Today while taking breakfast together, my daughter asked me about the fastest horse breeds in the world.
You’ll be surprised to know that her little friends call her “the beast lover” and she never mind it because she really loves not only the horse but also cats, rabbits and even crocodiles. But, instead of cat or any other small animal, she loves horses so much that she eat with it, play with it and even sleep with it.
Yap, I’m talking about Bella, our three years old horse (not from any famous breed). Bella also loves her so much that she never say NO to my little princess. Sometimes, Bella doesn’t even listen to me if there is Aurora (my little princess) on her back.
Anyway, suddenly my sweet Aurora asked me about the fastest horse breeds. If it was not her, then maybe I would show the results from the Google. But, I feel that I have to tell her something more about this royal hobby as I love her more than my own self.
So, I couldn’t but share the surprising royal history of horse racing. And then I represent 10 of the most fastest breeds which are the true pedigreed from those royal ancestors. Hope this horse history will entertain you if you also love horses.
Inquest of the fastest horse breeds in the world
History of horse racing went back to pre-historic age at least cave paintings. However, among the oldest of all sports; horse racing has survived the longest but not without modifications over the ages. But the fundamental concept has remained the same – the fastest is the winner.
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So far the origin of racing involved, it started as a contest between two horses of rival owners who want to sell their horse. And the buyers used to take the test of speed and stamina putting the contesting horses into a race.
From that primitive contest of the two horses, it has developed into a spectacle that involves massive fields of running horses, sophisticated monitoring equipment, and a huge amount of money on the bet.
Now it has developed into a worldwide entertainment business inspiring huge public gathering which was once a diversion or pastime of the leisure class people.
But since the advent of the 21st century, horse racing has been experiencing a steep decline in its popularity. Now let us have exposure to the evolutions of horse racing over different periods of history.
Horse race might have started in the prehistoric period of which there is no record of any form but the cave paintings. The oldest records of horse racing available are only of Olympic Games of Greek classical period. The classical period of horse racing spanned over 700-40 BCE. Two types of racing were prominent in that period – Chariot Racing & Mounted Racing.
In the classical period, horse racing of both forms was popular public entertainment. That is why organized racing can well be linked to the classical period when people showed a huge interest in four-hitched chariot racing and bareback mounted racing.
After the Olympic Games in the Greek period, organized horse racing found their way in the Roman Empire too. Other than Greek and Roman empires, there are no records of public horse racing in the then western part of the globe.
Horse racing as a public entertainment was somewhat popular in the eastern part of the globe then. And the countries and regions to organize those racing include Persia, China, Arabia, and the countries of North America and the Middle East.
These are the regions earning great fame for highly developed horsemanship. Three horse breeds were prominent there that include Arabian, Turk, and Barb horses. These three horse breeds contributed to familiarizing horse sports in Europe. They were brought from the Middle East by English war heroes during the period of Crusade.
Horse Racing in Medieval England
History of medieval horse racing says that the starting of horse racing was the same there. Two horses were letting run at a faster speed to reach a fixed post to test their speed and capabilities. Thus their skills and abilities became clear to the buyers.
But the middle age can be given the credit of introducing horse racing prize. This was during the great crusade hero Richard the Lionheart. In those competitions, the knights took part as the riders to run over a 3-mile long course of flat open field and the winner was awarded with prize money of $40.
Later in the 16th century, Henry III became interested in equestrian sports and imported superior horses from Italy and Spain. And this is the period to start establishing studs at various locations. There had been more kings on cue to join the line of horse racing sponsors.
Two prominent kings to name were James I and Charles I and the later had as many as 139 horses in his royal stud and he remained interested in this game until his death in 1649. Adrienne Lyle (one of the most famous female horse trainers) said horse racing in the middle age went too long to cover with a scant amount of description. And the scope of my present article didn’t allow me to mention all that Lyle mentioned.
Not to escape, Charles II will be remembered as “the father of the English turf” and he was the first to inaugurate horse racing competition with the name of King’s Plate. It had a basic difference with that racing competition during the Richard the Lionheart. That was the time racing rules were introduced and the articles ordained by the king were widely accepted as rules across the nation.
This heat of the competition of the running horses reached France and the periods of Louis XIV and XVI are known to be the organizer and sponsors of Jockey Club and racing rules there. Their interest in this sport was so intense that they declared royal decree to make the rules mandatory for all those who want to be a part anywhere in France. These are the mentionable points of middle age horse racing in brief.
The Modern Age of Horse Racing
Unlike the heat of the middle age racing, modern racing has reinforced on dashes. Heats were races on the open flat field where the competing horses had to return to the starting point after touching a fixed point at a certain distance.
Conversely, the dashes are races where there is no returning back to the origin. In the dashes horses just run forward to touch the winning line. Three such classic races in England are considered the start of modern horse racing. They include St. Lege(1776), the Oaks(1779) and the Derby(1780).
Nearly three decades later, two more races were added to the said three and the latest are – Two thousand Guineas(1809) & One Thousand Guineas (1814). The St. Leger and the Derby from the earlier three and Two Thousand Guineas from the latter two have together formed the most renowned British Triple Crown of equestrian racing. This combination of the three most popular races of the land took the horse racing scene in the countries of the world by storm.
Following this, American Triple Crown came into being comprising of the three then classic races of the land that include Belmont Stakes(1867), Preakness Stakes(1873), and the Kentucky Derby(1875).
Other countries having popular horse racing background followed the course of American and British Triple Crown course to form their native Triple Crowns. So, this is the history of horse racing in short. Now it is time to know about the racers – the racing horses.
Stories of 10 Fastest Horse Breeds
Lyle was looking electrified while she was describing different horse breeds meant for racing. And certainly, a bit of her craze had been transmitted into me. Therefore, I can’t wait longer than that to describe the fastest racing horse breeds I was briefed so passionately on by Lyle. Here come the horse breeds that have kept millions of people hypnotized and glued to the racecourse merely with their speed, stamina, and rhythm…
1- The Arabian Horse – The Most Ancient One
The exact beginning of the Arabian horse has remained beyond trace. But the experts and equestrian enthusiasts assured of the region from which this horse originated and it is the surrounding area of Arabian Peninsula. The Bedouin horsemanship history tells that their association with Arabian horses dated back to 3000 B.C.
