remained virtually the same throughout the entire improvement process. It is still a calm and gentle breed. There will always be individualistic exceptions to that rule, of course, but in general terms, the Shire is an excellent family horse that is ready and willing to put in a good day of work.

What to Expect with a Shire Horse

The Shire is one of the largest heavy draft breeds in the world today. Several Shire horses have been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest horse in the world. One of them is a horse named Sovereign. In 2013, he was measured at just over 20 hands, making him the tallest horse in the country and competitive with the world record holder.

Sovereign is just 0.75 inches shorter than the current world record holder. Because Shires can keep growing well after their seventh birthday, there is always a chance that a new record holder could be crowned.

Despite this propensity for size, breeders are seeking to create horse that are even bigger. The goal is to create horses that have a gentle disposition, but an imposing presence, so that the best of both worlds can be obtained. You have a massive horse that is friendly and gentle, but will also be very difficult to ignore because of its size.

This size gives the Shire an incredible pulling strength. A team of Shire horses has the potential to pull several tons of weight. Assuming both horses are around 1.25 tons in weight, it is possible for a team to pull over 10 tons over a lengthy distance.

Part of the reason why this pulling strength exists is because the physical makeup of the horse. Shires have wide shoulders and a long neck for a draft horse, which gives them some added leverage when it comes to driving. Their legs are muscular and very clean. Their hocks are set in such a way that they can achieve maximum leverage, especially with their hooves that are oversized and round.

Don’t Be Fooled by an Easy-Going Shire Horse

Shires are known for being easy-going horses. They take life in stride and offer respect before receiving it. Many refer to them as “gentle giants.” The respect that they offer, however, does have its limits.

Shires have a desire to understand what it is that they are doing. They’ll respond to commands because they trust their owners or handlers, but at some point, they also wish to understand why the command is being issued in the first place. Without this information, you can find a Shire can become very stubborn.

Unlike other horse breeds that become stubborn when they sense a perceived lack of respect, there is rarely any aggression that comes from a Shire. This breed uses its size to its advantage. You’re not going to force a 3,000-pound horse to go anywhere or do anything it has decided that it doesn’t want to do. Shires tend to stand still and refuse, putting the onus on the owner to provide an explanation.

And they might not choose to move unless that explanation is received or there is a treat sensed somewhere.

Because Shires are not easily spooked, it can be difficult to overcome this form of stubbornness as well. The goal that most Shire horses have is to be a faithful companion. They are generally well-mannered and work hard, but they will not put up with an owner who doesn’t offer respect in return. 

Shire horses are very hardy as well, partially due to their size, but their coat helps a lot as well. They can handle harsh environments, the cold in particular, and they don’t mind being asked to work in difficult locations, like a wetland lumber harvest.

The feathering on a Shire has improved over the past few generations, but moisture and debris still tends to get caught in this part of the coat. Unless addressed, this moisture and debris can affect the integrity of the skin. Shires are stoic horses, but they will show discomfort in this circumstance and may become fidgety or show irritation in other ways.

The Shire horse temperament is one that is highly coveted by horse owners around the world. With the desire to work that only a cold-blooded breed can provide, these calm horses provide a wonderful addition to any family. They are loyal, protective, and willing to do what it takes to maintain a relationship. 

Haflinger Horse Temperament and Personality

Haflingers are one of the most tolerant horse breeds in the equine world today. They are known to be extremely quiet, gentle, and willing to learn. It is a breed that will support a beginning rider or listen to the commands of someone with expertise with relative ease. They are outgoing, extremely friendly, but they are also very sensitive.

That sensitivity has led to some misconceptions about the Haflinger horse temperament. Here are some of the key points that you’ll want to know about this horse breed. 

#1. Haflingers are incredibly intelligent. 

Most Haflingers are above-average when it comes to their overall intelligence. This allows the horse to be able to learn new skills or tasks very quickly during a training session. It also means they’re lots of fun to work with on a regular basis because they catch on so quickly.

This high intelligence does present some challenges. Haflingers are very adept at managing their environment. They can learn how to open gates, for example, all on their own. Their ease to pick up a new skill can also be a way to develop a bad habit before you realize it is happening.

#2. Haflingers can also be quite stubborn.

Haflingers know that they are smart. This means there is a certain stubbornness to their temperament that can be difficult to get through. If they develop a bad habit and that turns into a problematic behavior, it can be difficult to shift the horse’s perspective. In their view, they learned a great new skill and no one can tell them otherwise.

This can lead a Haflinger to believe that their plans are better than your plans, so they stop listening altogether whenever there is a possible trigger around. If the horse decides that being turned out is potentially hazardous to their health, then they’re going to stay in their stall and let you know, in no uncertain terms, that there is nothing you can do about it.

#3. Haflingers can be sweet and gentle, but they can also be aggressive.

The reputation of a Haflinger is that anyone can go up to one, get to know the horse for a couple of minutes, and then go out for a ride. They are sweet and gentle, with many Haflingers being excellent therapy horses. It is their sensitive side that can make this breed turn aggressive.

The tolerance of a Haflinger will only go so far. If you’re learning horsemanship, then this breed will help to teach. If you have poor skills and continue to do so, without any improvement, then eventually the horse is going to say that enough is enough. When that happens, it is not unusual to see a Haflinger try to buck, kick, or simply run away. If the horse feels trapped, biting becomes an option as well.

#4. Haflingers can become very jealous.

It’s good to have a horse that is friendly and willing to learn. It’s not as good to have a horse that is overly friendly and outgoing, not wanting to leave you alone. You’ll find these horses want to establish deep emotional connections with people. They’ll nuzzle your hair, check your pockets for treats, and even attempt to cuddle up next to you. Haflingers have no regard for their size.

This means an overly friendly Haflinger could very well be trying to walk over you because they’re trying to be friends… or at the very least, scoping you out to see if you have a treat. One of the first skills that most Haflingers need to be taught is the concept of personal space. That way you have a command that can be given to let the horse know it has come too close to your personal boundaries.

This command is important to teach because of the sensitivity of the horse. If you’re pushing away a friendly Haflinger, there’s a good chance the horse will feel like this is rejection. Should that happen one too many times for the horse’s liking, you could see more of the aggressive side instead of the sweetness that is so common to the breed.

#5. Haflingers prefer to be led by example.

Many of the training methods that are used in the equine world tend to evolve pain or discomfort. Even when you’re placing pressure on the sides of the horse, you’re creating a physical sensation that is intended to teach the horse a specific movement. Haflingers do not like this concept whatsoever.

The problem here is that Haflingers tend to be very stoic. You don’t really see their emotions unless they are exploding out of the horse. This can cause a handler who isn’t aware of the horse’s reactions to believe that the desired result is being stubbornly avoided, creating a negative cycle through pressure and pain that ultimately results in rebellion.

Haflingers don’t like to be forced into learning a new skill. They like to be led by example. For a Haflinger that doesn’t like to go into a certain area, it may be more beneficial to use a lead horse to show the Haflinger that it is safe. For those who become scared of certain hazards, it may be useful to show them smaller hazards so they can see that there’s nothing to worry about.

Just like you can’t force a horse to drink if you lead them to water, you can’t force a Haflinger to change his mind. You’ve got to show the horse that they’ve made the wrong choice. 

#6. Haflingers require repetition.

The kind disposition of the average Haflinger creates a certain amount of trust within the horse for those who are around. You can ask a Haflinger to go into a trailer and he’ll do it on the first attempt. It isn’t because the horse naturally knows what to do. It is because the horse trusts the command and is willing to give it a go because of the respect it has for your relationship.

This can be mistaken for knowledge and cause the horse to receive a rushed training opportunity. Haflingers need repetition, just like any other breed. That way the Haflinger can understand what you want instead of blindly following what you’re asking to have done.

Without an explanation or understanding, it is very common for the Haflinger temperament to respond with a refusal, rebellion, or aggression. Their kindness and respect will only go so far.

The Haflinger horse temperament makes this breed one of the most sought after family horses in the world today. Like any horse, they can sometimes be unpredictable. With the right training and the establishment of a relationship, however, many find that their Haflinger is one of the sweetest horses they have ever known.
 

12 Gaited Horse Breeds

What is a gaited horse breed?

It is a horse that, through a selective breeding process, has a natural gaited tendency. This means it has an ability to perform one of the four-beat smooth horse gaits that occur at intermediate speeds. Horses with this ability are often referred to as having an “ambling” gait.

There are several breeds which have this gait as a hereditary trait, often through the mutation of a dominant gene. This also means that some naturally trotting breeds may have horses which do not have a gait like their counterparts because of a “purer” set of genetics.

Here are the primary gaited horse breeds today.

#1. Rocky Mountain Horse

The Rocky Mountain horse has a gait where three feet are on the ground at all times. This creates a riding experience that is often described as being “smooth as silk.” These horses tend to be on the smaller side, often between 14-15 hands when fully grown. They are known for a distinctive chocolate coat, but several other color combinations are possible.

Rocky Mountain horses are also known for a loyal and willing temperament. They are extremely intelligent horses who are protective, easy to train, and love to conquer a good challenge.

#2. Standardbred

This horse breed earned its reputation through harness racing. It is one of the few gaited horse breeds that can pace in addition to trotting while keeping the correct gait. The breed has been in North America for about two centuries, with bloodlines traced back to 18th century England. These horses are well-built, solid, and thrive in show events.

You’ll also find Standardbreds used in some racing events, while in the US Midwest and Central Canada, they are also quite popular for recreational riding.

#3. Tennessee Walker

Tennessee Walkers are known for a “flashier” style of movement with their ambling gait. This creates more of a kickout while they are moving, allowing them to have more speed to call upon then other gaited breeds. It is not unusual for horses of this breed to exceed 20 miles per hour without requiring a transition to a gallop. The breed association has worked to develop the gait as a natural component of the horses since 1935.

Because the optics of high-stepping are so important to this breed, laws had to be passed to prevent owners from soring their horses to create the desired effect. It has been illegal in the US to sore a horse since 1970. 

#4. Aegidienberger

This German horse performs a gait that is known as the tolt. It is a relatively new breed of horse, having its breed recognized officially by the equine world in 1994. The breed is the result of a cross between an Icelandic Horse and a Peruvian Paso. This breed is somewhat small at 13-15 hands, but taller than the Icelandic, and it is a very rare breed. There have never been more than 100 horses registered and the inception of a stud book has helped to reduce numbers.

#5. Marwari    

Another rare breed of horse, the Marwari is usually known for its inward-turning ears. It is also a gaited horse breed, with an extremely hard hoof that makes it perfect for packing and riding. You’ll also find this horse being used in rural, unmechanized areas for farm work and drafting. In the past, the calm disposition of the breed also made it a viable war horse from its foundation location in Western India.

The coloration of the Marwari often depends on which region from India its genetic profile originated. Back is rarely found in this breed because it has long been associated with the color of death in local culture, so owning a horse with a black coat was considered to be bad luck. 

#6. Paso Fino

Imported to the Caribbean from Spain, this horse breed has been separated into two different sub-groups today. One family group comes through Puerto Rico, while the other was developed in Colombia. The name of this breed literally means “fine step” and is an accurate representation of its natural four-beat gait that is ambling and lateral.

The first Paso Finos to come to the United States came through purchases by military personnel who were stationed in Puerto Rico. A rancher traveled to Colombia to bring the other sub-group to the US. Although both lines are frequently cross-bred to maintain a viable genetic pool, there is also an emphasis to breed the two strains individually to maintain their purity. 

#7. North American Single-Footing Horse

This gaited horse originates from the southern United States. It always has 3 feet on the ground with its gait, but that does not limit the speed of this light riding horse. On a comfortable trail ride, this horse can easily achieve speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. When riding on flat ground or at road speeds, Single-Footing Horses can achieve 50% more speed while still maintaining their gait.

Influenced by Saddlebreds and Standardbreds, there is also some Spanish influence within this breed. One of the foundational stallions for this breed, named EZD Falcon Rowdy, is also an influential stallion for Racking horses.

For this breed to be registered, it must be shod in plain keg shoes.

#8. Walkaloosa

If you see a Walkaloosa, it is very easy to mistake the horse for an Appaloosa. Their leopard patterning is almost the same to the Appaloosa. It is so similar, in fact, that in the past, Walkaloosas were registered as Appaloosas through the breed registry.

