Plenty of people out there profess to love horses. Some of them may own pictures of horses, movies about horses, and perhaps have even ridden a horse while they were on their vacation. Most people, however, haven't the faintest clue about how to tell one type of horse from another. If you're thinking of buying a horse, getting into a horse related career such as veterinary medicine or breeding, or simply just want to know more, this brief guide to the popular horse breeds can be an invaluable resource.
Quarter horses are a breed that was designed for sprinting. They're hard to beat over distances of less than a quarter mile (hence the name) and can run as fast as 80 kilometres an hour. Quarter horses are generally solid colours, such as chestnut or palomino, and despite their racing talents are just as often found on ranches, in rodeos, farms as on the racetrack.
As the name suggests, the Arabian horse breed originated in the Middle East. A sleek, exotic and very distinctive looking breed, Arabians are high spirited, intelligent, eager to please horses that have made a name for themselves as war horses, equestrian mounts, and as endurance racers. A pet vet may also have cause to see them as they are popular choices among wealthy people who want them as status symbols.
Clydesdales are draft or working horses that originated in Scotland. Often dark in colour with small white markings and socks, Clydesdales are used to pull plows and carriages and have recently made a name for themselves as the public face of the Budweiser brewing company. Clydesdales are a steady, quiet breed, but are too large for a family farm or hobby horse. You can often see Clydesdales by taking a hay ride at a local farm or a carriage ride in a major city park.
Mustangs are wild horses that roam the prairies and the American west. Their cousins in Australia are known as Brumbies. Among ranchers and horse experts, it's considered a status symbol to have caught and tamed a Mustang. Dealing with mustangs is not advisable, however, unless you are experienced. In many places, mustangs are protected under the law.
The paint horse is a breed of stock horse, which is a type of horse bread for farm work. Paint horses have cow-like spot patterns in large splotches of light and dark. Paint horses (also known as Pintos) are commonly found on ranches, farms, and rodeos.