They have their records to back this claim as the Bedus took the pain to keep ancestral records or pedigree of their dear friend as meticulous as possible. The stamina, endurance, and speed the Arabian horses known for are the result of the harsh and hostile desert weather. And the terrain they had to move on made them race fast, hard, and steady.
If you go through the pedigrees of these horses, you will come across two prefixes “ibn” and “bnt” after their names which stand for “the son of” and “the daughter of” very common with the Bedouin people’s surnames.
Arabian horses have their distinguishing physical traits to single out them easily from the crowd. They feature compact physic suggesting strength and speed. Arabian horses commonly have wedge-shaped heads, a dished profile, short back, powerful hindquarters with sloping shoulders. Their body type stands for refined features, power, elegance, and agility. That is why they can pace fast and longer.
Size and Lifespan
These equestrian breeds are small and compact in stature in comparison with other racing horses. These horses stand between 14(56″) and 15.2(62″) hands high and weight nearly 1000 lbs. You can encounter a taller breed of 63″ in the Polish bloodline.
Planned and targeted breeding can give birth to fine-boned and sturdy-built Arabians altogether but the general complexion and grace remain the same irrespective of breed selection.
Arabian horses are the jack of all trades and masters too. They excel in nearly all the equestrian sports – long-distance trail race, dressage, show ring, hurdle races, and more. They can amuse you by traveling for long-distance over challenging terrain, causing thrill to run through your spine on the racetrack, and impressing you in the show ring for pleasure.
On top of all the versatile skills, they are ideal for youngsters to learn any equestrian sports with joy. They are a responsible, reliable, and even-kneeled mount both for amateur and veteran rider.
Color and Markings
Recognizable colors of the breed include bay, chestnut, roan, and black. But different bloodlines cause varieties in a color that include white socks and faces, white socks on the legs, and white facial marks. And the pure Arabian lines feature Sabiano a white pattern spotted in the skin and hair.
Unique Arabian Breed Characteristics
The Arabian horses stand out in the crowd with several traits. So unique are the characteristics of Arabian horses are that they can never be alternated with other breeds while registering. Here you go with them:
- Ground-covering gait along with the smooth ride
- Aristocratic arched necks, silky manes, fine tails
- Delicate and dished face with intelligent eyes
- Floating gaits with a higher tail carriage
- Feature one vertebrate less than other horse breeds
- Quick learners, always alert while on and off the run, and sensitive to people and surroundings
Celebrity Fame and Records
As is said with added gravity that Arabian horses are the jacks and masters of all equestrian sports, they played historic roles acting as the reliable and responsible mount of the kings, pashas, generals, starring in movies, and above all winning races. Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great, and George Washing are the prominent riders to take the help of this breed while making history.
Breeders all over the world have recognized that racing is in the soul and blood of all the Arabian horses. That is the reason they are involved in the expensive competition of horse racing with Arabian breeds at their disposal. A recent report has shown that Arabian horses reared and bred up as racehorse has earned around $4 million in recent years.
2- Thoroughbred – the North American Horse
Thoroughbred is known to be the flat racing horse but you can use it as a multi-purpose horse as well. Besides being used in the flat racing, they can work excellent off the tracks as the riding and driving horses. They are wildly popular in North America and they can effectively contribute in producing racing horses, draft horses, and sport horses.
They originated in 17th-century England and their well-documented pedigrees tell about their excellent foundation stallions that include Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian. The foundation breeds were named then as per the name of their owners. The mentioned breeds were popular in producing fleet, strong, and consistent horses that are crucially racing features.
The Thoroughbreds are a cultivated horse race intended to produce deep chest, bent body, and flat muscles. The body type speaks volume for the producers’ intention to produce the horses to be the fastest racers. They are fine to medium boned and have fine-angled shoulders to cut through the air with their powerful hunches. Unlike other purebred horse breeds, TBs get bred with the sole purpose of running at break-neck speed in the races.
As is mentioned the Thoroughbreds are primarily racehorses. But English equestrian disciplines like jumping, hunting, and dressage find TBs the fittest. Off late, you will spot Thoroughbreds to be recognizably visible as the driving horses prepared through willful breeding and training.
Funnily enough, the popularity of TBs is on the rise as training horse especially to develop refinement and athleticism to several ponies, draft horses, and warmblood crosses. If you intensely dig through the ancestry of many sports horses of the day, you will witness the presence of TBs in their foundation.
Interestingly, the popular chuckwagon racing sports use the off-the-track Thoroughbred or OTTBs in them. When Thoroughbreds get crossed with Arabian horses, the off-springs, smartly called Anglo-Arab, inherited capabilities are obviously not limited only to riding.
Colors and Marks
Colors and markings are features to distinguish a horse breed from the myriads of other breeds. In this connection, TBs are very easy to single out with their solid color, along with the gray and rarely roan. So far the markings come; you will spot white markings in the TBs that include stars, stockings, socks, and blazes.
Some bear a little variation in markings including deep dark and plain along with the whitish marks. However, the predominant TBs color is a dark brown /bay but it is not unusual to come across pinto, cremmelo, and palomino Thoroughbreds.
Thoroughbreds are not purebreds to have unique characteristics that you may consider to be distinctive of them. But still they do have several features to go distinguished and they include the fine and sleek hair-coat, long sloping shoulder, long forearm, powerful hunches, and lean muscles.
Thoroughbreds are the result of breeding that has met the demand of fast racing horses – fast, spirited, and athletic. To add more, they are bred to have wide chest providing huge room for lungs and hearts leading to extra stamina. Last but not least; TBs are very people-oriented and so used for training purposes.
Celebrity Fame and Records
Thoroughbred is the fastest horse breed to be crowned as the speediest throughout in the racing history. Thoroughbred is recorded in the Guinness World Record to be the fastest racing horse running at as fast as 70.76 km/h.
This horse breed is still the fastest racing horse giving an average speed of 70m/h which is still very high compared to the other breeds. Both the Timeform ratings and Beyer Speed Figures favor the TBs to be the fastest racing horse breed in the world.
And the determining factors that the expert count upon to decide which one is the fastest horse breed include race record, quality of the defeated horses, racing surface, the pace of the run, and how dazzling the win is. Thoroughbred horses meet all the factors to the fullest along with the inherited abilities of foundation breeds.
