The conquering peoples travelling on horseback contributed to the dispersion of the various kinds of horses and favored mixing, which led to the creation of multiple breeds throughout the globe. A breed is defined by a group of characteristics (size, colors, morphology, particular aptitudes…) that are transmitted from generation to generation. the biggest horses (1.80 m at the withers) are those of the shire breed (English draft horses); the tiniest (less than 75 cm at the withers) are of the falabella breed, from Argentina. The breeds of horses are often grouped into three categories, as defined by the International Equine Federation (FEI).
1. THE SADDLE HORSES
Saddle horses, also called bloodhorses, have a light-weight head, a deep chest, an extended back and long, muscular thighs. they’re racehorses (two essential breeds: the thoroughbred and therefore the French trotter) and horses intended for show jumping, driving, aerobatics, walking (Anglo-Arab, French saddle, Holstein, Camargue, etc.).
2. DRAFT HORSES
Draft horses have shortened lines and thickened muscles; their mass is imposing. In industrialized countries, where motorization has replaced animal traction, their main destination is now butchery. Their population in Europe has declined sharply since the start of the 20th century, and a few local breeds are threatened with extinction. Among the most breeds of draft horses are the Percheron, Ardennes, Comtois, Breton, Norman cob in France, Brabant in Belgium, Franches-Montagnes in Switzerland, Shire in Great Britain.
3. THE PONEYS
Ponies are characterized by their small size (less than 1.48 m at the withers for an adult animal not shod). they need remarkable endurance. the most effective known is that the Shetland pony.
The crossbreeding of the horse species with the donkey (Equus asinus) produces sterile animals (with some exceptions): the mule and therefore the mule are the results of the union of a mare with a donkey, while the burdock is born from that of a horse and a donkey.