HI Spy: Your Favorite Breed


A good horse is a good horse, regardless of who its parents are. Still, once you’ve spent some time in the horse world, you might find yourself developing an affinity for a particular breed of horse.

The docile American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the world. Clearly, its docile nature and dominance in western sports have earned it plenty of fans. But if you’re committed to English sports, maybe Thoroughbreds or one of the European Warmblood breeds is your cup of tea. Or it could be the personable Morgan, the stunning Arabian, the smooth-gaited Rocky Mountain Horse or any of the other beloved breeds you’ll find today.

Sometimes all it takes is a single horse to win you over for a particular breed. If you learned to ride on a Shetland Pony or an American Saddlebred, that exposure is likely to stick with you. Or if your friend’s kind Appaloosa helped you get over a bad riding experience, you may have a soft spot for spots.

Of course, if you’ve found that your favorite equines have been grade horses, those of mixed or unknown parentage, the non-breed could be the breed of choice for you.

Click “Submit a Comment” below and tell us what breed of horse is your favorite, and why. Some of the responses may be selected for a future issue of Horse Illustrated.

One selected response may be selected by the editors to win a monthly prize! If you would like to be eligible for the prize, please include your email address in the comment form (email addresses are not publicly displayed.)

See all HI Spy Questions >>


  1. I have two favorites, the pony breed any draft breed. But I’d have to say my absolute love would lie with ponies. They just have so much personality and spunk. They can survive a winter snowstorm and don’t mind the heat. They teach you to be better (and stronger) riders and always love you.
    My pony is my best friend.

  2. I like grade horses those that are mixed breeds that leave you guessing to what their potential.I know its not exactly a breed but I have a grade horse, a quarter horse draft cross and although he is funny looking he is amazing and has so much heart he takes such good care of me when we are out on the trail and doesn’t give up

  3. My favorite breed of horse is definately the Friesian. They are so beautiful. I love big black horses. They are strong and bold, yet gentle and kind. They have loyal hearts and a sweetness to them. They may be known for their dressage, but they can also be taught to be in movies, jump, and do a bunch of liberty exercises!! Big and black is the way to go!!

  4. My favorite breed of horse is a Friesian! I love them!! They are so beautiful and graceful when they move (and when you ride)! 🙂 My second is a Saddlebred.

  5. I admire all breeds and mixes of breeds but I’ve always had a paticular soft spot for Arabians. I enjoy their history, fairy-tale look, dance-like movement and their faithful, gentle, energetic personality.

  6. My favorite horse breed is something I cannot decide, for I don’t have one single favorite but a couple of favorites.
    I really like gypsy horses because of how beautiful and graceful they look.
    I love quarter horses because of their energetic spirits.
    I enjoy Tennessee Walkers because of how smooth they are.
    and I like Arabians because of how unique and wonderful they are.
    EVERY horse is amazing, but sometimes you just have favorites.

  7. I don’t know what my favorite horse breed is. I don’t think it matters what breed the horse is just the attatued of the horse. But I think if I could only pick 1 horse breed I would have to say the Ranger breed.

  8. My Favorite Breed is the Azteca, the Beauty of an Andalusian, and yet gentale and willing of a Quarter Horse. Not many people still know about the Azteca because it is a fairly a new breed

  9. The Thoroughbred! They are not only one of the most influencle horse breed they are also the most athletic and beautiful . even a Ex-racer could turn into a childs trail horse! They can do anything there amazing!-

  10. American Quarter Horse. I just love the muscular stocky look (and the big hindquarters!) They are so gentle, sweet, athletic, and willing to try their heart out for you! I also like their past as a ranch horse!

  11. Ever since I was a child, Appaloosas were always my favorite. 3 years ago, after being out of horses for 25 years, I bought a grade paint gelding out of pity. He has turned into a magnificent horse, and through DNA testing I have found out is part Holsteiner/Saddlebred/Morgan. Now, my favorite breed is Cisco!

  12. Arabians by far with Appaloosas right up with them. I love Arabs loving personality, curious eyes, and breathtaking beauty. Appaloosas for there flashy colors, and best of all they can do almost anything.

  13. I love all horses but if I had to choose just one I would choose the mustang. I have always loved how spirited they are and how they took up living in the wild and lasted all these years and made it to today still roaming untamed!

  14. Thoroughbreds, I love their gutsy attitudes and elegance that they have preserved from their Arabian ancestors. I’m forever impressed by how powerful yet graceful my horse is and the thoughtfulness that you can see in his eyes. Hundreds of years of breeding has not hindered their wild spirits.

