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Allison's Favorite Horse Breeds

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Hey okay first of all i am only putting my top 10 horse breeds cause i don't feel like writing all the breeds i like. okay...good. I can't decide my favorite over not favorite so i'll put them in alpha. order._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ History and Origin of the Breed ___________________________________________________ The word "Mustang" comes from the Spanish word, mesteno, meaning "stray or ownerless" horse. This term aptly describes all wild horses in the United States. The modern horse evolved over three million years ago and then disappeared from this hemisphere 10,000 years ago. The horse returned to North America when explorers Cortes and DeSoto came mounted on magnificent Barbs from Morocco, Sorraia from Portugal and Andalusians from Spain. The Pueblo Indians learned to ride and passed this skill on to other Indians. In 1680, the Indians revolted against the Spanish rule and the Spaniards left thousands of horses behind in their hasty retreat. The Indians could have rounded up these horses, but chose to let them run wild. It was much easier to raid the Spanish settlements and steal horses. In an effort to stop the Indian raids, the Spanish government shipped a steady flow of mounts to the New World. It was hoped that the Indians would catch the "wild" horses and leave the Spaniards alone. Tens of thousands of the Spanish-bred horses were herded to the Rio Grande and turned loose in a 200-year period. These horses soon met up with draft horses and cowboy ponies that escaped from the ranchers and farmers arriving from the East. Their numbers exceeded two million by the year 1900. Ranchers took to killing these horses to protect the range-land for their cattle. Fewer than 17,000 horses remained by the year 1970. Stating that Mustangs were "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West," Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act in 1971. An estimated 41,000 Mustangs roam public range today, but few if any have much original Spanish blood. ____________________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics________________________________________ Mustangs come in all sizes, shapes, colors and types of build. Average size is 14.2 hands but it is not uncommon to see one as short as 13 hands or as tall as 16 hands. The most common color seen is sorrel and bay, but any color is possible. The flashier colors such as Paints, Appalossas, Palominos, Buckskins and black seem to have been bred out of the breed over the years, but again, it is not uncommon to see those colors. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ American Quarter Horse ________________________________________________________________________________________________ The American Quarter Horse is the first breed of horse native to the United States. The breed evolved when the bloodlines of horses brought to the New World were mixed. Foundation American Quarter Horse stock originated from Arab, Turk and Barb breeds. Selected stallions and mares were crossed with horses brought to Colonial America from England and Ireland in the early 1600s. This combination resulted in a compact, heavily muscled horse that evolved to fill the colonist's passion for short-distance racing. These powerful animals could run a short distance over a straightaway faster than any other horse, with the fastest being named Celebrated American Running Horses. There were many variations of names throughout the years but in 1940, a registry was formed to preserve the breed which officially became the American Quarter Horse. The first American Quarter Horse races were held at Enrico County, Virginia in 1674. One-on-one match races were run down village streets, country lanes and level pastures. By 1690, large purses, heavy betting, disagreements and fights were a common occurrence around match races. It is reported that grand plantations may have changed hands on the outcome of these sprints. As pioneers moved westward, so did the American Quarter Horse. During the 1800s, vast cattle ranches began to stretch across the plains. Known for its cow sense (the ability to outmaneuver cattle) and calm disposition, the American Quarter Horse was ideally suited for the challenge of the West. Today, heavy muscling and sprinter's speed remain characteristic traits but the breed has been specialized to excel at particular events. Competing in every discipline imaginable from traditional rodeo events such as roping and barrel racing to the refined English classes of dressage and show jumping has made the American Quarter Horse the one of the most versatile breeds in the world. Although competition options are nearly unlimited, the number one interest of American Quarter Horse owners remains riding for recreation.