A Walkaloosa is the combination of an Appaloosa and a gaited breed. It has the smoother gait of an ambling horse, with it being an intermediate gait while under saddle. The breed registry was started in 1983 and many horses now are on their third or fourth generation. They will canter and walk with the same ease as their ambling gait. 

#9. Spotted Saddle Horse

This breed was formed by combining Pinto ponies that had gaited traits with horse breeds that already had gaited genetics. It results in a gait that is extremely smooth under the saddle, with pinto coloring dominating the breed. Solid-colored foals are allowed to register if they have two parents who are already registered to verify their pinto heritage. The ambling gait replaces the trot for this breed.

They are one of the larger gaited horse breeds, with stallions exceeding 1,100 pounds regularly. They can stand up to 16 hands. Two breed registries are currently active in the United States and both work to promote the natural gait trait without the use of performance-assisting devices. 

#10. Icelandic Horse

This gaited horse breed is one of the purest in the world today. They are native to only Iceland. If a horse is exported, it is never allowed to return. This has led to a breed that has few diseases or physical defects. It also has two unique gaits which it naturally performs through over 1,000 years of selective breeding. 

The breed is known as being an easy keeper, partially because of its small size. More Icelandics are 14 hands or shorter and weigh less than 850 pounds. It is a spirited horse, with a large personality, and performs the tolt and running walk in addition to the traditional walk, cantor, and gallop.

#11. Campeiro

This small breed of horse is believed to have come from Spanish imports in the 16th century, but is larger than the Icelandic Horse. Campeiros weigh around 1,000 pounds and stand around 14 hands on average. They are usually chestnut, but can be gray or bay. Some have been trained as working horses or for show purposes, but a majority of the population lives in a semi-feral state in Brazil.

This breed is managed in two ways: through selective breeding to maintain the ambling gait; and through herd management techniques on Santa Catarina Island.

#12. Messara

This is a native-type horse that can be found on the island of Crete. The development of the breed is believed to have occurred through the crossing of native Cretan horses with Arabians when the Ottomans ruled the area. A studbook to protect this ambling gait breed has been established since 1994, but fewer than 100 horses are registered.

It is a horse breed that is still used extensively for agricultural work. Messaras are particularly adept at walking over uneven surfaces or extremely rocky ground. They have maintained many of their Arabian characteristics, but have get a natural pacing gait that was associated with their Cretan ancestry. 

Because of farming needs and the quality of stallions, it is a common practice to mate a Messara stallion with a donkey so that hinnies can be created for additional resources.

These gaited horse breeds help to provide a smooth ride under saddle. They provide a working resource for some families, while for others, showmanship and competition are priorities that can be met. As a group, they are generally loyal, intelligent, and curious about the world without spooking easily. This makes each breed an excellent asset for anyone who works with horses.

11 Carriage Horse Breeds

Before automobiles revolutionized the transportation industry, the way families got to town so they could run their errands was by horse and carriage. You needed to have a strong, dependable horse to pull your carriage, but that horse would often be called upon for other duties as well. This led to the need of a warm-blooded horse that had some of the temperament qualities of a cold-blooded horse.

That was why these carriage horse breeds were developed. Although many of these breeds declined in popularity because of mechanization, both on the farm and on the roads, their dependability is helping them to make a comeback.

Here are some of the most popular carriage horse breeds that are still used today in some regions or population groups for their original purpose. 

#1. Cleveland Bay

Coming from Northern Yorkshire, the Cleveland Bay is believed to be the oldest indigenous English horse. It is a horse that can stand up to 17 hands and weigh up to 1,500 points. It has excellent feet and flat cannon bones, giving it a very clean-legged appearance. Cleveland Bay horses were often prized as a carriage horse because their strong shoulders and powerful quarters could cover ground quickly while pulling plenty of weight.

This breed is also known for being extremely intelligent when working as a carriage horse. They can recognize poor roads, avoid difficult situations, and can double as a good plow horse as well.

#2. Hanoverian

This warm-blooded breed often served as a military horse and often doubled as a carriage horse when the need for transport arrived. Created as a breed in the early 18th century, George II is credited with started Hanoverians by crossing local mares with Thoroughbreds. This helped the local population have horses that were stronger and more inclined to work.

Hanoverians have adapted to mechanization by focusing more on athletics in the modern equine age. You’ll find them at horse shows and competitive events at a world-class level.

#3. Holsteiner

This is another German carriage horse breed, but one that is older than most others. It has a history which can be traced back to the 14th century. Originally developed to be a weight-bearing horse for the purposes of war, this strength and reliability helped to create a steady temperament within the breed that allowed it to work as an excellent carriage horse.

Holsteiners are heavily muscled and draw great power from their movement and flexibility. Standing at 17 hands when fully grown, there was a period in the 19th century when this breed was considered one of the best carriage horses anyone could own. Today, you’ll find Holsteiners in some competitive events, though they are more often used for recreational riding purposes.

#4. Friesian

This breed of horse is believed to be historically ancient. Friesians are believed to be direct descendants of the original horses that are depicted on cave drawings and paintings. This specific breed comes out of the Friesland region of The Netherlands and have served multiple duties over the generations. They have been a dependable carriage horse, a war horse, a work horse, and even a sporting horse.

Efforts to refine this breed for carriage work began in the 16th century. By bringing in Andalusian and Arabian bloodlines, breeders were able to create higher knee actions and a craning neck to support more carriage awareness.

This breed is also free of the hot-blooded tendencies of Thoroughbred blood, which has been kept out of the genetic profile for the last 200 years. It is a solid, dependable, and strong horse that is often up for a good challenge. 

#5. Trakehner

Many carriage horses were bred to be heavy because of the huge pulling needs that modern transportation required in the 17th-19th centuries. About halfway through that period, King Friedrich Wilhelm I noted that heavy carriage horses just didn’t have the endurance required for long-distance travel. Even when used as a war horse, carriage horses were struggling to keep up with modern techniques.

This led to the development of a lighter carriage horse, which would be the trademark look through the 19th century. The horses needed to be able to cover plenty of ground and stay comfortable, but still be strong and proud. More than a dozen farmsteads were created, allowing the breed to thrive and grow.

#6. Oldenburg

Oldenburgs are the heaviest of the German warm-blooded carriage horse breeds. It still has the physical characteristics that a good carriage horse needs today: flat hooves, a heavy neck, and a larger and heavy head. The overall size of the horse means it has less overall endurance compared to some of the other carriage horse breeds, but it also means it can pull more weight over those shorter distances.

This breed has a very liberal registration policy. Cross-breeding is often encouraged, with registration possible under many different circumstances. One of the more popular ways to take advantage of Oldenburg genetics is to cross with a Thoroughbred. This result creates a horse that works hard, has a fierce independence, but a strong loyalty to their owner or handler.

#7. Standardbred

This horse is popular today for recreational and competitive driving. The challenge that owners face with this carriage horse breed is that competitive commands tend to be different from recreational commands. Standardbreds tend to be a routine-based horse, so it can be difficult to re-train horses that are used to be competitive to become a recreational horse.

Although Standardbreds have a similar profile to the Thoroughbred, they do tend to be longer in the body and have better muscle volumes. Their personality is surprisingly laid-back and they love people, which makes them well-suited to being a carriage horse. This breed is often regarded as being the fastest trotting horse in the world. 

#8. Hackney

This breed has the epitome of the carriage horse look when you see its profile. There is a certain elegance to the head carriage. When combined with its high-stepping action, long distances can be covered with its combination of strength and stamina. Originally developed in the 14th century, this breed has transformed from a general riding horse to a war horse. Then it moved from a war horse to a carriage horse.

Numerous breed influences have helped to refine the look of the Hackney over the years, including Standardbred bloodlines. This has further helped to develop the temperament and traits that are wanted in a good carriage horse. 

#9. Morgan Horse

Morgans are one of the earliest carriage horse breeds that was developed in the United States. The foundation sire, named Figure, would eventually have his name changed to be the same as his best-known owner. The carriage tendencies that came with this breed made it a popular horse for multiple needs, making it one of the few horses that the US Government would help to develop. Up through the Civil War, Morgans were the cavalry horse of choice.

Beginning in the early 20th century, Morgans would be exported to help influence other carriage breeds, including the Hackney. It is a breed that is compact, friendly, and extremely versatile. They train easily, despite having a bit of stubbornness, and form close partnerships with their owners and handlers. 

#10. French Trotter

Coming out of Normandy, the French Trotter is a mix of Thoroughbred and Norfolk Trotter genetics. These horses were selectively bred because of their unique ability to trot at high speeds, making them a coveted addition for those who competed in sulky races. Early in the breed development, these horses were quite heavy and muscular. These traits have been reduced over the last few generations, but can still be seen from time to time. 

The stamina, jumping ability, and overall showmanship of this breed has made it highly desirable for modern competitions as well. Only a select few horses have the required profile to compete, however, so this breed is one of the few carriage horses that sees high productivity levels as owners attempt to breed competitors. This makes it very easy for the average person to own a French Trotter today.

#11. Nonius

This Hungarian breed generally has a darker coat, is heavy-boned, and trots at a pace that is perfect for carriage driving. Most of the current population can be found in Easter Europe. It is characterized by having a broad chest, large hooves and joints, with dry legs. Nonius horses are one of the heaviest driving breeds, with some individuals comparable in size to heavy draft horses.

The breed itself is quite rare and is under preservationist status. It is a slower breed than most, so it isn’t suited to modern dressage or jumping competition. Smaller Nonius horses tend to have higher levels of Arabian genetics, which makes them well-suited for recreational riding purposes.

These carriage horse breeds helped to create our modern society. Although we no longer have the need to rely upon a horse for transportation power, these breeds are using their versatility and talent to adapt to the modern world. Only time will tell what can happen with these breeds in the future.

Rocky Mountain Horse Temperament and Personality

The Rocky Mountain horse might be known for its smooth gait and unique appearance, but there are also attractive qualities to the temperament of this breed. Rocky Mountain horses are very amiable and intelligent and loyal to their families. They tend to pay attention to everything that is going on around them, including conversations that people may be having. It is a breed of horse that is often compared to the personality of the average dog: friendly, energetic, and with a desire to sit in your lap if the opportunity presents itself.

Some may discount the sweet temperament of the Rocky Mountain horse as a lack of willingness to work, but that is far from the case. This breed is one of the best all-around horses from a physical standpoint that you can find in the equine world. They are sure-footed with their smooth gait, have an impressive stamina, and are generally quiet and reserved while working with humans.

Rocky Mountain Horses Are People Horses

You may not find a more sociable horse than the Rocky Mountain. They will come to the fence when they sense you are near. Even as foals, there is an instinct within this breed to be close to people. This creates a temperament that is protective and loyal, but at the same time, sensitive and sometimes demanding.

Rocky Mountain horses have a certain need to be treated with respect. If they feel like the people closest to them are not offering that respect, then a deep-seated hurt can radically affect the personality and temperament of that horse. It is a temperament change which is born out of an experience for the horse that can only be described as betrayal.

Personality changes may also occur for Rocky Mountain horses who do not receive a lot of work or time outside of their stall. These horses love to conquer a challenging environment. Even youngsters love being taken out on the trail so that they have hills to climb, streams to cross, and fields that can be explored. Exposing this breed to trail life and recreational riding early-on helps the horse to develop a strong sense of loyalty to its family.

Learning the Buttons to Push with a Rocky Mountain Horse

Rocky Mountain horses may be curious and intelligent, but they also have buttons that can be pushed which can create a layer of stubbornness that can be difficult to break. These horses are willing, but there must be a certain level of competence with the handler for them to respect the handler. They’ll still be calm and gentle, but you may not get the gait that you want while riding down a trail.

It is a good idea to spend some time with the horse, getting to know what the likes and dislikes happen to be. This will help each handler be able to get the most from their horse. In return, you’ll have a mount that is willing to carry you safely almost anywhere. Just ask the horse to go and you will go.

What has helped to create such willingness within the breed? According to the story of the breed foundation, a traveler from the Rocky Mountains found himself in the Appalachians with few supplies. He traded a young colt for the goods that were needed. The colt would then go on to provide the foundation sires of this trademark horse breed.