  15. I absolutely love all breeds of horses, from miniature’s to Clydesdale’s. I have had exposure to all sorts of breeds of horses due to having to look at and trying out horses for myself as well as my younger brother and sister. My family’s farm has a variety of horse from little mini’s to my dad’s 17.1 hh Hanoverian. I feel that each breed as well as each horse has their own personality and attitude. I think my favorite horse (and who am i kidding, it’s hard to pick just one)is the Paint Horse. My paint is wonderful. After buying him as a western horse my father and i have been training him to do English and he just loves jumping. Almost every time i watch a horse movie (whether it’s about wild horses or a stable ) theirs always at least one paint in the movie. There is something about these magnificent animals that seems so free, caring and willing to do anything.

  16. My favorite breed is the donkey. They are wonderful storng loving animals, and they are sure footed mounts. I reccomend donkeys to every one who wants a versitle breed! Long Live The Donkeys!

  17. My favorite horse breed is the Nakota because it is a rarer breed and has “cow-sense” which I like. Its origin is from south-western North Dakota, and that fact makes me proud of the breed! I love “western” horses.

  18. My favorite breed would have to be a Thoroughbred. A Thoroughbred has not only speed and stamina but character- which I love. The Thoroughbred also has deep blood history. Not all TBs are fast but they may all have a winners heart.

  19. Quarter Horse all the way! They are so versatile, they can do any discipline from hunters to cutting to dressage to reining. Though I’m a bit biased since my boy just happens to be a QH! 😉

  20. A horse is a horse of course. And that’s why I think all breeds are great! Like each individual horse, each individual breed has a different character, mood, energy level, and personality. And that’s what I love most about horses, is that they are all individuals. They’re all different, just like you and me! But, if my life depended on it, I would probably choose Arabians or Thoroughbreds :).

  21. My favorite breed would have to be the American Quarter Horse. They’re so dependable and veristile in riding disiplines. Their calm nature, speed, and strength, as well as buety, always leave me in awe. I am a little biased because my baby is one

  22. Nothing will ever come close to the Arabian for me. I learned to ride at an Arabian farm and eventually bought my beloved mare Rosie from there. Six years and I am still riding at the same Arab farm but now I’m also boarding and working there. It’s such a rewarding experience working with Arabs, they’re so in tune with everything you do and they’re such characters. I’ve never ‘clicked’ with another breed like I have with Arabians. Once you bond with one, they will do anything for you and the possibilities are endless.

  23. My favorite breed is the American Paint Horse. They have the sensibility of being a stock horse and all the fun of the coat patterns! They are excellent teachers and perfect friends, too!

  24. My favorite breed is actual Arabians and the Pintos color type. I love the flash and look at me of the Arabians. I also love the one of a kind look of the Pintos coat patterns. I own an Arbaian. My first horse was a grade Pinto. I worked at a Pinto Saddlebred barn and showed some of the horses in Halter and Pinto Color Classes.

  25. I have never really had a favorite breed, I love them all, but I have to say I’m kind of partial to Arabians since I’ve had my quirky Arabian cross mare. She’s proven true the saying that Arabs are escape artists!

  26. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been partial to Halflingers. I’ve never ridden one, but they’re practically horse-ponies, big enough for me to ride but with that adorable (and sometimes sneaky) pony look. I just love their athleticity and easy-looking gaits.

  27. The American Quarter Horse!They really are,in my opinion,the very best.I have a 4 year old Quarter Horse mare,who is possibly in foal to a Quarter Horse stallion,and I am working off another American Quarter Horse.So,can you tell I love them or what?!

  28. I love thoroughbreds. Watching them race each other across the pasture always brightens up my day. They are so beautiful when they run!

  29. My favorite breed by far is the Arabian. I have owned two half Arabians and one purebred. I have worked at three different Arabian stables, and even took hunter pleasure lessons on a purebred. All of the Arabians I have owned and worked with all have such personality. And even though all breeds have the “crazy ones”, most Arabians are very level headed, sweet, and loving.

  30. The Morgan, of course. I have only owned one, and he is a grump, but he has carried me far, and I’ll never forget him. Other than that, they are just so versitile, and kind. They make great family and childrens’ horses.

  31. “I love the American Quarter horse. How many breeds have the versality to dominate a wide range of sports like dressage, barrel racing and roping? I’ve been around Quarter horses for most of my life.”

