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.

Cob Horse Temperament and Personality

When discussing a “cob” from an equine perspective, it may be a reference to either a Welsh Cob or as a type of horse in any breed. Cobs as a type are traditionally a smaller horse. They usually have a stout build to them, featuring larger joints, strong bones, and a disposition that is even and steady.

When described as a type, they are generally a common horse that is used for riding or driving.

As a group, whether breed or type, the Cob horse temperament is one of intelligence, humor, and kindness.

What to Expect with a Cob Horse

Cobs are hard-working horses. They have a certain resourcefulness to them that can get them into trouble from time to time because they’d prefer to solve their own problems. It creates an honest temperament where you know what you’re going to get from your horse. They are generally calm, collected, and trust the relationship that is built with their owner, trainer, or handler.

Cobs are also “pranksters,” especially if you get a herd of them together in one stable or pasture. They’ll bang stall toys in your direction, nip at your pants, or pretend to be stubborn to get you frustrated – all so that they can get a good laugh at your expense. It’s intended to be all in good fun, but sometimes it can be difficult to see where the joke ends and a negative behavior is beginning.

Because Cobs are generally a type more than a breed, there is a certain individualistic approach that must be brought into temperament evaluation as well. Most Cobs are laid-back and mostly docile. They have a healthy dose of common sense. Some are very outgoing and extremely social, while others are happy with a single stall mate and some daily attention from their owner.

Why Are Cobs So Playful and Friendly?

Part of the reason why Cobs have such a friendly and even temperament is because of their overall health as a type or breed. These horses are stout, hardy, and quite robust. Many even prefer to live outside throughout the entire year and hate the idea of being in a stall. This can make them easy to care for, especially for owners with families, but it can also lead to some health concerns.

There is a certain stubbornness to the Cob personality that comes into play when you’re trying to get the horse to do something it doesn’t want to do. This makes it easier to overfeed these horses because many owners bring the feed from the stall to the Cob. Then the Cob takes advantage of the extra pasture time it is given and a variety of health and temperament issues can begin to creep in.

For starters, a Cob that gets too much feed becomes extremely silly. It is like watching a kid after they’ve had their first caffeinated soda. They are running everywhere, bouncing of fences and walls, and their prankster attitude comes out in full force. 

Being consistently overfed can lead to a slowing of the horse’s attitude and willingness. Because of their size and build, being overweight makes a Cob very susceptible to laminitis as well.

To avoid these issues, it may be necessary to let a Cob graze in the pasture during the Spring and Summer with very little supplemental feed. Even if they are working hard, extra feed can be unnecessary because they are so good at caring for themselves. Look at the hooves and leg bones for signs of discomfort or lameness. If you do need to give feed, then consider restricting pasture access to avoid these temperament and health issues. 

When a Cob Personality Changes in Winter

Cobs are popular horses because they are self-sufficient. In the winter, most Cobs will grow a long coat, which is why they don’t mind being outside when it’s cold. Some of them even have feathering that gives their legs protection against injury or difficult weather conditions. This only becomes a problem if you plan on working the horse throughout the winter.

Cobs that are unclipped tend to sweat very heavily. This makes the horse more prone to sores, chills, and other weather-related conditions. If you see a Cob transition from being friendly and playful to sullen and snappish, then there’s a good chance that the horse has picked up an injury somewhere.

You’ll need to check unclipped Cobs on a regular basis for bruising, injuries, and other potential skin-related issues because their thick coat can hide them very well. It doesn’t take much for a small cut to turn into a large infection and major problem if it is left unattended. 

Why Do Cobs Have Such an Even Temperament?

Cobs have been used for centuries as working horses. Before mechanization happened, they were highly prized horses because they were so versatile. You could work a Cob out in the field, but still be able to use the horse as a driving or riding animal. It was a good, balanced investment for many families.

To be that flexible, it was necessary for the horse to have a balanced personality. You’d find many families would treat their horses like you see people treating their pets today. They were considered members of the family. This fostered a close relationship between horse and human, which was a temperament that was passed along from generation to generation.

Yet there is still a certain fire and stubbornness beneath the docile surface of a Cob’s temperament. This is likely because some Cobs were used as racehorses in the past. People who were considered working-class citizens couldn’t afford a champion racehorse breed like a Thoroughbred, so they relied on their cobs for racing instead. This helped to improve the bloodlines of the type and breed, creating more consistency within the temperament as well.

Are There “Bad” Cobs Out There?

Every horse has its own temperament. Most Cobs are generally friendly, docile, and intelligent, but there will always be individuals that are willing to take a joke too far. You’ll find some Cobs use their canniness to be hurtful to other horses or people, especially if they believe that they are the Alpha in the environment.

It can be difficult to train a Cob out of its old, unwanted habits once they have been established because of their intelligence.

For the most part, however, a Cob is an excellent choice for people who are new to the equine world. These horses can often be trusted with beginners, novice riders, and work with families because of their honesty. They have the athletic ability to go for an adventurous ride or do some work out in the field, but can also be self-sufficient when needed, and that is why they are such an attractive breed and type.
 

10 European Horse Breeds

Some of the world’s oldest and purest horse breeds were initially developed in Europe. Some of the tallest and smallest breeds were developed on the continent, often to meet a specific need or climate issue. Horses from Northern Europe ten to be adapted to climates that are damp, wet, and somewhat cold. Southern European horses tend to be more athletic and lean, ready to tackle the year-round chores that a more temperate climate allows.

The complete list of European horse breeds is extensive, with 100+ breeds available for inclusion. Here is a look at some of the more popular breeds that make the list.

#1. Andalusian

The ancestry of this horse begins on the Iberian Peninsula. It has been recognized as an individual breed since the 15th century and its conformation has rarely changed over the centuries. It is a horse that has been prized for its nobility and its prowess when taken into battle. Originating in Spain, exporting this breed was restricted until the 1960s.

Strong and elegant, this breed has a thick mane and tail. Most Andalusians are gray, though other coat colors are accepted. They are generally average in size and weight, but are strongly built. Some superstitions believe that the placement of coat whirls or colors is an indication of what the owner’s luck will be or what the temperament of the horse will be. 

#2. Breton

This draft horse was initially developed in the Brittany province of France. The studbook was first created in 1909 and closed in 1951. Most Bretons are chestnut in color and distinctively muscular. There are several subtypes within this breed that are accepted, ranging from the Corlay to the Heavy Draft, and is based on the size of the horse.

There have been horses in the Breton Mountains for thousands of years. No one really knows when they first arrived, but domestication of the breed may be up to 2,000 years old. The Breton is also one of the few draft horses that were not improved through crossbreeding in the early 1900s, making it one of the purest breeds of its type today. 

Smaller Bretons are used under saddle and complete light draft work or compete in events. The larger Bretons are still used for agricultural work. Because of the purity of the breed, Bretons are also highly prized if other breeds need improvement. 

#3. Clydesdale

Out of all the heavy draft breeds, the Clydesdale may be the most famous. Originating in Scotland, its fame is largely due to the Budweiser brand including a herd of this draft horse as part of their marketing efforts. The British Household Cavalry also uses Clydesdales on a regular basis.

The first breed registry for Clydesdales formed in 1877, with breeding efforts dating back to at least 1826. Early Clydesdales were smaller and more compact than they are today, but have always had an active gait. 

This is because breed associations have long paid close attention to the quality of the legs, hooves, and the general movement of the horse. A Clydesdale must offer a specific carriage and outlook to be considered for inclusion. The feathering below the knee is one of the trademarks of this breed, which can require extensive care because of the amount of moisture they can trap.

Fewer than 5,000 Clydesdales are believed to exist globally, with 80% of them living in North America.  

#4. Friesian

Originating in the Netherlands, this breed is one of the most nimble and graceful horses in the equine world today. Their long-flowing mane and tail create optics that make it virtually impossible not to love horses. It is a breed that has become virtually extinct more than once, but has recovered due to is popularity. Today they are used for cinematic purposes and have been introduced to dressage.

Most Friesians are black, but occasionally there is a purebred chestnut as well. White markings are rare and only a small star on the forehead is allowed by the registry. Stallions must also pass a very rigorous approval process to be included. 

#5. Haflinger

Haflingers are also known as the Avelignese breed. Developed in Italy and Austria during the latter half of the 19th century, this breed is relatively small and always chestnut in color. They have a gait that is distinctive, but still smooth. They were initially developed for riding and agricultural work in mountainous areas.

In the mid-1900s, the breed was almost eliminated using indiscriminate breeding practices. Since 1946, a closed-breed studbook has been maintained. All purebred Haflingers can trace their ancestry back to the original foundation sire through 1 of 7 established bloodlines.

The Haflinger breed is also the first horse to have been cloned. This happened in 2003 and the filly that was produced was named Prometea. 

#6. Hanoverian

This warmblood horse breed originated in Germany. It is a very athletic horse, comparable to many Thoroughbreds, but it also has a superior level of agility that allows it to perform in many different sporting events. You’ll often find Hanoverians competing in English riding styles that are competitive, dressage, and sport jumping in addition to traditional racing events.