Sam Tuttle owned a riding concession at a local state park. He owned a stallion named Tobe that was quite impressive on the trail. He was sure-footed and calm, supportive of a competent handler, but respectful of a beginner. Local breeders were quite impressed with his temperament. Tobe would have five sons and they would become the foundation sires of the Rocky Mountain breed.

Living in the mountains is in the blood of this horse breed. Working with humans along sometimes difficult trails and in wide-open spaces goes back to the legendary stories of Tobe’s ancestors. This has created physical traits within the breed that make it perfectly suited to the various mountain ranges in the United States.

Rocky Mountain Horses Are Extremely Versatile

Many Rocky Mountain horses are used for riding concessions or lessons even today. You’ll also find these horses plowing fields, working with cattle, driving, and even babysitting children with some families. That’s because the temperament of this breed exists within a strong heart, a good nature, and great courage.

The Rocky Mountain breed was so popular regionally, in fact, that these horses were kept relatively secret from the rest of the equine world. It wouldn’t be until 1986, when the first breed association was formed for promotional purposes, that everyone would get to know the many strengths that this breed is able to offer.

Today, there are more than 12,000 horses that have been DNA tested and are registered with the association.

There are several established breed characteristics which are required to be demonstrated for registration, with temperament often featured. Rocky Mountain horses are supposed to have a nature that is trustworthy and kind. They should be easy to manage and be able to independently maintain an ambling four-beat gait without pacing evidence. 

This makes it possible to trust the horse completely. Since they are so sure-footed and intelligent, they have a great awareness of their surroundings at all times. Even if you’re in the saddle during a tense situation, you can give horses from this breed their head and they’ll be able to pull you through. They really are quite unshakeable.

As an example, here’s a story from Trail Rider Magazine: 

“On a trail near her home in Indiana, Ruth Purchase was aboard her homebred mare, Sundown Lady, with a group of 9. Halfway up a steep hill, the leaders got into a ground nest of angry hornets. The first riders go through, but that left Purcell mid-group to deal with the swarm… She didn’t run or panic. She backed down almost the entire hill without bucking or running away with me. Lady was covered with bees, but she waited until we were safely down the hill to stomp them off. Even then, she did not fuss.”

Rocky Mountain horses have a highly0-desired temperament because they really do want to become your best friend. With these horses around, the only really problem you might be forced to deal with is jealousy. Not from the horse, mind you, but from your dog – who might also be wanting some lap time. 

Gypsy Vanner Horse Temperament and Personality

Known as the Gypsy, Gypsy Cob, or Irish Tinker, the Gypsy Vanner is a breed of horse which comes from the islands of the United Kingdom. It is a popular breed of horse because of its unique look, high-stepping style, and ability to work as a driving or sporting horse. The breed itself was originally bred by Gypsy populations, which was what led Americans to begin calling the breed by this name.

Although there are around 10,000 Gypsy Vanner horses in the world today, about 20% of them are selectively bred to maintain the breed. About 20% of the global population of the Gypsy Vanner breed resides in the United States.

Why Are Gypsy Vanner Horses So Popular?

The Gypsy Vanner excels as a family horse because of its exceptionally gentle nature. The horses may have been bred originally for their abilities to work and their look, but the other part was to breed in a temperament of willingness and tranquility. Gypsy populations used these horses to help pull their caravans. They were amongst people very day and sometimes in very packed environments.

This required the horse to not be spooked easily. It needed to be a willing horse who could work throughout the day and then get up the next day to do it all once again.

Since there is less of a demand for driving horses today thanks to mechanization, you’ll find the temperament of the Gypsy Vanner horses makes it a suitable breed for recreational riding, children’s lessons, experiential therapies, and some show jumping.

There Is a Certain Hardiness to the Gypsy Vanner Breed

Because of the nomadic lifestyle that is associated with the Gypsies, the horses that came along with them needed to have a strong stamina and an ability to endure. Their physical strength was required to pull heavy wagons and carts, but the areas where the people lived would often offer sparse pastures at best. There would be days of little water, less food, and shelter for the horse would be a luxury.

This helped the Gypsy Vanner horse to develop into a breed that has a temperament which is very even. Since World War II, more cold-blooded tendencies have been introduced into the breed as well, making it an even more stable and gentle personality that is highly trainable and sociable with humans.

Bloodlines that have been brought into the Gypsy Vanner breed in the last century include Clydesdales, Shires, and Friesians. 

Personality Differences Between “Work” and “Vision” Horses

Within the Gypsy Vanner breed, there are two different types of horses that are sought out. They can be classified as “work” horses and “vision” horses.

The work horses for the Gypsy Vanners tend to be strong-willed, but still willing to put in a hard day’s work. There is a certain stubbornness to the work horses, but there is also more general athleticism to the horse as well. From a Gypsy standpoint, they are bred specifically for export to Europe or are used during their travels as a general work horse.

Gypsy Vanner work horses are not a purebred line of horse. They are infused with multiple bloodlines from multiple breeds, so the temperament of these horses can be quite varied. The work horses that have more warm-blooded genetics tend to have a greater level of stubbornness, but can also be highly trainable and enjoy having a good day of work to do. Those with cold-blooded genetics tend to be calmer and gentler, but may take some extra care to maintain their health.

The vision horses within the Gypsy Vanner breed are those that are used to create the striking looks which are associated with the breed. These horses tend to have a Paint-like look to them from a coat standpoint, which large patches of color throughout. The main and tail are long and striking, often with variations of the coat color throughout, creating a highlighted look. The cold-blooded genetics have also encouraged extensive feathering on vision horses.

Some vision horses will also sport a solid coat color, which can vary from a deep and striking black to a chestnut color.

Vision Gypsy Vanners tend to be very mild-mannered and follow the known temperament profile for the breed. Some may be stubborn or aggressive, depending on the lineage of that specific horse. For the average horse, however, it is a calm, even-keeled horse that works extremely well with children.

Gypsy Vanner Horses Love People

If there’s one thing that all Gypsy Vanner horses have in common, it is a mutual love for people. Though they are extremely loyal to their owners, trainers, and handlers to a protective extent, they are also open to forming new relationships with others virtually all the time. This is a breed that is intelligent, willing, and wanting to please those with whom they are working.

The combination of intelligence and willingness within this breed has created a unique type of versatility within the equine world. Many Gypsy Vanners excel in multiple disciplines and often require less in the way of repetitive training than other breeds.

What gets in the way of the Gypsy Vanner exceling as a sporting horse is the influence of the cold-blooded genetics from the larger draft horses. The temperament of the Gypsy Vanner has these horses willing to give almost anything a try at least once. Their physique is not always suited for jumping, but they’ll give it their all anyway and not become discouraged if they do not succeed.

They’ll simply move onto the next discipline and give that one an honest try as well. Each Gypsy Vanner has a specific strength that sets it apart from the rest of the breed. You’ll find this breed in everything from dressage to endurance racing because there is such a varied set of genetics available within it.

In the United States, there are currently 4 different registries that accept Gypsy Vanner horses. Like with the separation of working and vision horses within the breed, each registry has a specific outcome they are hoping to achieve through breeding. The same can be said of the global registries for this horse as well, no matter what the actual name of the horse might be.

If you want to have a friendly and willing horse, then a Gypsy Vanner is an excellent choice.

4 Friesian Horse Breeds

Friesians, which are also called Frizians, are a breed of horse that originates from the Netherlands, in the Friesland region. They have a conformation that is somewhat like that of a light draught horse, but with a certain level of added gracefulness and nimbleness for their size. They are particularly known for their high-stepping gait, long-flowing mane and tail, and classic profile.

Friesians are one of the oldest breeds in Europe. They were originally imported to North American in the 17th century, but crossbreeding destroyed the breed. It wouldn’t be until 1974 when Friesians would come back to the US and Canada. There are about 8,000 registered Friesians in North America right now, along with another 45,000 horses that are registered globally.

Although crossbreeding a purebred Friesian to another horse or to use Friesian bloodlines to improve other breeds is highly discouraged, there are several breeds that do have a stallion or mare from this breed as part of the foundational process. Using a purebred Friesian mare for crossing with another breed is strictly prohibited. This makes it a pedigree horse. 

What to Know About the Friesian Horse Breeds

The Friesian is the only breed of horse that is native to the Netherlands. The history of the breed traces back to at least the 13th century, which was the start of the Christian Era within the region. Troops would use these horses in battle, with documentation from the wars with Britannia showing Friesian troops on horses that look remarkably like the current breed conformation.

There are illustrations from the 11th century which show soldiers riding horses that look remarkably like Friesians horses as well.

Although there is no definitive evidence, there are suggestions that during the Crusades and the Eighty Years’ War, Friesian horses were used to help improve and/or establish four current horse breeds.

  • Oldenburgs. This warm-blooded horse is believed to have originated from Lower Saxony and was originally built upon a foundation of carriage horses and all-purpose agricultural breeds. Unlike other breeds, the breeding pedigree which is allowed within this breed is very liberal. Privately-owned stallions instead of stud-farm restrictions are in place with this breed, potentially started from its initial foundations in the 17th century along the Frisian coast.
  • Holsteiners. This breed is thought to be one of the oldest warm-blooded breeds, with its foundations beginning in the 13th century. Many of these horses were used as war horses at the same time as Friesians, with larger horses being developed by local monasteries from the smaller horses that would become the breed foundations of those that would come out of this region. The modern Holsteiner is influenced by Thoroughbred lines as well, but their gait could be due to Friesian lineage.
  • Andalusians. Sometimes referred to as a Pure Spanish Horse, this breed bears a remarkable resemblance to the Friesian breed. It has the same classic lines, long-flowing mane and tail, and even a similar high-stepping gait. The primary difference is in the shape of the body, as Andalusians tend to be somewhat more compact when compared to the Friesian, with a certain stoutness that lends to more strength instead of general athleticism.
  • Groningens. This horse breed was developed for light draft work and some agricultural work, sharing its foundation with the Friesians that came from the East. This breed was informally developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, but it wouldn’t be until the 1900s when a formal process of organization and breeding would be developed. This breed was initially developed as a regional breed, which meant that if someone owned a horse in the Friesland area and it wasn’t an official breed, it could be registered as a Groningen. This breed almost went extinct, with the last remaining stallion almost sent to the butcher in 1978. Today there are 400 mares and 25 approved stallions. 

There is some evidence to suggest that Friesians have also been influential in the development of the Neapolitan Horse. The Neapolitan was a particularly popular horse breed for over 300 years in Italy, with its foundations in the plains between Caserta and Naples. Many of the horses that are mentioned in the literature from that period tend to be Neapolitans. It was a horse that was considered to bring its owner great esteem and was often a reflection of personal wealth.

Neapolitan horses have the same mane and tail characteristics of the Friesian horse, as well as a gait that is somewhat similar. Their coat is uniquely different, however, and the head is proud and square. It is also a very rare and endangered breed today. Just 10 years ago, there were only 4 stallions and 20 mares registered to this breed.

Friesian horse breeds like these have unique characteristics which show their common heritage. Even if the look is a bit different, you will see a powerful build, a lively gait, and a certain energy within these breeds. They are sure-footed and sound, with a certain intelligence and willingness that is not always found in the warm-blooded breeds. 

The Connection Between Friesians and Lipizzans

In 1767, a Neapolitan horse named Conversano was foaled and he would later go on to become a foundation sire for the Lipizzan breed. Two other Neapolitan stallions would also become foundation sires for Lipizzans, named Neapolitano and Maestoso, foaled in 1790 and 1819 respectively.

Lipizzans were bred exclusively by the Hapsburg Monarchy. It was considered a true “royal” horse, with more than 400 years of selective breeding helping to define the breed characteristics that have created such a mystique around the horse. The modern Lipizzan lines have Arabian bloodlines incorporated to strengthen the breed, with some lines still surviving in Eastern Europe and North America from these efforts.

What makes the Lipizzan so unique, especially when comparing the breed to its potential Friesian ancestry, is the difference in mandatory coat color. Friesian horses are required to be black. Lipizzans, however, are genetically a type of grey color. As a foal, they are born with brown, dark brown, or black coats that will gradually lighten as they get older. By the time they reach adult age, they have matured into a coat that looks quite white and is extremely dominant.

