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Grade horses—horses of no particular or known breeding are the eighth most popular horse. Most of us who have been riding for awhile will have a favorite grade horse in our histories. I began riding on my mother’s grade gelding Manitou. Looking back, he probably was a mix of Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and perhaps even a smidge of a draft breed. But that’s just a guess. Grade horses, even though they don’t have a distinguished pedigree, can do everything any other horse can do and many make ideal beginner horses.
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The Morgan Horse
The Morgan, with it’s strength, elegance and history is as much a popular breed as it is a cultural icon. The official horse breed of Vermont, the Morgan horse leant its muscle to clearing and tilling New England farms during the earliest years of American history. Today it is a popular driving and riding horse, surefooted over rough trail as it is refined and dignified in the show ring. The Morgan was the seventh most popular horse on our poll.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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The colorful Appaloosas comes in a close fourth with about 9% of the vote. This breed has enthusiasts the world over. Originally developed by the Nez Perce of the “Horse Nations”, this popular breed was recovered from near extinction by a few dedicated breeders. Hardy, with brilliant coat patterns, few people can disregard the appeal of these horses.
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Although the Quarter Horse and many other light horse breeds, are actually warmbloods—a mix of cold and hot blooded breeds, Warmbloods like Hanovarians, Trakehners, Cleveland Bays, Canadians, Belgian Warmbloods and others are very popular with readers, putting the general heading ‘warmbloods’ in fifth place. Many of the European breeds were bred for the battlefield and tend to be larger boned and of more phlegmatic temperament than many light horse breeds.
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Following close behind the Arabian in third place is the Thoroughbred with about 13% of the total vote. Thoroughbreds might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but some are suitable for beginners. Many OTTBs find second careers as riding and driving horses both in competitive disciplines such as dressage and jumping and as pleasure horses for backyard riding.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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In second place was the Arabian at Part Arabs with 14% of the vote. Arabians may not be the ideal first horse, although there’s always exceptions to the rule, and many beginners started out riding Arabs or Part Arabs. The Arabian breed registry is the oldest breed registry in the world. Every light horse breed can trace their ancestry back to the Arabian.
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American Quarter Horse
In first place was the American Quarter Horse. Well known for it’s agility, docility and athleticism, these horses are well respected by beginners and professionals alike. They can star on the trail or in the show ring. And even if we moved on to other breeds, many of us can tell fond tales of a Quarter Horse that started it all when we rode as youths. The American Quarter Horse is the largest breed registry in the world and the horses are enjoyed globally. Almost 20% of you voted for the Quarter Horse as your favorite breed.