__________________________________________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics Since the creation of the American Quarter Horse Association more than 50 years ago, breeders have been perfecting the bloodlines of the American Quarter Horse to produce a high quality, versatile animal. AQHA has set forth a strict set of guidelines regarding registration of American Quarter Horses. American Quarter Horses are allowed only limited white markings on the face and below the knees. If you see white anywhere else in spots or patches, you're not looking at an American Quarter Horse. In addition, there are 13 accepted colors recognized by AQHA. The most prominent of these colors is sorrel (reddish brown), with the others being bay, black, brown, buckskin, chestnut, dun, red dun, gray, grullo, palomino, red roan and blue roan. The official gray color is what most people call white, but it's interesting to note that there are no "white" American Quarter Horses. Beyond their appearance, a registered American Quarter Horse foal (baby) is the product of a numbered American Quarter Horse dam (mare or mother) and a numbered American Quarter Horse sire (stallion or father). AQHA also offers an appendix registry for foals with one numbered American Quarter Horse parent and one Thoroughbred parent registered with The Jockey Club. Other identifiable characteristics of the breed are heavy muscling, sprinter's speed, versatility, keen cow sense and a gentle nature. From the past where the American Quarter Horse origins can be traced to ranching and racing, to the present where American Quarter Horses excel in a variety of events, the American Quarter Horse gives an individual many outlets for enjoyment, thus making it the world's most popular breed. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ American Saddlebred Horse ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The American Saddlebred horse can trace its roots to the easy gaited Galloway and Hobbie horses which were shipped to North America from the British Isles in the 1600s. These hardy little horses thrived and grew in the new environment; through selective breeding the Narragansett Pacer was developed and named for Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay area where many were raised. These were also found up and down the eastern seaboard, including Virginia where they were also produced in large numbers. These animals moved their legs in concert on the same side of their bodies, contacting the ground in a broken cadence. The ride was comfortable, compared to the jolt of a trot. These horses are now "extinct" in the U. S. and in mane, because they were exported to the West Indies by the thousands. The Paso Fino is a direct descendant of the Narragansett and is probably almost the same horse. Before they were all gone, Narragansett mares were crossed with Thoroughbreds, which the colonists began importing from England in the early 1700s. By 1776 during the American Revolution, a horse simply called the American horse had become a recognized type. It had the size and beauty of the Thoroughbred, but retained the ability to learn the easy riding gaits. These animals were used for riding, to pull the plow during the week, the carriage on Saturday night and for other work. They were prized for a pleasant temperament, eagerness, strength and stamina. It was the American horse that carried colonial cavalry to victory over the British at King's Mountain in South Carolina. After the Revolution, they carried their masters through the Cumberland Gap to the frontier of Kentucky. These animals were the immediate precursors of the American Saddlebred. There was continual crossing with Thoroughbreds, and over time some Morgan and Standardbred blood was added. When the first horse shows were held in Kentucky, Virginia and Missouri in the early 1800s, American Saddlebreds were frequently judged the winners because of their beauty, style and utility. The first "national" horse show was held in 1856 at the St. Louis Fair and Saddlebreds were prominent. Horses became a major commercial commodity in Kentucky, and "Kentucky saddlers" were particularly prized and achieved national prominence. Thousands were shipped to the eastern market and throughout the south. This is the first breed of horse claimed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky as its own. By the time of the Civil War, Saddlebreds were among the most popular riding animals in America. They were used in great numbers by the Confederate cavalry and demonstrated incredible endurance and dependability on long marches and under fire. The men of John Hunt Morgan and Nathan Bedford Forest were exclusively mounted on these horses. Generals on both sides proudly rode Saddlebreds. Traveller, General Robert E. Lee's mount and the most famous horse of the war had breeding typical of an early Saddlebred. His sire was the Thoroughbred Gray Eagle and his dam a mare of mixed breeding. Traveller possessed a smooth rack. After this terrible strife, American Saddlebred horses went to all parts of the nation with returning soldiers. They could be seen on the bridle paths of Central Park in New York City and on the plains of Texas herding cattle. Today, American Saddlebreds are found in all 50 states, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Italy, Greece, Australia, Japan and many other countries. The Saddlebred is the most popular of the non-racing breeds in South Africa, which began importing them after World War I. A five gaited stallion bred and raised in South Africa won the World's Grand Championship at the 1997 Kentucky State Fair. __________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics ___________________________________________________ American Saddlebreds rang in size from 15 to 17 hands and average about 15.3. According to Modern Breeds of Livestock, "The American Saddlebred horse has a refined head with small ears and long neck with considerable arch. The withers should be well above the height of the hips. The Saddlebred is of good proportion, presenting a beautiful overall picture. Its conformation enables the breed to perform well in all equine events especially dressage, jumping, carriage and endurance. A distinguishable trait is high intelligence. Alert and curious, Saddlebreds possess personality, making them people-oriented." Saddlebred come in all colors, as there have never been color restrictions. The Gaits Most Saddlebreds are born with the walk, trot and canter, plus the inherent ability to learn the slow gait (stepping pace) and rack. Some rack naturally at birth, but many must be trained to slow gait and rack. This is done by throwing the horse off balance by moving his head from side to side and/or the rider shifting his weight from side to side. Most Saddlebreds catch on after just a few lessons. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Appaloosa ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Appaloosa’s colorful ancestry can be traced back to the earliest recorded time, but it is in the American melting pot that the spotted horse established itself as a true breed. The Nez Perce Indians of the inland Northwest deserve much of the credit for the Appaloosa horses we have today. As the only Native Americans known to selectively breed their horses, the Nez Perce desired only the strongest, fastest and most sure-footed of mounts. The influx of white settlers to the Northwest changed the Nez Perce’s destiny and nearly destroyed the legacy of their horse-breeding efforts. War ensued when some of the Nez Perce rebelled against imposed treaties. Over several months and over 1,300 miles, the Appaloosa helped the non-treaty Nez Perce elude the U.S. Cavalry in 1877. At the time of Chief Joseph’s surrender in Montana, the Army confiscated most of their horses, including Appaloosas. The prized characteristics of the distinctive horse then became lost or severely diluted due to indiscriminate breeding. Claude Thompson, a wheat farmer from Moro, Oregon, realized the importance of preserving the spotted horse breed and in 1938, he established the Appaloosa Horse Club to promote and restore the Appaloosa’s position in the equine world. The Appaloosa began its return from the brink of obscurity. While the Nez Perce never called their spotted horses "Appaloosas," the breed’s name comes from either the Palouse River, which flows through the region of eastern Washington and north Idaho where the horses were known to be plentiful or from the Palouse Tribe, whose main village was situated on the Palouse River. White settlers first described the colorful native mounts as "a Palouse horse," which was soon slurred to "Appalousey." The name "Appaloosa" was officially adopted in 1938. Today, over a half million Appaloosas are registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club. ___________________________________________________- Breed Characteristics ___________________________________________________ Although Appaloosas are most commonly recognized by their colorful coat patterns, they also have other distinctive characteristics. The four identifiable characteristics are: coat patterns, mottled skin, white sclera, and striped hooves. The Appaloosa Horse Club recognizes thirteen base coat colors. It is not always easy to predict the color a grown horse will be from the shade it has as a foal. Most foals are born with lighter colored coats than they will have when they shed their baby hair with the exception of gray horses, which are born dark and progressively become lighter. A remarkable aspect of the Appaloosa is the myriad of color and pattern combinations they can exhibit. The seven common terms used to describe Appaloosa coat patterns are blanket, spots, blanket with spots, roan, roan blanket, roan blanket with spots, and solid. Appaloosa patterns are highly variable and there are many which may not fit into specific categories easily. Mottled or partli-colored skin is also an Appaloosa characteristic. Mottled skin is different from commonly found pink (flesh-colored or non-pigmented) skin in that it normally contains dark areas of pigmented skin within its area. The result is a speckled or blotchy pattern of pigmented and non-pigmented skin. The sclera is the white area of the eye, which covers the entire eyeball except the cornea - the colored or pigmented portion. The white of the human eye is an example. All horses have sclera but the Appaloosa’s is white and usually more readily visible than other breeds. Readily visible white sclera is a distinctive Appaloosa characteristic provided it is not in combination with a large white face marking, such as a bald face. Many Appaloosas will have bold and clearly defined vertically light or dark striped hooves. However, vertical stripes also may result from injury to the coronet or found in association with a white marking on the leg. Also, light colored horses tend to have thin stripes in their hooves. As a result, all striped hooves do not necessarily distinguish