Favorite Horses of the South

Favorite Horses of the South

Did you know that there are over 350 different breeds of horses in the world today? True story. With so many to choose from, it’s helpful to be able to categorize them into useful groupings to help you decide which breeds are best for you. Let’s look at it two different ways.

Horse and pony breeds fall into four major groups:

Draft horses, which weigh about one ton, are built for hard work. Percherons, Belgians and Clydesdales are examples of these breeds. With their incredible size, it’s no wonder they’re favorites when it comes to pulling wagons.

Light horses are smaller and thinner than draft horses. They top out at about 1300 pounds and include the most popular riding horses. Arabians, Morgans, Quarter Horses and Tennessee Walkers are a few examples.

Ponies such as Shetlands and Haflingers are smaller yet and ideal for young children.

Feral horses such as the wild mustangs of the west and the horses of the NC Outer Banks are examples of this category.

Now that we’ve looked at the four main categories of horses, let’s think about the three ancestral lineages.

Hotbloods include Arabs and Thoroughbreds. They owe their quick-footed, hot tempered spirits to their Middle Eastern/North African lineage. When Indiana Jones chased down the bad guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he rode an Arabian.

Coldbloods. Have you seen the commercials with the Clydesdales pulling sleds in the snow? These majestic beasts and other draft breeds originated in northern Europe and are known for their calm temperament despite their size. The chainmail and armor clad knights of the Middle Ages rode Coldbloods.

Warmbloods. Just like warm water being a mix of hot and cold, these horses are a mix of hotbloods and coldbloods. Quarter Horses, the quintessential cowboy horse falls into this group. They are popular because they are fast on their feet and easy to handle (not crazy, like Arabs can be).

Now, a brief list of Southern favorites:

Quarter Horses. Incredibly versatile, and with the largest equine registry in the entire world. They got their name from being fastest in quarter mile races.

Paints. This is not just a breed based on color, but also a stocky build. You can have a Quarter Horse that is also a paint.

Appaloosas are a similar category. Known for their distinctly speckled coat, the Nez Pierce Indians in particular valued them for their strength, speed and intelligence. We’ve personally found them to be incredibly durable, being virtually inexhaustable, and yet sweetly tempered.

Arabians. These horses are not particularly tall, and are pretty lightweight (800-1100 pounds). They have gorgeous confirmation, with arching necks and beautifully carved heads. These graceful creatures are best suited for experienced riders.

Morgans. Every single Morgan goes back to one bay stallion named Figure, a colt bartered to a music teacher named Morgan, who ended up breeding the young stallion and eventually generating this small draft breed. Morgans are the smallest work horse.

There are many breeds of horses in the Asheville and Hendersonville, NC area. This information is meant to help categorize which breed might be best for you and your needs. Once you’ve found the perfect animal for your needs, keep in mind equestrian care. A modular horse barn and its maintenance, adequate feed, tack and veterinary care will be essential to your enjoyment and the horse’s health.

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