Hanoverians are one of the oldest and most successful warmblood breeds to come out of Europe. It was originally a carriage horse and was often used for farm work, but was adapted to sporting needs after a shift in demand occurred after the second world war.

These horses are robust, strong, but quite elegant. They are trainable and usually willing, with strong limbs to support numerous movements. Most of them are around 16 hands in height. Regulations prohibit horses with too much coat color variation from registering. 


#7. Icelandic Horse

Developed exclusively in Iceland, this is one of the most protected horse breeds in the world today. Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country to preserve the bloodlines of the native horses. If an Icelandic horse is exported, then it is not allowed to return. This makes the horse one of the oldest and purest breeds that is in the world today.

Originally developed because of Norse settlers who migrated to Iceland as early as the 9th century, the breed has been mentioned in local literature for almost 1,000 years.

They are a smaller-than-average horse, only standing between 13-14 hands in height and weighing around 800 pounds. This makes them more of a pony size, but they are still referred to as a horse. It is a breed that has a large personality, a spirited temperament, and an incredible ability to carry weight. They also grow an extremely thick coat in winter. 

#8. Konik

This breed is a semi-feral horse coming out of Poland. “Konik” in Polish literally means “horse,” so saying that you have a Konik horse is like saying you have a “Horse horse.” It is a primitive breed with many potential markings, including dorsal stripes and a dun coat. They are stocky and strong, but also quite small.

The average Konik is 12.3-13.3 hands in height and weighs around 800 pounds. Historically, it was believed that these horses descended from wild horses in the region, but DNA studies show that that this breed is nearly identical to all other domesticated horses.

They are bred under close supervision when domesticated. The feral horses are protected on nature preserves throughout Poland. Fewer than 1,000 horses are registered as being privately owned.

#9. Lipizzaner

This horse breed is closely associated with a specific riding school in Austria. This horse breed is highly intelligent, so it can learn intricate movements and stylized jumps with relative ease. It is a breed that dates to the late 16th century and is believed to have been initially developed in Slovenia. 

There are just 8 stallions that are recognized as the foundation bloodstock of the modern breed and all of them were foaled in the late 18th or early 19th century. All current Lipizzaners can trace their bloodlines to these 8 stallions and each is named after the sire of their bloodline. 

#10. Oldenburg

Developed in Lower Saxony, this breed is a tall sport horse that has a world-renown jumping ability. There are liberal pedigree requirements for the breed, including exclusive use of privately owned stallions instead of a restricted studbook from a state-owned farm.

As a warmblood, the Oldenburg is one of the most uniquely colored breeds in the world today. There are at least 8 tobiano pinto stallions included on the breeding roster. Although most horses are brown, black, chestnut, bay, or gray, virtually any coat color is considered to be acceptable. More emphasis is placed on the gait of the horse and its overall quality.

Many of the European horse breeds have been used to influence other breeds globally so that equine genetics can be improved in several ways. Although most horses can trace their lineage to Arabian horses at some point, there are several European breeds that can be found during that journey. 

10 Biggest Horse Breeds

Most horse breeds fall around the median average in the equine world. Adults tend to be around 15 hands and weigh about 1,100 pounds, with stallions perhaps a little taller and heavier. Then there are a select few horses that are part of the biggest horse breeds in the world. The horses in this category can stand upward of 20 hands and weigh more than 3,000 pounds.

Despite their size, virtually all of the largest horse breeds are coldblooded in temperament, which means they are calm, gentle, and not easily spooked.

Here are the biggest horse breeds in the world today.

#1. Shire

This British horse breed is usually gray, bay, or black. It is also a very tall breed of horse, having held the world record for largest and tallest horse at various times. Shires are highly regarded for their pulling abilities and are often used for forestry work still today.

In order for a Shire stallion to be registered, it must stand at least 17 hands in height. Geldings must be at least 16.2 hands and mares must be 16 hands. Stallions can weigh up to 2,400 pounds.

In 1924 at a pulling exhibition, a pair of Shire horses actually exceeded the reading on the dynamometer, but were estimated to pull a starting load of 45 tons. Their strength helped them find a place on the farm, especially with plowing, before the invention of the modern tractor.

At one point, Shires were quite endangered, but today they are growing and very popular. 

#2. Clydesdale

Named after the region in Scotland from where they came, these distinctive horses have the long feathers on their legs that are often used for show pulling and other events. Clydesdales have the sabino gene present quite frequently, so white markings along the legs and nose are very common. 

Clydesdales used to be a rather small, but heavy breed. Through improvements with other draft horses over the last 100 years, however, it has become a tall breed today.

Originally used for agriculture, today’s Clydesdales are used in competitive events, as riding horses, and for some farm work by those who prefer to avoid modern technology. The most famous horses of this breed are owned by the Budweiser brand. 


#3. Percheron

Coming from the Huisne River valley in France, Percherons don’t have the same thickness to their neck and chest like many other draft or heavy horses. Part of this is due to the infusion of Arabian genetics into the breed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Until the days after World War I, this breed was used almost exclusively as a war horse, thanks to its calm temperament and protective personality.

This is one of the few horse breeds where the ideal size depends on the country where the registry is located. In France, for example, the ideal height of a Percheron is up to 18 hands, with a weight up to 2,600 pounds. In the US, Percherons have a range up to 19 hands, while in Britain, height requirements begin at 16 hands instead of 15. 

Only gray or black horses are registered in Europe. In North America, chestnut, roan, or bay horses are also allowed. 

#4. Belgian Draft (Brabant)

This big horse breed is also one of the oldest breeds that is maintained in the world today. The average Belgian stands between 16.2-17 hands and weighs about 2,000 pounds. It is a stocky horse, with a relatively small head, but a thick neck and broad shoulders that allow it to take on a tremendous amount of pulling weight.

One of the tallest horses in the world right now belongs to this breed. His name is Big Jake and he stands at 20.275 hands.

Throughout much of history, Belgian Draft horses were primarily used for farm work. As that need phased out, their duties shifted to show work, riding, and miscellaneous agricultural work instead.

Unlike many of the other heavy draft breeds, the Belgian is neither rare nor endangered. It is the most popular breed of draft horse in the United States and the total number globally is believed to be over 100,000.

#5. Dutch Draft

This horse breed is relatively new to the world. It wasn’t developed until after World War I and it was bred to fill needs in heavy draft and farm work in the Netherlands. It appeared through the crossbreeding of a Belgian Draft and a Belgian Ardennes. Since 1925, no horse other than those from registered parents are admitted into the studbook.

Most Dutch Draft horses stand at 16 hands and are usually bay, gray, or chestnut. This horse has a very pronounced jaw, a straight profile, and a powerful neck. The legs are shorter than other draft horses, but just as strong. 

#6. American Cream

This is one of the rarest horse breeds in the world today. It is the only draft horse that was developed in the United States that is still in existence, with fewer than 1,000 believed to still exist globally. Initially developed in Iowa, this breed features a refined head with a flat facial profile and a distinctive coat color.

Stallions and geldings are typically above 16 hands and will weigh at least 1,800 pounds. Mares stand between 15-16 hands and weigh about 1,600 pounds. 

It is the Champagne gene which creates the distinctive appearance of this breed. The ideal American Cream will have pink skin, amber eyes, and a white mane and tail. Purebred foals that have a darker coat that isn’t as desired won’t go into the main registry, but can be recorded into an appendix registry.

#7. Russian Heavy Draft

This breed is the shortest heavy draft horse, standing between 14-15 hands. It’s size, however, is often between 1,500-1,800 pounds when fully mature. Developed by crossing Percheron, Ardennes, and Orlov Trotter breeds, the Russian Heavy Draft horse was first recognized as a breed in 1952.

Many of these horses still work in the agriculture sector, helping to complete regular farm chores with greater ease. This breed also produces milk at a higher capacity than most breeds. It is often collected and then fermented, creating a drink that is called “kumys.”

#8. Suffolk

Suffolks tend to be 16-17 hands in height and can weigh up to 2,200 pounds. They only have one coat color, which is officially recognized as being “chesnut.” It is a chestnut color, but without the “t” in the middle of the word. Different shades of “chesnut” are allowed, ranging from reddish colors to light or dark brown.

This breed’s registry is the oldest in English breed society, with the first mention of the hose being published in 1586. Suffolks are also the oldest breed of horse that is recognizable in the same form today as it was historically.

What makes the breed a rare horse breed are the genetic restrictions that have been placed on it. There are about 1,500 Suffolks in the United States, but only around 300 in the UK. Horses from the United States are not allowed to breed with horses in the UK because of US breed habits that included allowing some Belgians to be bred into the breed. 

#9. Fjord

Although it is a relatively small horse compared to some of the other biggest horse breeds, its agility and strength is equal to any other horse. The breed is one of the world’s oldest and is a popular harness horse and used under saddle because it has a generally good temperament. There are no variations of the horse, with a dun color and all white markings except for a forehead star discouraged.