Appaloosas from non-Appaloosas. _______________________________________________________ Arabian ______________________________________________________ Somewhere in the inhospitable deserts of the Middle East, centuries ago, a breed of horse came into being that would influence the equine world beyond all imagination. In the sweet grass oasis along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in the countries that are now known as Syria, Iraq and Iran, and in other parts of the Arabia peninsula, this hearty horse developed and would soon be known as the Arabian horse. To the Islamic people, he was considered a gift from Allah, to be revered, cherished and almost worshipped. Long before Europeans were to become aware of its existence, the horse of the desert had established itself as a necessity for survival of the Bedouin people (nomadic inhabitants of the Middle East desert region). The headmen of the tribes could relate the verbal histories of each family of horse in his tribe as well as he could each family of Bedouin. The mythology and romance of the breed grew with each passing century as stories of courage, endurance and wealth intermingled with the genealogies. Religious belief, superstition and tradition influenced the very nature of the breed, its shape as well as its color. It was believed that the bulging forehead held the blessings of Allah. Therefore the greater the "Jibbah" the greater the blessings carried by the horse. The great arching neck with a high crest, the "Mitbah" was a sign of courage, while a gaily-carried tail showed pride. These traits were held in high esteem and selectively bred for. Due in part to the religious significance attached to the Arabian horse, as well as the contribution it made to the wealth and security of the tribe, the breed flourished in near isolation. Traditions of breeding and purity were established to keep the breed "Asil" or pure, in the form intended by Allah. Any mixture of foreign blood from the mountains or the cities surrounding the desert was strictly forbidden. While other, desert type breeds developed in North Africa and the periphery of the Great Desert, these "Barbs" and "Turks" were definitely not of the same blood as Arabians and were disdained by the proud Bedouin. The Arabian horse was primarily an instrument of war, as were horses in general in most societies of the time. A well-mounted Bedouin could attack an enemy tribe and capture their herds of sheep, camels and goats, adding to the wealth of their own tribe. Such a raid was only successful if the aggressors could attack with surprise and speed and make good their escape. Mares were the best mounts for raiding parties, as they would not nicker to the enemy tribe's horses, warning of their approach. The best war mares exhibited great courage in battle, taking the charges and the spear thrusts without giving ground. Speed and endurance were essential as well, for the raids were often carried out far from the home camp, family and children. ____________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics ____________________________________________________- A beautiful, delicate head characterizes the Arabian, often with a "dished" or concave profile below large, prominent eyes; a high-set, arched neck; and a naturally high tail carriage. The back is short and straight; the withers are pronounced and long; the chest is muscular, deep and broad; the shoulders long and sloping; the legs muscular with broad strong joints and clearly defined tendons; and the hooves small with very tough horn, wide at the heel. These points of "type" give the Arabian its distinctive beauty. The ideal height for an Arabian is between 14.2 and 15 hands and may be chestnut, gray, bay, and black. White markings on the face and legs are common. The coat is fine and silky and the skin is invariably black. The mane and tail are full. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________- Clydesdale ______________________________________________________- The Clydesdale is a breed of heavy draft horse developed in and deriving its name from the district in Scotland where it was founded. Its type was evolved by the farmers of Lanarkshire, through which the River Clyde flows. The old name for Lanarkshire was Clydesdale. It was bred to meet not only the agricultural needs of these farmers, but the demands of commerce for the coalfields of Lanarkshire and for all types of heavy haulage on the streets of Glasgow. The breed thus developed and soon acquired more than a local reputation. In time, the breed spread throughout the whole of Scotland and northern England. The district system of hiring stallions was an early feature of Scottish agriculture and did much to standardize and fix the type of the breed. The records of these hiring societies go back in some cases to 1837. The Clydesdale Horse Society was formed in 1877 and has been an active force in promoting the breed not only in Great Britian but throughout the world. The Clydesdale Breeders of the United States is the member organization for the Clydesdale horse. The Association was incorporated on December 4, 1879 as the American Clydesdale Association with members from both the United States and Canada. The first volume of the stud book was ready for distribution at the fourth