The term ‘breeds of horses’, unlike other animal breeds, has a very broad meaning.
The exact definition of a horse breed has not yet been formulated. The term horse breed generically refers to the domesticated horses that have been selectively bred. These horse breeds often descend from pedigreed ancestors who find a place in the pedigree registry.
A lot of times, the term is also loosely associated with naturally selected horses which are found in a particular geographical area.
Even though the definition of the term is not clear, it is believed that hundreds of breeds are in existence. The different horse breeds are divided into three categories. These categories are basically based on the kind of function that the horse provides and their temperament. The hot bloods are one type which is named so because of their high spiritedness, speed, and endurance.
The second type is known as the cold bloods. These are usually draft horses that are suitable for heavy work that does not require a lot of speed. There are also the warm bloods that are developed by crossing hot bloods and cold bloods together. The warm bloods are created specifically for riding.
All these breeds have their own characteristic features. Their distinctive characteristics are passed on to their offspring. The color, performance, conformity to known standards, and disposition are all transmitted to the young foal. This is more so in the horses that are bred specifically for specific purposes. These horses may have additional traits created through artificial selection by breeders.
The breeds created today are developed keeping in mind both form and function. While a lot of these horses are used for racing and riding, there are others that are used for shows and exhibitions. For each function, there are several physical and characteristic attributes that are carefully identified and selected before breeding.
In the list of horse breeds, there are certain breeds that are more popular and sought after than others. The Andalusian and the Lusitano are both breeds that were developed as riding horses and have extremely refined physical characteristics. The Clydesdale and the Shire were developed specifically for managing farm and heavy work. To manage specific light agricultural work, various different breeds were created. Though horses have been selectively bred ever since they were first domesticated, the trends of selective breeding have rapidly changed in the past few years. In the last decade, selective breeding has increased.