Only rarely is a brown or black mature adult produced, though 200 years ago, this was extremely common to the breed. 

Until 1916, Lipizzans remained in the private possession of the Hapsburg Monarchy. The horses in this breed were always moved away from conflicts that might occur in the region. During these periods of movement, a horse or two might be given away or sold, but for the most part, this breed was confined to a few small Lipizzan farms within Austria.

There are fewer than 3,000 purebred Lipizzans in the world today, but their popularity is helping to keep the breed protected. It is especially suited for athletic equestrian disciplines and is a highly intelligent horse which likes to seek out harmonious connections with its handlers.

Separating the Friesian Breed from All Others

Beginning in the 18th century, Friesian horses began to be seen as an expression of wealth in its homeland. This limited the world’s access to the breed, as the horses that did exist in Friesland were often used to bring upper-class farmers to town or to church. Sometimes they would also be used for short-track trot racing.

In 1879, the studbook for the Friesian horse was established and it has controlled the destiny of this breed ever since. The goal of establishing the studbook was to create specific breeding profiles that would limit the influence of local heavy breeds, but this was more of an expression of wealth and influence at the time. 

Upper-class farmers were looking to own horses that offered beautiful optics. Lower-class farmers were looking for animals that would work hard, plow their ground, and have enough energy to work on a daily basis.

This conflict of socioeconomic status would almost completely destroy the Friesian breed. By 1913, there were only 3 old-book stallions that were left for breeding purposes. As part of the compromise to save the breed, certain characteristics were bred into Friesian horses. Some of the athleticism was traded for pure horsepower, creating a smaller and heavier horse that would be suited to agricultural work.

Since the establishment of the studbook, there has been little in the way of using Friesian horses to establish or influence other breeds from an official standpoint. The bloodlines of this breed will always live on in others thanks to the efforts of the breed’s forefathers and the conflicts that plagued Europe during the Middle Ages, but continuing expansion has come into disfavor.

One thing is for certain: Friesian horses offer a specific look and athleticism which is unique to the equestrian world. When you look at the other Friesian horse breeds that have been benefitted from their influence, you will see the similarities that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

16 British Horse Breeds

When you look at the British horse breeds, you’ll notice that they tend to go to the extremes. You’ll either have ponies that are small and often used for recreational riding, or you’ll have some of the largest draft horses in the world. Numerous breeds have originated from this region over the centuries. Some may have become extinct over time, but all still have an influence on the modern equestrian world.

Here is a look at the top breeds which are known to come from Britannia. 

#1. British Spotted Pony

What makes this breed so unique is its spotted coat, which is almost like that of a leopard. Height for this breed can vary greatly, ranging from 8 hands to over 14 hands. A larger variant of the breed also exists, but is considered to be part of the Appaloosa breed today. It is a fairly rare breed as well, with only 800 horses currently registered.

Part of the reason for the rarity of the breed is that other types of spotting, even for pure bred horses, is not allowed by the registry. The hooves must also be striped.

#2. Cleveland Bay

Developed during the 17th century, this breed originated in Yorkshire and is a horse that is well-muscled, but somewhat short in relation to the size of its body. It is the oldest established breed in Britain and was initially developed to be used as a pack horse. Bloodlines from Barbs, Andalusians, Arabians, and Thoroughbreds have helped to firm up the breed over the years. It is quite rare today, however, with about 500 horses known to exist globally.

#3. Dales Pony

This is one of the native pony breeds from Britain. It is known for its strength and stamina. Originally a working pony when domesticated, the semi-feral background of this horse has led it to have an enormous amount of courage and stamina. The British used this breed extensively during the two world wars. Most of the horses have a black coat, but several other colors are allowed. White markings are generally discouraged. 

#4. Dartmoor Pony

This is one of the hardiest breeds of horses in the world today. They are a semi-feral breed that has been used as a working animal for quarries in the past, but today they tend to be left alone to graze along the moors. They have a smaller heat, with wide-set eyes, but ears that are constantly alert. About 800 ponies are known to be out along the moors right now, though evidence of this horse dates as far back as 3500 BC.

#5. Exmoor Pony

Native to Britain, this is another semi-feral breed that lives in Somerset and Devon. What makes them unique is the fact that they seem to be related more closely to horses that were found in Ancient Alaska instead of the Dartmoor Ponies that are their close neighbors. Exmoor Ponies have a distinct jaw structure, which offers the development of a 7th molar. No other living horse breed has this feature.

#6. Fell Pony

This is a versatile working breed that comes from the mountains of Britain. Originally bred on the fell farms of the northwest, today it is used more as a driving or riding breed. Thanks to the local conditions of the region, this breed is known for its hardiness and sure-footedness. They can adapt to virtually any climate and has a self-preservation instinct that is quite strong. In many ways, they look like a smaller version of a Friesian horse. 

#7. Hackney

The breeding of the Hackney was directed toward carriage driving. It is a breed that is known for its high-stepping gate and strength in the harness. Originally developed in the 14th century, there is a pony-version of the Hackney breed as well. This is one of the few breeds that allows white markings thanks to the influence of sabiano genetics that were used to help strengthen the breed in the past.

#8. Lundy Pony

This breed was initially developed on Lundy Island. It originated in 1928 when the owner of the island introduced about three dozen New Forest Pony mares to a Welsh Mountain stallion. This created a breed with added height. The isolation on the island helped the herd develop naturally on its own, though warring amongst the stallions led to the need to implement herd control methods. This breed is extremely rugged and adaptable, but also good-natured, and often used as a mount for children.

#9. New Forest Pony

This is one of the most recognized British horse breeds in the world. Their bay, chestnut, or grey coat is complimented by a lighter mane and tail, giving an appearance that is somewhat like a palomino coloration. There are maximum height standards as part of the conformation, so larger horses are excluded from the registry. As a breed, these horses are known for their gentleness and intelligence. They are also quite hardy and sturdy, with a versatility built into them tanks to the rugged conditions of the New Forest region. 

#10. Norfolk Trotter

Many of the trotting horses of the Middle Ages were just not strong enough to handle the climate of Britannia. This led to the crossing of draft horses with trotters, creating distinct breeds that were tall and strong, but more suited to driving rather than agricultural work. This breed was an all-around travel horse that could carry a heavy cart at speeds approaching 20 miles per hour. Standardbreds and Hackneys continue to carry the lineage of this breed. 

#11. Old English Black

This extinct horse breed was quite similar to Clydesdales and other large draft horses. Evidence suggests this breed was initially started around 1100 AD by crossing native British mares with the large draft horses of Central Europe. The bloodlines of this breed have heavily influenced both Shires and Clydesdales, so many of the features continue to live on although the breed itself is no longer distinct. 

#12. Shire

This striking draft horse is usually black, grey, or bay and has white feathers. It is one of the strongest horse breeds in the world, with teams able to pull multiple tonnage over distance. This breed has often been popular for delivery work, especially ale, but they are also used quite often for forestry work. It has been used in Britain since as early as 1145 AD as a breed.

The breed itself was in some trouble about a century ago with a genetic roadblock in place, so other draft breeds were brought in to strengthen it. The addition of longer feathers came about through this process, creating a taller and heavier horse at the same time. 

#13. Suffolk Punch

This heavy horse gets the “Punch” in its name thanks to its strength and solid appearance. They are energetic horses as a breed, good doers, and have remain consistent in conformation since being founded in the 16th century. Like many heavy draft horses, they fell out of favor around World War II as the agricultural world became mechanized, but conservancy efforts that were initiated early helped to save this breed.

It has served as an artillery horse and continues to work in the field of forestry when access is limited. This breed is always chestnut in color, which some white in the feathers and on the forehead.

#14. Thoroughbred

This is the classic sporting horse that has come from Britain. Except for the Arabian, it is the only horse breed to be classified as a true hot-blooded breed. It is strong, fast, and quite willing when it comes to racing, though there are some concerns about the circulatory system and leg frailty within the breed. Thoroughbreds have often been used to shore up other breeds, with many warm-blooded breeds having at least one Thoroughbred in its lineage or foundation. 

#15. Welara

This breed of horse was developed in the early 1900s by Lady Wentworth. It is the combination of a Welsh Pony and an Arabian. To be registered, a Welara horse must stand at 11.2 hands at minimum, but must not be more than 15 hands. There are four different sections of Welsh Pony and crossing an Arabian with each section tends to produce a slightly different type of Welara.

These horses are typically good-natured and friendly, often being used as riding ponies for children or smaller adults. Some have feathered feet, but all have the look and refinement that comes from the Arabian bloodlines. 

#16. Yorkshire Coach Horse

This horse breed is now extinct, but it was a long-legged coach horse that offered great strength. It was often in-demand by those with a high socioeconomic status. Developed by combining Cleveland Bay horses with Thoroughbreds, it is theoretically possible to revive this breed if so desired.

These British horse breeds have helped to shape the modern equine world in numerous ways. Although some of the breeds have become extinct, others have gone on to thrive and become some of the most popular horses in the world today. Whether they are small, tall, heavy, or light, these horse breeds all have one trait in common: they have a ruggedness that comes from the unique climate and conditions that Britain offers.
 

Quarter Horse Temperament and Personality

If you look at the athletic breeds of horses, it is very common to see them to have temperaments that border on being out-of-control. They love a good race, but the temper which lets them succeed in athletics can create big problems in the stall. It can be a challenge to manage. That is why the Quarter Horse temperament is one that is worth considering.

Quarter Horses have incredible speeds over the distance of a quarter-mile. Calling them a “Power House,” as many breed associations do, is quite fitting. You’ll receive the temperament for racing with this breed, but without the borderline insanity that comes in other racing breeds. In fact, many Quarter Horses are about as calm and docile as your average cold-blooded breed.

Quarter Horses Are Gentle and Steady

What you’ll find with a Quarter Horse is the desire to get to know their handler and other humans or horses that are close to them. There is a certain need to build emotional connections. When these connections are encouraged, you’ll find that this breed is quite easy to train. It might not be fair to say that they are “easy keepers,” but they aren’t a difficult horse at all. This makes then an excellent family horse.

This understanding also makes them well-suited for riding, especially for beginners. Quarter Horses have a certain intuition when it comes to the skill of their handler or rider. They can adapt to what they sense, creating safe riding conditions for virtually anyone. That is why you’ll often see Quarter Horses in many training classes. They also work quite well in the field of experiential therapy.

Their high levels of intelligence is usually an asset, but it can also have a dark side. Quarter Horses expect a certain level of respect to be given to them. Their temperament will extend a mutual respect to other humans and horses automatically. What happens next often depends on how others interact with the horse. If a Quarter Horse feels like you are trying to take advantage of the respect that is being offered, they will become standoffish and somewhat aggressive toward the individual or animal they feel is being borderline abusive to them.

How Are Quarter Horses Used?

You’ll often find ranches using Quarter Horses to help with general chores because of the steadiness that is found within this breed. These horses are strong and agile, allowing them to conquer varying terrains with relative ease. This makes them very useful for cattle work.

Numerous sporting events will also feature Quarter Horses because of their versatility. They are often found in polo events and in rodeos due to their ability to learn quickly, be specific with their movements, and respond instantly to commands that they’ve been given.

And, of course, Quarter Horses are often used for racing in addition to the various recreational uses that these animals succeed so well in doing.

The Temperament of an Appendix Quarter Horse

Quarter Horses that are crossbred with another horse breed are referred to as an Appendix Quarter Horse. In the United States, only one breed is allowed for cross breeding to the Quarter Horse: the Thoroughbred breed. These Appendix horses tend to be taller, with more definition, than the standard Quarter Horse. They also tend to have a temperament which is a bit hotter than the average Quarter Horse, but with many of the same personality traits.

Internationally, registration and passports are often allowed for any crossbreeding effort which occurs with a Quarter Horse and the foals are usually included with the international appendix. In general terms, the Appendix Quarter Horse takes on the temperament of the other breed while maintaining the intelligence and ease that makes for a good training horse.

Appendix Quarter Horses tend to have a certain versatility to them that goes beyond what the standard Quarter Horse typically has. There have been many Appendix horses that have gone on to compete at world-class levels in multiple disciplines because of the combination of temperament factors. 

Why Do Quarter Horses Have Such a Complex Temperament?

