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Types Of Horses

Notes that may help anyone going for their BHS Stage 1 exam or doing their NVQ level 1 or 2 in Horse Care and Riding
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Types Of Horses

Post by TracingEquines »

Types Of Horses

Show Jumper

As long as it can and will jump obstacles, a show jumper can be any size, colour, breed or height. Successful ones must be bold, brave, disciplined and must have a tremendous power. In many competitions speed is also a factor. Show jumpers must also be versitile to cope with the sharp turns and difficult approaches in to fences. They must possess a calm temperament, so that there is no or little reaction to the pressure of competition, the noise of the crowd or the bright lights of the indoor circuit

A good show jumper is characterised by a compact body, with tremendous power shown by the hindquarters. Most of the best show jumpers are made up of a mixture of breeds although Hanovarians and Irish horses are renowned for their athletic ability


A hunter describes any horse which is thought to be suited to hunting. Therefore, it must be bold, intelligent and capable of negotiating all kinds of obstacles. It must be sound, both in its breathing and in it's limbs. It must be fit enough to last for at least 5 hours without tiring. Hunters vary according to the country that they are hunted in. In heavy going a strong built horse will endure the suck of the ground, which would cause a light weight horse to stagger and lose it's balance. On grassland which could be termed as fast, a thoroughbred would leave a heavy horse standing

The essential qualities of a hunter are soundness, endurance, intelligence, good jumping ability, good manners, a good temperament and stamina. Show hunters are divided into 5 different categories, these are according to weight

1 - up to 175lb (light weight hunter)
2 - up to 196lb (middle weight hunter)
3 - over 196lb (heavy weight hunter)
4 - 14.2-15.2hh - Small ridden hunter
5 - Ladies hunter


The word racehorse has become widely associated over the years with the Thoroughbred horse. However, it is not just this breed that is used today for racing. This is because within the sport there are many different variations of racing. Steeplechasing and trotting are just two examples of these. The horses that are used in these types of competitions are American Trotters and Arabs. In America there is also Shetland racing

The characteristics of any racehorse are stamina, speed, fitness and again soundness in both lungs and limb

Polo Pony

Polo ponies are not specifically bred for the sport. They are picked out before they become mature adult horses if they show an aptitude for the game. They need to be around 15hh and should be bold, intelligent and extremely versitile. Most of them are of Thoroughbred ancestry, but the breeding is not always pure. Many of the polo ponies are bred in Argentina, where Polo is a big sport

Show Pony

The show pony stands at no bigger than 14.2hh and has a conformation good enough to win in the show ring. The three size groups are up to 12.2hh, up to 13.2hh and up to 14.2hh. They are judged on conformation, manners, action at the walk, trot and canter. Turnout, riding and presentation also considerations

As the object is to select the perfect pony, colour and breed are not of concern, but an elegant and good-looking pony is usually required and so the nearest breed to the Thoroughbred is desirable


This is a sturdy placid animal - often the by-product of an attempt to produce a heavy hunter from a part bred cart mare crossed with a quality stallion

The cob stands from between 14.2-15.2hh and has a quality head on a thick crested neck, strong sloping shoulders, a short back with a deep girth, generous rounded hindquarters with a generous second thigh and short legs. The quality of the bone is once again generous, the cob has hard round feet which are strong. It has a calm and intelligent expression and may be any colour. It's action should be long striding, smooth and very comfortable

The cob should be safe, calm, obedient and comfortable

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