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Throughout equine history few breeds have impacted the horse world quite like the Thoroughbred. Three foundation sires, the Byerly Turk, the Godolphin Arabian and the Darley Arabian, were bred to native English horses to create the breed in the early 17th century. The Thoroughbred first made its mark as a racehorse, shaping a sport so favored by the gentry that racing was dubbed the sport of kings. With its famous speed and stamina, the Thoroughbred quickly found its way into other sports, such as hunting, jumping, dressage and eventing. It has contributed its bloodlines to many breeds, including European warmbloods and the American Quarter Horse.



The Thoroughbred stands from 15.3 to 17 hands high and is found in all solid colors. Its long bones and graceful movement give the horse an elegant presence. The Thoroughbred’s long neck and powerful haunches help propel it forward in a galloping stride that is over 20 feet long--moving at a speeds of over 30 miles an hour.



The Friesian is one of Europe’s oldest breeds and gets its name from the Friesland region in the north of the Netherlands. The breed almost became extinct worldwide during the turn of the 20th century, as many Friesians were crossed to other breeds to create a faster horse for trotting races. In fact, only three purebred stallions were left. While World War II very nearly destroyed other breeds, it actually brought the Friesian back from the brink of extinction. Due to the fuel shortages, Dutch farmers turned to horses for transportation and fieldwork. The Friesian is one of the best carriage horses in the world. Today the breed is an accomplished dressage horse.



The Friesian stands 14.3 to 16 hands high. Only black horses are registered, but the colour can range from black/bay, dark brown or true black. The only white allowed is a small star. The arched topline of the Friesian is the hallmark of the breed’s conformation. The Friesian’s head is rather expressive and well-sculpted with tiny elegant ears.



Theorized to be the oldest breed in the world, Arabians were constant companions of the first documented breeders of the Arabian horse, the Bedouin people--nomadic tribesmen of Arabia who relied on the horse for survival. High religious significance in addition to harsh climates often led the nomads to share food, water and sometimes even their tents with their horses. For many of these reasons, the Arabian horse thrived in near isolation and are known for their sociable personalities. As religious wars erupted, the Arabian horse made its way into Europe and other parts of the world. European crusaders crossed the lighter Arabian horse with their heavier breeds, influencing nearly every modern breed today. In 1725, Nathan Harrison of Virginia was the first of many to import the Arabian horse to North America. In 1908, a national registry was recognized for the Arabian horse. Today, more Arabian horses live in the United States than in all the other countries in the world combined. Arabians are famed for their stamina, and although they can be found in many disciplines, they rule the long-distance sport of endurance.



The Arabian horse has a distinctive dished profile. They have giant, wide-set eyes on a broad forehead, small, curved ears, and large and efficient nostrils. Arabians are also known for their arched necks and short backs. They stand 14 to 15.3 hands high and can be found in the following colours: chestnuts, bay, grey, black and roan.



The Spanish introduced horses to Mexico in the 1500s, and spotted horses have been depicted in images as far back as prehistoric cave paintings. However, it wasn’t until the 1700s when horses first reached Northwest America that horses with Appaloosa coloring gained recognition in the United States. The Nez Perce tribe of American Indians helped propel this recognition. Originally sedentary fishers, the Nez Perce tribe soon discovered the mobility and power that horses could bring. With their yet-unnamed Appaloosa horses, they soon became notorious for their hunting skills and craftsmanship. In reference to the Palouse River nearby, settlers began referring to the spotted Nez Perce horses as “a Palouse Horse,” later “Palousey,” “Appalousey” and eventually “Appaloosa.” The Nez Perce war of 1877 resulted in the Appaloosa herds being dispersed throughout the West. The Appaloosa horses’ flashy coats soon caught the eye of the public, and they grew in popularity. The Appaloosa Horse Club was chartered in 1938 to preserve and improve the Appaloosa breed. In 1975, the Appaloosa horse was officially named the Idaho state horse. Today, Appaloosas can be found at gaming events, horse shows and on the trail.



Appaloosa horses are known for four identifiable characteristics: coat pattern, mottled skin, white sclera and striped hooves. With coat patterns, countless numbers of color and pattern combinations exist. Base coat colors include bay, brown, black, buckskin, grulla, dun, palomino, cremello/perlino, chestnut, bay roan, blue roan and red roan. Appaloosa coat patterns include leopard, snowflake, blanket, marbleized and frost. Appaloosas range from 14.2 to 16 hands high.