The Quarter Horse is considered to be the oldest surviving US-based breed, with its origins even pre-dating Morgan Horses. It was developed through a combination of the Mustang ponies that were found in the Southeast United States and imported Thoroughbreds that came from the United Kingdom. This combination benefitted from an emphasis on breeding specific traits into the horses from the Chickasaw tribes and the racing traits that were specifically bred into the Thoroughbreds.

This is also why Appendix Quarter Horses tend to be about as close to hot-blooded as a breed can get without actually being classified as such. Because Thoroughbred bloodlines helped to establish the Quarter Horse breed, those traits tend to come out with more emphasis than in a purebred Quarter Horse.

Genetics and the Quarter Horse Temperament

You’ll find that no two Quarter Horses are exactly alike, but this isn’t just because of the individual variations that you’ll find with every breed. The actual lineage of the horse tends to help form its personality. If a family line has a history of being energetic, athletic, and stubborn, then these are the primary traits you’re most likely to see in the next generation of foals from that line.

On the other hand, if the lineage tends to be laidback, somewhat lazy, and there’s a certain stubbornness to training, then this is what you’re going to see with the next generation of foals. 

There are lines that tend to lean more in one direction than the other, which further enhances those traits.

For the most part, however, you’ll find that this breed tends to be somewhat fearless – especially if their handler or owner is nearby. They are also quite affectionate once a personal relationship has been established with the horse.

What tends to draw out more of the negative traits that are within the Quarter Horse temperament is boredom. These horses prefer to be as active as possible. They might put up with a day in their stall, but don’t expect to have a happy horse if they are left with nothing to do for more than that. Quarter Horses live to work. They can’t wait to do something and will get upset with you if you’re working with other horses or people and not them.

If you’re looking for a general purpose horse that can work, provide recreational opportunities, and be supportive of your family, then you can’t go wrong with the Quarter Horse. They may be quite energetic, but they are also quite personable and will become an immediate member of your family.

Friesian Horse Temperament and Personality

Friesian horses are known for their high-stepping gait. Their steps are quite high and long, giving the optics of having a lot of air and spacing. This gives the horse a gait that is straight and forward, with just a bit of spring to its step thanks to the strength of its pushing power within the legs.

This description is also quite suited to the Friesian horse temperament which is common within the breed. Friesian horses are both willing and loyal. Once you’ve established a relationship with them, it is something that creates an emotional connection between the handler and horse.

Just like you might have an argument with your best friend, a Friesian is likely to have an argument with you from time to time. They may be considered “placid” in general terms, with a certain friendliness that you don’t see in other breeds, but you will also find that many Friesians, especially the younger ones, tend to be somewhat pushy with their interactions.

Exploring the Willpower of the Friesian Horse

Younger Friesian horses can be quite a challenge to handle. They typically require an experienced handler to help keep their stubbornness and overall pushiness under control. This is because the younger horses within the breed typically have no concept of what it means to give a person or another horse the personal space that is needed.

If you were to leave a young Friesian to its own devices or have a spirited horse under the care of an inexperienced handler, then you would likely see the horse attempting to run over the handler and any other horses that were within their vicinity. It’s very common for them to try pushing over a handler, drag a person with them over to their food, and generally try to control the situation as it unfolds around them.

Yet at the same time, younger Friesians do not like conflict at all. If they experience a stressful situation, then they will attempt to use their handler as a shield against that difficult emotion.

That is why someone experienced with the Friesian horse temperament must be working with younger horses. If these behaviors are not corrected, the end result can be a Friesian who seems himself as more of a house pet than a horse. They are generally not aware of their size, so their gusto to greet you in friendliness can end up being a very dangerous situation. 

By teaching them personal space in their younger years, it becomes possible to bring out the traits of willingness that make the Friesian breed so popular. This one skill can be what is needed to have a friend and safe companion for life.

A Desire for Food and the Friesian Horse Temperament

You’ll find individual horses have different personalities in every breed. Some are quiet and laidback, while others tend to be hot-tempered and borderline crazy. This is in the Friesian breed as well, but there is one area of common ground: these horses love their food.

The food motivation for a Friesian horse is incredibly strong. This personality trait is often harnessed by trainers to teach specific skills to the horse. This motivation can also cause the horse to develop certain unwanted behavioral traits which can be very difficult to break once they form.

Friesians that are highly motivated to eat are horses that are close to being out of control. This breed is generally quite rude when it comes to their food and they will become snappish and aggressive if they feel like there is interference. You’ll even find them becoming pushy and aggressive about the amount of time they receive out in the pasture.

To stop these unwanted traits, it becomes necessary to teach the Friesian skills which involve patience. One of the first skills you’ll want to teach is to have the horse stand away from the gate when it is time to turn them out. This will prevent some of the anxiousness and associated aggressiveness that tends to hover around food.

There are other “stop and wait” skills that will also bring out more of the willingness that can be found in this breed. Have them stand quiet when you’re putting on the halter. Teach them not to pull when walking next to you. Stopping and waiting for the stall door can be useful if there is a lot of anxiety around the pasture gate.

The Impatience of a Friesian Horse While in the Stall

Your Friesian might be calm, gentle, and willing when you’re working with the horse outside, but you might find a complete personality change once it comes to spending time in the stall. Many Friesians become anxious about their feed and personal space when in the stall. It is common to see them paw at the wall, use their feed buckets as toys, or even destroy their feed buckets if they feel like the food isn’t coming fast enough to them.

If you have more than one Friesian, you’ll notice that each of them tends to want to be fed first. You’ll get plenty of joy from the horse that is fed first, but any other Friesian will harbor a certain resentment for being asked to wait. It is necessary to teach this breed to stand quietly and be patient for their feed, respecting the distance and time it takes for every horse to have their fair share.

Friesians are also very sensitive about receiving praise. Their worries can also translate into, “I wonder if my handler/owner really likes me.” If you’re teaching this breed to stand in patience and the horse does this, then giving them high praise will help to relieve that anxiety. At their core, Friesians are more interested in establishing solid relationships than anything else, so encouraging that process, even in difficult moments, can help to bring the horse to its desired temperament traits.

Friesian Horses Are Generally Calm and Stoic

Friesians like a nice routine, but they don’t get spooked by surprising circumstances very often. You’ll find the occasional group likes to run away as fast as possible, but for the most part, a Friesian will just stare down whatever it is that is bothering them, offering a warning snort from time to time.

These horses generally have a “favorite” person as well, which can cause them to stare down and snort at people who they feel might be a threat to the time they get with that person. These bonds create a deep connection which can help the horse accomplish virtually anything, but it also makes it difficult for others to work with the horse at all. For this reason, Friesians are generally not a good general purpose horse for training or riding classes.

The Friesian horse temperament is unique. You will not find a more loyal horse once it has bonded with you. That also means you might just find a horse trying to get into your lap one day.

15 French Horse Breeds

France has been the home to many unique horse breeds over the centuries. Horse breeding has been a priority since arguably the Roman era, which has led to the development of several horses because of the many different needs of the region. Some French horse breeds have histories that are both complex and obscure, so this list should not be considered an exclusive list of pure French horses.

#1. Percheron

This draft horse breed originated in the Huisne River valley in France. It is usually black or grey in color and a highly intelligent horse. This breed has a willingness to work and are generally calm in demeanor. Once used as war horses, they are generally used for range work and competitive events today.

In France, this breed is also used for food. 

#2. Breton

Developed in Brittany, this breed of horse was developed by crossing several different Asian and European breeds. The stud book for this breed has been closed since 1951. Bretons are generally a chestnut color and is characterized by their strength. There are 3 sub-types within the breed that are recognized, with each coming out of a different area of Brittany.

These horses are typically used in agricultural work, but have been utilized for military and draft work as well. 

#3. French Trotter

The French Trotter was developed in the Normandy Region in the 19th century. It is the combination of Norfolk Trotter and English Thoroughbred crossing. Five initial trotting lines were established during the early days of this breed, but today there are no breed standards in place for the French Trotter. It can be any solid color, stand over 17 hands, and have several varying physical characteristics.

After this breed retires from hunting, they are primarily used as a hunting horse. About 60% of French Trotters don’t qualify for racing and are used in riding centers to train new riders.  

#4. Camargue

Indigenous to Southern France, the origins of this striking breed are unknown. They are smaller horses that have often lived in the marshes and wetlands, living a semi-wild life. As a breed, they tend to have a certain hardiness and agility that makes seeing a herd of them quite the sight. These horses are always gray, so they have a black skin and a white hair coat. 

There are currently three registration categories available for this breed, including a stud book that keeps track of Camargue horses foaled outside of the region.

#5. Norman Cob

Another breed that calls Normandy its home, this is a mid-sized light draft horse that has a long-striding trot. There are three subsets that are accepted within this breed: under saddle, under harness, and food production. Initially popular for their willingness to work, especially in the agricultural sector, the breed has transitioned into recreational uses today.

Starting in the 1970s, the breed was threatened by genetic drift and inbreeding. This caused the stud book to go through a number of changes to help stabilize it. Most horses in this breed are still found in their home region.

#6. Boulonnais

This large and elegant horse is usually grey, but black and chestnut colors are also allowed. Initially, there were several sub-types for this breed, but they were cross-bred out so that only one standard Boulonnais exists today. The origins of this breed can be traced to before the Crusades, with modern development occurring in the 17th century to include Arabian and Andalusian bloodlines.

#7. Poitevin

This draft horse was originally bred in the Poutou area. It’s a breed that matures later than the average horse, which helps it to develop strong bones and a very calm temperament. They are primarily used for driving and riding today, but their demeanor also makes them a good candidate for experiential therapy.

The stud book for this breed has been closed since 1922, after being formalized in 1884. In the middle of the 20th century, breeding for the Poitevin concentrated on food production, until there were only about 300 animals left in the 1990s. Conservation plans are in place, but there is still a downward-trending population of this breed.

#8. Ardennais

This is one of the oldest breeds of draft horses and it has a history that reaches back to Ancient Rome, though it is a breed that was developed within the French region. The horses are characterized by extremely stout, muscular bodies, feathering around the hooves, and a broad appearance. 

Unlike many draft horses, this breed has a maximum height requirements in some associations. Most stallions are about 16 hands in height. 

#9. AQPS

This breed translates to “other than Thoroughbred.” AQPS is an abbreviation for the term “Autre Que Pur-Sang.” It is a term that is used in French equine circles to describe any breed of horse that is not a French Riding Horse, French Trotter, or Thoroughbred. The designation means one parent isn’t listed in an association book. 

#10. Auvergne

Coming out of central France, this breed has been cross-bred several times throughout the centuries. It was originally a small riding horse, often used for cavalry and warfare, but this sub-type has disappeared. Larger horses in this breed were developed to help with transportation needs. By the 1970s, it almost disappeared because of mechanization and a desire to develop horse meat production.

Since 1994, an association has been in place to save this breed. About 200 animals are known to exist today and most of them are still in the Auvergne region.

#11. Henson

This is a modern French horse breed, developed with the idea of promoting horse tourism within the country. It was created through a selective breeding process that included Fjord horses and light saddle horses from the region. An association was formed in 1983 and the stud book was closed in 1995 to horses not born from breed parents. It has been an officially recognized breed since 2005.

Most of the horses in this breed are used for outdoor riding or other recreational purposes. 

#12. Landais

This small pony from the Landes region is often used for riding and driving. They have an extremely fast trotting speed. A horse from this breed holds the current speed record for the distance between Chartres and Paris. Until World War II, this was a mostly feral breed. Today, breed numbers are fairly low, but more than 100 new foals are born each year.

It could be one of the oldest breeds in France, with documentation indicating that the Landais was present around 732 AD.

#13. Merens

This is a rustic horse breed that originated in the Pyrenees and Ariegeois Mountains. There are two generaly types within this breed, based on whether the horse lived in the mountains or the plains. The mountain horses tend to be smaller and lighter, while the sporting horses tend to be stout and muscular. It is primarily used as a saddle horse today, though carriage driving is also quite common in France.

It is still a rare breed today, with the stud book only registering 40 horses in totals in the 1970s. Herds are still relatively small and there is a genetic bottleneck to overcome, but conservation efforts to save the breed do seem to be working.