Other than flat racing or any racing sports, TBs excel in dressage, eventing, and jumping to come out a winner in the Grand Prix and Olympic. Laudanum was the French stallion to win Grand Prix for jumping and puissance. And Ladykiller is another TBs stallion who failed in competitions but regarded to be very crucial for breeding Holsteiner Warmblood. These horses are bred and known for refinement as well as athleticism for which TBs has no match.
3- Morgan – America’s First Native Horse Breed
Morgan is one of the breeds named after the first owner Justin Morgan – a school teacher by profession. And the name of the founding Morgan breed was Figure. It was in 1700 and the pedigree is not found. But a close study of the features, abilities, and dispositions tell that it is the offspring resulted from Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Friesian bloodlines.
For his elegance, the ability of out-pulling and out-distancing rival horses, and above all the dispositions; New England found it to be their desirable stallion to breed more. From then on till date, Morgan keeps passing on his qualities, abilities, and dispositions worldwide. The famous breeds issued from this breed include Canadian, Saddlebred, American Standardbred, Tennessee Walking Horse, and American Quarter Horse.
Morgan generally is a racing horse but since its early prominence, Morgan horses have received love among the horse lovers as the all-purpose horse. It became a common presence in flat racing, endurance racing, fine harness at home, around the race tracks in the fields at work, and more.
Unlike the Thoroughbred, the breed quality of Morgan is pretty defined outlining the standard quality of that breed. To describe the body overall, one will find a refined and chiseled head, large and expansive eyes, a wide forehead, short and well-shaped ears, well-muscled chest, and strong and refined legs. The muscled chest contributes to easy and free respiration and the strong legs have made fit to be a perfect all-purpose horse.
The strong and upright neck along with the upright ears is a heavenly combination to remind the onlookers of perfect grace. And this grace surpasses other horse breeds when complemented with a distinctively compact body. That is why Morgan stallions are so sturdy and agile to be reckoned among the fastest of the horse breeds.
It has a distinguished tail accessorized with refined hairs and they carry the tail straight and high. To go even subtle about features, you will notice a wider throatlatch allowing huge ventilation, dished and straight face, large nostrils, and firm lips.
Among all those body traits, the power and compactness will loom larger than others that inspire an impression of strength, elegance, and sportsmanship.
Size and Lifespan
Morgan is noticeably smaller than any other full-size horse breeds. They stand between n 14.1 to 15.2 hands tall. Other horses may be taller but height doesn’t matter much so far equestrian sports are concerned.
It may be shorter than other but it enjoys a longer lifetime. They can reach up to 30 years given no accident happens and proper care is ensured. This is really a hardy breed though not massive.
Such impression has developed by now that this hardy and athlete stallion is an all-purpose equestrian beast. Legend has it about the original Morgan that he could pull another horse while out-walking the competitors and trotting.
Since its inception in the equestrian world, this horse breed has been excelling as a versatile horse with its abilities and wide applications. Record says that before the industrial revolution took to agriculture and transport, Morgan was everywhere to plow in the field and hauling baggage.
To utter amazement, Morgan trotted on and around the racetracks and worked as wartime cavalry mounts as well. On the domestic side, they work as the cow and herd horses.
These days, Morgan is competing in nearly all equestrian sports ranging from endurance riding, saddle seat shows, trotting race under saddle, dressage, driving classes, and jumping. And along with that outstanding versatility, they have come out as one of the fastest racing horses winning prestigious racing trophies.
Color and Marks
Color and marks are crucial to separate any horse breed from the stock. The Morgan colors include bay, black, gray, and chestnut with wider variations. Varied breeding experiences a wide array of colors that are palomino, dun, roan, and pinto. But there is no confirmed breed standard that a specific appearance may result from any cross.
Every horse breed shares a number of common traits and there exist other such features and habits that make them stand out among the mass. One such stick-out quality of Morgan is its temperament. They are keen to please the handlers and some owners go on the extent to attribute them to be witty and humorous.
To add, they are brave and strong to take a challenge when it is imminent. They are reported to be spunky but the loyal and affectionate nature of them compensate for this. The American Morgan Horse Association describes them to be:
- Curious to please people
- Lover of your company
- Sharing life with you
Celebrity Fame and Records
By the end of the eighteenth century, trotting races were very popular and the distinguished trotters to catch sight of the experts were none but the three foundations of present-day Morgan. They were:
- Sherman Morgan
Morgan has been credited with the prestige of both State Animal and State Horse in Vermont.
4- Akhal-Teke – A Breed to Grow Personal Bond with
Akhal-Teke too is an ancient horse breed like an Arabian horse. There is no wonder if it comes out clear one that both the breed shares the common ancestors. Akal-Teke developed to present day fame in the KaraKum desert occupying the largest part of Turkmenistan.
And as is normal with desert land, any living being is to go through the sparse supply of water and scorching heat along with the severity of the chilling cold. So to survive adverse environment is in the bloodline of this horse.
Originated from Turkmenistan, It found its first formal breeding in Russian farms. It has been possible because Turkmenistan joined its vast neighbor in 1880. A close study of recent breed registry has witnessed the presence of Thoroughbred in their bloodlines. But to the dismay of the breeders, crossing with TBs brought no improvement.
The turmoil in the nascent stage of Soviet Russia along with the general decline in sportsmanship, the number of these artistic horses declined. The present-day boom in the number and popularity of the breed is due to the favorable environment created by the free market economy. Therefore, countries sharing equestrian background imported the breed to add it to the fastest racing breeds in the world.
To relate its name and breed, the name Akhal-Teke has come from an oasis called Akhal and the Turkmen warriors, the first among the breeders, were known as Akhal-Teke.
The beautiful look of this horse is the combination of two distinctive features – fine-boned structure and flat-muscle. Sometimes the riders compare it with the cheetah or greyhound not only because of the pace it runs at but it shares two common traits with those wild beasts – the thin barrel and deep chest.
The facial profile is a bit convex with moose-like nose and almond-shaped eyes. Unlike Morgan, Akhal-Teke features long and slim ears and the slope shoulders run down to meet a long back.
