Some of the Best Horse Breeds for a Farm
One of the beautiful things about horses is that they come in a variety of breeds. From an aesthetic standpoint, there are different sizes, colors, and builds, all with varying manes, hooves, and tails. Horses are very versatile animals, and have been bred to specialize in different skill sets. Today there are varying breeds of work horses, show horses, riding horses, and more.
Horses that are optimized for farms often fall into the categories of draft horses or stock horses, meaning that they have been bred to pull carts and perform other tasks or to get along well with cattle and other livestock, respectively. Most farm-bred horses are a good mix of those attributes, and bloodlines with well-mannered dispositions and a good medical history are always favored.
Now let’s get into some examples!
American paint horses. These medium-to-large horses have a distinctive spotting pattern all over their bodies, and as such come in a variety of colors. These amiable horses are easily trained and intelligent, and are generally popular choices for family riding, racing, and farm work.
Belgian draft. One of the most popular work horse breeds, these large, strong horses were developed in Belgium originally. Horse farriers have to make special horse shoes for a horse that big!However, as a result of the war, livestock imports were limited and an American breed developed. Belgian drafts are often chestnut or sorrel colored with white manes, tails, facial markings, and “socks,” but can come in bay or roan with darker accents.
Other Popular Horse Breeds
Clydesdale. Similar to the Belgian drafts, Clydesdales are quite large horses, with great strength and pulling power, but gentle dispositions that make them easy to work with. Clydesdales come in several different colors, mostly bay, but also chestnut, black, brown, or roan, with fluffy “socks” just like the Belgians.
Morgan. Morgans are smaller-sized horses known for their agreeable attitudes and high spirits. They are a popular all-around farm horse, popular for riding and driving as well as their farm work. They are typically bay horses with darker manes and tails, but do come in other colors.
Percheron. Percherons, an originally French breed, are large, strong, well-built horses commonly used by loggers and farmers. They mostly come in black, gray, bay, and roans, and are sometimes seen with “socks.”
Shire. The Shire is particularly versatile British breed, often scoring high in show rings as well as being good workers. These are among the largest draft breeds and are often black with some white markings and “socks.”
Quarter Horse. Popular for their ability to sprint short distances at high speeds, quarter horses are another versatile option. They are taller and heavier than most other breeds, making them good choices for pulling and other farm work. These are docile, intelligent, and easy-to-train horses, and are therefore popular among beginning riders. These are generally sorrel, bay, or dun-colored, with accent marks on their legs and faces.
All of these horses can be hot shoed, cold shoed or have specialty shoe work done by a professional from the National Horse Farriers.
Remember, this is not an exhaustive list, and it takes a great deal of research to fully understand which horse breeds would be best for your particular needs. There are many more popular stock breeds, especially depending on the country, but the most important things to keep in mind are strength, size, and disposition.