#14. Nivernais

From central France, this is an endangered heavy draft house that is always black. First created in the late 19th century, it is a breed that has been primarily used for agricultural work. Since 1966, the stud book for this breed has been merged with the Percheron book. For more than 30 years, preservations efforts have been in place, but it is no longer officially recognized as a breed within France. 


#15. Trait du Nord

This heavy draft horse was developed in Northeastern France and Belgium and was bred to be large and heavy due to the demands for horse meat in the 1950s. At the same time, demand for work horses was declining in the region, which eventually led this breed toward a path of extinction by the 1970s. It’s abilities in riding and driving, however, have caused a surge in its popularity since the 1990s.

Stallions in this breed can easily weigh more than 2,200 pounds. Their pulling power is enormous and they are sure-footed as a breed. There is a slightly smaller sub-type that is also recognized, which are utilized for faster work instead of heavy pulling.

This breed has also changed its name several times over the years. At one point, the Trait du Nord and the Ardennes were thought to be the same breed. It wasn’t until 1913 that this name was used for the breed and it has been the recognized name since 1961.

These French horse breeds have helped to define the equine world in many ways. Whether they have been used to improve other breeds or conservations efforts were created to save them, these horses have unique personalities, great charm, and impressive strength. Although some are at-risk for extinction, many are starting their comeback. In the next century, we may see a reintroduction of these French breeds all over the world. 
 

12 Black Horse Breeds

Many horse breed associations allow for a variety of solid coat colors. One of the most common colors is black. Some breeds are even known for their stunning dark coats even when other colors are approved. There are also horse breeds that tend to be brown, bay, or chestnut as their preferred color, but all-black horses are also an option and approved for registry.

It is difficult to ignore the majesty and grace that is present when you’re in the presence of a black horse. Black Stallions have been the subject of numerous stories in our literature over the centuries. 

The total list of horse breeds that can be black is hundreds long. There are, however, a handful of breeds where the black coat is the signature look for the horse.

#1. Orlov-Rostopchin

These exotic horses have a brilliant black coat, a classic appearance, and one of the best known Russian horse breeds. Although the breed was almost extinct after the second world war, there are several studs that are working to restore the breed. They are willing, easy to train, and have a quiet temperament. Today they are typically used as a riding horse thanks to its high-energy levels and overall spirit. 

#2. Friesian

These striking horses have a long-flowing mane and tail that immediately draws the eye. They are good under saddle and in the harness, with a talent for dressage. It is a heavier horse than other breeds that tend to be black, with a warm-blooded temperament, and a rigorous approval process must be passed for a horse to be included on the breeding registry.

You can recognize a Friesian by its long, arching neck and powerful shoulders that are compact, but somewhat sloping. There is also feathering on the legs, which helps to add pronounced optics to the high-stepping trot that most horses in this breed tend to have.

#3. Calvina

This is one of the rarest breeds in the world today. Originally developed in the 19th century, it is unknown if there are any purebred horses left. Their home was the western cape of South Africa, crossing local mares with Arabian and Thoroughbred bloodlines. These horses tend to be very calm and graceful, with a willing attitude.

#4. Kabarda

This is another black horse breed that comes out of Russia. The modern horse conformations have been in place for at least four centuries, but the breed origins may date back as far as the Hittite civilization.

This breed is known for its ability to adapt to changing situations and environments. Bred in regions where unpredictability is the norm, there is a certain endurance to these horses that isn’t found in most other breeds.

Efforts to improve the breed with Thoroughbreds actually led to the development of a new breed, the Anglo Kabarda, in the first half of the 20th century. This has led to an endangerment of this breed, with only a few hundred purebred mares remaining.

There are three sub-types that are recognized. The basic type is the primary horse, being well-muscled and suited as a general mountain horse. The Asian type looks more like an Arabian, with a thinner skin, hot temperament, and a smaller head. The massive type is heavier and taller, with a structure that is more suited to being a carriage horse.

There are sure-footed, making them a good saddle horse. They are still used today in the mountains of Russia for agricultural purposes.


#5. San Fratello

This Italian horse breed is hardy, often being used for light draft work. They were bred to adapt to the local environment, which has led to them being strong and having a high level of endurance. Most colts are trained to be pack horses in Italy today because breeding stock is carefully selected. Strict conformations, including coat color, are followed to provide consistency to this breed.

About 5,000 horses are around Sicily today, making it one of the more popular indigenous horses in Italy. 

#6. Dales Pony

This is a native horse breed to the mountains and moorlands of the United Kingdom. It’s a hardy breed that is known for its stamina and intelligence. It has a generally calm temperament, which made it a good war horse through the end of World War II. It is considered a rare breed today, since it was primarily used in lead mining activities outside of war, but is on the rebound today.

The Dales Pony is one of the few horse breeds that features inward curving ears. It is also one of three known breeds that is a carrier of a fatal genetic disease known as Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome. In 2010 testing, 12% of the horses in the UK were found to be carriers for FIS. 

#7. Ariegeois

More frequently referred to as a Merens, this breed of horse comes out of the rustic Pyrenees and Ariegeois Mountains in Southern France. It’s a sure-footed horse, adapted to mountain terrain, but does have a sporting sub-type that is stronger, taller, and faster. Often used for farm work and as pack horses, this breed is one of the few that is known to participate in a seasonal migration when left on its own. Owners today are now replicating this migration to reinforce the durability of the breed.

At one point in the 1970s, there were only 40 horses registered in the official stud book for this breed. Herd sizes are still small, but it is a breed that is on its way back up thanks to a number conservation and breeding programs.

#8. Asturcon

Found in Northern Spain, the ancestry of this horse isn’t really known. In some ways, it shares traits with the Merens breed, with both living in a similar region. These horses are extremely resourceful, often able to live in harsh areas where other breeds would be unable to survive. They are a semi-feral breed, but can be easily domesticated when caught. They are popular for driving, riding, and are often used as pack horses.

Their unique ambling gait has also been used to help produce the Irish Hobby horse. This influence can be seen in Irish Sporting horses as well. 

#9. Fell Pony

This black horse breed can be found in the mountains of Northern England. It is primarily used for driving and riding and is very similar to the Dales Pony. It just happens to be a little smaller in its build. It is a strong and sure-footed horse that has a tremendous amount of agility. They are adaptable to virtually any climate.

The history of this breed may date back before the Roman occupation of the area. In the past, brown was the preferred color for this breed, but the modern Fell Pony is preferred black. They are highly intelligent and are often used for recreational riding today.

#10. Losino

This horse, like many others, saw a population decline in the 1950s. By 1986, there were an estimated 30 animals remaining. Today there are an estimated 200 approved horses. They have a small frontal profile, smaller ears, and a flat forehead. Their trademark look is the mane and tail, which is abundantly long and thick. Foals have a coarser coat for the first couple of years because of the colder climates of its homeland.

This is one of the few breeds where black is the only acceptable coat color. A purebred Losino that has any white spots on the coat beyond a permitted star on the forehead is not counted in the population numbers for this breed.


#11. Menorquin

Indigenous to the island of Menorica, this is a recent breed, having been recognized in 1989. There are about 3,000 horses in the world today, but only around 200 live outside of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Spain. It can be only black. Horses of other colors are not permitted to be registered. It can often be seen during the traditional island festivals that are held on Menorca and the other archipelago islands.

It is a slender and agile horse, never utilized for agricultural work on the island.

#12. Murgese

Developed from Arabian and Barb horses, this is a hardy horse that is known for its endurance. It is often used for cross-country riding still today. It originated in Italy, in the Murge region, while it was under Spanish rule.

The modern Murgese was developed from the best horses of the breed in 1926. The herdbook was established at that point to refine the breed and eliminate some of the diverse characteristics that existed at the time. A pool of 9 stallions and 46 mares was established, with three foundation stallions forming the modern bloodlines.

Small farms still use this breed for agricultural use and they are a very adaptable horse.

These black horse breeds embrace the romanticism and historical significance that we have with the equine world. Black horses will always be popular, no matter what their breed might be. Although any breed has the potential to produce a black coat color, these are the breeds that emphasize this trait.

Palomino Horse Temperament and Personality

Palominos are more of a type than a breed, so the temperament of the horse is directed toward the actual breed instead of the color of the horse. If you owned a Thoroughbred that was a Palomino, then you’d have a high-spirited horse with hot-blooded tendencies. If you owned a Quarter Horse, then you’d have a horse that was fairly calm, trainable, and up for a trail ride or a short race.

In the past, owning a Palomino reflected how much wealth or status a family had. Virtually any breed can be a Palomino, including Arabians, Fox Trotters, Morgans, Pains, Saddlebreds, and Walking Horses.

What Makes a Palomino Such a Unique Color Breed?

One of the most unique trademarks of the Palomino color is that the lifestyle habits of the horse can actually change the shade of its coat color. If you feed a Palomino grains that have high protein levels, then you can cause shadows to begin to form within their coat. When a local water supply has high iron levels, then a red shade can begin to appear in the white color of the mane and tail.

You can even change the color of the coat with the shampoo that you use, especially if there are dyes in the product and you apply it to the mane or the tail.

Sometimes it is believed that changing the feed or the water source can alter the temperament of the horse, but this isn’t true for the most part. You can change the temperament of a Palomino if it isn’t receiving the proper levels of nutrition on a daily basis. Just like humans get angry and tired when they are hungry, you can see these personality traits in a Palomino horse under the same circumstances.

What Else Affects the Temperament of a Palomino Horse?

The breed of the horse will always be the main determinant in what the temperament of a Palomino horse will be. There are other factors, however, that can help to influence the final temperament of the horse.

Training, management, and social opportunities are the three primary sources of temperament influence outside of the breed.

Training a Palomino horse requires the same approach that would be used for the breed it happens to be. You would approach a Thoroughbred Palomino in a different way than you would a Fjord Palomino. This means the first step is to determine if the horse is coldblooded, warm-blooded, or hot-blooded.

Coldblooded Palominos are very cooperative, intelligent, and willing to work. They tend to be larger horses that are laid-back and gentle, enjoying a lazy trail ride just as much as a day working out in the fields. This temperament tends to be low maintenance, though there is a social aspect of this personality that needs to be met to bring out the best of this horse.

Warm-blooded Palominos tend to be a little more aggressive and have higher energy levels. They are expressive and may try to be dominant, but they are also very loyal to a trainer that they find to be competent. These Palominos tend to need higher levels of daily care because of their metabolism and energy needs, but are still generally a good all-around horse.

Hot-blooded Palominos tend to be either difficult or passionate, depending on who you talk to about this temperament. These horses come from racing stock, so speed and strength are the foundations of their temperament. They have a lighter body and a desire to finish first, so this makes them a bit high-strung at times. These Palominos tend to spook easily as well and don’t like sudden changes to their environment.

Do Palominos Demand a Lot from Their Handlers?

The demands of a Palomino are dependent upon the breed and the temperament from that breed. Hot-blooded Palominos from Arabian or Thoroughbred lines tend to demand a lot from their handlers because they tend to be overly aggressive in their training and racing. Without a strong hand at the controls, it is very common for these Palominos to unintentionally hurt themselves or others as they strive to succeed.

Hot-blooded Palominos tend to have sensitive and delicate legs which require careful handling. For the average owner, it can be a difficult challenge to meet.

Otherwise, Palominos tend to be fairly easy keepers, though some breeds can provide some unique challenges. Walkers have a unique gait that might require some specific care, while Quarter Horses might have some hot-blooded tendencies come forth during training or racing sessions.

This means how the horse is treated by humans will be just as influencing a factor in the final temperament of the horse as its genetics. 

What to Expect from a Palomino Horse

The expectations of a Palomino horse also go back to the breed of the horse itself. For the most part, these horses like to be kept active and have some social contact, but they also like to have periods of independence as well. They are generally healthy and active, with a certain sensitivity that can make it difficult for some beginners to handle the horse. 

There are also high levels of individuality that can be found within this color breed. That makes it even more difficult to put forth a specific temperament expectation for Palominos. Even stubborn horses can become willing horses under the guidance of a skilled handler. It all depends on who you are, who the horse is, and how those two personalities come together to form a relationship.

