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Types of Horses

Horses come in many shapes and sizes; also differ in temperament and performance ability. Many of them have different breeds, but there are only three main types of horses:

Heavy Horses

Heavy horses’ legs are short and thick to assist them in pulling carts or plowing fields. They are specifically made for heavy labor like farming. They can also be shown in fairs and shows. Some different breeds of heavy horses include Clydesdale and the Draft Horse.

  • Draft Horses are big boned, muscular and powerful breed of horses. They have calm temperaments and are also competent jumpers and dressage horses.
  • Clydesdale is one of the most popular draft horse breeds that stands 16.1 - 18 hands high and weighs 730 - 1090 kg.

Light Horses

Light Horses are usually used for riding purposes. Swift and agile, light horses are those who are generally used for a variety of activities, may it be for a competition or recreational and performance events. These horses have longer bodies and hardly bend their knees at all when they move. These light horses have true and false ribs, which support in placing the saddle on the horses back. The true ribs are the first eight ribs of the horse's ribcage which are flat so the saddles lie just behind the trapezius muscle and the last ten false ribs are rounded rather than flat. Some different breeds of light horses are Quarter horses, Arabian and Thoroughbreds.

  • Thoroughbreds are primarily a racing horse. However, this breed's racing career is fairly short. They are often retrained to perform in jumping, hunting and steeple chasing events.
  • Quarter horses are compact strong horses. They are often used on cattle ranches and for various sports like reining and roping. Also, the quarter horse is the fastest equine sprinter.
  • Arabian horses are probably the oldest and purest breed in the world. These horses are noted for endurance ability.

Also, some light horses feature unique spotted patterns of horses that were developed by European and Native American explorers. These spotted horses are prized today for their intelligence and easygoing nature.

  • Appaloosa is an example of a light colored horse. This breed stands 14.3 - 16 hand high and weighs 455 - 500kg. It can be a blanket (white on hips and/or loins), frost (dark body with small light speckles), leopard (dark spots on white body), marble (light coat with small dark speckles), or snowflake (dark body with light sports or speckles).


This type of horse is so unique than the other kinds of horses. They have naturally thicker manes, tails and coats than a regular horse; and they also have smaller heads and thicker necks. In addition, ponies are intelligent and friendly creatures, with stubborn habits. Adults may ride ponies and can compete in most equine sports.

  • The Shetland pony is what people recognize the most - they stand no more than 10.2 hands high and it's most popular color is black.
  • And there's the Welsh pony - a talented jumper that stands 12 hands high, weighs 230kg and comes in a variety of colors.