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An Introduction To the Five Different Types of Horses

Do you or someone you know love horses and want to learn more about them? When it comes to horses, there’s a lot to learn. and the team at Pink Flamingo Stables in Lake Worth, Florida would like to help. In today’s blog, we’re going to discuss some basics that every horse lover should know. Keep reading, and if you’d like to see what it’s like to be up close with a horse and learn how to ride and care for them first hand, schedule a trail ride or horseback riding lesson with us today.

Did you know that there are over 300 different breeds of horses? While it’s almost impossible to learn about all of them, you should be aware of the five different types of horses. Over the years, horses were bred for different types of jobs so depending on what you planned to do with your horse determined the type you would get. Of the hundreds of breeds in the world, just about all of them fall into one of these categories: draft horses, warmbloods, light horses, gaited horses, and ponies.

Draft Horses

Draft horses are some of the largest horses in the world, with most weighing in at close to 2,000 pounds! These horses are tall and strong and were bred to carry heavy loads. Before trucks, trains, and other machines were used to haul people and goods, draft horses were how things were transported from point A to point B. The fact that they can pull more than twice their weight and have a calm temperament made them the perfect work horse.

Some examples of draft horse breeds include Belgian, Shire, Suffolk, Percheron, and the most well-known of all — the Clydesdale.


When someone refers to a horse as a warmblood, coldblood, or hotblood, they are actually using terms that have become popular for describing a horse’s temperament and purpose. Traditionally, cold-blooded horses were those that were big, strong, and heavy with calm and gentle dispositions. They include breeds such as Belgians, and they were typically used for agricultural work. Hot-blooded horses, on the other hand, tend to be lighter, quick-on-their-feet, easily excited, and have fiery tempers. They are the type that is often used for racing and include such well-known breeds as Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

Warmbloods were created by crossing coldbloods and hotbloods as a way to create the best of both worlds: a middle-weight, semi-athletic horse that is even-tempered. Warm-blooded horses are the typical American riding horse, often used for roping and herding, but also used for dressage, jumping, and other equestrian Olympic sports. Warmblood breeds include the Dutch Warmblood, Holsteiner, Trakhener, and Oldenberg.

Light Horses

Light horses are just as the name implies — smaller, lighter horses, typically weighing just a little over 1,000 pounds. Light horses were bred for endurance and speed, and are used for many forms of horseback riding. Because of their speed and agility, light horses are used for hunting, racing, and light work. Because light horses come from both warmbloods and hotbloods, their temperament can vary quite a bit depending on their ancestry. Common light horse breeds include the American Quarter Horse, Pinto, Mustang, Appaloosa, and Andalusian.

Gaited Horses

Gaited horses are those that provide a smoother, easier ride because of the way that they move. Gaited horses move each leg independently, always keeping one foot on the ground. When you ride a traditional, non-gaited horse, the ride is much more jarring because as it trots, it moves a front foot and the opposite rear foot simultaneously. This produces a jarring motion caused by the free fall of the horse and the rise needed to carry the horse from one step of the trot to the next step. Gaited horses, on the other hand, are always supported by one leg on the ground so they are never in free fall.

There aren’t many breeds that are naturally gaited, but some can be trained. Today’s gaited horses are primarily used for horse shows and for those who want a particularly smooth ride. Some examples of gaited breeds include the American Saddlebred, Icelandic, Peruvian Paso, Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse.


One of the biggest misconceptions in the horse world is that a pony is just a young horse. On the contrary, the term “pony” is used to describe a horse of a particular size. Ponies are defined as a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands. A hand is a term that is used to measure height and one hand is equal to four inches. So, if you do the math, a pony is a horse that is less than 56.8 inches tall.

Ponies are incredibly versatile and gentle little horses that can be trained to do just about anything. People use ponies for riding, pulling light loads, harness, jumping, and even light ranch work. Pony breeds include the Welsh, Shetland, Quarter Pony, Hackney, and Connemara.

Non-Horse Equines

Although horse breeds usually fall into one of the above five categories, there is one more group to consider — non-horse equines. These are animals that are closely related to but are not actually horses. Some examples include donkeys and mules. Donkeys are much stronger than a horse so they are often used alongside horses to do ranch work. Mules, on the other hand, are a cross between a horse and a donkey so they are not only used for work, but they are also agile and can be used as a riding animal.

Learn More About Horses at Pink Flamingo Stables

If you’d like to learn more about horses and improve your riding skills, Pink Flamingo Stables in Lake Worth is just what you’re looking for. We have a small farm where we provide horseback riding lessons for beginner and intermediate riders of all ages. We also offer horse trail riding and even birthday parties for one-of-a-kind experiences you won’t soon forget.

We’re open seven days a week, so contact us today and make your plan to visit the premier horseback riding facility in Lake Worth. We look forward to seeing you!