Before horses were domesticated, all horses were wild animals moving in large herds across vast grasslands. The early horse, also known as the dawn horse, originated in North America. The dawn horse, American Camel, Wooly Mammoth, and the Saber Tooth Tiger all belonged to the prairie class of animals.
Presently, the horse is the only animal that is still alive today among the four animals. Over time, the horse migrated to other parts of the world including, Portugal and Spain and developed into the worthy animal we have today known as Equine/Equus. As a result of climate change in America, the early horses greatly reduced in numbers and some migrated to warmer coastlines.
The horse was first domesticated in the Black Sea region over 4000 years ago which marked a significant change in the history of transportation, warfare, and exploration of the world. According to USDA census conducted in 2005, there are about nine million horses in the USA, mostly used for riding.
Horses were domesticated about 4000 years ago to use for warfare, husbandry, food and transportation. However, in the past a few centuries, horses ploughed the fields. Today, horse breeds have changed to suit modern circumstances, such as riding, competitive sport, transportation, tourism and as pets. Here’s an interesting study about America’s wild horses conducted by the Fort Collins Science Center.
The common horse breeds in America are:
Also known as an Arab, the Arabian is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of horses and has contributed to the genetic origins of the American Quarter Horse and the Thoroughbred.
Averagely, this horse breed stands from 14.2 and 15.2 hands high and weighs between 800 to 1,000 pounds with a strong build.
This high spirited horse is easy to spot with its distinctive small, concaved face, pointed ears , and a proud tail carriage. The Arabian performs well in the endurance world.
American Quarter Horse
This American breed is arguably the most popular in the USA. It’s the fastest breed of horse over short distances. Today, the American Quarter Horse is a popular mount for both trail and competition.
The Appaloosa originated in the Nez Perce Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest. It’s popular for its classic spotted coats that come in various patterns. This breed is hardy, tough, independent, and sure-footed with sparse manes and a big body.
American Paint Horse
This horse breed in the USA features a unique combination of the characteristics of the western stock horse and the colors of a pinto. Like the Quarter House, it can be found in all disciplines from English to Western and pleasure riding to roping. This breed features beautiful markings that are defined by their distinctive patterns that include tobiano, overo, and sabino.
The thoroughbred is commonly associated with horse racing. They are used as hunters and jumpers, and as mounts for dressage, fox and polo hunting. An average thoroughbred stands between 60” to 68”at the shoulder and weighs from 1,000 to 1,200 pounds with a lean build.
Other types of horse breeds in America include Tennessee Walker, Morgan, Paint, Miniature Horse, Warmblood and Andalusian.