If you drive down any country road, chances are you’ll see at least one of these common horse breeds in America.
Some horse breeds are popular for their speed and endurance, others for their temperament, and many for their movement and athletic abilities.
But one thing these horse breeds all have in common, is they are well loved by their American owners!
Common American Horse Breeds
American Bashkir Curly Horse
American Bashkir Curly Horses come in all common horse colors including Appaloosa and Pinto, but they carry a particular gene that gives them a unique, hypo-allergenic coat.
They resemble the Morgan (see below) in conformation, build and size but also have traits similar to primitive horses.
Curly horses often have a soft, sleepy look but are alert and hard working.
For more information visit: American Bashkir Curly Horse Registry
American Miniature Horse
These pint-sized horses come in a rainbow of coat colors and patterns and are used throughout America as show partners and companions.
Elegant and gentle by nature, their popularity continues to grown for horse owners of all ages and abilities.
For more information visit: American Miniature Horse Association
American Quarter Horse
As one of the oldest recognized breeds in America, their natural
quickness and agility made them well suited to the job of the developing frontier.
Today, the Quarter Horse’s good-natured temperament and natural cow-sense make them a favorite for western events.
They typically range from 14.3 to 16 hands, and come in all solid coat colors.
For more information visit: American Quarter Horse Association
American Paint Horse
Paint Horses are often easy to spot with their distinctive coat patterns, which can be any combination of white plus a solid color, such as bay, black, palomino, or chestnut.
The patterns and colors vary greatly, and some only have a solid or mostly-solid coat color.
Much like the Quarter Horse, they are muscular with broad chests, have strong hindquarters and excellent agility.
For more information visit: American Paint Horse Association
The American Saddlebred can trace its roots back to the natural-gaited horses of the British Isles, which were often crossed with Thoroughbreds to be used for riding, to pull carriages and farm work.
Now bred for their animated style and brilliance in the show ring, the Saddlebred’s willing temperament has made it a versatile breed.
Because of their eagerness, strength and stamina they also excel in other disciplines including dressage, combined driving and show jumping.
For more information visit: American Saddlebred Horse Association
The American Warmblood is a registry that includes any breed of a sport horse or warmblood type, that are able to meet the studbook selection or performance criteria.
Bred primarily for the sport horse disciplines of dressage, show jumping, eventing or combined driving, they are often large, athletic horses with a strong work ethic.
They typically range from 15 and 17 hands and can come in any coat color, although solid is the most common.
For more information visit: American Warmblood Registry
The Appaloosa is an American horse breed best known for its unique, colorful spotted coat pattern.
With the influence of multiple breeds of horses throughout its history, they have a wide variety of body types and color patterns.
Best known as a stock horse, they’re used in a variety of western riding disciplines, but is also a versatile breed that excels in many other types of equestrian activities.
For more information visit: Appaloosa Horse Club
With unparalleled beauty, a rich history and unique ability to bond with their owners, it’s no wonder Arabians are one of the most popular horse breeds.
Originally bred by desert tribes as war mounts in harsh conditions, they have evolved to have a large lung capacity and incredible endurance.
Arabians now display their talents in a variety of riding disciplines from English to Western, and are positioned as the undisputed champion of endurance events.
For more information visit: Arabian Horse Association
The founding sire of the Morgan breed was born in America in 1789, and passed on his distinguishing characteristics throughout many generations.
The Morgan is easy to recognize with its proud carriage and graceful neck, blended with solid limbs, athleticism, and stamina.
Although they are quiet and comfortable for pleasure riding, they also excel in the show ring for English, Western and Driving competitions.
For more information visit: American Morgan Horse Association
The Spanish Mustang is a descendant of the horses brought to America by the early Spaniards (not to be confused with the feral horses currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management).
They are a small, but well muscled horse with a short back, rounded rump and low tail set.
The typical height range is 13.2 to 15 hand, and their movement gives the appearance of a natural collection whether in hand or under saddle.
For more information visit: Spanish Mustang Registry
All Standardbreds trace their ancestry through a direct line to the imported stallion Messenger, an English Thoroughbred who was brought to America in 1788.
Primarily bred and trained for Harness Racing, they closely resemble the Thoroughbred, but are a slightly smaller, quieter and heavier breed.
After their racing careers, many go on to become good mounts for amateur riders because of their sensible nature and athleticism.
For more information visit: United States Trotting Association
Tennessee Walking Horse
This unique breed was founded in Tennessee from a combination of Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan and American Saddlebred stock.
The Tennessee Walking Horse (or Walker) is capable of doing a Flat Walk and a Running Walk as well as a canter or lope and a gallop.
They range in height from 14.2 to 16.2 hands high and are generally well-boned, deep chested and short-coupled giving an overall impression of balance.
For more information visit: Tennessee Walking Horse Association
The first Thoroughbred horse imported to American was Bulle Rock in 1730. That began a love affair with the sport of horse racing & these robust athletic horses.
Although still primarily bred for racing, Thoroughbreds are also used for other disciplines such as show jumping, eventing, dressage, polo, and even fox hunting.
They are commonly crossbred to improve existing breeds, and have also been influential in the creation of the Quarter Horse, Standardbred, Anglo-Arabian, and various Warmblood breeds.
For more information visit: The Jockey Club
Learn more about common (and uncommon) horse breeds:
Here’s a quick review of the 13 most common American horse breeds (alphabetical):
- American Curly Horse
- American Miniature Horse
- American Quarter Horse
- American Paint
- American Saddlebred
- American Warmblood
- Spanish Mustang
- Tennessee Walking Horse
What’s your favorite horse breed?