Category: General Information

7 Horse Breeds With A Purpose

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quarter-horse

Don’t get me wrong. All horses have a purpose but here I’ve listed 7 of the most popular breeds and their purpose. Some breeds are better suited for a specific purpose but in general most horses can do about anything if they are properly trained for it. That’s not to say I would want to use an Arabian for herding cattle although if they are trained properly they can do it. So let’s dig in and find out what different breeds are generally used for.

Quarter Horse

Let’s start with one of the most popular breeds and that’s the quarter horse. The quarter horse excels at sprinting short distances. This breed is the most popular horse breed in North America. It also ranks as one of the oldest. There are more than 5 million registered quarter horses world-wide and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is the largest breed registry in the world. One of the reasons the Quarter Horse is so popular is because of its gentle nature, versatility, beauty, speed, agility and loyalty. The breed is very popular as working cow horses because of their “cow sense”. Outside of the cattle world they are very popular in rodeos and various other arena events such as reining, cutting, team penning, and speed events (although they are being replaced by thoroughbreds in barrel racing). There are quarter horse races which are more like sprints rather than distances like thoroughbreds. This type of even remains popular in North America and there have been speeds of 55 miles per hour recorded during these short races. Because of their laid-back personality they make great beginner and family horses.

Thoroughbred

Next up we’ll dig into the Thoroughbred. My wife has one and she absolutely loves this horse. Their heart is absolutely amazing. Although there are some issues that seem to be more prominent in this breed. Canker seems to be a growing problem with all of the warm blood breeds. The thoroughbred is most widely known for their use in racing. This breed is extremely fast and they are built for speed and agility. They have huge hearts and it takes a lot to get them to give up. Ours has a number of feet issues but keeps pushing himself to get through them. In recent years this breed is becoming more and more common in the rodeo arena as barrel racers are beginning to use them more. My wife always tells me how a thoroughbred could make a great barrel horse because of the length of their stride. It’s less steps for them to go from the third barrel to the barrier. I’ve never really been into barrel racing so I can’t comment on this. Many people ask what OTTB means for horses so since we’re on the topic of thoroughbreds I’ll go ahead and tell you. The term OOTB means Off the Track Thoroughbred.

Arabian

The Arabian is a very popular breed in the show world. This horse has widely distributed around the world by war and trade. They have great endurance and in many cases are used for endurance trail riding competitions. They are extremely common in arena events such as dressage, english pleasure, Jumping, etc. The horse was used in the U.S. Army for a number of years and finally was retired from service in roughly 1940. The Arabian is easily identified by the “dish” in their face and their long slender bodies. They are full of grace and have a ton of endurance and stamina. For this reason they are considered the best breed for distances.

Tennessee Walker

The Tennessee Walker is loved by many riders of varying experience levels because of it’s smooth gait. It’s widely known for its’ “running walk” because of the smoothness of its movements. They have an elegant bearing and a very sensible temperament which explains their appeal. This breed was developed to provide a smooth, safe, ride for farmers traveling over rough terrain and even though they were bred to do all types of work around the farm, they are now mostly a riding horse equally prized in the show ring or train. The Tennessee Walking Horse is commonly ridden under both western and english tack. They are great for older riders and riders with back problems. They are also a favorite of a large number of beginning riders.

The Paint Horse

The Paint Horse is a very recognizable breed due to it’s flashy coloring, calm temperament, and versatility. The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) has about 110,000 members world-wide and membership keeps steadily growing. This breed is strong, fast, and agile and are ridden and driven in almost every English and Western discipline. They have representatives in almost every sport involving horses. Many people love the Paint’s distinctive color patterns which can be in any combination of white plus another color such as black, chestnut, etc. The patterns vary greatly and no two are exactly the same. A Paint horse can come in several distinct color patterns:

Tabiano

Tabianos exhibit a dark and white color pattern, wish solid dark over one or both flanks and white legs. The head is dark with regular facial patterns such as stars, blazes, and strips. The markings are smooth and regular. The tail and main can be two colors.

