With hundreds of breeds of real life horses it’s no wonder why the world of model horses is as diverse and varied as it is. From tiny miniature horses to gentle giant draft horses, there is a Breyer horse for it! When model horse shows began to grow in popularity, they had to evolve to have a place for all kinds of breeds. Today, it is common to divide a model horse show up by Breed Types, but what are they exactly?
Most model horse shows are divided into eight different breed divisions, Light, Gaited, Sport, Spanish, Stock, Pony, Draft and Other. These distinctions come from all the way back to the formations of the breeds, dividing the hundreds of different breeds of the world into smaller groups by common characteristics.
Light Breeds are horses are easily recognizable as your Arabian type breeds. These horses have characteristics from a life in the desert. Horses such as the Arabian, Morgan and National Show Horse are considered “Light Breeds” because of their Arabian heritage.
Gaited breeds are the showmen of the show ring. These horses carry an additional gait or way of moving that causes them to stand out in a crowd. American Saddlebreds, Rocky Mountain Horses and Tennessee Walking horses are all Gaited because of their distinctive way of moving.
Sport breeds are the athletes of the show ring. These horses include horses that were bred to compete in disciplines such as show jumping and racing. All Warmbloods fall into this division as do Thoroughbreds. These superstars are bred to compete, and it shows!
Spanish breeds are those that have evolved from horses from Spain as well as Southern and Central America. Also called Iberian horses, these horses are known for their distinctive looks and beauty. Andalusians, Lusitanos and Crillos are a few examples of these horses.
Stock breeds are the stars of the Western world. Bred for the ranch, stock breeds can be recognized as Quarter Horses, Paints and Pintos. These standouts of the American South West are the ranch’s most important asset and are easily recognizable with their compact and strong bodies.
Pony breeds are those horses that were bred for their compact size. Pony breeds come from all over the world and are only defined by their smaller than average size. Welsh Ponies, Shetland Ponies, and the American Walking Pony are all examples of these tiny powerhouses.
Draft breeds are the gentile giants of the horse world. Standing sometimes 6 foot tall at the shoulder these horses were originally bred for hard farm labor. Today they are used for any number of disciplines, from harness work to dressage, you can see a draft doing just about anything! Clydesdales, Shires, and the Belgian are all common draft breeds.
Last but certainly not least are Other breeds. These horses don’t fit into any of the above categories. Donkeys, mules and zebras are considered “Other” breeds.
With a little understanding of the different types of breeds you’re sure to have a leg up on the competition at your next Golden Oak Stables show! But whether you’re a shower or not, a little more knowledge of real life horses is always a good thing!