  32. I had gone through phases of loving every breed, I loved palominos when I was 5 or 6, then I wanted an Arabian, then a Paint, then a Gypsy Vanner. Then I became interested in barrels and western riding. When I got my American Quarter Horse Thalia, I could not imagine wanting anything more.

  33. My alltime favorite breed is the American Quarter Horse. They are beautiful horses. I also love and treasure this breed because of their versatility. From running barrels and roping calves to gracefully soaring over jumps, these marvelous creatures exele in whatever they do.

  34. My favorite horse is the American Quarter Horse. They are all unique, and gorgeous horses. My own horse is a Quarter Horse and ever since I got him, I’ve been in love with the breed!

  35. My favorite horse breed is the Norwegian Fjord Horse. Not only because I ride one, but because they are so versatile and unique. I love getting questioned at shows about the breed. They also have incredibly curious personalities!

  36. My favorite horse breed is the American Quarter Horse
    because they are so diverse. What makes others and myself fall in love with them is their rich background. It’s full of interesting stories and facts. They stood the test of time and will continue to forever.

  37. oh man! i dont think i can choose just one!!! well my mom grew up showing paints so i also grew up learning about them, so i have a soft spot for them. But my favorite would have to be, Arabians! You wont find a bigger heart and more loyalty! I love all horses and it took me a long time to pick just one!I dont have a horse but i love learning about them!

  38. Well, definetly a morgan. They have a brain, talent, agility, and most importantly heart. They will give everything they have in order to obey and please their rider. I thank God for creating Morgans. I love you Miracle my beautiful Morgan!!!!! 🙂

  39. I love all breeds! I only have one horse, currently, and he is an Arabian. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved horses, but I liked Arabians a little bit more for some reason. They are absolutely gorgeous, versatile, loving, smart, basically everything you could want! Not all of them are hot tempered. I guess Arabians would be my breed of choice…but I love every other breed, too!

  40. My favorite breed is the Arabian. I love their arched neck, dished face, high held tail and untamable spirit. It is amazing that they can be a sweet, spunky show horse on one side and still be abe to be agressive in signs of danger as well. Their amazing desert spirit and history captivates my admiration.

  41. The Morgan! They have incredible heart and always try their hardest to do whatever their rider or driver asks of them. They can do anything- from pleasure driving and roadster classes to Morgan hunters/jumpers and Walk/Trot Saddleseat. Morgans are willing, kind, brave, energetic and the perfect partner for any equestrian. They are called the horse that loves you back for a reason!

  42. One word comes to my mind when I think of my favorite horse: BIG! I am 5’8″ and have really long legs, so the bigger they are, the better! Right now I ride a 17.2 warmblood cross, and I would have to say my favorite breed is any type of warmblood. I love the way they are built, their personalities, and their versatility.

  43. I have always been fond of icelandics. I have never met or ridden one, but i hope to. There is no reason why I love them so much, but i have always been interested in them.

  44. I just aquired my frist horse( I am 53 years young!!!!) She is a beautiful Roan w/spots….she is very loving and willing to try anything I ask.
    The reason I love this breed is because they bare fiesty,stubborn,hard-headed and riding is always an unforgetable expirence!!!!!!!!

  45. My favourite breed would have to be a Carthusian. They are so beautiful, so agile. When I see them I want to just sit there and enjoy their majesty! Being rare and expensive as they are, they inspire me to develop a shining character, another thing they are prized for, and be a rare jewel in God’s kingdom!

  46. My favorite breed is the Quarter horse. I used to think I liked any other breed besides the Quarter horse because I grew up around them and was around them all the time and just wanted to like something new, something different. But then a year ago I got a new horse, a Quarter horse, and I now realize just how special the breed is. The AQHA offers so many opportunities for Quarter horses and their owners, and strives to keep the breed the number one in the world. I am now so proud to own Quarter horses and I love everything about America’s horse.

  47. I have two favorite breeds – Gypsy Vanners and Quarter Horses. Gypsies are just so immensely beautiful, it just takes your breath away to watch them free in a pasture, in the show jumping arena, or just ambling down the trail! Their muscle mass gives the impression that they are more than 16 hh, although really most are under fifteen. I love Quarter Horses because of their docility, their athleticism, and their truly extraordinary nature. I had a friend that said she didn’t want a QH because every body has one – they’re so common! Maybe that’s a good reason to have one – everybody loves them!

  48. The Paint!!!!! Lizzy, my horse, is a paint! she is teaching me how to ride as “one” not as a rider and horse. She has always been there for me. every day i go out to see her she always comes running up with a winnie. My paint affection grows stronger and stronger every day!