Overo

Overo is a solid color over the horse’s back. The legs are dark with regular stockings and the face is primarily white. The tail and mane are usually solid colors.

Sabino

A sabino horse is mainly a solid color with white patches that have random edges. The legs are white, and the face has a number of white markings. Patches of varying sizes, from larges areas of the body to small specks.

Tovero

Tovero horses are mainly white on the body, while the upper part of the head, chest, and flanks are a dark color. Some Toveros have blue eyes which create a striking appearance.

All of these coat patterns can have white hairs throughout them. This is known as roaning. Any regular coat color may combine with white and in some cases two coat colors will combine with white on the same horse. People can easily get the Paint horse and the Pinto confused. While both have similar coats, with white patches and solid color their key differences lie in their breeds. A Paint Horse (according to the APHA)

“has strict bloodline requirements and a distinctive stock-horse body type”

A Pinto horse can be a variety of breeds. The term “pinto” instead refers to the coat pattern of the horse rather than the breed.

Appaloosa

The Appaloosa breed was originally developed by the Nez Perce tribe of the American Northwest, who used strict breeding practices to create a horse that was colorful and intelligent. The modern-day Appaloosa is an all-around versatile horse that is used for pleasure and long-distance trail riding, working cattle and rodeo events. Originally they were used for transport, hunting and battle. This is a breed that is friendly, gentle and loyal.

Morgan

The Morgan is a loyal and versatile breed and among the most beloved. It is known as “the breed that chooses you” and is a beautiful breed with a strong drive to please. The original Morgan was said to have been able to out-walk, trot, or pull any horse. From the beginning this breed has been the ultimate all-purpose horse. Before cars took over the Morgan highly valued for plowing the fields and pulling the family buggy. They were used as trotting horses on the trace track and cavalry mounts during wartime. In current times the Morgan can be found competing in almost every equestrian sport from endurance riding to saddle seat show classes. They are often used in sidesaddle classes, trotting races under saddle, dressage and jumping.

So what is your favorite breed of horse and why? Let me know in the comments below.

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Categories: General Information

46 Facts About Horses You Didn’t Know

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horses

For centuries horses have been called the noblest of creatures and it’s not very hard to see why. Depending on which theories you believe, they have been man’s original best friend since between 4000 to 2000 B.C. They have taken us wherever we have asked them too including the battlefields of old.

But here we are in the 21st Century, and there are still a ton of those noble creatures you still don’t know. Don’t believe me? Well here is my list of 45 Facts about horses you didn’t know.

1. Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal – Scientists have discovered that this is partly do to a mammal’s maximum running speed. Horses eyes can work individually and provide monocular vision. This gives them a greater field of view for spotting predators. (Source: Horseswithaime)

2. Horses can actually run within hours after birth (Source: ScienceKids)

3. Flehmen – Horses are not actually smiling when their upper lip is lifted. This is a technique known as “flehmen” which they use to determine if a smell is good or bad. (Source: Dictionary)

4. Horse are not color blind – At one time people thought they were but scientists have found that they actually are not. However, they are better at seeing yellows and greens than purples and violets.

5. Their teeth take up more space in their head than their brains – This does not mean they are stupid though. Horses are highly intelligent animals.

6. Males have more teeth – Generally you can tell the difference between a male and a female by the number of teeth they have. Males have 40 while females have 36.

7. Hooves are fingernails? – A horses hooves are made from the same protein that makes up human hair and fingernails. (Source: HorsesWithAime)

8. Horse Trailer – The Horse trailer was invented by Lord George Bentinck, a man from the U.K. who needed a better way to transport his horses from one racetrack to another.

9. Horses can “fly” – In 1872, Leland Stanford made a bet that at some point during the gallop of a horse, all for feet were off the ground at the same time. Eadweard Muybridge proved him right by using a series of 24 cameras and photographing a racehorse named Sallie Gardner (Source: HorsesWithAime)

10. Horse Comfort in Trailer – A horse is more secure and comfortable when trailering if they can face the rear, but they prefer openings. (Source: Animal People News )

11. Horses can sleep laying down and standing up – Although usually the older horses and young ones sleep laying down.

12. 62 – A 19th century horse named “old billy” reportedly lived 62 years. (Source: Manchester Museum)

13. More Horses – Between 1867 to 1920 the number of horses skyrocketed from 7.8 million to 25 million. Experts believe this was due to the rise of the automobile (Source: HorsesWithAmie)

14. Almost 360 degree vision – Because a horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they can see almost 360 degrees.

