About Horses Page 3
Quite popular in the United States, the Belgian Draft horse is an ancient breed dating back to Roman times. This breed helped create several other draft horse breeds such as the Clydesdale. Belgian Drafts can grow up to 17hh, they are very compact and quite strong. Red in coloring – they range from chestnut to a red roan. They were used in the old days as farm horses, but still can be seen pulling carts and even trolleys in some small European towns.
Once called "the great horse of England", the Shire horse is on the heaviest horses in the United Kingdom. Their name comes from the various counties throughout England (Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and such). Shires are tall and stocky, they can pull up to five times their own weight and are often used in horse competitions just to do that. This strength also lent them to becoming popular with knights of old. Shire horses had to carry weights in excess of 450 pounds when knights were fully armored. They are known for their feathery feet, broad girth (up to 8 feet!) and pleasant nature. Shires have a distinctive broad white blaze that goes over their nose and muzzle. They come in bay, browns, black or gray coloring with white markings.
Hot Blooded Horse Breeds:
Arabians are perhaps the oldest purebred horses in the world and by many are considered the most beautiful. With heads that are often small and elegant, the Arabians are unique in that their neck has a high crest. Where their neck joins the head is called a mitbah and are only seen in Arabians. A small horse (15hh at their tallest), Arabians are nonetheless known for their strength and stamina. They were bred for these traits for over 4000 years on the Arabian peninsula – owners prized them highly back as now. They come in chestnut, bay and gray colorings with brown and black rarely seen. Arabians are known for their courageous and gentle nature.
The fastest breed of horse in the world, Thoroughbreds came out of England in the 1600s from Arabian and Turkish blends of stallions mated with English mares. The Thoroughbred's sloping shoulders and long pasterns create a long, low stride that is quite comfortable for the rider. They are light and graceful, yet with powerful quarters and great stamina – many consider the Thoroughbred the perfect horse. Thoroughbreds stand between 15.2 and 16.2hh, they come in solid colors of bay, brown, black, chestnut, or gray. They are the most popular breed of racehorse, but their energy means they are also higher strung and can be difficult to handle. Most thoroughbreds need an experienced rider to handle them.