The Clydesdale originated in the Clyde Valley, Scotland, and is the youngest of all the United Kingdom heavy breeds, finding its full development in the last 150 years. In the late 1700s, Native horses of Lanarkshire were put to Flemish horses, imported by the Duke of Hamilton, to increase their height and bulk. Clydesdales were imported throughout the world and helped build the cities and towns of Canada, Australia and America. Today, they are extremely familiar in the United States because of their use in advertisements by Anheuser Busch. Teams of ‘Budweiser’ horses are kept and displayed at Anheuser Busch theme parks throughout the United States.
Clydesdales stand from 16 to 18 hands and can be bay, brown, roan, black or gray, with white feathers and white markings. The Clydesdale is a flashy, high-stepping horse with strong, large feet. In fact, their feet were so big that in days past farmers couldn’t fit them in plow furrows. Therefore, Clydesdales were often worked in towns rather than farms.
Color: Clydesdales can be bay, brown, roan, black or gray, with white feathers and white markings.
Size: 16 to 18 hands (6 feet)
Today: Today, the horses are used for hobby and historical farming, and pleasure driving.
The Cleveland Bay developed in the Cleveland area of Northern Yorkshire in northeast England. In medieval times, the Cleveland Bay was valued as a packhorse for the church, carrying goods to and from various monasteries and convents. When the first roads were developed, Cleveland Bays were coach horses. The Cleveland Bay is the oldest breed of native horse in the United Kingdom, and one of the rarest and endangered equine breeds in the world. The Royal Family has been breeding Cleveland Bays for the past 100 years. Her Majesty is the patron of the United Kingdom Cleveland Bay Society and currently breeds her own horses. Cleveland Bays are used throughout the world for general riding and driving.
The Cleveland Bay stands 16 to 16.2 hands. The color is always bay with a black mane, tail and legs, but rare, chestnut horses are possible. Traditionally a draft horse, the Cleveland Bay isn’t high stepping like other coach horses. The motion can vary. Some have long, flowing movements and others are shorter in their strides.
Color: The color is always bay with a black mane, tail and legs, but rare, chestnut horses are possible.
Size: 16 to 16.2 hands (5.4 feet)
Today: Cleveland Bays are used throughout the world for general riding and driving.
The Chincoteague pony was made famous in Marguerite Henry’s book Misty of Chincoteague. The ponies live on the barrier island of Assateague in Maryland and Virginia. It’s thought that their decedents were either from animals that swam to the islands from a shipwrecked Spanish boat in the 1600s or from animals turned out in the 1700s. Life on the island is hard, and the ponies have adapted to eating beach and marsh grasses. The ponies on the Virginian side are owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. Those on the Maryland side are owned by the Maryland Park Service. Each year the ponies in Virginia are swum across the channel; the foals are auctioned and the mares and stallions returned. The ponies are ridden English and western.
The island environment shaped the pony into its modern appearance. They have strong hooves, thick manes and tales, and light fetlock feathering. The Chincoteague pony is seen in all colors but most common is a very colorful pinto; strawberry roan on white and palomino on white create some of the brighter patterns. They stand from 12 to 14.2 hands high.
Color: The Chincoteague pony is seen in all colors but most common is a very colorful pinto.
Size: 12 to 14.2 hands (4.7 feet)
Today: The ponies are ridden English and western
In 1965, Louise Firouz, an American living in Tehran, Iran, discovered a small Arabian-like horse in the Elborz Mountains that she named Caspian. Through bone, blood and DNA testing, archeo-zoologists proved the horses were direct descendants of the miniature Mesopotamian horse of antiquity thought to be extinct for the past 1,300 years. These horses had survived in small numbers because they were hemmed in by the mountains on one side and the Caspian Sea on the other. Caspian horses excel in carriage driving, particularly scurry driving where speed and handiness is a bonus.