15. Fastest Horse – The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 55 MPH. Most horses gallop at around 27 MPH. (Source: PurelyFacts)

16. Only true wild horse – The Przewalski’s horse is the only true wild horse species still in existence. The only wild population is in Mongolia. There are however numerous populations across the world of feral horses (i.e. Mustangs in North America). (Source: OneKind)

17. Horse use their ears, eyes and nostrils to express their mood – They also communicate their feelings through facial expressions. (Source: OneKind)

18. Lookout – Horses will not all lie down simultaneously because at least one will act as a look-out to alert the rest of the herd of potential dangers. (Source: OneKind)

19. Horse are very vocal – Vocalizations are highly important to horses. For example: Whinnying and neighing sounds are elicited when horses meet or leave each other. Stallions (Adult, Un-castrated male horses) perform loud roars as mating calls, and all horses will use snorts to alert others of potential danger. (Source: OneKind)

20. Big Industry – Approximately 4.6 million Americans work in the equine industry in some capacity. The US Horse Industry has an economic effect of $39 billion annually on just nine million American horses. There are about 58 million horses in the world and the vast majority are cared for my humans. (Source: HorseCouncil)

21. Small Brain – An adult horse’s brain weighs only 22 oz. That is about half of the weight of a human brain. (Source: TheEquinest)

22. Honorable – Horses still hold a place of honor in a number of cultures. They are often linked to acts of heroism, mostly during wars. (Source: NationalGeographic)

23. Keep it down – Horses are unable to vomit (Source: TheEquinest)

24. One Species – There is only one species of domestic horse, but around 400 different breeds that have a number of specialties. (Source: NationalGeographic)

25. Amazing Vision – A horse can see better at night that a human. But this comes at a cost as their eyes need more time to adjust from light to dark and vise versa than a human. (Source: CowboyWay)

26. Cloned – The first cloned horse was a Haflinger mare in Italy in 2003. (Source: TheEquinest)

27. Horses love sweets – Horses like sweet flavors and will usually refuse anything sour or bitter. (Source: TheEquinest)

28. Rule – Wild horses generally gather in herds of 3 to 20 horses. A stallion protects the group, which consists of mares (females) and young foals. A Mare runs the herd. When young males become colts, at around 2 years old, the stallion drives them away. The colts then roam with other young males until they form a herd of their own. (Source: NationalGeographic)

29. Crazy Eyes – A horses ears will point at what they are looking at. If their ears are pointed at in two directions at the same time then the horse is looking at two different things at the same time. (Source: TrainingHorsesNaturally)

30. Lots of spit – Horses produce about 10 gallons of saliva every day. (Source: EquineNews)

31. Frog – On the bottom of a horses hoof is a triangle shaped area that’s called the “frog”. This acts as a shock absorber for a horse’s leg and also helps to pump the blood back up the leg. (Source: PawNation)

32. Horses Have Hands (Kinda) – A horse’s height is measured in units known as “hands”. One hand is equal to 4 inches. The tallest horse on record was a shire hnamed Sampson. He was 21.2 hands (7 feet, 2 inches) tall. He was born in 1846 in Toddington Mills, England. (Source: CowboyWay)

33. Huge Heart – The average horse’s heart weights about 9 or 10 pounds (Source: SteinbeckEquine)

34. Long Jump Champion – The record for the longest jump over water is held by a horse named Something who jumped 27 feet, 6 and ¾ inches on April 25, 1975 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Source: EquineLifeSolutions)

35. High Jump Champion – The record for the highest jump made by a horse is held by a horse named Huaso who jumped 8 feet, 1 and ¼ inches on February 5th, 1949 in Vina del Mar, Chile. (Source: YouTube)

