Throughout history, there has been a natural companionship between man and horse. This companionship has earned the horse a special place in history as it has served man in war, mobility, productivity, and agriculture. The horse has played a large role in contributing to the enhancement of civilization. Because of this, it has earned a lot of recognition and honor. When thinking of horses, great qualities and virtues come to mind such as: nobility, power, grace, strength, freedom and beauty. We think horses are exceptionally beautiful beings, and as such, we have compiled a list for you of our favorite 10 breeds. Which ones are your favorite?
This stunning breed originated in Friesland in the Netherlands. Don't let their size fool you, this breed is surprisingly nimble and graceful. It is believed that during the Middle Ages in Europe, ancestors of this noble breed were in high demand as war horses because of their ability to carry knights in armor. Despite their popularity in the Middle Ages, this breed has actually almost disappeared on more than one occasion. But in the recent decades, Friesians have been growing in popularity again.
With their distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian Horse is one of the most recognizable in the world. Native to the Arabian peninsula, this breed is one of the oldest in the world. There is archeological evidence that suggests this breed can be traced back at least 4,500 years. Throughout history this breed has spread around the world through war and trade. Arabian bloodlines can be found in almost all modern breeds of riding horses because of their speed, refinement, endurance and strong bones.
Also known as the "Irish Cob," The Gypsy horse is native to the British Isles, although it is particularly associated with the Roma (gypsy) traveling people of Britain and Ireland. It wasn't considered a breed until 1996. This breed is highly prized for its feathering, or the long hair that starts below the knee and flows over the hooves. The Gypsy Horse was bred by the Roma of Great Britain to pull the vardoes, or wagons, in which they lived and travelled.
The Andalusian is also known as a "Pure Spanish Horse," and it is a horse bred on the Iberian Peninsula. Although it can trace its ancestry back over 1000s of years, it was officially recognized as a breed in the 15th century. Throughout history, the Andalusian has been recognized for its prowess as a war horse and it was highly prized by nobility. This breed was also used as a tool for diplomacy by the Spanish government, and Kings across Europe rode Andalusian horses. While they have a history as being warhorses, they are also known for their intelligence, sensitivity and docility.
The Akhal-Teke breed is the national emblem of Turkmenistan. They are known for their speed, endurance, intelligence and the distinctive metallic sheen of their coat. Their shiny coat has earned them the nickname of "Golden Horses." Besides being beautiful, they are actually very hardy and adapted particularly to survive in severe climate conditions. They are thought to be one of the oldest existing horse breeds in the world.
Mustangs are often referred to as "wild horses," but because they are descendants of previously domesticated horses, they are more appropriately termed as "feral horses." The original mustang horses were Colonial Spanish horses, but over time they have mixed with other horses. Mustangs are generally described as being "surefooted" and known for having good endurance.
This American breed is recognized most widely for its distinctive spotted coat. The Nez Perce people Native to America are responsible for developing the first native breed of Appaloosa in what is now the United States. Settlers originally referred to this breed as "Palouse horse" most likely because of the Palouse river. The breed almost disappeared following the Nez Perce war in 1877, but thanks to some dedicated breeders the breed has grown to become one of the most popular breeds in the United States. The Appaloosa was named the official state horse of Idaho in 1975.
The Marwari are a rare breed from the Marwar (Jodhpur) region of India. They can be easily identified by their unique, inward-turning ear tips. The Marwari are a hardy breed that is descended from crossing Arabian horses with native Indian ponies. The Rathors (or traditional rulers of the Marwar region), were the first to breed this kind of horse in the 12th century. These horses were used for centuries as calvary horses in the Marwar region and have been extolled for their loyalty and bravery on the battlefield.
The Haflinger breed is also known as the Avelignese. This breed was developed in the late 19th century in Austria and Norther Italy. Haflingers are generally compact and chestnut in color. They have a distinctive gait that is described as being both energetic and smooth, and they are well-muscled yet elegant horses. While this specific breed was developed in the late 19th century, its ancestry can be traced back to the middle ages. Haflingers were developed for mountain terrain and are known for their hardiness.
The Morgan Horse is one of the earliest breeds to be developed in the United States. Morgans have served many roles in the course of American history. They served as coach horses, general riding animals, and even as calvary horses on both sides of the American Civil War. This breed is known and appreciated for its versatility.