Our two-part series, Equus “Story of the Horse,” explores the origins of the modern day horse, as well as the ways this remarkable animal plays a vital role in our lives. With over 400 various breeds, the horse is one extremely diverse species – some have been bred for specific tasks, others for beauty, some even just for play! Allow us to break down just a few of these incredible breeds…
1. Arabian – Bred for endurance, speed and its ability to live in hot temperatures. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world and among the most popular.
2. Icelandic – These charming horses are sturdy, loyal and basically weatherproof, allowing them to thrive in extremely cold temperatures. This breed is still used for traditional shepherding work in its native country of Iceland.
3. Friesian – This glamorous horse was bred to carry knights into battle, but now it’s mainly bred for its stunning beauty. Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size and recently have been introduced to the field of dressage.
4. Drum Horse – Bred to carry the drums of the English Life Guard, this horse has distinctive long hair on the lower half of its legs. In addition to being big, sturdy and beautiful, they have exceptionally quiet dispositions.
5. Warmblood – Also known as the European warhorse, this breed is an excellent jumper and regularly seen in equestrian sports.
6. Belgian Draft Horse – This horse has the distinction of being the biggest of all the breeds. While it’s extremely powerful and can pull heavy loads, this gorgeous horse is also remarkably gentle.
7. Miniature Horse – Measuring generally between 34–38 inches, these adorable horses are primarily bred to play. With their friendly nature and small size, they are also sometimes trained as service animals, akin to assistance dogs, for people with disabilities.