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Breed Terms Glossary

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Riding & Training Terms, Horse 
Coat Colors & Markings Terms Glossary 
Tack, Saddles & Bridle Terms Glossary 
Equine Glossary: Horse Breed Terms Equine Glossary: Horse Breed Terms
There is a wealth of jargon used throughout the horse world. This is especially true when discussing equine breeds and breeding. Learning this vocabulary allows you to better understand articles, event language, and what trainers, farriers, veterinarians, and other horse owners are saying. The following list of terms, while in no way comprehensive, contains some of the terms used to discuss horse breeds and breeding.

American Saddlebred: A breed developed in the United States (Kentucky) that can be three or five gaited (to also include the slow-gait and rack) that is known for its presence and spirit and elevated action on the move; used primarily as a saddle seat show horse.

Andalusian: Elegant breed of horse originating in the Iberian Peninsula. Known in Portugal as the Lusitano.

Appaloosa: Breed of horse exhibiting one of a number of distinct coloration patterns of spots on the body. Mainly developed by the Nez Perce Indians and named for the Palouse River. Coloration patterns include leopard spot, blanket, snowflake, and frost.

Appendix: A horse registered in the Appendix of the American Quarter Horse Registry. Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross.

Arabian: Ancient and graceful breed of horse, originating in the deserts of the Middle East and having a strong influence on many other breeds, including the Thoroughbred.

Azteca Horse: Relatively new breed of horse, developed in Mexico by crossing Andalusians, Criollos and Quarter Horses.

Back-breeding: The practice of breeding back to a certain stallion to preserve a particular desirable trait.

Barren Mare: A mare that is not in foal.

Bashkir Curly: Breed of horse exhibiting a unique curly coat. Also called simply, the Curly Horse.

Belgian Draft Horse: Breed of heavy horse, originating in Belgium and used for heavy draft work. Also known as the Brabant.

Blazer Horse: Breed of horse developed in 1959 by Neil Hinck in Idaho. Known for their easy maintenance and versatility.

Blood Horse: A Thoroughbred horse.

Bloodstock: Thoroughbred horses bred for racing.

Breed Character: Those characteristics of a breed that distinguish it from other breeds.

Breed Standard: Standard of excellence set up by a breed association for its breed.

Breed Type: Those characteristics commonly accepted as ideal for a particular breed.

Breed: An equine group bred selectively for consistent characteristics over a long period of time.

Breeder: Owner of the dam (female) at the time of service (breeding). The Jockey Club, which records Thoroughbreds, uses the term to refer to the owner of a mare at the time a foal is dropped.

Brood Mare: A mare used for breeding purposes.

Cayuse: A general term used to describe a horse of nondescript breeding.

Cleveland Bay: Breed of horse. Originating in England as a carriage horse. Increasingly popular for crossing with Thoroughbreds to produce versatile sport horses used in a number of equine sports.

Clydesdale: Breed of heavy horse originating in Scotland and used for heavy draft work.

Connemara: One of the nine breeds of ponies native to the British Isles. Originating in Ireland.

Criollo: A breed of South American horses; a small, sturdy horse used as a cow pony.

Crossbred Animal: A horse that has purebred or high-grade parents of different breeds.

Dales Pony: One of the nine breeds of horse or pony native to the British Isles. Originating from the Pennines, from Derbyshire to the Scottish border.

Dartmoor Pony: One of the nine breeds of horse or pony native to the British Isles. Originating in the Dartmoor region of southwest England.

Dutch Warmblood: Popular sport horse derived from the breeding of French, German and English horses with native Dutch horses. Bred originally as a carriage horse, but has evolved into a versatile horse which excels at many equestrian sports, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing. See also Warmblood.

Exmoor Pony: One of the nine breeds of horse or pony native to the British Isles. Originating in the Exmoor region of southwest England.

Fell Pony: One of the nine native breeds of Britain. Originating in the fells of northern England.

Fjord/Fiord: Norwegian Fjord Horse. Ancient breed of horse, retaining the characteristics of the primitive wild horse, the Przewalski.

Foundation: Foundation Quarter Horses are Quarter Horses whose bloodlines have not had any Thoroughbred blood added since 1940. Must be registered with the AQHA and have less than 10% Thoroughbred blood.

Friesian: Elegant breed of horse originating in the Netherlands. Always black in color, with wavy mane and feathering at the fetlocks.

Futurity: Incentive breeding program to promote a particular breed or type of horse.

Hackney: Breed of horse exhibiting a distinctive high-stepping action. Popular as a light harness horse.

Haflinger: Attractive breed of horse originating in Austria. Always chestnut in color, with light colored mane and tail.

Half-bred: When capitalized, this denotes a horse sired by a Thoroughbred and registered in the Half-Bred Stud Book.

Hanoverian: Popular sport horse derived from the breeding of German horses with Thoroughbred horses. Bred originally to refine the quality of cavalry and farm horses, but has evolved into a versatile horse which excels at many equestrian sports, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing. See also Warmblood.