As with any horse, sudden temperament changes reflect a changing environment or a health concern. Owners will need to reference the health challenges of the breed or lineage of the horse to understand what may be occurring. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises that are left unattended can also lead to distress, which can temporarily change the temperament of the horse.

Coldblooded horses that are Palominos tend to be highly adaptable and can handle changes to their environment, but other breeds can find changes to be challenging. It can be helpful to use familiar items, such as a favorite stall toy, to help transition a Palomino into a new environment. If you need to travel with the horse, it can be helpful to include a stall mate on the journey so social contacts can be maintained.

There is no general Palomino horse temperament which can be offered. Because it is a color breed, the temperament depends on specific breed to which the horse belongs and other influential factors. Once this can be determined, you’ll be able to know what to expect from any individual horse. 

Fjord Horse Temperament and Personality

When considering the oldest purebred horses in the world today, the Norwegian Fjord horse must be included in the conversation. Related to the Tarpan, it is believed that this breed has been domesticated for at least 4,000 years. This has led the breed to have a temperament that is willing, honest, and loyal when it comes to human interactions.

There are, however, some Fjord horses that can have a challenging personality and a certain stubbornness and aggressiveness that is difficult to control. This temperament variation can be attributed to crossbreeding efforts that occurred in the late 19th century.

The Failure of Adding Dole Bloodlines to Fjord Horses

In the late 1800s, it was decided to crossbreed Dole horses with Fjord horses to improve bloodlines. The goal was to make Fjord horses become sturdier as a breed and add some size and weight. This would make the Fjord horses more suited to agricultural work, which was in high demand at the time.

After a few generations of crossbreeding Doles with Fjords, a change in temperament began to be seen. The horses were becoming more stubborn, less willing, and more aggressive. Fjords were becoming bigger and stronger, but they were also becoming more difficult to manage. By 1907, it was decided to eliminate all Dole bloodlines from the Fjord breed so the temperament and coloration of the breed could be restored.

A purebred Fjord Stallion, foaled in 1891, was located and brought back into the breeding program for Fjord horses. During the last 12 years of his life, this stallion, named Njal, was essential to the restoration of the breeding program for Fjord horses. Every registered modern Fjord horse can trace its lineage back to this stallion.

In 1910, the first studbook would be created to continue stabilizing the breed. Since then, the temperament of the breed has generally stabilized as well, but you will, on occasion, find a hotblooded horse.

What to Expect from a Fjord Horse

Fjord horses are very flexible, adapting to a variety of situations. They are often seen as a draft or working horse, but their quality of movement makes them suitable for virtually any circumstance. This is due to their high levels of intelligence, which can be seen in their large and expressive eyes.

The history of being with humans has led Fjord horses to seek out human attention as well. They have a gentle and kind nature which is quite sensitive to loneliness. If you leave a Fjord horse to their own devices during the day, one can expect to have a “snuggle horse” that night. Fjords have a lot of charm and a willingness to work, but this tends to take a back seat to social interactions.

Fjords like to have attention first and then they’ll get to work.

This breed is also generally calm and cooperative. They tend to think before they react, which makes most of them very difficult to spool. This makes them a dependable ride for anyone of any age or skill level.

Fjords are also quite sensitive to the needs of the people who are working with them. This makes the breed an ideal horse for therapeutic riding and experiential work. Some of the horses are so gentle and willing, in fact, that some people believe that you don’t need to train the horses at all. They are referred to as being “born broke.” 

Fjord horses might generally be non-threatening, but they have the same instincts of any other horse. Their sensitivity can also create long-term feelings that can lead to unwanted behaviors, especially if the horse feels like it is being mistreated in some way. 

Good, consistent training is the key to unlocking the full potential of this breed. This will help you to have a horse that is amiable and willing, especially if you’re looking for a riding or driving horse. 

Does Coloration Affect Fjord Horse Temperament? 

One of the most striking characteristics of the Fjord horse is its coloration. Every Fjord horse is a dun variation and will have some primitive markings. There are 5 different color variations: brown, red, white, grey, and yellow.

Most Fjord horses are brown dun. Some estimates suggest that up to 90% of all Fjords are this color. They have horizontal stripes on the legs, a dark stripe down the mane’s center, and a dorsal stripe. Some can also have dark spots on the thighs, cheek, or stripes over the withers because of the genetic influence of Njal on the breed.

Fjords that are a red dun tend to have a yellowish sheen to their coat. Their primitive markings are darker than the coat. Some foals may even have white hooves, though they tend to darken with age.

Grey dun coats are not a true grey, but instead more of a black dun. The final color can vary from slate to sliver, with the markings trending lighter than the coat. The muzzle is often darker on a grey dun instead of lighter on the other variations.

Yellow dun is the rarest color, sometimes referred to as the “Palomino Fjord.” These horses are yellow and white, with the primitive markings being a more pronounced yellow color. 

White dun is more of a buckskin color than an actual white since it is a combination of a cream gene with the standard brown dun. This is the coloration that used to be the breed standard until the improvement programs were started with this breed.

There is some thought that the coloration and gene combinations of the Fjord horse can have an influence on the temperament, but this isn’t the case. Fjords are very individualistic as a breed, so you’ll have distinctive personalities shine. Some horses are friendlier than others. Some are more willing to work than others. For the most part, the temperament is consistent across all colors and genetics.

The exception to this rule are Fjord horses that may not qualify for the registry because of their genetics. When there is Dole bloodlines associated with a horse’s lineage, then you’ll see more of a hotblooded temperament. These horses tend to be more stubborn, less willing to work, and have higher levels of energy. It should be noted that many would not consider a horse like this to be a Fjord horse.

The Fjord horse temperament makes it the perfect family horse in almost any circumstance. These horses are calm, willing to work, and sensitive to the emotional needs of their owners, riders, and trainers. They are also somewhat self-sufficient, even though many have high social needs. If you’re looking for a best friend for life and you love horses, then a Fjord horse is going to be one of your top options.
 

9 Fastest Horse Breeds

Some horses are bred for agricultural work. Other horses are bred to be riding horses or sporting horses. Then there are the fastest horse breeds that are developed for pure speed.

Any breed can produce a horse that is extremely fast. The fastest horse breeds, however, produce consistently quick and powerful horses that have the personality to race hard. Some of these breeds excel at short distances, while others are more of a long-distance endurance breed.

#1. Thoroughbred

This horse breed is best known for its ability to race mid-length distances. Developed in the 17th century, Thoroughbreds are a combination of Barb, Turkoman, and Arabian bloodlines. More than 100,000 foals in this breed are registered globally every year, making it one of the most popular breeds in the world today.

Thoroughbreds get their speed thanks to their overall build. They are an athletic horse that is slim, tall, and powerful in the legs and hindquarters.

Their temperament is extremely hot-blooded, which also makes them suited for racing. This also causes the horses to be extremely competitive, often performing at a maximum rate of exertion. It is a trait that has caused higher accident rates while racing compared to other breeds, as well as racing-related health issues, such has bleeding from the lungs. 

#2. Quarter Horse

If you’re looking at sprinting speeds, then this is the fastest horse breed in the world right now. The name of the horse reflects the fact that it is so fast over the quarter-mile distance. Some horses within this breed have been clocked at speeds which exceed 55 miles per hour over this distance.

The American Quarter Horse is considered to be the most popular breed in the world today. It has the largest breed registry, with nearly 3 million horses registered. What makes them excel at racing is their compact size and muscular build. This allows the breed to be able to perform fast maneuver with an intricacy that other breeds cannot match.

You’ll find Quarter Horses involved in many rodeo events in addition to traditional racing events. As a breed, they also excel in many sporting disciplines, such as driving.

#3. Arabian

Arabian horses do enter traditional racing events, but they excel in endurance events compared to the other horse breeds in the world today. When a racing distance is 50 miles or more, there is a good chance that an Arabian is going to win the race, even though they have a comparatively slower pace compared to other breeds.

What makes this breed excel for speed is their stamina. Instead of sprinting out hard, they can maintain an even speed for longer time periods.

Unlike other fast horse breeds, Arabians are generally quite friendly and even-tempered. This is likely due to their extensive history with humanity. There is evidence to suggest that Arabians may have been domesticated in the Middle East as far back as 4,500 years ago. Because of their adaptation to the desert environment, their stamina as a breed and overall alertness allows them to excel in long-distance events. 

Arabians are also used to improve other horse breeds on a frequent basis. Most modern riding horse breeds have Arabian bloodlines in them at some point.

#4. Standardbred

This is the fastest horse breed if you’re looking for a trotter. Developed specifically for harness racing, the breed is an American horse, but traces its bloodlines to 18th century England. It is a horse that has a good disposition and a willingness to learn, which makes it popular for horse shows, pleasure riding, and other forms of equestrian competition.

What gives this breed its speed is the power that is in their shoulders and hindquarters. Their legs are solid and refined, while their overall size is somewhat smaller than the average horse. A Standardbred can be between 14-17 hands and weigh as little as 800 pounds.

Their overall quality in trotting has led breeders to use the Standardbred to improve other harness racing breeds around the world. Their willingness to work and flexibility also makes them a good work horse for agricultural purposes. Communities which avoid mechanization will use Standardbreds for field work and as buggy horses. 

#5. Appaloosa

Many people know this horse breed because of its unique and colorful spotted coat, but it is also one of the fastest horse breeds in the world. Historically, this horse was used by Native and First Nations tribes as a war horse or for hunting purposes, which helped to refine the breed into a strong, compact, and durable horse.

After the Nez Perce War in 1877, this breed fell into such decline that it almost became extinct. It was finally preserved in 1938 with the establishment of a breed registry. It still has a partially open stud book, allowing Arabian, Quarter Horse, and Thoroughbred bloodlines into the breed in order to continue improving it.

The speed of the horse is partially attributed to its gait. It is strong and consistent, with good length, and has been used to improve other gaited breeds in the past. The mottled coat and unique appearance makes it a difficult bloodline to incorporate, however, so using Appaloosas for general improvements is rarely done.

#6. Andalusian

Sometimes called a Pure Spanish Horse, this breed has had a specific conformation in place since at least the 15th century. These horses are intelligent, strongly built, and have thick manes and tails that provide a striking appearance. They are known more for their stamina and athleticism rather than having purse speed. You’ll find many Andalusians used in show jumping and dressage, as well as some long-distance events.

A majority of the speed that this breed comes from the massive chest and well-defined withers. The neck of this horse is broad and long, with a profile that is generally straight. Their movement is elevated and extended, which gives the breed an agility that is not generally found in other breeds. They learn difficult moves quickly, including turns on the haunches, and this is considered the breed’s greatest strength.

#7. American Miniature Horse

Although this breed is small, it is still strong, agile, and intelligent. The breed is believed to have been developed for mining purposes in the late 19th century, which gave the breed a certain strength that isn’t found in other miniature breeds. The American Miniature Horse Association was formed in 1978 to help promote true miniatures and to standardize the breed.

As a breed, this is a well-balanced horse that gives the illusion of a full-sized horse. 

These horses are not going to be able to compete with an Arabian or a Thoroughbred, but they do have more speed compared to breeds that are closer counterparts. There are two types of American Miniature Horses: refined and draft. The refined type tends to be faster, while the draft type tends to be stronger and more willing to work.

#8. Akhal-Teke

This horse breed is best known for its unique coat, which seems to have a metallic sheen to it when seen from a distance. The speed of this breed, however, should not be under-estimated. This is a horse that is tall, lanky, and strong despite having features that are considered to be somewhat delicate.

The breed originates from Turkmenistan and was used for transportation across the desert landscapes. This has led the horse to become one of the most durable in the world, with an endurance rate and athleticism that is difficult to surpass for long-distance events.

This breed is highly intelligent as well, which makes it suitable for show jumping and some dressage events as well.

#9. Black Forest

Although this breed is found almost exclusively in Southern Germany, it has a breeding history that dates back nearly 600 years. It was originally developed to be a draft horse, so when mechanization took over in agricultural work, the breed nearly became extinct. There were only 160 of these horses left in the early 1980s.

Today there are about 1,000 of these horses that are known to exist. Their dark coloring and thick, lighter main gives them a very distinctive look. 

They are a strong riding horse, but where they get their speed is in the carriage discipline. You won’t find this horse in many equestrian sporting events, though there are some that perform well in dressage. This horse works best in team events that involve brute strength.

