Horse Facts and Tips
|First Posted: July 28, 2007 |
Apr 7, 2012
Hot Bloods, Warmbloods Cold Bloods
What are the differences?
Horses are mammals and as such are all warm-blooded creatures, as opposed to reptiles, which are cold-blooded. However, these words have developed a separate meaning in the context of equine description, with the "hot-bloods," such as race horses, exhibiting more sensitivity and energy, while the "cold-bloods" are heavier, calmer creatures such as the draft giants.
Arabian horses, whether originating on the Arabian peninsula or from the European studs (breeding establishments) of the 18th and 19th centuries, gained the title of "hot bloods" for their temperament, characterized by sensitivity, keen awareness, athleticism, and energy. European breeders wished to infuse some of this energy and athleticism into their own best cavalry horses. These traits, combined with the lighter, aesthetically refined bone structure of the oriental-type horse (Akhal-Teke, Arabian, Barb), were used as the foundation of the thoroughbred breed.
True hot bloods usually offer both greater riding challenges and rewards than other horses. Their sensitivity and intelligence enable quick learning with greater communication and cooperation with their riders. However, their intelligence also allows them to learn bad habits as quickly as good ones. Because of this, they also can quickly lose trust in a poor rider and do not tolerate inept or abusive training practices.
A Percheron draft horse - Muscular and heavy draft horses are known as "cold bloods," as they have been bred to have the calm, steady, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people. One of the best-known draft breeds is the Belgian. The largest is the Shire. The Clydesdales, with their common coloration of a bay or black coat with white legs and long-haired, "feathered" fetlocks are among the most easily recognized.
"Warmblood" breeds began when the European carriage and war horses were crossed with oriental horses or thoroughbreds. The term "warm blood" was originally used to mean any cross of heavy horses on Thoroughbred or Arabian horses. Examples included breeds such as the Irish Draught horse, and sometimes also referred to the "Baroque" horses used for "high school" dressage, such as the Lipizzaner, Andalusian, Lusitano and the Alter Real. Sometimes the term was even used to refer to breeds of light riding horse other than Thoroughbreds or Arabians, such as the Morgan horse. But today the term "warmblood" usually refers to a group of sport horse breeds that have dominated the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games in Dressage and Show Jumping since the 1950s. These breeds include the Hanoverian, Oldenburg, Trakehner, Holsteiner, Swedish Warmblood, and Dutch Warmblood.