Akhal-Teke horses lack forelock but have sparse hair in the mane. That is considered a convenience in the racing arena as thick-set and weedy horses are not that fast. Any interested onlookers can trace the raciness and endurance in it at sight.
Size and Lifespan
Akhal-Teke is comparatively a higher and slim horse standing between 14.2 and 16.3 HH. The slimness contributes to the medium weight of 900-1000 lbs – a convenient weight for a racehorse. 20 years as life span for a horse is not that short but the concern lies elsewhere – vulnerability to several health issues.
Minimal genetic diversity and tight breeding are responsible for the susceptibility to genetic diseases. Sparse hair also is the result of such health issues.
Speed and endurance have been the prized qualities of this desert hero. The nomadic tribesmen of the country of origin found solace in this horse for their transportation job.
But present-day equestrian sports like dressage, show jumping, pleasure riding, long-distance racing, and above all flat racing are the spots where Akhal-Teke has declared prominent presence. That has made it a status statement in modern Russia- a standing for wealth and prestige.
Great Britain saw the heyday of horsemanship throughout the 17th and 18th century. And the shipping of 200 purebred Akhal-Teke horses intended for breeding purpose testified that the positive qualities of the said breed have created such a resounding echo to be heard from England.
This horse is an art piece to come across metallic sheen and reflecting glow while encountering an Akhal-Teke from close proximity. Instead of a typical hair-shaft, the transparent medulla takes the place that refracts light. This is symptomatic of the celebrated and most talked about the glow of the breed.
Next, the metallic sheen, the smooth flowing gait is another trait to hold accountable for their celebrity grace among the equestrian sports lovers. Like Morgan, Akhal-Teke also shares a note-worthy temperament and the loyalty is above all to consider being typical of them.
First-hand riders give witness that they are just extremely devoted “one-person” stallion. On top of that, they are even-kneeled and very intelligent that has enabled them to win over the competitors in the races.
Celebrity Fame and Records
In 1935, a group of Turkmen covered just a huge journey of 2500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days mounting their Akhal-Tekes. In-between was a 235-mile long desert which the stallions crossed in just three days drinking not a single drop of water. Now, this speaks volumes for their speed, endurance, and stamina both as a race and all-purpose horse.
Absent is an Akhal-Teke horse who won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Games held in Rome. He had more Olympic gold medals on the queue with three other riders.
Turkmen people take special pride in Akhal-Tekes so much so that it has earned the status of a national symbol to get stamped in the arms and currency of the country.
5- American Quarter Horse – Highly Intelligent and willing to please
The very name of the breed testifies the fact that they have come into prominence in the quarter-mile horse races. They came of the Spanish and English horse breeds and rose to wide public gaze across the American colonies during the 1600s.
Virginia and Rhode Island in the colonial period were famous for quarter-mile races and there they caught sight of the equestrian spectators for their sure-footedness and grace. The running pace was the prime reason that the early settlers in the said regions had become so fond of the breed.
Astonishingly enough, despite being such a popular racing horse breed; no recorded registry of its ancestry had been available before 1940. They are a mix of three excellent equestrian breed – Arabian, Spanish, and English horses. These horses are known to be warmbloods – a perfect cross between hot blood and coldblood breeds. The 1940 registry told that they have 11 foundation bloodlines coming from all around the world.
American Quarter Horse played crucial mounts during the expansion of the western border of America. And the breeds agility and stamina was extremely liked by cowboys, pioneers, and also farmers.
These racy horses have every physical feat that makes them hardy, heavy, and muscular. American Quarter Horses are medium-boned and sturdy-legged. Gifted with finely-chiseled heads and wide foreheads, they develop heavy muscles along the shoulder line when full-sized. They resemble the look and temper of the Thoroughbred infused in their bloodlines.
Size and Lifespan
The Quarter Horses share a common size range between 14.3-15.3 HH. Again credit goes to the Thoroughbred bloodlines for contributing to their height increase. To your extreme bewilderment, “Appendix” Quarter Horse stands as high as 16HH and even higher in some cases.
Compared to the average weight of Morgan, American Quarter Horse weighs a bit more – 1200 lbs. Though they are massively-built and sturdy breed, this much weight certainly causes to their skeletal structure. This weight-to-frame ratio is a bit imbalanced what they compensate by endurance and pace.
They have earned fame in the race tracks, especially on the quarter-mile races but they are exceptionally versatile by virtue of their stamina and a good frame. Their natural build and artificial breeding attributes have made them an excellent working, family, racy, and show horse.
Once they gained prominence to have a sharp “cow sense” and in the modern age equestrian activities like rodeo events – reining, team penning, cutting, and speed games- witness their shining presence.
Next to quarter horse racing, their prominence in barrel races resounds by virtue of their powerful hunches. They can depart rapidly to gather cattle in herds and propel them in equal quickness. On top of that, the steadiness has enabled them to come out as the perfect beginner both under saddle and in harness.
Color and Marks
The quarter horses come wearing wild varieties of solid colors that range roans, grays, palominos, grullos, duns, and buckskins. AQHA registry nowadays allows spotted horses along with pintos given the owner can prove the ancestry matches with that of the breed. So far markings are involved; AQHs bear a huge lot that includes stockings, stripes, blazes, and stars.
They are the champions of short-distance races – dashes and Quarter-mile. It is because of the compact body size and muscular outline of American Quarter Horse that has been a chosen foundation type horse breed.
People opt for it for numerous situations because of the strength and steady firmness exuded from its appearance. Their sure-footedness and agility have made several mentions and they retain these while running at madly speed in the short distances.
They are easy to train because of their intuitive nature and latent intelligence displayed by their intense cow sense while working with cattle.
Celebrity fame and Record
The fame and celebrity status of American Quarter Horse is beyond all doubt that is evident from the establishment of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum, Amarillo, Texas.
Poco Bueno is an AQH breed to have garnered numerous championships inspiring fabulously high insurance of $100,000. Another Quarter Horse named Doc Bar earned a reputation as the performance sire.
And the third on the queue to mention is the EasyJet who had won 22 stars out of 26 as a 2-year-old. Records say that this extra-ordinary AHQ remained strong and healthy even after expansive racy career.