36. Very Old Animal – Scientists believe that the first known ancestor of the horse lived about 50 million years ago. This prehistoric horse is called Eohippus and had four padded toes on the front legs and three padded toes on the back legs. (Source: Chronozoom)

37. Nose Breathers – Horses with typical anatomy are “obligate nasal breathers” which means they must breathe through their nostrils and are unable to breathe through their mouths. (Source: TheHorse)

38. Drink like fish – Horses drink at least 25 gallons of water a day (More in hotter climates). (Source: TheEquinest )

39. Slow Growth Nails – It takes 9 to 12 months to re-grow and entire horse hoof. (Source: TheEquinest)

40. Sunburns – Horses with pink skin can get sunburned. (Source: TheEquinest)

41. Zebroid – A zebroid is a cross betwee a zebra and any other member of the family Equidae (which besides zebras, includes donkeys, ponies, and horses). A “zonky” is a cross between a zebra and a donkey. A “zony” is a cross between a zebra and a pony. And a “zorse” is a cross between a zebra and a horse. (Source: CowboyWay)

42. Cold Spots – You can tell if a horse is cold by feeling behind their ears. If behind their ears is cold then so is the horse. (Source: ChronOfHorse)

43. Muscular – Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees. (Source: UMN)

44. Kicking Banners – If a horse has a red ribbon on it’s tail, it will kick. (Source: EquineTips)

45. Social Butterflies – Horses are very social animals and will get lonely if kept alone. They will also mourn the passing of a companion. (Source: TheEquinest)

46. Cattle Rockstars – Horses are the most popular way to herd cattle.

I Hope you found this article helpful or that you learned something from it. If you did, it would be awesome if you would share it on your favorite social media pages or leave a comment with your thoughts below.

Categories: General Information

Where are Horses Indigenous Too?

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wild-horses

In 1493, on Columbus’s second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. caballus, were brought back to North America, first in the Virgin Islands and, in 1519, they were reintroduced on the continent. These Spanish and European horses were smaller because of the space constraints on ships, but through breeding with larger horses eventually developed into bigger breeds. Horses were often lost or stolen as well, becoming wild or feral horses, eventually evolving into today’s wild mustangs.

Wait, Isn’t mustang a breed?

You may have heard that a mustang is a breed. This is false. A mustang is nothing more than a wild horse. In Fact, I have two of them myself. Now, Just because a horse is a mustang does not mean that all of their offspring is also a mustang. Mustang only goes down one generation. So If my little mustang mare has a foal, then that baby would be a mustang. However, if that foal has offspring, that horse would not be a mustang.

Are there still Mustangs in the Wild?

Absolutely there are and seeing them running free is one of the most beautiful you could ever watch. There are a large number of herds that are all over the world. Granted, most of the wild horses nowadays are actually decedents of domesticated horses that have not been tamed. They are still very hardy horses and one of the most sure-footed of all horses.

So are there a lot of Mustangs still around?

There are still a lot of mustangs running around but that number is dwindling quickly. At the moment the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is tasked with upholding the 1971 legislation written to protect these amazing animals. Unfortunately, their strategy are far from effective and are considered inhumane by a large number of people. The issue can be very complicated and has a number of conflicting interests. These interests range from those who want to see wild horses stay free, to those who object to the way various entities are limiting herd growth, to ranchers to graze on public lands and view the mustangs as competition.

In late July 2017, a Congressional Committe voted to reverse a ban on euthanizing healthy wild horses and donkeys. Now, if this becomes law it would give the BLM the right to kill horses that they consider un-adoptable that are in holding pens or still roaming public lands.

Here are a few facts about mustangs:

  • The population of Mustangs is currently strained. There are a record around 67,000 wild horses on roughly 27 million acres of federally managed land while millions of privately owned cattle graze across about 155 million acres of public lands.
  • Mustangs and wild burros can be found mainly on government-designated Herd Management Areas in 10 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. The BLM has reduced designated mustang habitats by more than 15 million acres since 1971.