Highland Pony: One of the nine native breeds of Great Britain. Sturdy pony originating in the highlands of Scotland.

Holsteiner: Breed of warmblood horse derived from native north German horses. Bred originally as a cavalry and carriage horse, but, with infusions of Thoroughbred blood, has evolved into a versatile sport horse which excels at many equestrian sports, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing. See also Warmblood.

Icelandic Horse: Ancient breed of horse originating in Iceland. Known as versatile riding horses, exhibiting a unique gait, the toelt, or running walk.

Inbreeding: The mating of brother/sister, sire/daughter, son/dam, to fix or accentuate a particular trait or character.

Irish Draught Horse: Breed of draught/draft horse originating in Ireland. Popular for crossing with lighter breeds to produce the Irish Sport Horse.

Knabstruper: Breed of horse from Denmark, known for its spotted coat, similar to that of the Appaloosa.

Line Breeding: The mating of horses having a common ancestor some generations removed, to accentuate particular traits or characteristics.

Lippizan/Lippizaner: Elegant breed of horse from Europe. Most famous for their performances in the Spanish Riding School in Austria.

Lusitano: Portugese name for Andalusian horses.

Mangalarga Marchador Horse: Breed of horse adopted as the national horse of Brazil.

Missouri Foxtrotter: Breed of gaited horse developed in the Ozark Mountain region of Missouri.

Morab Horse: Breed of horse derived from crossing Morgan horses with Arabians.

Morgan Horse: Gentle and elegant breed of horse developed in the 1780's. The founding stallion was a bay colt named Figure, owned by Justin Morgan, from whom the breed gets its name.

New Forest Pony: One of the native breeds of Great Britain, originating in the New Forest area of Hampshire.

Norwegian Fjord Horse: Ancient breed of horse originating in Norway. See also Fjord Horse.

Oldenburg: Breed of horse originally used as a carriage horse in Europe. Since the early twentieth century, the breed has been refined with infusions of Thoroughbred blood. Oldenburgs now excel in the dressage and jumping arenas.

Orlov/Orloff Trotter: Breed of horse originating in Russia. Used for light and heavy draught work, for pleasure and competition, and to improve other breeds of horse, in Russia.

Paint Horse: Breed of horse exhibiting pinto coloring. See also Tobiano and Overo.

Paso Fino: Breed of horse, originally from Spain, known for its comfort and endurance.

Pedigree: Details of parentage and ancestry recorded in a studbook or registry.

Percheron: Breed of draft horse, originally bred in the Normandy region of France, but popular throughout the world.

Peruvian Paso: Breed of horse originating from breeding stock brought from Spain during the Conquest period, displaying a comfortable ambling gait. National horse of Peru.

Prepotency: The ability to consistently pass on character and type to the progeny.

Purebred Animal: An individual horse whose parents are recorded in the same registry association. A Registered animal is one whose parents are recorded and is itself recorded, and the registration certificate has been issued.

Purebred: A horse with both parents being of the same breed.

Quarter Horse: Breed of horse, originating in the United States and popular for ranch work, racing and riding in all equestrian disciplines.

Registered Name: A name given to a horse for its breed registry to record the pedigree of that horse and preserve the integrity and history of the breed.

Registration: Recording an animal from registered parents in the breed registry association.

Registration Certificate: Written record of the ancestry of an animal issued by the registry association.

Registry Association: An organization formed for the purpose of keeping records of the ancestry of individuals within a breed and to promote the breed.

Saddlebred: Flashy breed of horse, originating in the U.S., known for its spectacular gaits.

Shetland Pony: Small breed of pony originating from the Shetland Isles, north of Scotland. One of the British native breeds. Known for its hardiness.

Shire Horse: Breed of draft horse, originating in northern England. Once used as a war horse and later as farm and draft animals.

Standardbred: Breed of horse popular as a harness racer.

Stud: Breeding establishment - stud farm. The term is also used in the U.S. to describe a stallion or a colt.

Studbook: A book kept by a breed society or registry in which the pedigrees of horses eligible for registration are recorded.

Tennessee Walking Horse: Breed of horse originating in the American south, bred for comfort and exhibiting characteristic gaits.

Thoroughbred: Breed of horse, originating in England, used as a race horse and also to add refinement to other breeds of horses.

Trakehner: Breed of warmblood horse, popular in a variety of equestrian sports.

Warmblood: In general terms, a half-bred, or part-bred horse, the result of an Arabian or Thoroughbred cross with other breeds. Also one of a number of specific breeds of horse, which were developed by crossing hotblood and coldblood horses to produce a more refined, but athletically strong and capable horse, such as the Swedish Warmblood, the Dutch Warmblood, etc.

Welsh Pony: A versatile, high quality pony used for riding, driving, hunting, and work that originated in Wales.

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