10 Most Popular Horse Breeds

American Quarter Horse

The American quarter horse is beloved by both amateur and professional equestrians worldwide for its quickness, docility, and athleticism.

It has the world’s largest breed registration, having been produced in the 1600s from English and Spanish thoroughbreds mated with local varieties such as the Native American Chickasaw horse.

On the trail and in the show arena, these horses are bright stars.


The Arabian horse breed registration is the world’s oldest. Its ancestors date back to 3000 B.C. In reality, the Arabian is the ancestor of every light horse breed, including Appaloosas, Morgans, and Andalusians.

It is a feisty horse breed that not all novices can handle. However, it is also a loving and faithful horse.


Thoroughbreds are the most popular racing horses in the United States. This breed is characterized as a “hot-blooded” horse because of its agility, speed, and spirit.

It’s a versatile horse that often excels in equestrian disciplines other than racing, such as dressage and jumping. Or it is merely kept as a companion animal for pleasure riding.


The Nez Perce Native Americans invented the bright spotted Appaloosa for hunting and battle. It is thought to be a cross between wild horses and the thoroughbred, American quarter horse, and Arabian.

This tough, adaptable horse is ideal for herding, pleasure riding, long-distance trail riding, and other activities.


The Morgan’s strength and elegance have made it a popular horse breed. The Morgan, Vermont’s official horse breed, was utilized for clearing and tilling New England farms during colonial times.

It is now a popular driving and riding horse. It’s surefooted on rugged terrain and elegant in the show ring.


The terms “hot-blooded,” “warm-blooded,” and “cold-blooded” are used in equine circles to describe a horse’s temperament, size, and provenance.

Warmbloods having European ancestry include medium-sized horses such as the American quarter horse, Hanoverian, Cleveland bay, and Canadian.

They mix the spirit of lithe, “hot-blooded” thoroughbreds or Arabians with the placid temperament of “cold-blooded” working horses. And a horse with a balanced temperament is a popular horse.


Ponies are another popular horse breed. Ponies are horses that are fully grown and weigh 14.2 hands (57 inches) or less.

(The miniature horse and the Icelandic horse are the two exceptions.) Popular pony breeds include the brave Shetland and the beautiful Welsh.

Because of their small stature, they are frequently good first horses for children.

Grade Horses

The fancy phrase for the horse world’s mutts is grade horse—a horse of no specific breeding. They vary from crossbreeds in that crosses are the result of purposely bred known pedigreed horses.

Although grade horses lack a distinguished lineage, they can be just as flexible and faithful as any other horse. They also lack many of the hereditary disorders that are passed down through purebreds.

Gaited Breeds

Gaited horses are horses that have been intentionally bred to have a smooth ride or an ambling gait. These horses move in a four-beat pattern at an intermediate speed.

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