When working in teams, these are some of the fastest horses in the world that can transport heavy goods from one point to another. Black Forest horses are smaller than other draft horses, but still have a coldblooded temperament that makes them friendly and approachable. 

The fastest horse breeds come from many different backgrounds. Some breeds focus on pure speed over a specific distance. Others focus on endurance or trotting. Any horse has the potential to be fast, but if you own a horse from one of these breeds, you have a better chance to own one of the fastest horses in the world. 

10 Black and White Horse Breeds

The way a horse looks is what often draws a person’s attention to it in the first place. Although many horse breeds have a solid color, the distinctiveness of the black and white horse breeds is difficult to ignore. The contrast in coat color automatically draws attention to the horse.

Some of these horses have a painted or spotted look to their coats. Others may be mostly one coat color, but have some white on the legs or as a star on the forehead. Either way, these are the breeds that tend to be considered some of the most beautiful in the world today.

#1. Friesian

Originating in the Netherlands, this breed has nearly become extinct on multiple occasions. Their distinctive black coat, with a minimal amount of white, is one of their key characteristics. These horses also have a long-flowing mane and tail that gives them a very striking appearance.

The history of this breed is nearly 1,000 years old. The ancestors of this breed were royal war horses, taking knights into battle as early as the 12th century. The breed began to be formalized in the 16th century, creating a horse that was a little lighter and with a warmer personality so that it had more energy. 

Today this breed is primarily used as a show horse and for recreational use. 

#2. Marwari

This rare breed of horse features a black body with white legs and a white muzzle. It’s known, however, for the inward-turning ear tips. It is a hardy horse that originates from India, with a breed history that dates to the 12th century. Throughout history, it was primarily used as a cavalry horse.

There have been few breed standards in place for the Marwari, with a breed society only forming in 1995. Exportation of this breed has been banned throughout most of history, though there are some limited passports available from time to time.

Only a few thousands purebred Marwari horses are known to exist in the world today.

#3. Tennessee Walking Horse

This gaited horse is known for its unique four-beat running walk. It was originally developed for agricultural work in the Southern US, but with its gait, has become a favorite in the show ring. It is also a popular horse for trail riding and other recreational needs because the gait eliminates the “bounce” which other horses cause a rider.

The studbook for this breed was closed in 1947. There are two types of horses within the breed that are recognized. Performance horses have exaggerated movements because they tend to wear weighted action devices, even though such devices are banned from USEF events. Flat-shod horses have less leg action.

With its running walk, thee Tennessee Walking Horse can travel at up to 20 miles per hours, even though the stride is flat and ambling.

#4. Morgan

This breed is one of the earliest to be developed in the United States and is named after the foundation stallion and one of his initial owners. These horses have served many roles in US history, including being cavalry horses during the Civil War. They are a heavily exported breed as well, influencing several modern breeds. The first breed registry was established in 1909 and more than 175,000 horses are believed to be in the population base.

The coat color of this breed can vary greatly, with several pinto variations possible. Morgans are often used in English and Western riding disciplines because it is such a versatile breed. They are refined, compact, and graceful.

#5. Appaloosa

These war horses from the Native and First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest have a very distinctive look. This is due to the leopard complex genetics of the breed, which is rare in the equine world. After the tribal wars in the US in the late 19th century, Appaloosas almost went extinct. If not for the efforts of an entrepreneur and the eventual establishment of a breed registry, it would have been lost to history.

These black and white horses can also come in a variety of colors and patterns. The front of the horse tends to be more of a solid color, while the back end tends to be spotted. This breed also has a long-flowing mane and tail. It is an athletic horse that can almost be hot-blooded in temperament, but can still make for a good family horse.

#6. Percheron

This draft horse breed originates from France and is often black in color with a mottled appearance. Appearing in the 17th century, it is a breed that was initially used as a war horse because of its calm disposition. Over the next two centuries, Percherons would be transformed into a working horse, with an emphasis on agricultural work and the harness. The first Percheron studbook, however, would not be established until 1883.

This horse has recently grown in popularity, with more than 2,500 horses being registered annually in the US alone. It is still used as a working horse, especially in the timber industry, when heavy work needs to be done, but mechanization cannot reach the job site.

Percherons are also a popular horse for show jumping and similar events. It excels in the English riding discipline. 

#7. Colonial Spanish

This is technically a group of horse breeds, brought to the US from Spain. Each has a lineage that can be traced to the ancestral horses of the Iberian Peninsula. Sometimes the Mustang is included with this grouping, but a purebred Spanish-type horse in the feral herds that roam the Western US are rare. 

These breeds can come in variety of colors, including black and white. Their features can be quite variable, with crossbreeding involving many different tribal, ranch, and mission horses over the past 200 years. They are generally smaller, sometimes under 14 hands, and weighing around 700 pounds.

Horses that may be referred to as Colonial Spanish horses include the Florida Cracker Horse, the Choctaw, the Carolina Marsh Tacky, the Banker Horse, and the Chincoteague. Some Mustangs, including the Abaco, Kiger, and Pryor Mountain, are sometimes associated with this grouping as well. 

#8. Holsteiner

Originating in Germany, this breed is thought to be one of the oldest warmblood breeds in the world. It has a history that can be traced back to at least the 13th century. There isn’t a large population for this breed, but their willingness to learn and work makes it a dominant force for many equestrian events. You’ll find Holsteiners in combined driving events, dressage, show hunting, and show jumping.

As a breed, Holsteners are surprisingly tall, with many standing above 17 hands. They are an athletic breed, with a high-set neck and powerful hindquarters with an elastic stride. There are several coat color combinations, though there is a preference for single coat colors. White spots are allowed, but large white spots that are suggestive of Pinto genetics are not allowed in the registry.

What is interesting about this breed is that a Thoroughbred improvement sire was approved with palomino and buckskin offspring, though these coat colors are not considered to be acceptable. 

#9. Irish Draught

It is the national horse breed of Ireland. Many of them are crossed with Thoroughbreds or warmblooded breeds to create the Irish Sport Horse, but there is still demand for them as a working horse as well. Initially developed from local Hobby horses and war horses that came to Ireland over the decades, it is a breed that is strong, but docile, and excels as a riding and hunt horse.

Crossbreeding has led to a lack of genetic diversity for purebred Irish Draught horses over the years. Research is currently ongoing to help preserve the breed in future years.

They are one of the most economical black and white horse breeds to keep, with many able to survive on pasture grass and leftover cattle feed. The breed has a unique affinity for boiled turnips.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the Irish government has been involved with the breeding programs to preserve the legacy of Irish Draught. It is a breed that offers a free, smooth action that isn’t heavy. Solid colors are preferred, but white leg markings below the knees are considered to be acceptable. 

#10. Knabstrup

This is the Dalmatian of the horse world. With a distinctive white coat and black spots, this is a breed that is hardy and rugged. They are a good riding breed that is easily trained, but with an independent personality that can make them resilient and strong. They are generally gentle and eager to work. They are quite loyal.

The trademark of this breed is their strong feet. This gives them leverage when it comes to pulling power, while also making the breed a good riding horse. 

The black and white horse breeds are distinctive, attractive, and a pleasure to own. Many of these breeds are suitable for recreational and sporting use. If you love horses and have always wanted one, then these are the breeds you may wish to pursue. 

Oldenburg Horse Temperament and Personality

As a general rule of thumb, it is fairly safe to say that when a horse gets bigger, it will become more difficult to handle if it is not a draft or coldblooded breed. One of the exceptions to that rule is the Oldenburg. As a breed, these horses were initially developed to be a coach horse that could take on some farm work if called upon. This required the temperament of the horse to be balanced, flexible, and accommodating, which are the key personality traits that you’ll still see in the modern Oldenburg.

Because this breed is a warmblood, there is still a certain fire to their personality that comes out from time to time. Oldenburgers like to be active, so a horse without an activity is going to be a horse that causes trouble. They are a tall sport horse, with an excellent jumping ability and lengthy gait, so it is often necessary to work this breed every day to maintain the evenness of their temperament.

Why Do the Personalities of Oldenburgers Vary So Much?

As a breed, the Oldenburg horse is expressive and willing to work. The breed societies have a very liberal approach to developing the modern Oldenburg, however, so there are varying degrees of “hotness” that come into play with this breed. For this reason, identifying the temperament of an individual horse often means looking at the lineage and parentage of each specific animal.

Because the Oldenburg is such an excellent sporting horse in regards to show jumping, there has been a movement within this breed to transition it from being a warmblood to a hotblood. This has caused a certain sensitivity to come into the breed, where the horse will not tolerate an inexperienced rider.

This has led to specific temperament testing requirements as part of many breed association registrations. Stallions and mares are scored on their character, constitution, willingness to work, rideability, and temperament. Each is given a score so that owners can know what they are getting with their Oldenburg since temperaments exist with such a great variety.

That variety does create a certain amount of uncertainty, but it also means that finding an Oldenburg horse with the right elements for an owner’s specific needs is not a difficult process.

Loyalty is the Trademark of the Oldenburg Breed

There is a certain honesty to the Oldenburg personality that is present, no matter how hotblooded the horse may be. They are extremely loyal to their owner, trainer, and herd. This loyalty can present itself through protective actions, especially for stallions, and this can be mistaken for a negative behavior by someone who might be targeted by the animal.

These horses also enjoy social activities, especially with their human counterparts. They may be bred to be an exceptional animal and have high levels of energy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a desire to have laid-back moments, like a lazy trail ride with their favorite person. As long as you can manage the energy of this breed in some way, you’ll have a horse that is supportive and willing to work.

Their willingness does have some limits. Oldenburg horses tend to prefer familiar environments or circumstances. If you put them into a new environment or situation, it becomes much easier to spook them because their self-awareness senses are extremely high. It is not uncommon for a spooked Oldenburg in a new situation to throw their rider, then get spooked again because they threw their rider.

Because there is such variability within the registry, it is necessary to look at the papers of the horse to determine what you’re likely getting in terms of temperament. Because there are several cross-breeds brought into the Oldenburg line, including Thoroughbred blood, you have access to almost coldblooded personalities to extremely hotblooded personalities that seem to borderline on mania.

How to Get the Most Out of an Oldenburg Horse

Oldenburg horses prefer to have a daily routine that is followed exactly. They do not like having disruptions. They are happiest when they can do the same thing every day. This desire for “sameness” has made them one of the most successful dressage breeds in the world today. Only Dutch Warmbloods and Hanoverians have consistently higher standings in dressage compared to the Oldenburg breed.

From a home environment perspective, consistency means following the same feeding, turning out, and exercise rituals. Oldenburgers like having the same stall mates next to them, having the same amount of time out in the pasture, and working in the same way with their owners or trainers. You just need to watch out for the development of boredom, however, because you can be doing everything right and maintaining your routine and then suddenly the horse becomes rebellious.

How can you have a backup plan for a horse that likes to have the same routine, but then suddenly doesn’t want the same routine? By having have some variations available. If you’re working the lunge, trying going in the other direction to add some variety for the horse. You can change out the stall toys from time to time. You can also let the horse stay out a little later or go out a little earlier to satisfy the need for variety.

Stubbornness in the Oldenburg Breed and What It Means

Oldenburgers are generally even-tempered and easy to control, especially for their size, but there is a certain stubbornness that you can find within this breed. The horse may suddenly not want to train any more. There may be a rejection of the tack. There may even be a certain aggressiveness that targets other horses or the owner which appears suddenly. 
When this occurs for a horse that has been owned for some time, then it is generally an indication that there is a health problem present. Check the horse for cuts, bruises, and skin conditions that the coat may be hiding. You’ll also want to check on the health of the hooves, especially if an active horse becomes inactive and aggressive.

Colic can also be a concern within this breed, especially if nothing seems wrong and there is a sudden personality change.

If you’ve just obtained the horse, then the aggressiveness may be due to the change in environment. Aggressiveness can also be present for horses that are used to being in an Alpha role and feel like they need to establish or re-establish that role.

To get the most out of an Oldenburg, focus on consistency. This breed prefers to interact with experienced owners, riders, and trainers and they can have little patience for beginners or novice riders. Over time, when a relationship is formed with the horse, you will be able to see the positive traits of the Oldenburg horse temperament.