6- American Standardbred – Known for Beauty, Speed, and Friendliness
History and Origin of the American Standardbred took us to the sun-shine day of English racing. This breed issued from the hot bet of equine sports where horses were brought up, bred, and raised for trotting, pacing, and racing both in the harness and under saddle. At around the middle of the 1880s, this breed arose to be a prominent name in the English racetracks. A particular horse called Messenger is said to have founded the breed.
Many other breeds prominent for their dispositions were introduced to its bloodlines. As expected, it bore the desirable qualities of the parent breeds. Mentionable among the names are the Thoroughbreds, Canadians, Organs, and many now-extinct pacing and trotting breeds.
And it needs no mention that Standardbred name tag is the result of the fact that these horses can qualify the standard of covering one mile at the given time – a mandatory qualifying standard for the registry.
You can recognize the American Standardbred to be the perfect racy one. It’s been bred and brought up for this purpose. Thoroughbreds horses are the frequent breed used to bring improvements in the Standardbred.
So the delicacy, head-type, Roman-nosed profile of Thoroughbreds are traceable in the Standardbreds too. Their long legs accompanied by the strong and flat muscles are responsible for the pace they enjoy while running in the trail. In line with them, the deep chest compliment by providing longer respiration.
They are distinctive by virtue of their prominent hunches and flatter side compared to most other riding horses.
Size and Lifespan
With a bit of variations of several inches more or less, the American Standardbred stands well up to 15 HH tall. But to your amusement, American Standardbred horses can be even higher and noticeably shorter closer to pony-sized.
Like the name, they weigh a standard racing breed weight of 1000 lbs. When it comes to height and weight of the horse breeds, there is no given standard to refer. Therefore, irregularity in these two is not a downside at all for any breed. The main factor is speed and endurance.
American Standardbreds are master harness racers what they are bred and brought up for. But backed by the natural sturdy frame and endurance, they throw a challenge to any other horse rivaling in riding and driving discipline.
Therefore, you will find those horses prominently present in various equestrian sports including the speed games, jumping, distance riding, competitive carriage, and pleasure driving.
The trend nowadays to train the horses so neatly since their birth and the developing stages include initial training to excel in driving and giving exposure to several other disciplines later on. Thus they can stand to any transition with ease needing lesser effort and time than other breeds.
With such goal-oriented breeding and coaching from the nascent stage, they grow up as the quickest riding horse along with an easy win in the harness racing.
Color and Marks
As per Lyle, Color and marks are much more than a feature to recognize a horse. She said color and markings are personality statement of any horse and she describes them vividly in the internet sessions. And I am making no exception.
Compared to other horse breeds, American Standardbreds display lesser colors. Still, they come with a number of excellent colors that comprise bays, chestnuts, grays, and a few other solid colors. They lack the beautiful white marking typical in the horse.
If you go by the style of movement, Standardbreds fall into two categories – Trotter and Pacers. From the type of pacer, you can very well understand the style of moving two legs at the same time while engaged in harness racing.
And in North America, you will find more Pacers in the tracks than trotters. American Standardbreds are taught to pace emphatically because a pacer can easily shift to trotting if need be.
Celebrity Fame and Records
The most celebrated harness race North America ever organized is the Hambletonian Stakes race. And a certain Standardbred had been so famous due to its unusual build and race-friendly traits, it was conferred the tag of the game title – Hambletonian.
Dan Patch another American Standardbred has shattered the existing speed record more than 14 times. It has created a new record for the fastest mile that stood to be unchallenged by other harness racing rivals for 30 years. Dan Patch was too fast for the fellow racers even to keep pace with him that very often led them quitting midway on the tracks.
7- Appaloosa – The Trust-worthy and Party-colored Equine Breed
Another horse raised and developed by the tribes and this time it is the tribesmen of northwest U.S. As per their history goes, the strikingly colorful and intelligent horses were bred where the Nez Perce tribe inhabited along the coast of the Palouse River Area.
The report has it that Appaloosa is not their original name rather it evolved over days from “Palouse River Horse”. The Nez Perce Tribe maintained strict breeding rules to have horse featured with striking color along with their tractable and intelligent dispositions.
To tell about the origin of the breed, the existing registry links it to the Spanish horses which were introduced to America around and in the 16th century. But the breed went through a near-extinct threat at the time of U.S. takeover of the said territory.
The renewed interest in the breed during the Depression period is the main reason for the survival of the breed up to date. And the serious attempt to take care of them culminated in establishing the Appaloosa Horse Club in 1938. This resurgence of this racy breed has reached up to the third largest horse breed registered in the world.
Their body shares a close resemblance to that of American Quarter Horse being used frequently for crossing. That apart, some Appaloosa horses look cow-horse type while others give the impression of racehorses.
Size and Lifespan
Appaloosa horses fall to the category of medium size horses standing between 14.2 and 15 HH. And they share an average range of weight starting from 950 lbs to end up in 1200 lbs. Generally, appaloosa horses are healthy, hardy, and adaptable to live a fairly long life of 30 years.
The rise in numbers is evident in the fact that this horse breed inspired a serious curiosity in the equestrian world since the 1930s. It is because of the versatile applications they can fit into. They are a preference in the long-distance riding in the trail, working cattle, rodeo events, several western and English sports, and racing.
The father tribesmen used them extensively for hunting, transportation, and especially for battle during the seizure of their land.
Color and Marks
That is where the onlookers get stuck with so wide and wild varieties of colors and marks. They bear an array of colors for every single organ of their body. To tell in short all the colors fitted to the horses are available in a single breed – Appaloosa.
Description of Appaloosa will remain utterly incomplete if I do not refer to some distinctive coat patterns and they are:
Black pattern: Appaloosa normally wears white hunches but white speckles and dark spots are not that rare.
Leopard Pattern: Dark spots are spread all over the white main body reminds you of the leopard.
Snowflake: Some Appaloosa arises the impression of snowflakes featuring white flecks over the entire haunch.
Marbleized: Frost-white hairs look like flecks spotted over the dark coat creating a marbleized appearance.
Appaloosa is spectacularly distinguished for its eye-catching coat. Besides, hardiness, agility and exceptionally gentle demeanor are the distinctive characteristics of this breed.
They run vertically and the whitish surrounding of the iris are very note-worthy that separate them from other horse breeds.