It is believed that the ancestors of the modern Fjord horse migrated to Norway more than 4,000 years ago and were domesticated by the local population. Viking burial sites indicate a Fjord-like horse being selectively bred for nearly 2,000 years. Up until World War II, it was almost used exclusively as a farm horse, able to handle the rough terrain with relative ease.

#10. Dole

Although it is technically a draft horse, Doles have had Arabian, Thoroughbred, and other blood added in to create a horse that is a bit different in size and height than what it was historically. The influence is still there, however, as the average Dole weighs about 1,500 pounds and can stand close to 16 hands in height.

As part of their studbook inspection, Doles are required to be tested on their strength and agility. Lighter horses in this breed must also have x-rays taken of their legs to prove that they are free of defects. They are often used as a racehorse today. 
There are several additional large horse breeds in the world, such as the Haflnger, Breton, Friesian, and Jutland that all deserve mentions as well.

The biggest horse breeds have helped human civilization grow and thrive. Although technology has largely replaced their work duties, these beautiful horses still have many different roles to play around the world.
 

Norwegian Fjord Horse Temperament and Personality

The Norwegian Fjord horse has a temperament that is big and bright. There is a certain pride in how it holds itself, but there is also a certain boldness that can be seen in the eyes of the horse. They are willing, able, and easy to please, but can also have the “stubbornness of a waterfall” if they get their mind set on something.

As a domesticated horse, the Norwegian Fjord is considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the world today. It isn’t a wild horse because it still has 64 chromosomes, while wild horses have 66 chromosomes. This breed may have first arrived in Norway more than 4,000 years ago, with selective breeding practices dating back up to 2,000 years.

Most Norwegian Fjord horses have a coldblooded temperament. They are calm and gentle, not easily spooked by changing circumstances. There are some Fjord horses that were crossed with Doles and these tend to have a poorer, more aggressive temperament. Dole blood was purged from the Fjord breed in 1907, but there are still some crossbred lines that exist or are promoted by private owners or breeders.

The Characteristics of the Modern Norwegian Fjord

Although they are often used like a draft horse, the Norwegian Fjord is much smaller as a breed. The average Fjord stands below 14.2 hands and will weigh 1,200 pounds or less. It’s a size that is not very intimidating to most people, but they are strong enough to accommodate virtually anyone underneath the saddle. Add in the calm temperament that most Fjords have and they are a suitable horse for children who are interested in the equine world.

The modern Norwegian Fjord is a sturdy and hardy horse as well. Many within this breed are still highly active well into their 30s. There are three good gaits in a purebred Fjord, which offers balance, cadence, and energy into the temperament of the horse. Many Fjords seem to define themselves by the quality of their gait. If they perform well, there is a natural pride that can be seen, with a noticeably higher gait and neck than if the horse believes it is not performing well.

Most Fjords like to experience a variety of activities so they can remain entertained. An inactive Fjord is one that has a higher risk of developing behavioral concerns in the future. The versatility of this breed allows it to do whatever is needed, from farm work to general riding, to competitive sports and racing.

Is the Norwegian Fjord Horse Slow and Plodding?

Like many draft-style horses, the Norwegian Fjord has developed a bit of a reputation. Many believe that this breed tends to be slow and plodding. It is a reputation that is not fairly earned. Many Fjords have been involved in international-level competitive events, including combined driving and dressage, and performed extremely well. They are incredibly athletic for a draft-style horse, including the ability to jump up to 4 feet in height. 

There are also some superstitions around the actual shading of the Norwegian Fjord horse. All accepted horses have the dun gene present. There are three accepted shades of dun that can be seen within this breed. Most Fjords are “brunblakk,” which means they have a coat color that is somewhat yellowish-brown. There may also be a dorsal stripe and additional markings that are attributed to the foundation mare of the breed.

90% of the Fjord horses that are registered today are brunblakk.

There is also a red dun coat that is found within this breed. The reddish coloration creates markings that are darker on the body. Red duns also tend to have white hooves when they are foals, though it almost always darkens with age.

A rare color shade is the gray dun, which can vary from a silver to a dark gray color. The markings on the coat that are present will typically be lighter than the body color. It is also the only shade of coat in the Norwegian Fjord breed where the muzzle is darker than the coat color instead of lighter.

There are also yellow and white dun horses in this breed, which are extremely rare. The yellow dun Fjord looks very similar to a palomino, with yellow dorsal striping that may be indistinct from the rest of the coat, creating an optically solid-color horse. The white dun adds a cream gene to the mix, diluting the pigment of the coat, turning it into more of a buckskin coloration. 

The Charm of the Norwegian Fjord Horse

The best thing about the Norwegian Fjord horse is its overall intelligence. There is a certain charm about this breed that makes it willing to work while maintaining a gentle and kind nature. For the most part, they are dependable and cooperative. Before reacting, most Fjords will stop and think for a moment to determine what the best course of action should be.

This tendency to think before reacting makes the average Fjord horse one of the best therapeutic riding horses. They are also good for first-time riders who are just learning the equestrian arts.  Some like to say that the Fjord is a breed that is “born broke,” but that is a misconception. They are very expressive immediately after birth, extremely personable, and with a certain level of independence that creates a unique and individualized personality.

Fjords have the same horse instincts as any other breed. They might be competent as a breed, consistent, and act professionally in a training environment, but a Fjord will also protect itself against a training partner who they feel is abusive. Fjords are patient with those who are trying to learn, but they are quick to react when they feel mistreated.

It is a temperament that has been highly prized within this breed for hundreds of years. They are people-friendly, excellent works, and very consistent.

Does Location Change the Temperament of the Norwegian Fjord?

Norwegian Fjord horses are bred all over the world. You’ll find associations in more than a dozen countries that support this friendly breed. For the most part, location does not change the temperament of this breed from a geographical sense.

What you will discover is that the Fjord is a breed that likes to drive forward with its own decisions. If kept in a stall, even with toys, the horse will grow bored in a short period of time. Letting the horse loose in a small paddock or fenced area isn’t much better. They like to have some space to roam, daily personal contact, and social interaction with other horses.

Fjords will actively seek out human attention. They are very much a “snuggle horse.” If they could fit into your lap, you’d have a horse there on a regular basis. Because of this, there can be a certain amount of aggressiveness seen in the personality of the horse if it feels like it isn’t getting enough attention.

Most Norwegian Fjord horses are calm, collected, gentle, and kind. They are a wonderful family horse, beginner horse, or therapeutic horse. That is why this breed is so highly prized.

Clydesdale Horse Temperament and Personality

Like many heavy draft horses, Clydesdales have a horse temperament that is generally described as being “coldblooded.” This means they tend to be very calm, collected, and gentle in their interactions with people. Because they are so large, the only real threat that these horses tend to have comes from horses of a similar size or humans that they feel do not treat them with the right amount of respect.

Clydesdales are also highly intelligent horses. They are patient, but they can be stubborn if they feel like their handler or trainer is not respecting them. When you weigh more than 2,000 pounds, the easiest way to get someone to listen is to just stand still and wait until the other horse or person is willing to listen.


They will easily adapt to changing situations and environments, such as traveling to a show or moving to a new home. Like any horse, however, if they feel like they are in a threatening situation, they will react in a potentially violent way in an effort to protect themselves.

The Spirit of the Clydesdale Horse

Clydesdales might be classified as a coldblooded horse, but that doesn’t mean that the breed lacks spirit. They have a strong nature that may be tolerant, though there is a certain temper that tends to lie beneath the surface if the horse is pushed hard enough. Most Clydesdales are willing and easy to please.

On the other hand, if you encounter the occasional stubborn Clydesdale who doesn’t want to listen, there isn’t much that can be done to change that horse’s mind. For the average Clydesdale, they are the largest horse on the farm. That naturally gives them a leadership role.

They are not easily excitable as a breed, though there are individual exceptions. They tend to maintain even energy levels and a cooperative disposition. They can be competitive, which makes them useful for cart racing and pulling events. If they show an interest, certain competitive riding sports are also suited to the Clydesdale, such as dressage.

If the Clydesdale is going to be in public situations, such as the Budweiser Clydesdales tend to be, then a certain peacefulness is required of the horse. Although the breed standard doesn’t require this personality trait as part of the temperament of the horse, a calm horse is typically going to be a happier horse in any situation they may face. You’ll find that most Clydesdales tend to be happy with their circumstances, assuming there is enough food to eat and they are being treated with respect. 

How Trainable Are Clydesdales?

Most Clydesdales are highly trainable horses. If they are treated with patience and a certain amount of persistence, they are highly cooperative. This breed, even though it is a heavy draft horse, has been known to learn and complete jump courses. They’re also commonly used to pull sleighs, carriages, or perform certain tricks that can be filmed.

Clydesdales might have earned a reputation as being a gentle horse, but that doesn’t mean they just hang their heads low and let life pass them by. The Clydesdale is a proud horse which tends to keep a high head carriage. Even in the paddock, you will see them with a high trot or walk, showing off their spirit.

You’ll also find that many Clydesdales tend to be pranksters when they are in an environment in which they are comfortable. There are many stories on forums and blogs that tell of Clydesdales who will lift a hoof so that they can have a shoe looked at, only to lean back on that hoof to put some of their weight onto the person who is handling the inspection.

