Horse breeds and kinds have developed to serve the requirements and needs of individuals. Although we do not use horses for transportation or work the maximum amount as we once did, we still enjoy them for sport and companionship. and that we still hone horse breeds as we’ve for hundreds of years.
The Original Domestic Horses
A 2012 study found the wild ancestor of the fashionable domestic horse likely originated around 160,000 years ago in Eurasia. The scientists determined that horses were first domesticated roughly 6,000 years ago somewhere within the Eurasian Steppe.
Another study published in 2017 found all modern horses descend from two distinct lines: the Arabian horse and therefore the now-extinct Turkoman horse (which was almost like the Akhal-Teke breed).
Horses spread around the world via trade, war, gifting, theft, and more. People began to selectively breed for desirable characteristics to satisfy their work requirements for the horses, like speed, strength, and stamina. While people kept track of their horses’ lineage and traits for hundreds of years, studbooks to take care of a politician pedigree record didn’t happen until the 1700s. From this arose the multitude of breeds and kinds of horses we all know today.
The Main sorts of Horses
There are two primary types: horses and ponies. Horses are 14.2 hands (56.8 inches) or taller, and ponies are under 14.2 hands.
Breaking it down further, there are draft horses and ponies, driving types, stock horses used for working livestock, gaited horses, hunters, light horses for riding and racing, horses bred specifically for meat, and horses bred as companions. Many horse breeds fall into one (or more) of those basic types.
The Development of Horse Breeds
Most breeds developed during the time when horses were the main mode of transportation and power. For pulling heavy loads, we have the ponderous but strong Clydesdale, Belgian, or Percheron. And for racing, we have the American standardbred and therefore the thoroughbred.
Cleveland bays and Hackney horses were developed to tug carriages and buggies, while Arabians were bred to hold their riders swiftly over the desert. And Kentucky mountain saddle horses originated to efficiently and comfortably carry their riders over mountainous terrain. Plus, several horse breeds, like the Lipizzaner and Andalusian, were developed to hold soldiers into battle.
Moreover, the Shetland pony and Welsh pony had their place as working animals in mines and on farms. And for entertainment and companionship, we have got the small Falabella and therefore the miniature horse.
These breeds originated in several locations around the world, with people from each area developing breeds to serve their specific needs. this is often a serious reason why there are numerous horse breeds.
Some horses are eligible for registration just because they’re a particular color (and often no matter their actual breed). These colors are typically flashy and desirable, like the palomino, buckskin, or pinto.
Certain color breeds have a pedigree component while others only care about the horse’s coat color. Also, some horses with documented lineage are ready to register with both their breed registry and a color breed registry. This tends to extend its value.
The Number of Horse Breeds
It’s difficult to calculate exactly what percentage of horse breeds there are. Many sorts of horses either are close offshoots of other breeds or are blended into other breeds over time.
The Breeds of Livestock resource from Oklahoma State University lists 217 separate breeds of horses from the Abyssinian to the Zhemaichu. Meanwhile, “The Encyclopedia of the Horse” by Elwyn Hartley Edwards lists just over 150 breeds of horses. Including many ancient breeds that not exist but are the ancestors of the many breeds today.
Most of the breeds in “The Encyclopedia of the Horse” are horses with existing registries. Which will trace bloodlines to make sure purity. generally, the amount of horse breed registries is increasing. As equine lovers recognize the necessity to compile data about rare and endangered breeds and kinds of horses.
Although this information doesn’t provide a definitive number of horse breeds. It does show how people around the world have manipulated the genetics of horses in myriad ways to supply a mess of diverse traits. And it confirms that within the horse world. There’s truly something for everybody.