Recently here in Arizona there have been a number of Mustangs that have been shot by random individuals. Some of this has made a huge splash in the equine world because the herd in Heber, Arizona is a protected herd. It’s amazing driving down the highway and looking out the window and seeing mustangs grazing as they have done for centuries.

So All Horses Come from Europe?

Not quite, there were similar equine species on the North American Contenent before the european and Spanish horses came. However, these species went extinct along with some other ancient mammals around the time of the Ice Age. Each breed typically comes from somewhere different in the world. Arabians come from the Arabian Peninsula, Tennessee Walker comes from the Southern United States. So as you can see, even though horses were brought to North America from Europe, that doesn’t mean that every breed comes from somewhere outside the United States.

So Since Horses Came from Europe are they all the same?

Nope, Not at all. There are over 400 different breeds of horses in the world. Some are much more popular than other due to movies or sporting events. For instance, many people know what a Thoroughbred is because of horse racing. That’s great but did you know that a Quarter horse is more common for working cattle? Or that an Arabian is very common in the show arenas? Now I’m sure that this bought up another question in your head right? Well if it brought up the question it did for me when I first heard that then Let’s move on and get that answered.

So What Breeds are Good for What?

Arabian

Well lets start with the Arabian. This horse has been a favorite all over the world. Originally this breed comes from the Arabian Peninsula (Makes sense doesn’t it?), this breed is very easy to spot with its distinctive head shape, high tail, and the proud way it carries its tail. It is thought to be one of the oldest breeds and is normally known for its spirit and endurance. Nowadays this breed is used a lot in the dressage and endurance trail competitions.

Quarter Horse

Next up is probably the most popular breed in the United States, the quarter horse. The largest breed registry in the world is the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). The Quarter horse is mostly known for western pleasure riding or events such as barrel racing, roping, and cutting. Although they can also make great hunting mounts.

Thoroughbred

This is probably one of these most widely known breeds due to its participation in horse racing. The Thoroughbred was originally developed in England in the 17th and 18th century. The breed is generally known for its high spirit and especially its heart. The thoroughbred that we have has so much heart it’s crazy to see. The thoroughbred also make great sport horses and are used as hunters and jumpers and also as mounts in dressage, polo and fox hunting.

Tennessee Walker

This breed is what’s known as a gaited horse. Basically a “gaited” horse is a horse that has been bred that has the ability to perform one of the smooth to ride, intermediate speed, four-beat horse gaits. Now the Tennessee Walker was developed in the Southern United States during the 18th century for use on farms and plantations. Because of its gait it was one of the most popular breeds during the Civil War for Generals because of it’s comfort over long distances. It is widely believed that Robert E. Lee’s mount, traveler, was part Tennessee Walker.

Paint

This one tends to spark a lot of discussion. The Paint. The American Paint Horse is a unique and in many cases quite a beautiful horse. Up until a few years ago the Paint was not recognized as a breed. It was recognized as a color. This is where the heated discussion can come in. Anyway, the paint typically is a combination of the conformation characteristics of the western stock horse and the colors of a pinto. The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) does consider them a true breed and states that they have strict bloodline requirements and distinctive characteristics of the breed.

Appaloosa

The Appaloosa or Appy as many people call it, was originally developed by the Nez Perce Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest. They are best known for their colorful spotted coat pattern. Appy’s are considered tough, independent, hardy and very sure footed. They have large bodies and sparse manes and tails. Often they are used as stock horses and pleasure mounts but also make great trail horses.

Warmbloods

Now, to start with Warmbloods are not a breed but it is a grouping of a few breeds such as the thoroughbred, Clydesdale, Belgian, etc. They are characterized by open stud book policies and are known for being great sport horses. They excel in jumping and dressage.

That by far does not encompass all of the various breeds of horses the list itself is absolutely massive.

So now we come to the part where you may ask yourself

“If horses aren’t generally indigenous too the United States, and they were brought from Europe, then all horses are European right?”

In short, no, some breeds were developed in the United States by mixing existing breeds.

I hope this article help you find what you were looking for. If you found it helpful please share it on your favorite social media channel, I would really appreciate it.

Categories: General Information