Some believe that the sheer size of the Clydesdale breed makes them difficult to train, but this is far from true. The primary training barrier that many owners face is the cost of the tack that is required to complete the training work. This breed is so large that customized tack is often needed, which can cost several thousand dollars.

The Movement and Action of the Clydesdale Horse

Most heavy horses display very little action during their movements. Added action increases the energy expended by the horse, which typically reduces the workload a draft horse can support. Hauling 1 ton of weight around requires a certain amount of energy. That’s why the Clydesdale is such a popular draft horse today.

Their pride and style shows off plenty of action and personality with their movements. Clydesdales tend to bring each hoof completely off of the ground during their regular movement, whether they are in a hitch or on their own in the pasture. This allows you to see the bottom of the hoof as it passes by, which creates a unique sight – even for those who are familiar with horses.

This pronounced action occurs because of the design of the joint flexion of the Clydesdale horse. It takes the same amount of energy for them to move with their common high-stepping action as it takes other heavy draft breeds to plod along.

For this reason, the hoof of the Clydesdale must be given an added level of respect. Any hoof disease or softness can create an immediate and devastating injury to the leg, which can threaten the life of the horse. Because of the action of their walk, many Clydesdales need to wear Scotch bottoms to protect their hoof and leg.

Scotched shoes are designed to extend behind the hoof wall of the horse, allowing the hoof to have more support with each step. Scotch bottoms are nearly square across the front of the shoe. This reduces the impact of each step while also allowing the horse to navigate soft ground conditions without a higher risk of hoof rot or other health issues.

Even the Budweiser Clydesdales tend to be given Scotch bottoms for shoes. 

Health Issues Which Affect Clydesdale Horse Temperament

One of the most common health issues that affects the Clydesdale breed is called Chronic Progressive Lymphedema. This disease is similar to the chronic lymphedema that can be found in humans. It causes fibrosis of the distal limbs, progressive swelling, and hyperkeratosis. When it forms, it can place the horse in a great level of discomfort, which can change the temperament of the horse.

When Clydesdales suffer from something that causes irritation, they tend to accept their circumstances at first. In the early stages of a disease or injury, there may be no temperament changes that are noticed. Over time, however, the willpower of the horse is ground down by the constant irritation. This causes the horse to explode from the pent-up energy from a personality standpoint, creating conditions where it may lash out at other horses or people.

Resolving the health concern or providing pain relief will often reduce or eliminate the temperament changes that are seen.

9 Endurance Horse Breeds

Some horses are built for heavy draft work. Others crave the short-distance races that can be found at tracks around the world. Then there are the endurance horse breeds, which crave long-distance competition in open environments with high levels of individuality.

Endurance horse breeds must have an emphasis on strength and stamina in order for the horse to be successful. These are the most common horse breeds that are used for endurance events around the world right now.

#1. Akhal-Teke

This horse breed comes out of Turkmenistan, where they are a national treasure. The horses are specifically known for their endurance and speed. Their coats also have a unique sheen to them, which appears almost metallic at a distance. Bred in desert environments, there are an estimated 7,000 horses globally n this endurance breed.

The history of the Akhal-Teke horse comes from the local tribes that have called Turkmenistan their home for thousands of years. The tribes would selectively breed their horses, maintaining an oral studbook of sorts, and only selecting the best for breeding, raiding, and general defense. Many of today’s Russian horse breeds have been influenced by this breed.

#2. Anglo-Arabian

This horse breed is the combination of a Thoroughbred and an Arabian. Its popularity has grown to the point where it has gained its own status as an independent breed. Horses that are Anglo-Arabian must be a minimum of 12.5% Arabian in order to qualify for breed recognition. Many of today’s best endurance horses from this breed are coming out of France today.

Because there are cross-genetics involved with this breed, there are noticeable differences in size and appearance. Most Anglo-Arabians tend to be between 15.2-16.3 hands, which is a little taller than a purebred Arabian, and their coat color tends to be either gray, bay, or chestnut. Their strength and intelligence allows them to be highly competitive and versatile, giving them a sturdiness that can only come from a combination of both horse breeds.


#3. Arabian

Arabian horses have a very distinctive appearance, with a high tail carriage and distinctive head shape. Their lineage is believed to date back for more than 4,000 years, with horses spreading around the world through trade, war, and exploration. Arabian bloodlines can be found in virtually every modern horse breed.

Because Arabians were developed in desert environments, their endurance and stamina is virtually unsurpassed in the world today. They are also sensitive, but willing, so a skilled rider can maximize the competitiveness of this breed. Despite the emphasis on endurance sports, Arabian horses are also popular for recreational riding and other event options, making it one of the 10 most common horse breeds that can be found in the world today. 

This breed is relatively small compared to other breeds, with most weighing less than 1,000 pounds. Height is usually 15.1 hands or below. Although dominate white, rabicano, or sabino patterns are possible, most Arabians tend to be chestnut, black, bay, or gray.


#4. Boerperd

This endurance horse breed comes out of South Africa. Although it resembles the ancient Boer horse that was found traditionally in the region around the Cape of Africa, the older horse breed is considered to be extinct. This is because many of the horses in the region were killed during the Boer Wars that happened from 1880-1902. The Boerperd has been recognized as an individual breed since 1996, with breeder associations active since 1948.

Unlike some of the other endurance breeds, a Boerperd is relatively calm and laidback with its temperament, almost to the point of a coldblooded horse. They have 5 different gaits that are used without any interference. To qualify for breed recognition, a horse must be considered as suitable for all riders.

It is a horse that is trustworthy and affectionate, which means the endurance features can also be harnessed for driving and herding work, as well as miscellaneous farm work on the rugged terrain that South Africa tends to offer. 

#5. Criollo

This endurance horse is native to Uruguay, Brazil, and that region of South America. It is often considered to be the second-best endurance breed in the world today, just behind the Arabian. What makes this horse such a great endurance breed is the fact that it has a low basal metabolism. This allows the horse to be involved in competitive events which last more than a week in duration without the need to have supplemental feed. 

The breed itself has its foundations in the Colonial Era of the 16th century. In 1535, 100 purebred Andalusian stallions were shipped from Spain to South America. Due to the conflicts that occurred between the Spaniards and the native population, many of the horses were abandoned or released on purpose. At one point, more than 10,000 feral horses were believed to be roaming the region.

Many of these feral horses were crossed with Thoroughbreds in the 19th century, which helped to create the modern Criollo breed that is recognized today. Since the 1930s, an emphasis on creating a compact stock horse that was shorter and stronger has been in place. This has helped to increase the natural endurance of the breed as a whole. 

#6. Marwari

The Marwari horse is a fairly rare breed that originates in the Jodhpur region of India. Its appearance is quite unique, as it is one of the few breeds that has inward-turning ear tips. It is quite hardy, with a natural ambling gait. As for the endurance of this breed, it is believed to originate from the Arabian foundation horses that were crossed with native ponies.

As a formal breed, the Marwari is one of the oldest recognized breeds in the world today. Strict breeding standards have been in place for it since at least the 12th century, thanks to the efforts of the Rathores who ruled this region of Indian. Normally used as a war horse, the breed began to deteriorate in the 1930s when a lack of need, combined with poor management, almost wiped it out completely.

Since 1995, a breed society has been in place to help the breed recover. Exports have long been restricted, but from 2000-2006, limited exportation was allowed to help support the breed. Limited travel passports have been available for this breed since 2008. It comes in all common coat colors, as well as pinto.

#7. Missouri Fox Trotter

This endurance horse was developed exclusively in the United States in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. It was prized for its stock horse qualities, especially for the unique gait that is part of its name. About 100,000 horses of this breed are in the world today, but virtually all of them are in the US. Only 600 Fox Trotters are believed to be living in Europe right now. 

Like many modern endurance horses, the Arabian influence in its initial foundation helps to give it the upper stamina levels that are needed for such a breed. Since 1982, the studbook has been closed.

Although they are a strong endurance horse, most Missouri Fox Trotters are used for their trail-riding abilities. Their gait creates a smooth ride and allows them to carry an above average amount of weight for their size.


#8. Rocky Mountain Horse

Developed in Kentucky, this breed actually originated in the Appalachian Mountains instead of the Rockies. It is a fairly recent breed, with a foundation stallion moving from the West to Kentucky to establish the breed in 1890. In 1950, another foundation stallion named Old Tobe was used to develop the modern Rocky Mountain Horse. About 12,000 horses have been registered since then.

Any solid color is accepted in the Rocky Mountain Horse registry, but chocolate horses with a flaxen mane are the preferred coat. Because of the silver dapple gene being prominent in this breed, the unique coat color makes it a highly favorable horse for many purposes, including endurance riding. 

It is a good-natured horse that is friendly and willing, with numerous gaits that allow for a smooth ride. Most horses in this breed are used for working cattle or trail riding, but there is an added emphasis on endurance events thanks to the stamina this breed tends to have. 

