The majestic horses are all amazing animals and since they were among the first ones domesticated by humans we have been living with them throughout our history. This means that today we have a huge variety of breeds since they were used for various purposes. Here is our list of top 10 horses in the world in which we look at the most appreciated breeds and learn a bit more about them.
Equestrian circles have a lot of debates about the best breeds since there is a lot of variance when it comes to shape, color, size or speed. But throughout the years the breeds presented here stood out for one reason or another as the most popular ones.
Coming from the Iberian Peninsula, these Spanish horses have been recognized as a breed since the 15th century and they were prized by the nobles as excellent war horses. Their long, thick manes and tales combined with a compact body makes them very elegant and even if in the past their coat varied a lot, today most are either gray or bay colored. They are currently used for dressage, driving, saddle seat or for jumping and you can see them often in historical movies or fantasy epics due to their majestic presence.
More of a group encompassing several types and breeds instead of a single breed, the warmbloods include the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg and Trakhner. From the names you probably guessed that they come from Germany, Europe and they are called warmblood to differentiate the from the draft horses, which are also called cold bloods, and from the refined light saddle horses like the Arabian or the Thoroughbred, which are also known as hot bloods. They are characterized by open stud book policies and they are used as sport horses while also being great for jumping or dressage.
These small equines are always put at the border between horses and ponies, an endless debate. Some look like smaller versions of horses while others have the stout legs and the round belly that you see in ponies so you can understand why things aren’t exactly clear. They have a height of around 34 to 38 inches at the withers and were first developed in Europe during the 1600s. In the past, this breed was kept as pets by nobility or used in coal mines due to their reduced size but today they are mostly considered driving horses.
They stand out through their unique spotted pattern and they are an American horse with a diverse genetic background. They have molting skin around their eyes and muzzle and they are a versatile breed that is fast, compact and not very temperamental. They were developed by the Nez Perce Native American tribe and today they are among the most popular breeds in the US. Since 1975 they are the official state horse of Idaho and they appeared in many films while also being used as stock horses, trail horses or as pleasure mounts.
This breed combines the characteristics of the western stock horse with the colors of the pinto and thus it is sometimes considered a simple “color breed”. The Paint Horse is used in several equestrian disciplines but most common ones are Western pleasure, reining and other Western events. Ridden English in hunt seat or show jumping competitions is also popular.
They are quite compact and very versatile. This was one of the oldest breeds developed in the US and they are great at western and saddle seat disciplines. This is currently the state animal of Vermont but the lineage can be traced back to a horse named Figure who was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1789. This breed was used by miners during the California Gold Rush and also as harness racers, carriage horses, stock horses or general saddle. They are appreciated for their looks, their strength and their hardiness.
This gaited breed has been developed in the Southern side of the US in the 18th century as a horse required for farms and plantations. They are great to ride over long distances and this is why they were the chosen mount for many of the generals in the Civil War. Among the most well known horses of this breed is Traveler, the mount of Robert E. Lee. Today they are used as show horses or as pleasure mounts. There are two categories for show competition, – the flat-shod and the performance one, and they are set apart through the leg action.
The word thoroughbred is sometimes used for any breed that is of pure blood but there is also the breed with this name. They were developed during the 17th century in England and they are passionate, high spirited so they are excellent in competitions. They were also used in hunting or as jumpers and as mounts for dressage or polo. Known for their agility and speed, they perform with maximum exertion so they often have health problems if pushed to the limit.
The most popular breed in the US and the fastest breed over short distances, these horses are popular for trail as well as for many competitions. Pleasure riding is often something these horses are used for and also barrel racing, roping or cutting and they are thus very versatile and intelligent. They are very sensible and calm so they are very dependable as mounts and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world.
Considered the most recognizable breeds in the world as well as one of the oldest, the Arabian horse originates from the Arabian Peninsula and it was bred by the Bedouins for endurance and prowess as a war mount. The dished face along with the high tail carriage, the large eyes and nostrils make it easy to identify and it has been the breed of choice for some of the most remarkable historical figures such as Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Alexander the Great or George Washington. This breed contributed to almost all of the modern day breeds and changed little over time. It is currently used in English and Western riding, saddle seat or dressage and is excellent for his endurance.