Horse & Pony Breeds

Common Breeds, Difference Between Horses & Ponies, & Warmbloods Explained

Difference Between Horses & Ponies

Are Ponies Baby Horses?

Ponies are not baby horses. The difference between ponies and horses is their height. Ponies are no taller than 14.2 hands high (58 inches) at the withers, while horses are taller than 14.2 hands high. A hand is four inches high.

Learn more about measuring a horse’s height and weight.


Hot Blood, Cold Blood, & Warmblood Horses Explained

All horses are warm-blooded mammals, but also can be classified by their temperaments. Arabian and Thoroughbred horses fall into the hot blood category because they are usually more sensitive and high strung than other breeds of horses. Cold blood horses include the draft breeds such as Shires, Clydesdales, Percherons and even Friesians. These large and sturdy breeds have been bred for agricultural work and chosen for their calm temperaments.

Warmblood Graphic

Warmblood horse are a cross between the hot blood and cold blood breeds. They usually have calmer temperaments than thoroughbreds and Arabians, and have more athletic ability than their cold blooded ancestors. They are used today for dressage, jumping, eventing and driving.

Learn About Horse & Pony Breeds

There are many differently breeds of horses and ponies, and some are better suited for some jobs than others. They are bred over time to have certain traits that help them to excel at certain jobs.

Pony Breed Examples

Shetland Pony

The Shetland pony originated in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland. It is a strong, hardy, and intelligent breed. It is used mainly as a children’s riding pony and for driving.

  • Breed: Shetland
  • Height: Under 12.2hh
  • Origin: Scotland

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Haflinger Pony

The Haflinger pony is versatile for both riding and driving. It is known for it’s solid conformation, hardiness, and even temperament. The Haflinger breed has unique golden chestnut coloring with a long, flowing white mane and tail.

  • Breed: Haflinger
  • Height: Around 13.3hh
  • Origin: Austria

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Welsh Pony

The Welsh Pony has it’s origins with the Arabian breed and originally came from the mountains of Wales. They are usually medium sized with elegant heads and quality conformation. They are known for their floating trot and are used for pleasure riding, jumping and driving.

  • Breed: Welsh Pony
  • Height: Around 13.2hh
  • Origin: Wales

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Connemara Pony

The Connemara pony is tough and hardy with a pretty head that shows it’s Arabian and Thoroughbred influences. It is a performance pony with good sense, used mainly for pleasure riding, eventing, driving, jumping and hunting.

  • Breed: Connemara
  • Height: Between 13hh and 14.2hh
  • Origin: Ireland

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Horse Breed Examples

Arabian Horse

The Arabian horse is the oldest pure breed horse and the foundation breed for the Thoroughbred horse. They are hot-blooded, usually small and high strung with a dished face, short back and high tail carriage. Known for their endurance, the Arabian horse is used today for showing, dressage, pleasure riding, and endurance racing.

  • Breed: Arabian
  • Height: Between 14.1 and 15.1hh
  • Origin: Arabian Peninsula

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Paint or Pinto Horse

The Pinto Horse Association and the American Paint Horse Association both register part-colored horses that have large colored patches and white. They can be classified as stock, hunter, pleasure, and saddle types. The two color patterns are the Tobiano and the Overo. The Tobiano coat is a white base coat with large splashes of solid color over it. The Overo coat appears to be a solid colored horse with large irregular white markings over it.

  • Breed: Paint or Pinto
  • Height: Between 15hh and 16hh
  • Origin: United States

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Quarter Horse

The Quarter Horse originated in colonial America and was bred for all around work including farming, hauling, working cattle, in harness and under saddle. It gets it’s name from the American settlers racing them in quarter mile stretches. They have strong and muscular hindquarters and are usually calm and intelligent. Today they are used for almost every kind of riding including ranch work, pleasure riding, showing, jumping and racing.

  • Breed: Quarter Horse
  • Height: Between 15hh and 16hh
  • Origin: United States

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Warmblood Horse

A group of horse breeds that combines the “hot-blood” of Arabians and Thoroughbreds with the “cold-blood” of draft horses. They are usually athletic and strong, and excel at dressage and jumping. Many are imported from Europe and are used as Olympic team horses.

  • Breed: Warmblood
  • Height: Around 16hh to 17hh
  • Origin: Europe

Learn more about Warmblood Horses


Trakehner is a light warmblood breed of horse, originally developed at the East Prussian state stud farm in the town of Trakehnen from which the breed takes its name. It is considered to be the lightest and most refined of the warmbloods, due to its closed stud book which allows entry of only Trakehner, as well as few selected bloodlines.

  • Breed: Trakehner
  • Height: Around 15.2hh to 17hh
  • Origin: Prussia

Learn more about Trakehner Horses

Friesian Horse

The Friesian horse is known for its black coat, thick mane and tail, and feathering on the lower legs. It has a powerful, high-stepping gait and excels at dressage, carriage driving and pleasure riding. It is considered a cold-blooded breed and it is known for it’s calm and docile temperament.

  • Breed: Friesian
  • Height: 15hh or higher
  • Origin: Netherlands

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Morgan Horse

The Morgan breed descended from one stallion named Justin Morgan. They are a versatile, powerful and intelligent, and popular for driving and all kinds of riding.

  • Breed: Morgan
  • Height: 14.2 to 15.2hh
  • Origin: United States

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Appaloosa Horse

Appaloosa horses are a spotted breed that originated in the northwestern part of the United States. The breed was developed by the Indians of North America in the 18th century. They are currently used for all kinds of riding including English, western, jumping, endurance, trail and pleasure riding. There are five recognized coat patterns including the blanket, marble, leopard, snowflake and frost.

  • Breed: Appaloosa
  • Height: 14.2 to 15.2hh
  • Origin: United States

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Thoroughbred Horse

The Thoroughbred horse was originally bred for racing, but is now used as hunter, eventing, jumpers and dressage horses. The Arabian horse foundation breed for the Thoroughbred horse. Like Arabian horses, Thoroughbreds are considered a hot-blooded breed. They have long, lean bodies, are sensitive and can be high strung.

  • Breed: Thoroughbred
  • Height: Between 16 and 16.2hh
  • Origin: England

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Clydesdale Horse

The Clydesdale is a breed of draught horse that originated from the farm horses of Clydesdale, Scotland. It is often bay in color, they usually have large white markings. The breed was originally used for agriculture and hauling heavy loads, and is still used for draught purposes today. The Budweiser horses are some of the most famous Clydesdales.

  • Breed: Clydesdale
  • Height: 16hh to 18hh
  • Origin: Scotland

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Lipizzan Horse

The Lipizzan horse breed excels at classical dressage and is famous for their “airs above the ground” movements of classical dressage at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. The breed dates back to the 16th century and was originally used for military purposes. Lipizzan horses are known for their muscular build, roman nose, and wide chest. They are born bay or black and gradually turn gray as they age.

  • Breed: Lipizzan or Lipizzaner
  • Height: Around 14.2hh to 16hh
  • Origin: Slovenia

Visit the Breed Website

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Free Online Games About Horses & Ponies

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Order of Loading a Horse Into a Trailer Game

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Parts horse game

Parts of the Horse Image Hot Spots – Level 3

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Parts of the Bridle

Parts of the Bridle Drag & Drop Game

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appaloosa game screenshot

Identify Basic Appaloosa Coat Patterns

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Parts of Horse Bits Game – Level 2

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English Horse Bits Matching Game – Level 1

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Bits Game

Parts of Horse Bits Game – Level 1