#9. Spanish Mustang

Developed from the Spanish horses that were brought to America during the Colonial Era, this Mustang breed is often thought to be a descendant of the now rare Colonial Spanish horse. These horses are typically feral, living freely in the western United States. The US government will round up herds and sell them to those who can prove they can work with the horse to reduce their destructive tendencies.

With more than 400 years of living in the wild in the genetics of this horse, its stamina is competitive with any other horse on this list. Although it isn’t always an officially recognized breed, its performance capabilities cannot be underestimated.

Endurance horse breeds have helped human civilizations grow and thrive instead of just trying to survive. Through endurance events, these horses can continue to enjoy what they do best. 

5 Belgian Horse Breeds

There are a number of different horse breeds that have originated from Belgium. Some of the breeds are believed to be direct descendants of the ancient horses, bringing height and strength into the equine world. Others have been bred to be racing horses, while there is a distinct emphasis on agricultural and farm work as well.

Here are the Belgian horse breeds that are known to have been developed in this country.

#1. Belgian Ardennes

The Ardennes, which is sometimes called the Ardennais, is considered to be one of the oldest breeds of draft horse in the world today. Their origination is more regional than country-specific, with an emphasis in breeding coming out of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. It is believed that the lineage of this horse may date all the way back to Rome. 
These horses have thick legs and heavy bones, making them suitable for virtually any draft work. Their coats can be in any color, though the black coat is extremely rare within the breed and is forbidden within the breed registry.

Historically, Ardennes were used as war horses as they had the power to draw artillery. They were also used for plowing and heavy farm work. This breed is now used for competitive driving events and miscellaneous draft work.

The first breed registry for the Belgian Ardennes was formed in Europe in 1929. It was at about that time the first horses from this breed were introduced to North America as well. Over the past century, the Ardennes has been used to create or influence several horse breeds throughout Asia and Europe. 

#2. Belgian Draft

The Belgian Draft horse, which is also commonly called a Brabant, is one of the strongest horses that is in the world today. Most horses in this breed stand at least 16.2 hands in height, with 17 hands being quite common. The average Belgian Draft horse will weigh slightly over 2,000 pounds.

The Belgian Draft should not be confused with term “Belgian Black,” which is sometimes used to describe a Friesian horse.

Two variations of this breed have developed over the last century. European Belgian Draft horses are slightly heavier than their North American counterparts, while the North American horses tend to be a little bit taller. Both tend to have a coat that is a light chestnut color, with a flaxen mane, but the European horses do tend to shade a bit darker as well.

The Belgian Draft horse is the most popular draft horse in the United States.

Some of the world’s largest horses have come from this breed. Brooklyn Supreme, who was foaled in 1928, weighed in at 3,200 pounds. Another horse, called Big Jake, was foaled in 2000 and stands at 20.275 hands in height.

The lineage of this horse is believed to have an ancestry in the destriers from the Middle Ages, though no genetic evidence has supported this belief as of yet.

Although this breed is primarily used as a working animal, they are also quite popular as a recreational riding hose, and as a show horse. They are also entered into competitive events on a regular basis, such as team pulling events. A team of Belgian Draft horses once pulled 17,000 pounds of weight for more than 7 feet during a competition in Colorado. 

Belgian Draft horses that remain in the region are also highly desired by some for the meat they produce. Because it is so tender, it is often considered to be a delicacy. 

#3. Belgian Sport Horse

Although the Belgian Sport Horse is treated as a separate breed in Belgium, it is technically the same horse breed as the Belgian Warmblood. The creation of two separate breed registries is a reflection of the cultural and linguistic divisions that can be found in the country. Sport Horses are typically registered in the southern part of the country.

The first stud book for the Belgian Sport Horse was formed in 1920. It was done as a way to encourage local breeders to form a society that would encourage breeding horses for the army. Those who joined this association would help to produce cavalry horses and various mounts for the Belgian military, allowing the country to stop importing horses from France. Within 10 years, however, the use of horses for cavalry purposes gave way to the need to produce leisure horses.

Once the Sport Horse registry stopped focusing on military development, they changed their association to a breed that they referred to as the Belgian Halfbred. Then, after the second world war came to an end, a number of riding horses were imported from France, Germany, and throughout Europe and added to the breed to give it more of a racing emphasis.

In 1967, the sport horse society was officially formed and continues to operate today.

#4. Belgian Warmblood

If there is one point of emphasis that differentiates the Belgian Warmblood from the Belgian Sport Horse, it is the competitive training that is given. Warmbloods tend to be bred for dressage or show jumping, while the Sport Horse is a general racing and competitive horse.

Warmbloods are a fairly recent breed development in Belgium, having been allowed by the government since the 1950s. Before then, the goal of the officially sponsored breeding programs was to preserve and protect the lineage of the Belgian Draft horse.

Foundation stock for the Warmblood breed includes Holsteiners, Hanoverians, and various jumping horses that were available throughout the region.

Unlike most horse breeds, the Belgian Warmblood is characterized by a uniformity of purpose instead of a conformation of specific physical or temperamental attributes. Studbook selection is quite rigorous within this breed, but because there is such a differential in look, the only real way to tell if the horse is registered as a Warmblood is to look for the branding of the association on the left thigh.

The branding looks like a pinwheel an is given to foals of the breed when they receive their foal inspection. This is evidence that the horse is free of obvious defects. Then, between the age of 3-4, the horse is presented to a jury for licensing, which includes a complete veterinarian inspection, conformation of jumping ability, and the qualities of the horse while under saddle.

The ideal size of a Belgian Warmblood is between 16-17 hands, but height variation is common. Mares must exceed 15.1 hands in order to qualify for breeding rights. Coat colors are usually chestnut, grey, or bay, but black and brow are also common. Two coat modifiers, referred to as “donker” and “licht,” indicate a varying shade of coat for the horse. 

Of the current Belgian Warmblood stallions that are active, 2 out of every 5 has a Dutch, Hanoverian, or Holsteiner sire. 

#5. Zangersheide

The Zangersheide horse is another breed that is an offshoot of the Belgian Warmblood. It is a horse breed that is based off of the efforts of one stable that has been active with warmbloods since the 1970s. Located in Lanaken, the studfarm was able to create their own studbook in 1992 in order to focus on the development of showjumping horses.

It would be fair to say that not everyone would consider the Zangersheide to be an “official” horse breed. That is because the studbook and breed is treated more as a marketing and branding effort than an actual breed that has been formally developed. Here is a direct quote from the Zangersheide studfarm website.

“In a world where borders have virtually disappeared, Studbook Zangersheide allows you to profit from this globalization that has also reached horse breeding. The open policies of the studbook and the unique services it offers will guarantee that the best genetic material from anywhere in the world is made available to you. Your products are brought to the attention worldwide through Z-Magazine, published in 4 languages. From our headquarters in the center of Europe, the supremacy of Zangersheide products is conquering the world market.”

Think of the Zangersheide breed as more of a multi-level marketing opportunity for horse breeders. Each horse is given a “Z Ranking” and breeders receive free advertising on the primary website. The best breeders are given 30,000 euro premiums annually and are given the right to start their own Z-foals and young Z-horses to create something that is “commercially attractive” to their community or region.

The Belgian horse breeds have a foundational history in some of the ancient horse breeds the world has seen. There are also recent warmblood breeding efforts that have helped to establish new breeds since the second world war, allowing Belgium-based breeders to focus on more than producing heavy draft horses.

Over time, as these new breeds have time to mature, there will be more conformational information and higher standards in place. Until then, the efforts of the breeders will be to stabilize the newer breeds without threatening the lineage and quality of the ancient breeds that have called Belgium their home for several centuries. 

Mustang Horse Temperament and personality

Mustangs are typically feral horses that have been living in the wild for some time. Even if a Mustang has been domesticated and there are several generations of domestication for a family line, this feral nature and the wild herd mentality never really leaves the Mustang horse temperament. These horses, which originally came from the Spanish more than 400 years ago, are used to being charge.

This independence creates a horse that tends to be quite stubborn, especially if you’re asking the horse to do something it doesn’t want to do. This temperament is especially noticeable in the horses that have been taken out of the wild, even after they have been properly trained. With the right rider, however, a Mustang can be willing and cooperative, ready to seek out an adventure. That is why Mustangs are often thought of as one of the best riding horses in the world today.

It is also why Mustangs are one of the easiest breeds to care for in the equine world. It is quite sturdy. Give the horse access to an adequate pasture and plenty of exercise and you’ll be creating the foundation of a happy horse with a friendly temperament.

Mustangs Tend to Have Individual Personalities

Although the generalized Mustang horse temperament is very close to being hotblooded, it is difficult to say that there is an “average” Mustang horse out there. Each one tends to have its own personality, whether it has been living in a feral herd or at a farm where every wish has been granted to the horse since foaling.

You can have a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Mustang that is naturally sweet, curious, and friendly. They can be great with people from their first encounter. Some will be gentle with people, but incredibly dominant with other horses because of the alpha herd mentality that Mustangs tend to have. In many ways, a feral Mustang is not that different from any other domestic breed of horse.