Celebrity Fame and Records
Fame and records are minimal on the part of Appaloosa compared to the famous and record-holder breeds in the equestrian world. A few names can have special mention in this connection and they are Red Eagle, SundanceF500, and Knobby.
8- French Trotter – The Quickest in Trotting
The French Trotter also called as Norman Trotter got bred for the specific purpose of racing – trotting. It was because in the early 19th century saw booming popularity for trotting races and it was a call of the time to be after a horse breed meant for all the racing qualities. Out of crossing between English Thoroughbreds and Northfolk Trotters has issued this giant of all totters – French Trotters.
Other than these two breeds, Standardbred was also used in its breeding to pass genes of trotting gait, level, balanced stride, and the desired speed. It earned formal recognition as a breed in 1922 and 1937. To retain its unique qualities, the stud book of this breed was closed for horses other than French origin. Today, it is the most popular and loved equine breed in France for its power racing.
The large head and straight wide-set eyes will catch your attention at first sight. To complement the grace, you will encounter alert ears, wide nostrils, and extended neck with powerful sloping shoulders.
It features a deep and broad chest well accentuated with the prominent breastbone. Coming to the hindquarters, they are pretty powerful and muscular to reach a high speed at need.
To sum up, French Trotter features the straight and clean limbs along with strong hooves and well-set tail. It is the type of body that provides the equine breed with strength, stamina, and speed.
Size and Lifespan
French Totter is the large and strong horse standing between 15-17 HH(60-65″). The height says clear that it will weigh a bit more than other equine breed and this Trotter feature a mass range of 1100-1400 lbs. This size and weight act very crucial to all levels of horse sports. In line with the size and weight, 20-30 years of lifespan is a huge lifeline of the French Trotter.
The very name of the breed witnesses the fact that it is loved as a trotter both by the participants and spectators. And with a combination of stamina, strength, and speed it can serve all the purpose an equine beast should perform.
That apart, the riding schools find it pretty convenient to opt for this breed for the calm, intelligent, gentle, and submissive nature backed by solid contour.
When these aforesaid qualities come combined with power and speed, this makes a perfect riding horse for whatever level you belong to. They can challenge and defeat any horse breed in harness racing, under saddle, and skijoring and this is another secret of their sky-high popularity.
Colors and Marks
You can encounter French Trotters in almost all solid colors other than gray. It is very rare to see a gray French Trotter. And the very frequent colors include black, brown, bay, and chestnut.
Famous French Trotters
The most famous horse of the breed Young Rattler and others of lesser familiarity on the queue include Fuschia, Lavater, Phaeton, Conquerant, and Normand.
9- Orlov Trotter – Status Symbol in Russia
Orlov Trotter is not merely the most famous horse breed in Russian, it was considered the fastest in all Europe harness racing.
Orlov Trotter or Orloff Trotter is another fastest horse breed in our list that took the name of its creator. In the 18th century, a Russian aristocrat named Count A.G. Orlov created this breed. He went to the extent of establishing the Khrenovsky Stud to act as the foundation of this newly created horse racing breed. The farm Count Orlov used to breed this trotter still existed and active today.
Count Orlov took the initiative to breed a horse that can withstand the severely hostile climate of Russia and can travel quite undeterred in the terrible roads.
It was obvious that it must be bred to have utmost endurance and ability to trot with long-stride. And the desired result took him only three generations to maintain his effort backed by his expert level knowledge.
However, he started his experiment in 1770 and until 1830 he enjoyed the monopoly on his specially devised breed. With the growing popularity, Orlov Trotter kept marching from Russia to other parts of Europe. By the 20th century, it had reached to near extinction due to dilution of bloodlines and war oriented toll on the process.
Large head and expressive large eyes are the physical traits to draw your attention first whenever an encounter with Orlov Trotter happens. A long and naturally arched neck meets the broad and deep chest giving you the impression of a mighty equine beast who can take over any rival on track and off it.
The thoroughly muscular body frame features well-sprung ribs along with long-stretched back. The long legs are strong enough to trot with ease and speed backed by the prominent joints. Going to body type, this breed is pretty impressive and let it go powered, lighter, and elegant all the while.
Orlov Trotter is a considerably large, powerful, agile, speedy, and surefooted horse breed. But still, it is a well-behaved and gentle horse that has made him the most popular and an all-purpose equine breed.
They are extremely popular as a training horse for their highly versatile applications. People expert and experienced in equine breeds term it to be a willing animal to work happily with.
The quiet and balanced temperament has made it the most desired company whether you need a horse for work, sports, riding and more.
Size and Lifespan
There are four sizes of Orlov Trotter that include i) the Large/Massive ii) The Large/Rangy iii) The Medium and iv) The Average. They stand from 15.2 to 17 hands high and weigh just 990 lbs a minimum for this size and height. In line with their large and muscular physique, they can survive up to 32 years.
Color and Marks
They wear several common colors frequent in equine breeds and they are white, chestnut, gray, black, and bay. There is an interesting trend in the Orlov Trotters that is they turn gray with the maturity reminding us of the Arabian ancestry.
Chestnut is also an Orlov Trotter color but you will come across only 5% of the breed in the chestnut coat. Whatever color the famous Russian trotter wears at maturity, they are born wearing a darker coat.
Unique Orlov Trotter Characteristics
This is a really unique horse breed by virtue of several features that have made it stick out from the stack. Here you go with them:
- The massive size and extended lifespan
- Highly versatile and willing to work animal
- Large, powerful, speedy still well-behaved and gentle
- Quiet temperament
- Change coat with maturity
10- Fjord Horse – The Oldest and Purest Horse Breed
Norwegian Fjord horse breeds are able to pick up incredible speed while running and if situations demand. The powerful muscles and body provide them with the athleticism to rival strongest contenders in any sports. They are favorite for marathon events and participate even in endurance racing along with the cutting events. Now, let’s know in-depth about the breed.
History and Origin
Maybe this is the oldest and purest horse breed existing today in the world. To back this claim, cave painting aged 30000 years bear a striking resemblance with this equine breed under discussion. To go by the equine experts, domestication of Fjord horse breed started some 4000 years ago.
And the excavations found of Viking burials showed that it had been breeding in this Scandinavian country for around 2000 years continuously. Worth-noticing feature of Fjord is its survival instinct related to a primitive horse breed namely Przewalski from Asia.