Annual Meeting in the fall of 1882. The Clydesdale alone, of the British breeds of heavy draft, has enjoyed a steady export trade to all parts of the world. The most active trade has been to commonwealth countries and the United States. The Clydesdale remains popular, though not a numerical leader in Canada and the United States. -________________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics _________________________________________________ The outstanding characteristics of this renowned horse are a combination of weight, size and activity, and what is looked for first and last by a Clydesdale enthusiast is the exceptional wearing qualities of feet and limbs. The feet must be round and open with hoof heads wide and springy, for any suspicion of contraction might lead to sidebones or ringbones. To some extent, the further requirements of this breed vary somewhat from the orthodox and should be noted. The horse must have action, but not exaggerated, the inside of every shoe being made visible to anyone walking behind. The forelegs must be well under the shoulders, not carried bull-dog fashion, in fact must hang straight from shoulder to fetlock joint, with no openness at the knee, yet with no inclination to knock. The hind legs must be similar, with the points of the hocks turned inwards rather than outwards, and the pasterns must be long. Distinctive long, silky hair below the knees and hocks draw attention to the stylish lifting of the feet at the trot. The head must have an open forehead, broad across the eyes, the front of the face must be flat, neither dished nor roman, wide muzzle, large nostrils and a bright, clear, intelligent eye. A well-arched and long neck must spring out of an oblique shoulder with high withers, while the back should be short, with well-sprung ribs, and, as befits a draught horse, the thighs must be packed with muscle and sinew. The most common colors in the Clydesdale breed are bay, black and brown. Roans (solid body color with white hairs throughout the coat) are also seen with some occasional chestnuts. White is seen on the face and legs with white often running into the body. The show ring does not discriminate on color with light roans and horses with dark legs being considered equally with horses of the more solid colors and traditional markings. It is claimed of the Clydesdale that they are possessed of quality and weight without displaying grossness and bulk, this is largely true. They are certainly active movers for their size and weight, and in consequence, are very popular in many cities and on numerous farms. The Clydesdale generally stands from 16 to 18 hands, and weighs from 1700 to 2000 pounds. Some of the mature stallions and geldings are taller and weigh up to 2200 pounds. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Connemara Pony ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rocky, barren, mountainous terrain, craggy, lunar-scaped strands, pounded by the tide and storms of the Atlantic. Endless desolate moors and bogs. This is the area of Western Ireland known as Connemara, which lends its name to its indigenous pony breed. Over the centuries in the ruggedness of their western Irish environment, the Connemara developed its prized qualities of hardiness, agility and extraordinary jumping ability. The Connemara Pony's origins go back some 2,500 years to the time when Celtic warriors brought their dun colored ponies onto the island of Ireland and used them to draw war chariots and carts along the beaches and river plains of their new found home. The history is obscure, yet the Connemara Pony is considered Ireland's only native breed. Mythology tells us that the tribes of western Ireland were mounted. Legend has it that when the Spanish Armada sank off the Connemara coast in the 16th Century, the horses swam to shore and bred with the native ponies running wild in the mountains. They learned to live on the tough vegetation and survive the hardships of their habitat, as a misplaced step could send a pony crashing to its death. It was a desperate and arduous life for the farmers of the area. With large families to support, they could only afford one good pony - often captured off the mountain and tamed. This had to be a mare who could give him a foal each year, to sell for their subsistence through the long, dark winter. She would pull a plow, a cart, work from dawn to dusk at whatever task was needed under extremely harsh conditions. Fitted with baskets called creels, they carried a heavy load. They moved tons of rocks, to claim the land. Seaweed used to fertilize the barren fields was dragged from the shore by the ponies. They carried turf cut from the bogs, used for cooking and heat. Strong, sturdy legs could maneuver through the muck, which might swallow a different type of horse. Never a day of rest, she also carted the family to Mass on Sunday. She had to have the hardiness, stamina and disposition needed, or she was replaced with a mare who could. In this manner, the good mares were kept in Connemara reproducing these qualities in their foals. Stallions would travel the primitive roads between villages, covering many mares and many miles in one day. Local racing was popular and the Connemaras competed equally with the larger Irish Hunters and Thoroughbreds. The local