This herd mentality does tend to create a certain stubbornness and protectiveness that can get the horse into trouble at times. Mustangs tend to identify one person as the “herd leader” and will become protective of that person. Even in a family environment, if the horse feels like its “leader” is being threatened, it may become aggressive with another person in the family. This aggressiveness may be magnified if there are strangers around.

Mustangs also prefer to be cared for by their established “leader,” so it can be difficult to bring someone in to work with the horse. This includes a veterinarian or a farrier. If specific care does need to be provided, the Mustang tends to stay calm only if their “leader” happens to be present in some way.

Mustangs Often Aim to Please

Once a relationship has been established with a Mustang, they tend to be a very willing breed. They’ll be more willing with the “alpha” than anyone else, but there is also a general desire to please once that relationship has been formed. You’ll find that most Mustangs have a desire to earn and maintain trust within that relationship, trying extremely hard for the rider or trainer. They are eager, curious, and pretty forgiving if you have a preferred treat lying around that can be offered as an apology.

You’ll find that there are some very laidback Mustangs, even when brought out of the wild, that prefer to be lazy and would rather snuggle with someone than do any exercise or work. Then there are the Mustangs that are spirited, proud, and noble who will initially demand that you earn their respect instead of the other way around.

That is why the Mustang is a breed that is often highly sought. Adoptions are often very affordable, especially when working with the BLM, and the rewards that come with an established relationship can be fantastic. 

This means that a Mustang tends to be a little less stubborn than other popular breeds, such as the Appaloosa. They also tend to have about the same energy levels as a Thoroughbred. Each can be affected by the amount of time they have spent with humans, training that they may have had, and other exposure incidents they may have had.

How to Choose a Mustang with a Compatible Personality

Many of the challenges that are seen within the Mustang breed can be directly attributed to personality conflicts that arise between horse and human. Choosing a Mustang with a personality that is compatible with your own will help you be able to work together as a team in the future. That means you’ll want to look for specific traits before agreeing to take on a horse.

If you enjoy a horse that has a lot of spirit, then a Mustang that prefers to be lazy and play with stall toys is not likely going to be a positive relationship. On the other hand, if you prefer a horse that likes to snuggle instead of a horse that tries to knock a rider on their back to have a good laugh, then the spirited horse is going to be a personality conflict between the two of you that will be difficult to resolve.

Your ability to work with a horse must also be part of the consideration process. Many people are attracted to Mustangs that have high energy levels because they offer flashy optics and nostalgic memories of times gone by. Without experience, that spirited personality is going to dominate your property and create a daily headache when it comes time to interact with the horse.

It is possible to tell from the appearance of a Mustang where its herd ranking tends to be. Dominant horses rarely have bite marks on their body. Lower-ranking herd members that are spirited will have bite marks on their shoulders, neck, and face. Lower-ranking herd members that are shy and laidback tend to have marks on their hindquarters and hips because they prefer to avoid confrontation.

The first two herd members listed will be energetic. The alpha horses will be extremely spirited and could attempt to put you into a subordinate role as well. The timid horse, on the other hand, will need to be given opportunities to gain confidence so that they want to do more than spend a sunny afternoon alone in the pasture.

There is also a noticeable difference with Mustang stallions. Stallions will have a strong desire for dominance with the herd mentality of this breed. They also tend to be focused on the dynamics of the herd, including protection and mating, which can make it difficult to interact with them on a personal level.

Mustang horse temperament can be variable, so it is up to each person to look at the specific attributes of personality the horse displays. This will help you be able to find the right relationship. 

Arabian Horse Temperament and personality

For much of their initial history, Arabian horses lived outdoors in the desert environments of the Middle East and surrounding Eurasia region. They lived near their owners, which helped to develop an independent temperament that features disposition that was naturally positive and approachable.

Some prized mares were often kept in the tents of their owners to protect their value. That’s because the value of the horse often brought status to the family. This caused the horses to be around children and families, creating a working relationship that offers most within this breed to have a good temperament.

Arabians are so well-tempered, in fact, that they are only one of a handful of breeds that the United States Equestrian Federation allows children to use when exhibiting stallions. Virtually all show ring classes are allowed with this breed.

Arabian Horses Are a Hotblooded Horse

Despite their even temperament and ability to work well with families, children, and those with a physical or developmental disability, they are also a hotblooded horse. This means their temperament is also quite spirited even with its overall refinement. Arabians are intelligent horses that allow them to learn good habits quickly, but that also means they can learn bad habits just as quickly. 

There is also a certain level of sensitivity that can be found within the breed. Most Arabians have a natural tendency to cooperate with humans, but that cooperation goes away if they feel that they are being treated poorly. The Arabian will not tolerate any training practices that it deems to be abusive or inept. In response, a greater level of anxiety tends to develop within a horse who perceives a lack of experience or skill rather than a shift toward viciousness.

This is where the close proximity to humans over the centuries has helped to stabilize the personality of the breed. They may be bred for spirit and speed, but Arabians are also highly responsive and tend to forgive easily if there is a positive intent behind the actions that someone might take. Their spirit tends to be funneled into an action rather than a behavior, which is why they are such a good horse for children who are interested in the equine world.

Arabian Horse Temperament Can Have Wide Variability

On average, the temperament of the average Arabian horse is going to be fairly calm and cooperative. Most are going to be very willing, especially if there are frequent activities that are given to them on a regular basis. Younger Arabians tend to be more spirited than older horses, but there is still a certain gentleness to their actions, considering the fact that they are a hotblooded breed.

There are some Arabians, however, that can have more spirit than normal. This may happen for a variety of reasons.

  • They may have been given high levels of independence in the past, but are now rebelling against less independence in their choices now.
  • They may have been kept in a stall without any social contact with other horses or humans for a prolonged period of time.
  • They may be naturally high-spirited and attempting to dominate the relationship between human and horse.

When there are high spirit levels within the temperament of the Arabian, then the horse can be somewhat difficult to control. Most Arabians will recognize when they are around children, but this is not always the case when there are high spirit levels. That is why it is important to find the right horse to work with before assuming what the temperament of the horse is going to be. 

The fact is that in every horse breed, there will be individuals that do not match up with the stereotypes that people have for them. That is why evaluating each horse and forming a close relationship are important steps to follow. Once a horse has time to establish behavioral habits, it becomes difficult to change their temperament over time. It’s tough to teach an old horse new tricks. 

Health Issues Which Can Change Arabian Horse Temperament

Arabian horses have several unique physical characteristics that make them stand out from a genetic standpoint. This breed has 17 ribs, for example, instead of the 18 ribs that most horse breeds typically have. Arabians also have one fewer lumbar vertebra and one fewer tail bone compared to other breeds. Their skin is also always black, no matter what their coat color happens to be, because of their initial desert environment conditioning in their early history.

These physical traits have helped to develop a horse that works well with virtually everyone. It has also developed the potential of several genetic diseases or disorders that can affect Arabian horse temperament at times.

Some of the disorders affect the coordination and balance of the horse, such as Cerebellar Abiotrophy. Physical issues, such as OAAM, cause the cervical vertebrae to become fused, which can cause an injury to the spinal cord or discomfort and pain for the horse. Arabians can also be affected by a form of epilepsy.

Whenever a physical condition causes discomfort for the horse, there is the potential of having the temperament of the horse change. Medication can help to treat some of these conditions. In severe instances, a surgery may be required to correct the condition. If the temperament of an Arabian is positive, but then changes to negative, then this can be a strong indication that it is time for a veterinarian review.

It’s the Rider’s Job to Know the Horse

Because Arabians tend to be horses with high spirit levels, their attitudes can be somewhat irritating – especially to someone who may not have a lot of horse experience. If the rider becomes irritated with an Arabian, the sensitive nature of this breed will detect that irritation and respond in kind. That’s why it is the rider’s job to know the horse and respond appropriately so that it becomes possible to get the most out of the horse.

Unfortunately, many see Arabians as willing and gentle horses, with a temperament that is similar to a coldblooded horse. This causes them to treat this breed in a way that isn’t always liked by the horse. In return, the horse treats the human in a way that isn’t always liked as well. This pushing and pulling eventually leads to confrontations, which damages the relationship, and that can cause the horse to become rebellious, even if its natural inclination is to be cooperative and friendly.

Arabians have been living around humans for thousands of years. They are energetic, but they are also kind. With the right experience, getting to know the Arabian horse temperament really is something that anyone can do.
 

16 Endangered Horse Breeds

Some horse breeds are flourishing in today’s world. Others are struggling to survive. Although there are several endangered horse breeds, there is also a lot of hope. Many of the most popular horse breeds today were also once endangered, often not that long ago. In just 50 years, many breeds have made an incredible recovery.

These are the next endangered breeds that many hope will make a similar recovery in the near future.

#1. American Cream

The American Cream is a draft horse and it is the only draft horse breed that is native to the United States. It’s unique coloring comes from a combination of chestnut and champagne genetics instead of the potentially hazardous all-white coat genetics. Fewer than 100 of these horses are believed to exist in the world today.

