What Happens when a Horse Misbehaves?

Over many years, horses have been domesticated in different parts of the world, leading to a huge variety in breeds and types. Selective breeding for specific uses has formed ‘modern’ horses of four general types:

  • Hotbloods (e.g. Arab and Thoroughbred)
  • Warmbloods (e.g. Carriage and Sport horses)
  • Coldbloods (e.g. heavy Draught horses)
  • Ponies (e.g. Exmoor, Dartmoor, Icelandic)
These categories refer to the temperament and speed of the horse rather than anything to do with the actual temperature of the horse’s blood.  Hotblooded horses, like Arabs and Thoroughbreds tend to be more quick-witted and ‘sharp’ and also possess great speed across the ground. Coldblooded horses tend to be of a more even, quiet temperament and are generally bigger built in stature and therefor incapable of achieving speeds similar to a Thoroughbred.

It is important to appreciate the difference in the terms ‘breed’ and ‘type’ when describing horses.  For a horse to be a specific breed it must possess the appropriate parentage and physical characteristics to allow it to be registered in its specific breed stud book.  A ‘type’ of horse can be of any breed but is bred for a specific purpose or job. 

Common Types

Sports Horse
A Sports Horse is bred for the traditional Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and show jumping. They are specifically bred for their conformation, movement and trainable temperament.  Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred crosses are common Sports Horse breeds.

Light Work Horse
Light Work Horses are generally used for a variety of activities including pleasure and recreational riding and lower level performance work. They may have Arabian, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Standardbred or Pony blood lines and are commonly crosses of different breeds.

Draught Horse
A Draught Horse is bred to perform heavy work such as ploughing and farm and forestry laboring. Draught horses are strongly built and have particularly docile temperaments, which makes them ideal for the type of work that they perform. Clydesdale, Shire and Percheron are common draught breeds.  Draught horses are also commonly used to cross breed with Thoroughbreds, to produce a more relaxed and versatile riding horse.

Driving Horse
Driving horses are used to pull a carriage or cart.  They may be used for competitive driving disciplines, sulky racing or purely for recreational, pleasure driving. Horses may be driven individually or may form part of a driving team of two or more horses. Common breeds of driving horse include the Cleveland Bay, Friesian and the Hackney.
These notes are an extract from the ebook "Horse Care" written by our staff and published by the publishing department of ACS Distance Education.
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