Caspian horses posses several characteristics that differ from modern breeds, such as the shape of the scapula, which is wider at the base than at the top and an extra molar in the top jaw. The Caspian is very similar to an Arabian in appearance with large almond shaped eyes and small but graceful tipped-in ears. All solid colors are common. The breed stands 10 to 12 hands.
Color: All solid colors are common.
Size: 10 to 12 hands (4 feet)
Today: Caspian horses excel in carriage driving, particularly scurry driving where speed and handiness is a bonus.
In the late 1600s, King Louis XIV of France brought Breton and Norman horses to the region of North America now known as Canada. They are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Canadian Horse, which still possesses traits similar to the Arabian, Andalusian and Barb bloodlines that the Breton and Norman horses also displayed. These French horses bred with little interference for hundreds of years, and the resulting breed became known as the Canadian Horse, or Cheval Canadien. Met with harsh weather and sparse food supplies, the Canadian Horse became a sturdy animal and remains hardy today. In the mid-1800s, the Canadian Horse could be found in Canada and the United States, and was crossbred to improve the strength of other breeds. The Morgan, Tennessee Walking Horse, Standardbred and American Saddlebred are said to trace back to the Canadian Horse. Canadian Horses were exported to southern Africa for the Boer War, to work on sugar plantations in the West Indies, and for the Civil War in America. With this exportation and the introduction of machinery replacing horse power, the Canadian Horse nearly became extinct. The first studbook was produced in 1886 by a group of concerned enthusiasts, and the Canadian Horse Breeders Association was formed in 1895. Today, the breed is still listed as critical by the American Livestock Conservancy.
The Canadian Horse has a beautifully arched neck with a long, flowing mane and tail. Its head is refined with a short forehead and small throatlatch. The chest is deep and the back is short and strong. Long, sloping shoulders and broad hindquarters give way to muscular legs with clean joints and bone structure.
Color: Most commonly black, but dark brown, bay and chestnut are also found.
Size: 14 to 16 hands (5.3 hands)
Today: Jumping, eventing, dressage, driving.
The Camargue originated in the marshy plains of the Rhone delta in the South of France. It has existed since prehistoric times. Although the breed has largely developed through natural selection, over the years, soldiers passing through the area bred their own mounts to the Camargue resulting in improved horses all-around. The Camargue horses still run wild in the marshes and are overseen by the Biological Research Station of la Tour du Valat. Horses are rounded up each year and some stallions are gelded. The Carmargue Regional Park protects horses. Traditionally, Carmargues are ridden by the local cowboys who look after the feral bulls in the area, which are used for bullfighting. The horses are also used for endurance racing and English sports, such as dressage.
The Camargue has evolved into a uniform horse and one looks similar to the next; very stocky with stout legs, hooves and haunches. The horses have primitive features with heavy manes and tails and large square heads with eyes flush to the skull. All are born dark and fade to light gray as they age. Horses stand from 13 to 14 hands height.
Color: All are born dark and fade to light gray as they age.
Size: 13 to 14 hands (4.6 feet)
Today: Traditionally, Carmargues are ridden by the local cowboys who look after the feral bulls in the area, which are used for bullfighting.
The Russian Budenny (bood-yo-nee) was created to replace the mass equine casualties of World War I and the Russian Revolution, and to breed a horse that a Soviet officer would be proud to ride. The top cavalry riders were the Cossacks who rode the native Don. The new horse had to have the Don’s attributes yet be taller and possess beautiful movement and stamina. Thoroughbreds were crossed with Dons to create the Budenny. Today, the Budenny excels in show jumping, dressage and eventing. Because of restrictions during the rise of the Soviet Union, the breed is not common worldwide and only a few exist in the United States.
The Budenny stands 15 to 16 hands and is found in various shades of chestnut with some white markings. Careful breeding of the Don and the Thoroughbred created a horse with large bone and muscle, and agile and flowing movement. The Budenny looks like a sturdier Thoroughbred with the same long neck, slender yet strong legs and pretty head. The Budenny is also spelled Budonny and Budennovsky. The Russian spelling is Budennovskaia. Although no breed association represents the Budenny, the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of the Horse (VNIIK) based near Moscow oversees the breed and manages the studbook.