#2. Suffolk

Another drafting horse is incredibly endangered, with fewer than 1,000 known to exist at the moment. All of them have a chestnut coat, though there can be varying shades of it. It is one of the few remaining horses that was specifically bred for regional farm work needs. The Suffolk region is filled with wetlands and marshes, so this breed was adapted to those conditions. It’s also one of the few draft breeds that has not been adapted to riding or driving.

#3. Cleveland Bay

One of the oldest recognized endangered horse breeds hovers around the 1,000 marks as well in terms of population. This horse breed was often used to transport goods between religious institutions. Today it is a carriage horse, riding horse, and can be competitive in dressage and show jumping. They have a smooth gait, a sensitive personality, and generally have a dark brown or chestnut coat.

#4. Caspian

In the 1960s, this Iranian horse breed almost went extinct. It’s more of a miniature horse than a pony, especially since the average height tends to be between 9-10 hands. Most of the horses in this breed reach their full height around 6 months of age.

#5. Exmoor Pony

This horse breed is the foundational breed for many of the modern pony breeds, but it is also quite endangered. After World War I, there were fewer than 50 horses remaining to this breed. Although the numbers are still quite restricted, there are an estimated 2,000 horses in the world today. There is even a feral herd that roams in Exmoor. When domesticated, they are often used for driving or riding.

#6. Shire

This draft horse was originally used for farming and agricultural work. When war broke out, their mild-mannered nature and larger size made them an attractive war horse. Their strength allowed them to carry a knight clad in full armor out into battle with relative ease. Although their numbers are estimated to be around the 2,000 mark, they are still used for heavy agricultural work, especially in the forestry industry.

#7. Canadian

In the 17th century, the Canadian breed was one of the most popular in the world. They were exported globally because of their extreme versatility. They were war horses, farm horses, and carriage horses primarily, but could be called upon to do almost anything. This versatility also eventually contributed to their eventual almost-extinction, as only a small pool of purebred horses were left in Canada.

Since the 1970s, there has been a large push to preserve this strong and sturdy horse.

#8. Dales Pony

This is a hardy breed that is native to England. Often used in the mining industry, their numbers have continued to dwindle since World War II. There are believed to be fewer than 3,000 of them in the world today.

#9. Przewalski’s Horse

This is the only breed of horse that is recognized as being a wild horse. All other horses are considered to be feral, including Brumbies and Mustangs, because of how the herds or mobs were originally formed. Although the current populations are born in the wild, the ancestry of the feral horse is one that includes domestication. This is not the case for Przewalski horses.

There are only a few hundred of these horses in the world today and they are all protected. They would be completely extinct if a zoo hadn’t maintained a single stallion and a handful of mares to preserve it. You’ll find this horse in national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and even in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

#10. Florida Cracker Horse

Similar to the Spanish Colonial Horses, this breed is a direct descendent of the horses that were brought to the United States in the 1500s during the beginning of the Colonial Era. The name comes from the work that the horses were asked to do instead of the food that they like to eat. Cowboys in Florida during the 1930s were referred to as crackers.

In 1989, only three small herds existed for this breed, along with 100 horses owned by private families. Although an estimated 300 horses are currently registered and numbers are continuing to rise, this rare breed is still considered to be extremely endangered.

#11. Marsh Tacky

Native to South Carolina, this is another horse breed that is directly descended from Spanish colonists in the 1500s. It is a smaller horse, but has adapted well to the lowland swamps of the region. Fewer than 300 of these horses are currently known to exist. To help protect the breed, DNA testing was conducted in 2006-2007, leading to a closed stud book to be created in 2010. 

Most of the horses in this breed stand about 14 hands in height, with up to 15 hands being considered normal. The original breed had Pinto coloration in addition to all other color varieties, but the Pinto pattern was not selected for breeding, so it has been phased out of the breed. It has a gait that is comparable to a fox trotter and is known for being sure-footed with a good stamina.

#12. Akhal-Teke

This breed has one of the most unique coats in the entire equine world. It has a sheen that almost appears to be metallic when seen from a distance. This horse tends to be thinner and lankier compared to other breeds as well, creating features that appear to be quite delicate. Originally developed in Turkmenistan to be used for transportation and agricultural work, this breed is hardy and athletic.

#13. Black Forest

This horse breed was almost exclusively developed in the Black Forest region of Germany. The history of this breed dates back for almost 600 years because of the need for agricultural help in the region. After mechanization reduced the need for farms to have working horses, this breed dropped in popularity almost immediately. By the early 1980s, fewer than 200 horses remained. That’s when the German government stepped in to create a preservation program.

There are now about 1,000 horses in this breed and its popularity continues to bring it back from the brink of extinction. It is strong, gentle, and an excellent carriage or riding horse.

#14. Camargue

Another one of the oldest horse breeds in the world today is one of its most endangered. They tend to be somewhat feral, tending to prefer living in the wetlands of Southern France. They are gray, but appear to be nearly white, and when a herd gallops through the wetlands, it makes for quite a sight. Watching them has become so popular, in fact, that tourism opportunities to take photographs has started to create a resource base that can help to preserve the breed.

Some believe the origins of this breed could date back over 17,000 years. It is known that these horses were present before Roman and Celtic occupations. Local land owners help to control herd size and structure.

#15. Falabella

One of the most unusual miniature horses is the Falabella, which is one of the smallest horses in the world. Most stand less than 32 inches tall at the withers. The breed originally developed in Argentina in the mid-1800s before being imported to the United States in 1962. They are highly intelligent as a breed, often used as guide or service and support animals for those with physical or emotional disabilities.

They are also one of the longest-lived horse breeds in the world today, with many living longer than 40 years.

#16. Konik

Originally from Poland, the goal of this horse breed was to reproduce the qualities of the Tarpan breed, which has been extinct since 1910. Bred with Przewalski horses, Icelandic horses, and others that have a similar coat color, these horses are typically used for wetland grazing projects throughout Europe. Their presence is known to restore the balance of a local ecosystem because of their endurance in wetland systems.

Endangered horse breeds can be saved when the right supports are put into place. Sometimes that comes from private efforts, while sometimes the local government may need to step in to help. With diversity, the equine world is stronger. By promoting awareness of these breeds, that diversity can continue to be encouraged.
 

7 Australian Horse Breeds

Although Australia is a fairly recent culture when it comes to breeding horses, there is still some variety that you will find coming out of the Land Down Under. The unique landscapes and characteristics of this continental nation has also led to Australian horse breeds that are unique and distinct in looks, temperament, and willingness. 

Here are the 7 breeds that are known to originate in Australia. 

#1. Australian Draught Horse

The Australian Draught Horse came about as a breed thanks to the crossbreeding efforts of 4 pure draught horse breeds that were brought to Australia. Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, and Suffolk Punch are all incorporated into this breed, as are some light horse bloodlines that were added to help improve the genetics.

All coat colors are accepted within this breed, though an excessive amount of white on the body or face is not necessarily desired. White below the knee is considered to be acceptable.

The stud book society for this breed was not established until 1979. It was finally created to help separate the Australian Draught Horse from the other purebred horse breeds that were present in Australia. Although the need for heavy farm work has all but disappeared, you can still find this breed valued as a working horse, especially on smaller farms, throughout the country. It is also regularly entered into draught competitions and makes for a good riding horse. 

#2. Australian Pony

Influenced by Arabian bloodlines and the Welsh Pony, this breed stands between 11-14 hands in height. The head is full of show quality, with emphasis on the alert ears and oversized dark eyes. The neck of this breed is short, but rounded nicely, and shoulders slope back in a way that is reminiscent of the foundational British pony breeds.

The Australian Pony first emerged as a distinct breed around 1920, with the first stud book forming in 1931 to support this horse. The Australian Pony Stud Book also caters to European breeds, Connemara ponies, and other horses in addition to its namesake breed.

Most horses in this breed today are used as a mount for children or smaller adults. They are highly intelligent and extremely motivated to learn new skills thanks to their curiosity. You’ll often find them in dressage, show jumping, and combined driving events. They also excel in certain mounted games.

Stallions of influence for the Australian Pony include Exmoor ponies, a Hungarian, a Welsh Cob with English Hackney bloodlines, and a Welsh Mountain Pony. 

#3. Australian Riding Pony

The Australian Riding Pony is a fairly recent breed to the equine world, having been developed since just the 1970s. It has been greatly influenced by the British Riding Pony in its development, but there are also Arabian and Thoroughbred bloodlines incorporated into the breed.

These ponies tend to look very similar to a racing Thoroughbred, which makes them quite popular. They can vary in height, but do not exceed 14 hands. Solid colors are featured, with small heads and ears, but with a free-flowing gait that most other pony breeds do not have.

The Australian Riding Pony Stud Book was established around 1980, created after just 7 years of breeding work from the first imported ponies for this breed. Like other pony breeds, its primary use is as a riding horse for children and young adults. It is also an excellent competitive horse, especially for show jumping and dressage. 

To help promote diversity within the breed, the foundation section initially required four crosses of animals from approved breeds before a pony could be entered into the appropriate section. Now that the breed is firmly established, some of the requirements have lessened, including moving from a requirement of four to a requirement of three.