The present name is an evolved one over the extensive survival period and earlier names like Nordfjordhest and Vestlandshest bear the trace of the geographical connection to the country of origin – Norway.
While Vikings used it for war mounts, farmers in Norway sought help in pulling loads up the hill. Fjord Horse has affected the bloodlines many other equine breeds and not escape mentioning here, moorland Pony and Iceland Pony are two such. It had found a place in stud book early in the 20th century in 1910.
The body features of Fjord Horses distinguish them from other horse breeds. It bears a medium size head with a flat forehead and dished straight profile. They have prominent ears and eyes. Fjord features wide and truncated ears which are small in size. And the eyes are large, round, expressive and dark making them an attractive horse.
The supple neck is naturally arched matched by muscular shoulders. It features a wide and deep chest and moderately long back. Fjord has large, round, and dense hooves with a high set tail. Another noticeable physical trait is its shorter topline compared to the extensive bottom line.
Size and Lifespan
This is a small horse featuring 13.2-15 hands height. But the muscular body can weigh from 900-1200 lbs. The strong frame backed by the intense survival instinct enables to live up to 30 years.
Like most other horse breeds, it too is an all-purpose horse breed suitable for all levels of riders, trainers, and owners. The playful, willing, and adaptable breed is a friendly company for all.
From light draft work to heavy-duty uphill load pulling are a breeze for Fjord with the giant strength it is empowered with. The striking stamina and vigor displayed by Fjord are well suited for any equestrian sports like driving, racing, and trotting.
Color and Marks
Almost 90% of Fjord horses showcase brown dun colors and the remaining 10% feature a wide variety in color that includes yellow dun, pale dun, gold, red dun, and gray.
And you will spot marking across the body of this breed that ranges zebra stripe on legs, dorsal stripe on forelock, neck, tail, and back. Besides, the yellow dun horses bear whitetail, mane, and forelock.
The horse breed is a sum of unique features and the color is the most striking of all covered already. Other features include:
- Friendly, gentle, and willing
- Match to riders – both amateur and expert
- Stand for vigor and stamina
- The white outer hair surrounds the dark middle hair of the mane
- Stripes vary with the main coat color
How to take care of a horse?
Taking care of any horse is more or less the same for all breeds. But caring processor frequency varies depending on the types of horse sports you are targeting or the purpose of your horse raising.
To be clearer, when you keep a horse or more just for hobby, you can take proper care of them without attending them on a daily basis. The same can be applicable for racing horses were attending on once or twice a week will suffice.
But regular grooming of a horse has its benefits. Horse of any breed is a strikingly beautiful animal and to make them look as beautiful as they naturally are; regular maintenance has no better alternative.
Taking care of a horse include providing food, grooming them, and Medicare in case of illness. Whereas providing food is a daily and familiar task needing no expert advice, Medicare is the job of professional vets and occasional urgency. I will only go in-depth on the grooming of horses in general.
Give a Thorough Wash
You have to give a thorough wash to the horse applying equine soap along with a shampoo wash to the mane and tail hairs. Leave no part of the horse body soaked with soap water that may lead to soapy dryness. And after washing the mane and tail hair with equine shampoo, you must apply an equine conditioner to ensure healthy and shiny mane.
You will require several crucial tools to ensure a soft, smooth, and clean horse. They include body finishing brush, curry comb, dandy brush, shedding blade, mane comb, tail brush, and the crucial hoof pick. The names of the tools are self-illustrative of what purpose they serve.
Care of Body Parts
Sensitive spots like face and legs of the horse will require a body finishing brush to follow up with the curry comb for removing dirt and slack hair. A dandy brush is more efficient in removing loose hair, dirt, mud, and anything causing discomfort.
A shedding blade can loosen excess of hair to maintain a shiny coat while a mane comb keeps the mane beautiful and non-sticky. Tails are a signature statement for the most breed and so this part to deserve serious maintain with a nail brush.
The hooves are the most crucial part to keep clean of debris and other substances with the help of a hoof pick.
Mistakes to avoid while taking care
All knowledge regarding horse care will fall short until you are aware of the common mistakes the amateurs are likely to commit. They are:
- Skipping of safety measures
- Ignoring accurate vaccinations if and when sick
- Avoiding supplement in the diet
- Asking for expert help as early as possible if the situation demands
How to choose the right horse breed for you?
If you just love the horse and want to domesticate them because this equine animal causes excitement and fun, you need not worry about the breed. You should just go for the one which emotes and excites you at sight.
But when your interest is deeper and you want a horse for a specific purpose, you need to know the myriads of horse breeds and their habits, temperament, strength, and weakness. Thus, you can narrow down to your intended breed, but doing so is not an easy task.
My friend Lyle prefers to go by the temperament to pick the right horse breed for your particular needs. According to Lyle, this is easy and near-authentic. Here you go:
Analyzing their temperament:
By temperament, you can categorize the horses into three breed types: i) Hot-blood ii) Coldblood and iii) Warmblood.
If you want the fastest horse breed for any racing competitions or to be a part of high-intensity equine competitions, opt for the Hot-blood breeds. Three famous hotblood horses in our list are Arabian, Thoroughbred, Orlov Trotter, French Trotter, and Morgan. But now they are difficult to control if you are not an experienced one.
As for the cold-blooded horses, they are cold and calm by nature. So, even an amateur equine lover can handle them. But you should not opt for them provided you want to be a part of any equine sports. They are a better alternative for farming, transportation, and family purposes.
Naturally, they are oversized and lazy. The common cold-blooded breeds are Clydesdale, Shire horses, Cold-blooded Trotter, Rocky mountain horse, and Icelandic Horse. I haven’t covered them in this article as I am focusing on the racing horse breeds.
The compromise between the fierce hot-blooded and calm cold-blooded horses is the warm-blooded horse breed. They are the outcome of crossing between the hot-blooded and cold-blooded horses.
When you own a warm-blooded horse, you are in a win-win situation. They are well-behaved and willing to work with both novices and veterans, and they are all-purpose horse breeds. They can win you races and help you in farming and working with cattle. American Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Akhal-Teke, American Standardbred, and more are the well-known warm-blooded horses in our list.