Color: The Budenny is found in various shades of chestnut with some white markings.
Size: 15 to 16 hands (5.3 hands)
Today: Today, the Budenny excels in show jumping, dressage and eventing.
The Belgian draft horse was developed in the fertile pastures of Belgium. It was also there that the forefather of all draft horses was first bred—a heavy black horse used as knights’ mounts called the Flemish. The Belgian draft horse developed from this horse and carries many characteristics of the Flemish even today. The Belgian was primarily used for farm work but also in cities to work alongside other draft breeds in warehouses, freight stations and fishing wharfs. In 1866, the first Belgian arrived on American soil. In 1885 men in Wabash, Ind., started a business importing Belgian stallions and selling them to horse breeders throughout the Midwest. Today, the horses are used for hobby and historical farming, forestry work and pleasure driving.
The Belgian is instantly recognized by its sorrel color, usually with a white mane and tail, white face markings and four white socks or stockings. Roan is also seen as well as the occasional throwback bay. The Belgian stands from 16 to 18 hands and can pull a wagonload of 6,000 to 8,000 pounds and work eight to 10 hours a day.
Color: The Belgian is instantly recognized by its common sorrel color, usually with a white mane and tail, white face markings and four white socks or stockings.
Size: 16 to 18 hands (6 feet)
Today: The horses are used for hobby and historical farming, forestry work and pleasure driving.
The Barb is an ancient breed that was established in the Fertile Crescent of Middle Asia. The fast and agile Barb was a favored mount for the Berbers. In fact, the animal draws its name from this group of “barbarous” people. The Barb was originally a prized warhorse, which explains its worldwide distribution. As the Berbers conquered new lands, the horses left behind were bred with native stock. Barbs were most plentiful along the coast of Africa and the Moors used them to invade Spain. The horses were later taken by the Conquistadors to the New World and “liberated” by American Indians. Blood of the Barb flows through the veins of many breeds, including the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, Standardbred and Mustang. Few original Barbs remain in the world; most were gathered from the wild in the United States by Barb Horse Registry founder Richard Painter in the 1950’s to recreate the original type.
The Barb is a stocky, yet expressive horse standing 13.2hh to 15hh and is found in many colors, including dun and palomino. The Barb has fewer lumbar vertebrae than other horses and sixteen or seventeen rather than eighteen ribs.
Color: The Barb is found in many colors, including dun and palomino.
Size: 13.2 to 15 hands (5 feet)
Theorized to be the oldest breed in the world, Arabians were constant companions of the first documented breeders of the Arabian horse, the Bedouin people—nomadic tribesmen of Arabia who relied on the horse for survival. High religious significance in addition to harsh climates often led the nomads to share food, water and sometimes even their tents with their horses. For many of these reasons, the Arabian horse thrived in near isolation and are known for their sociable personalities. As religious wars erupted, the Arabian horse made its way into Europe and other parts of the world. European crusaders crossed the lighter Arabian Horse with their heavier breeds, influencing nearly every modern breed today. In 1725, Nathan Harrison of Virginia was the first of many to import the Arabian horse to North America. In 1908, a national registry was recognized for the Arabian Horse. Today, more Arabian horses live in the United States than in all the other countries in the world combined. Arabians are famed for their stamina, and although they can be found in many disciplines, they rule the long-distance sport of endurance.
The Arabian horse has a distinctive dished profile. They have giant, wide-set eyes on a broad forehead, small, curved ears, and large and efficient nostrils. Arabians are also known for their arched necks and short backs. They stand 14 to 15.3 hands high and can be found in the following colors: chestnuts, bay, gray, black and roan.
Color: Chestnuts, bay, gray, black and roan.
Size: 14 to 15.3 hands (5.1 feet)
Today: Arabians are famed for their stamina, and although they can be found in many disciplines, they rule the long-distance sport of endurance.