My personal favourite breeds

I’ve been round horses more or less my whole life. I grew up on a farm where we had horses both for pleasure and also for work (although we more often used mechanised and motorised equipment to plough the fields). Horses have therefore been my passion and a great part of my life. Riding as even given me great comfort and pleasure during difficult phases of my life. The only time I didn’t have horses was when I lived in the city for university but as soon as I graduated, I moved back to the country. Over the years, I’ve had many different breeds of horse and for my money, these are the top three breeds:

Arabian. There are many reason why Arabian horses are probably the most popular breed in the world. Firstly, they have been round for hundreds and hundreds of years. As long ago as 1000 years ago, Arabian horses were being discussed all over the Eastern Hemisphere. They were actually partly responsible for the sudden and quick success of the Arab Conquests after the death of the prophet Mohammed. Being so agile, fast, and intelligent, it’s not a surprise they are still a loved breed nowadays.

Andalusian. These horses are loved about as much as the Arabian horses, which, it should be noted are closely related though no one is quite sure which breed came first—a classic Arabian and Andalusian problem to paraphrase the saying. They come from southern Spain as their name suggests. Because they are so ancient a breed their lineage is rather covered in mystery. Regardless of their origins Andalusians are easy to train and very diligent horses, being famed for their work ethic if one can call it that.. Beyond their endurance they reward owners with extremely affectionate personalities and are very aware of their riders’ moods, making them ideal for first-time riders or children.

Irish Cob. The name might not be the most recognisable but the horses certainly are. Irish cobs are rather small and immediately discernible with their thick manes and thicker hair covering their hooves, which gave rise to the phrase ‘feathered heels’.  In the US their politically incorrect name, Gypsy Vanner comes from their close association with nomadic Pavee and Roma peoples who frequently used them. The breed is gentle but very strong. Used for many years as work horses, Irish cobs are well-known and well-used as work animals on farms across the world (including the one I grew up on) They are usually piebald or skewbald in appearance.

I could go on and on about the various breeds I love, but if I had to only have three breeds for the rest of my life I think it would have to be these.