Horse Categories

Horses are mammals, and as such are "warm-blooded" creatures, as opposed to cold-blooded reptiles. However, these words have developed a separate meaning in the context of equine terminology, used to describe temperament, not body temperature. For example, the "hot-bloods", such as many race horses, exhibit more sensitivity and energy, while the "cold-bloods", such as most draft breeds, are quieter and calmer. Sometimes "hot-bloods" are classified as "light horses" or "riding horses", with the "cold-bloods" classified as "draft horses" or "work horses".

Hot Bloods:

"Hot blooded" breeds include "oriental horses" such as the Akhal-Teke, Arabian horse, Barb and now-extinct Turkoman horse, as well as the Thoroughbred, a breed developed in England from the older oriental breeds. Hot bloods tend to be spirited, bold, and learn quickly. They are bred for agility and speed. They tend to be physically refined—thin-skinned, slim, and long-legged. The original oriental breeds were brought to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa when European breeders wished to infuse these traits into racing and light cavalry horses.

Cold Bloods:

Muscular, heavy draft horses are known as "cold bloods", as they are bred not only for strength, but also to have the calm, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people. They are sometimes nicknamed "gentle giants". Well-known draft breeds include the Belgian and the Clydesdale. Some, like the Percheron are lighter and livelier, developed to pull carriages or to plow large fields in drier climates. Others, such as the Shire, are slower and more powerful, bred to plow fields with heavy, clay-based soils. The cold-blooded group also includes some pony breeds.

Warmbloods:

"Warmblood" breeds, such as the Trakehner or Hanoverian, developed when European carriage and war horses were crossed with Arabians or Thoroughbreds, producing a riding horse with more refinement than a draft horse, but greater size and milder temperament than a lighter breed. Certain pony breeds with warmblood characteristics have been developed for smaller riders. Warmbloods are considered a "light horse" or "riding horse".
Today, the term "Warmblood" refers to a specific subset of sport horse breeds that are used for competition in dressage and show jumping. Strictly speaking, the term "warm blood" refers to any cross between cold-blooded and hot-blooded breeds. Examples include breeds such as the Irish Draught or the Cleveland Bay. The term was once used to refer to breeds of light riding horse other than Thoroughbreds or Arabians, such as the Morgan horse.

These are a group of large-weight horse types and breeds, primarily originating in Europe, with the aim of breeding for equestrian sport. Though modern warmbloods are descended from heavier agricultural types systematically upgraded by hot blood influence, the term does not imply that Warmbloods are direct crosses of "cold" and "hot". Warmbloods are mainly registered with organisations that use an open studbook policy and studbook selection. Studs are selected by use of external evaluation - critiquing conformation and movement - of potential breeding stock to cull out unsuitable breeding horses and direct the evolution towards a particular goal.

Summary

Hot Bloods:

  • Fast, spirited and agile
  • Learn easily
  • slim and long legged
Cold Bloods:
  • Strong
  • Gentle, patient and docile
  • Large and slow
Warmbloods:
  • Generally but not necessarily a mix of the other two
  • Breed for sport
  • Better temperament then hot bloods
  • More agile than cold bloods
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