Preferred riding discipline:
Once you can decipher the breed temperament, it becomes water easy to find out the right horse for your purpose. As for example, you can choose:
- A hot-blooded or warm-blooded horse if you want to be in the English riding disciplines, dressage, endurance racing, flat racing, hurdle racing, jumping, show races, and any sport that involves high-stamina and speed. Whereas warm-blooded horses are nonetheless in vigor and speed, we choose the hot-blooded ones for high-intensity disciplines like show jumping where the horse needs to be in the air to cross a hurdle on the move.
- A large, willing, and highly trainable horse breed for vaulting, pleasure riding, drafting, transportation. And cold-blooded is the right option here.
But this categorization is a guide by experts and veterans in the equine sports world, not a theory or rules to go strictly by. Therefore, before going for any breed, have a test ride to check the strength, weakness, and temperament of the target breed.
How to prepare a horse?
Lyle says, before training your horse; you must prepare your horse to receive any training properly. The best part of preparing a horse is that you can learn something new. Exciting, isn’t it?
The rule of thumb is to tame your new horse as soon as possible. The longer you take to start, the harder it becomes to tame. The crucial part of preparing your horse is creating the bond and trust. Therefore, taking time can change the course another way around.
You will find a tame horse frank, willing, and confidence. They want to work once it is accustomed to you and the surroundings. Moreover, they enjoy being ridden when they are easy.
Give Basic Lessons
Once you have successfully built the bond and trust, it is time to give the horse the basic lessons. And the horse training basics are bringing them under a common routine, desensitizing them of objects and beings, and obedience.
The horse with a common routine is very crucial to make it receptive to any skill. And you can do it by repeating the skills and activities you want to perform. After the initial fear, it will grow a habit of doing it until it becomes super skilled.
Horses are prey animals and so they will remain scared of everything at first. The fighting and flight mood drive them to react the most uncalled for way at the face of adverse situations and anything foreign to them. And so desensitize them of what scares them sooner. Things that scare a dog include:
- Flapping objects like color fabric
- Barking dogs
- Human surroundings
- Large vehicles
- Loud and shrill noises
And you must make him obey you and be ready to act at your command. A horse is a social animal and tends to move at command. This will inspire them to take you as their leader.
On top of all those, make your horse not to fear human beings. Whatever sports and tasks you ultimately put it into, human encounters will be very frequent and an uneasy horse may cause danger to anybody. However, horses are smart animals to learn new things and adapt to new environments easily.
Once this is done efficiently, you can train your horse easily for any sports. Expert opinion is that you should consult a veteran in case of a beginner horse and amateur owner. Because beginner horses of any breed can act too unpredictable to be controlled by a novice.
How to buy a racehorse?
Buying a horse is not as simple as it sounds. An informed purchase can only make your horse shopping successful that requires education to avoid several pitfalls. Moreover, you have to ponder over the post-purchase maintenance as owning a horse is expensive and not always funny.
However, a successful buying involves finding the right horse, assessing the horse along with the seller, and coming out with a good bargain. I will limit the scope of this section to the various steps of assessing the horse, bargaining process and what more it needs to buy a racehorse.
Assessing the Horse and the Seller
Assessment of the potential horse refers to check whether it is a green and untrained horse or has at least the basic training. If you are a novice, do not go for a fresh horse that will cause you sufficient pitfalls leading you to get hopeless. And never opt for the trained hot-blooded ones as they too are not a cup of amateur’s tea.
If you have found the horse potential, it’s time to assess the seller. In this stage, you have a wide list of questions to seek a fair and clear answer from the owner of the horse you are planning to buy. The most crucial points include:
- Confirmation of everything advertised about
- History and origin clearly stating breeding and pedigrees
- Medical history
- Any vice or weakness
- Training level
- Security marks to be sure of not a stolen horse
Never make the decision final at the first visit however convinced you are of the quality of the horse and honesty of the owner. In the second visit take a professional with you to have an expert opinion. A professional or experienced buyer can see through the cover and deeper into what you may escape.
Purchasing The Horse
Now it’s time to bargain if you have decided to buy the horse that has well stood your assessment. The bargaining process involves fixing a reasonable price that requires knowledge on the price rating of different level horses.
Trained horses claim more price than the untrained or green horse. And if you go for a high-rated breed like Arabian, thoroughbred, and Morgan; you have to be ready to pay a fabulous amount of money amounting to 100X sum of an average horse breed.
- Pay the booking money that will not be more than 10-20% of the settled price. Tell in clear terms that the deal will be materialized only if your confidential vet find the horse okay.
- Now it’s time to get the horse evaluated by an experienced vet. It will cost you between $300-$600 and you should not skip that. Thorough vetting will discover whether the horse shares any expensive health issue. Moreover, you need a veterinary certificate to insure your horse.
- If the veterinary assessment comes fairly and clearly positive, pay the seller the rest of the amount. Don’t forget to take all the crucial papers associated with this.
Buying a Racehorse
To buy a racehorse, go through the same procedure. On top of that, you must gain exposure to how the horse racing industry works. A very convenient way to achieve it to work as a volunteer in any firm related to the discipline you are interested in. After that, you have to be a part of the racing lifestyle.
Suppose you have successfully accomplished all those and now you are ready to jump in the sector. You need to develop deep learning on the pedigrees of different horses as you have to pick a pedigree horse to win horse races. And now it is fun and money with occasional disappointments.
To be a faster horse breed, it must have spectacular stamina, cheetah-like speed, and sturdy frame. These qualities can exist both in the purebreds and inherited to another breed through cross-breeding. And any equine breed featuring those qualities, either through breeding or inborn, can actually excel in any equine sports bet it light-duty pleasure riding or heavy-duty endurance riding or trotting.
On top of that, they can prove great as family horse used for transpiration, drafting horse, and cattle horse given the breed is willing and well-behaved. All the 10 horse breeds covered here are the fastest horse breed to rival any worthy competitor in any equine discipline.
That apart, Arabian, Thoroughbred, Akhal-Teke, Morgan, Standardbred, and American Quarter Horse are the breeds reigning in the trails and minds of people for centuries and since recent past. This story of Lyle’s top 10 fastest horse breeds can be an overall guide for any amateur enthusiast or veteran equine expert.