Artificial insemination is also allowed in this breed, which has helped to create an extensive number of bloodlines in a short amount of time. 

#4. Australian Stock Horse

This is a hardy breed of horse that is known for having a calm, willing temperament. The Australian Stockhorse also has a superior level of endurance and agility when compared to the other Australian horse breeds. Like most horse breeds from here, the roots of the breed are dated to the initial arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in 1788.

This means the Australian Stock Horse features Thoroughbred, Arabian, Barb, and Spanish horse genetics. There are many similarities to the Waler horse with this breed, though it tends to be smaller. It received a formal recognition as a distinct breed in 1971 and has continued to grow in popularity since then.

Unlike some other breeds, however, the Society which governs the Australian Stock Horse does allow for breeders to utilize other bloodlines and breeds to influence development. Quarter Horse bloodlines are particularly popular with some breeders. In order for the horses to be included, however, the breeder must pay a large fee for the privilege.

Australian Stock Horses are quite intelligent, tough, and courageous. They are quick and agile, with a sure-footed walk. Most are calm and responsive with their temperament. All coat colors are accepted, with height ranges between 14-16.2 hands, with some variation above or below that average.
More than 170,000 horses or foals are currently registered. 

#5. Brumby

This breed of horse is free-roaming throughout all of Australia, often forming herds that are referred to as “mobs.” Most people who are familiar with Australian horse breeds will know of the Brumbies that are near the Australian Alps. These horses are the descendants of escaped or lost horses that sometimes go all the way back to the initial European settlement.

The genetics of the Brumby can be quite varied. Some of their ancestors include British pony and draught breeds. Timor ponies, Thoroughbreds, and Arabians are also believed to be part of this breed. Some are also believed to carry the rare Pangare gene. 

Because of the long journey that was required to bring the horses to Australia in the first place, the Brumby is made up of incredibly strong genetics. Only the strongest horses could survive the trip. This has led to their unique ability to flourish throughout every environment on the continent.

How Brumbies are viewed is up for debate. Some see them as part of the national history and heritage of Australia. Others seem them as a major pest. Current estimates place the Brumby population at 400,000 horses, with population increases of up to 20% per year.
 
#6. Coffin Bay Pony

This breed was established in Australia due to the importation of 60 Timor ponies from English settlers that came from Indonesia to Coffin Bay. Often confused with the Brumby because the breed is somewhat feral by nature, Coffin Bay ponies live in protected areas that are fenced off from the general population.

As a breed, they are notable from their strong hooves and skeletal structure. Although more than a century has passed, the resemblance to the Timor pony is still evident in this breed, especially in the shorter legs and muscular hindquarters. When domesticated, this breed is friendly and extremely manageable, even for children. The feral horses of this breed are still intelligent, friendly, and quite approachable.

Although this breed can vary in height, they do not rise above 14.2 hands. Their coat must be a solid color for the horse to be considered part of the breed. Any broken colors indicate the presence of additional bloodlines, though white markings on the face or legs are considered to be accepted. 

#7. Waler Horse

This horse breed was developed from the first horses that were brought along to Australia during the colonization period of the 19th century. Originally called “New South Walers,” this breed is a combination of several different horse breeds. Genetics include Arabian, Cape Horses, Timor Ponies, and Thoroughbreds. Although not confirmed, it is believed that Walers also have some heavy draft horse genetics, with Clydesdales or Percherons suspected.

When it was originally developed, Walers were considered to be more of a “type” instead of a distinct breed. As the harsh conditions of colonization took place, the horses developed a certain hardiness and better endurance than other horse breeds, even when there was little food or water available to them.

The modern Waler horse is bred from bloodlines that came to Australia before 1945, free of imported genetics.

Although many of the Australian horse breeds are fairly recent in their establishment, they are quickly growing in size and popularity. Although some of the horses are deemed to be pests and they can be very destructive in the wild, they can also be very adaptable to changing circumstances and be a flexible mount that is ready, willing, and able to learn new skills.

As time passes by, each of these breeds will continue to firm up a specific conformation that will help to solidify the breed from its initial foundation.

Morgan Horse Temperament and Personality

Morgan horses are named after Justin Morgan, who is considered to be the founder of this breed. He acquired a colt in 1789 because of a debt payment that would become the founding sire of the breed, and would be later renamed after Morgan from the name of Figure that was originally given to him. This founding sire would have three sons, named Bulrush, Sherman, and Woodbury, and together they would create the legacy of the Morgan horse.

Morgan horses have some very specific conformation characteristics that must be met in order for the horse to be accepted for registry. This includes a broad forehead, prominent eyes that are large, a deep throatlatch, and sound legs that are straight with short cannons. Morgans are also distinctive for their overall temperament.

The Morgan horse is often considered to be the first breed that was exclusively developed in the United States. It is the official state horse of two different states and is the only registered breed that was given a commitment by the US Government. An estimated 125,000 Morgans are currently part of the global equine population. 

What Can Be Expected with a Morgan Horse?

Morgan horses tend to have tons of personality. They are very eager to please and have a superior stamina with vigor. This has led the breed to be a popular horse for a wide variety of tasks, from fighting in the Civil War to performing general farm work in the agricultural sector. These traits can still be found in the modern Morgan horse today, though their jobs have transitioned more into sporting and recreational sectors.

What attracts so many toward the Morgan over other horse breeds is the complete evenness of its temperament. This breed is extremely willing without much exception. For this reason, Morgans are often one of the top recommendations when working with horses for the first time. They are equally happy with children or adults, amateurs or professionals, and individuals or families. They are somewhat sensitive, but they are also quite forgiving. If you make a mistake, most Morgans are willing to give you a second chance – and more.

Morgans are also a very patient horse. They enjoy putting on a good show, so their curiosity and skill-development is an asset for those that perform in formal riding disciplines. They’re instantly alert when called upon to enter a show ring, no matter how long they’ve been waiting. 

This patience also translates into certain riding or racing disciplines, especially on the endurance circuits. It has also been a contributing factor to the mood stability and calmness that has been developed in other breeds as well. Morgans have been used to improve Standardbreds, Quarter Horses, Saddlebreds, and Tennessee Walking Horses.

One Morgan horse, named Stepherd F. Knapp, was exported to England in the 1860s. His unique trot would be used to influence an entire generation of Hackney horses. 

There may also be additional breeds that have been influenced by Morgan genetics. Figure/Justin Morgan was known to be used as a breeding stallion quite extensively to help with owner debts over the years. Many records from those breeding efforts have been lost or were never created in the first place, so there may be more Morgans out there than anyone actually realizes. 

What Rider Is Best Suited to Work with a Morgan Horse?

Morgans are quite flexible, which makes them suitable to work with just about any rider. They are comfortable in virtually any circumstance or environment where they can be treated right. This means they are a companionable breed that will become a great riding or working partner for just about anyone.

What Morgans will not stand for is blatant aggressiveness. They are forgiving to riders who are learning what it means to work with a horse, but they are not so forgiving to those who feel like a horse/person relationship needs to be one of dominance. Morgans will become quickly uncooperative if they feel like the relationship is being used against them for some reason.

The Morgan horse is also the first American breed to compete in the World Pairs Driving Competition. There are many Morgan-specific horse shows that are held annually in the United States, with more than 1,000 horses competing annually to be the Grand Champion of the breed. 

Morgans are a proud breed. You can see it in their carriage as they hold their heads upright and tall. There is a certain zest for life that is found in this breed and they refuse to have that taken away from them. This is why they were used quite extensively in the 1800s as a carriage horse, for harness racing, and similar pulling tasks.

This is why you’ll often find Morgans being used for riding lessons, especially with beginners, because of their overall gentle nature. They’re also vital components of 4-H Clubs and similar student groups and agencies. They are wonderful therapeutic horses, especially for those that need a form of experiential therapy. They have lots of heart, plenty of athleticism, and a beauty that is all their own.

Does the Coat Color of a Morgan Dictate Its Temperament?

Unlike some other breeds, there are no coat color determinations that are believed to be present when considering the Morgan horse. There are, however, two different genetic disorders that are linked to coat color genes within this breed. They are MCOA, or multiple congenital ocular anomalies, and some Morgans carry the silver dapple allele, which can cause ocular cysts.

Morgans are also capable of developing lethal white syndrome, which is seen in foals who are homozygous for the frame overo gene. For this reason, genetic testing is often recommended for all horses who may be carriers of problematic genetics. Only one Morgan mare line in the breed has every produced healthy foals with a heterozygous frame overo. 

There are four main bloodlines that exist for Morgan horses today, with each begin referred to as a family. Each family offers a similar temperament, but there are subtle differences based on the purpose of breeding that was in place. The Working Western Family, for example, are horses that are bred for working cattle, so they tend to be more willing when it comes to work.

The US Government gave up their involvement with Morgan horses in 1951, selling their program to the University of Vermont. It is a program that is still operating today. More than 3,000 foals in this breed are born annually and registered to their local association, which makes it one of the most popular and versatile breeds that has ever come out of the United States. Much of that is due to the fact that the Morgan horse temperament is the same today as it was over 200 years ago.