breeders for the purpose of conserving and developing the breed formed the Connemara Pony Breeders Society in 1923 in Clifden. Centuries of natural selection, some interference needed for human survival, followed by the past 72 years of selective breeding has given us the quality Connemara we have today. Like the Irish people, the Connemara has been exported to all over the world. The popularity of the breed has extended worldwide and Connemara Pony Societies have been established in 17 countries - England, America, Australia, New Zealand, France, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, Holland, Austria and Canada. Adapting to extremes of climate, they have made useful working partners with those who own them, and have competed with the best of the sport horse breeds. _______________________________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Connemara "Stands on short legs, covering a lot of ground". The cannon bone is short, dense, flat and clean, measuring 7 to 9 inches below the knee. The body is deep and compact, well-balanced with depth, substance and good heart room. The Connemara has a good sloping shoulder, length of rein, and moves freely with little knee action in surprisingly large strides for its height. On this strong, sturdy body sets a handsome pony head, with a well-defined jaw and good width between large kindly eyes. Easy keepers, they do not require a rich diet to stay healthy and fit. The most common colors are grey and dun, but there are blacks, bays, browns, chestnuts, palominos, and an occasional roan. Black points are common, but paints are not acceptable. The Connemara is the largest of the pony breeds, ranging in height from13 to 15 hands, with 14 to 14.2 hands as the average. Full maturity is at five years of age, sometimes older, and they can live well into their 30's. The Connemara has a natural jumping ability, and its rectangular build lends it suitable for dressage. They often beat horses 16 hands and over with staying power, intelligence and heart. As a show jumper, working hunter, eventing, western pleasure, endurance, driving - Connemaras can do it all, and can be your best friend! Connemaras are the product of their original environment, the rugged mountain coast of West Ireland. Sure-footed, hardy and agile, they possess powers of great stamina, staying power and adaptability. They are renowned for their versatility and their gentle, tractable, sensible and willing dispositions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Hanoverian _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________- The Hanoverian horse is a warmblood horse which is bred to excel in the equestrian disciplines of jumping, dressage, eventing and driving. The breed originated in northern Germany in the state of Lower Saxony, the former kingdom of Hannover, where a flourishing horse-breeding industry has existed for 400 years. The State Stud was established at Celle in 1735, and the Hanoverian Studbook was officially begun in 1888. The breed retains the substantial bone, sturdiness and stamina of its heritage: nearly 300 years ago the Hanoverian was bred to serve as a robust carriage and military horse. Since the end of World War II, the breeding goal has been exclusively to produce a versatile performance horse. Breeding stock is carefully selected for correct conformation, athletic ability and inner qualities such as disposition and trainability. The Hanoverian has natural impulsion and light and elastic gaits characterized by a ground-covering walk, a floating trot and a round, rhythmic canter. The success of Hanoverian horses in competition proves the soundness of this breeding program - 13 medals in the 1992 Olympics and four consecutive World Breeding Championships as well as five gold, one silver and two bronze medals in dressage and show jumping at the 1996 Olympics. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics____________________________________________________________________________________________- Quality performance prospects are the result of the Hanoverian selection process. Each year the American Hanoverian Society organizes a national inspection tour to register foals, inspect and performance test mares and license stallions. In order for a foal to be registered, both the sire and dam must be AHS approved. German and American inspectors evaluate mares for type, conformation and gaits. The Mare Performance Test scores a mare's rideability, gaits and jumping talent. Mares are placed in various sections of the Studbook based on both their overall scores and their dam's Studbook placement. The very best mares can earn the title of Elite Mare upon successfully completing the Mare Performance Test. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Morgan ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Morgan breed originated in West Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1789, with the birth of a bay colt named Figure. At one year of age, Figure was given to a Randolph, Vermont, schoolmaster named Justin Morgan in partial payment of a debt. Figure was a stylish bay horse of many talents. He became widely known for his ability to pull stumps and logs while clearing the land of new settlers. In addition, he won races and pulling contests, was a favored parade mount at militia training, and was used as a saddle and driving horse. His strength, endurance, and easy-keeping qualities served him well on the Vermont frontier. Among horsemen he became widely respected for his prepotency (the ability to pass his own looks and qualities on to succeeding generations). __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Breed Characteristics _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Morgan averages between 14.1 and 15.2 hands and occasionally reaches 16 hands. It is most frequently found in the colors bay, black, brown, chestnut, gray, palomino, creme, dun and buckskin. The Morgan is easily recognized by its proud carriage, upright graceful neck, and distinctive head with expressive eyes. Deep bodied and compact, the Morgan has strongly muscled quarters. The Morgan horse has a dramatic gait with considerable action. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Standardbred _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The origins of the Standardbred trace back to Messenger, an English Thoroughbred foaled in 1780, and later exported to the United States. Messenger was the great-grandsire of Hambletonian 10, to whom every Standardbred can trace its heritage. Thus, Standardbreds are a relatively new breed, dating back just over 200 years. The name "Standardbred" originated because the early trotters (pacers would not come into favor until much later) were required to reach a certain standard for the mile distance in order to be registered as part of the new breed. The mile is still the standard distance covered in nearly every harness race. In many respects, the Standardbred resembles its ancestor the Thoroughbred. It does not stand as tall, averaging 15.2 hands, although it has a longer body. The head is refined, set on a medium-sized neck. The quarters are muscular yet sleek. The clean hind legs are set well back. Individual Standardbreds tend to either trot or pace. This breed appears in varying colors, although bay, brown and black are predominant. It weighs between 800 and 1000 pounds. Gaits Standardbred racing is contested on two gaits, the trot and the pace. Trotters move with a diagonal gait; the left front and right rear legs move in unison, as to the right front and left rear. It requires much skill by the trainer to get a trotter to move perfectly at high speeds, even though the trotting gait is a natural one in the animal world. But horseman and fans agree that there are few things more beautiful than a trotting horse in full stride. Pacers, on the other hand, move the legs on one side of their body in tandem: left front and rear, and right front and rear. This action shows why pacers are often called "sidewheelers." Pacers, which account for about 80 percent of the performers in harness racing, are aided in maintaining their gait by plastic loops called hobbles, which keep their legs moving in synchronization. Due to the sureness of their action, pacers are usually several seconds faster than trotter._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________- thoroughbred _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The term Thoroughbred describes a breed of horse whose ancestry traces back to three foundation sires -- the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk. Named after their respective owners -- Thomas Darley, Lord Godolphin and Captain Robert Byerly -- these three stallions were brought to England from the Mediterranean Middle East around the turn of the 17th century and bred to the stronger, but less precocious, native horse. The result was an animal that could carry weight with sustained speed over extended distances, qualities which brought a new dimension to the burgeoning, aristocratically supported, sport of horse racing. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________- Breed Caracteristics ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________- The Thoroughbred stands a little over 16 hands on average and its appearance reveals its Arabian ancestry. A refined head with widely-spaced, intelligent eyes sits on a neck which is somewhat longer and lighter than in other breeds. The withers are high and well defined, leading to an evenly curved back. The shoulder is deep, well-muscled and extremely sloped while the heart girth is deep and relatively narrow. The legs are clean and long with pronounced tendons and move smoothly in unison through one plane. The bone structure of the upper hind leg makes room for long, strong muscling. The thighbone is long and the angle it makes with the hipbone is wide. The powerful muscling of the hip and thigh continues to the gaskin that is set low. Coat colors in Thoroughbreds may be bay, dark bay, chestnut, black or gray; roans are seen only rarely. White markings are frequently seen on both the face and legs. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Welsh Pony ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-__________________________- The original home of the Welsh Mountain Pony was in the hills and valleys of Wales. It was there before the Romans. Its lot was not an easy one. Winters were severe. Vegetation was sparse. Shelter, most often, was an isolated valley or a clump of bare trees. Yet the Welsh Pony managed not only to survive but also to flourish.