  49. I love Arabians. They are so beautiful with their head held high, and their flying tails. I got one for my first horse. Angel is amazing, although definitely not a beginners horse, and has taken care of me, and taught me much about riding and horses!

  50. I love haflinger-quarter horse mixes!!! They are super cute and super sweet and always want to please you. But mainly because one on my pony hunters is one. He is so cute about jumping, he just loves it!!! He’s always wanting to go fast and jump high!!! But another thing that is so funy about him is that he is addicted to sugar!!!

  51. I love American Saddlebreds. They combine beauty, athletic ablitiy, and patriotism all together. I own a Saddlebred, and he is my first horse, and for that sole reason the breed will also always be impressed in my heart.

  52. I have three favorites. 1st the Tennesee Walker for their beauty, intelligence, and great trail mount. 2nd the Shetland pony for their ornyness and amazing hauling power. and 3rd the Thoroughbred for being able to put up with the human race 😉 and because my thoroughbred is so much fun

  53. I absolutely adore Friesians. They are just the perfect mix of horse. They have that beautiful fairy-tale look and their personality just melts my heart. They can be so soft and gentle for such large creatures. Other times, I will laugh at their humorous personality. Max,one of my Friesians, will gladly smile for me when I take out the camera or whenever I walk into the barn. Friesians are just so lovable, and I’ve become very fond of that. Now I have two of my own!

  54. I don’t have a single horse breed. I prefer Morgan crosses that are on the smaller side, around 14 to 14.2 hands. I have had two Morgan crosses, one was a Morgan/TB cross and my current horse is a Morgan/QH cross. My two girls look like Morgans & I love the Morgan, especially since I live in the heart of Morgan country, central Vermont.

  55. My favorite breed is definitely the American Saddlebred. Saddlebreds are so graceful, refined and spirited and have wonderful temperaments. The breed also carries so much American history and heritage… Beautiful!

  56. I don’t own a horse so my answer wouldn’t be bias like most. I really paints and quarters, never ridden one I did like. I prefer the small, stockier ones.

  57. Even though i don’t own a horse and haven’t ridden since i was in middle school, i still like horses, and would say that my favorite breed is the Thoroughbred, because of how athletic they are on both the race track and in the show ring.

  58. I think I like the American Quarter Horse the best. I just adore how they are so willing, and you can use them for English, Western, or anything at all!

  59. I bought my wife a Palomino a year ago,the horse bonded with me for some reason. We knew nothing about him except he bucked off a couple of guys and tried to stomped them…he came from a sale barn, he was 4 years old. But now he is my buddy, he trust me totally,even lying down I can walk up to him and sit beside him pet him or lay on him and he does not git up. We are learning together …a Palomino? No. It is the horse not the breed. At least for me.

  60. It’s a really a tie for me between Paints and Arabians. I love how high energy and spunky the Arabian is, and I love the unique coat patches of the Paint breed.

  61. The Arabian! Many poeple picture them as the high spirited china dolls but I see them as talented working hunters, jumpers and dressage horses. These little guys with the correct riding and training can go out and do the job their bigger and cooler blooded bretheren do and do it well. Their people loving dispositon make them perfect companions for not only the show ring but also the back yard or mountian trails. Intelligent, athletic,kind, all wrapped up in a beautiful package!

  62. I love friesians. THey have great personality’s and are beautiful. I love just watching them run through a field. They display such power and have a majestic air about them.

  63. I love Marwari horses! They are so unique and beautiful in their own way. I also like that no one really owns a Marwari, and they’re almost like my own little secret horse.

  64. It’s a tough choice, but I would have to choose the Arabian. I’ve worked with many different breeds throughout my riding career, but I have a soft spot for Arabians. They exhibit a certain intelligence, elegance, and desire for human companionship that I haven’t really seen in the other horses I’ve worked with. Granted, they can be a challenge to work with at times because they can be very sensitive to their surroundings, but I think that’s what makes working with Arabs so rewarding.

  65. Its a really though decsion but i will have to choose the Morgan horse. I have trained and rode many horses but they are the best to ride and they always look beatiful.

  66. Personally I would say the American Quarter Horse because the are just so beautiful. Plus the fact that they are the fastest horses for a quarter mile. But other people might have a completly different oppinion. But mine is the Quarer Horse.

  67. I think that all horses are great! Each one has a special purpose even if they don’t seem like they have one. I’ve had ponies, crossbreds, and Quarter horses, but all of the horses that I’ve owned or ridden seemed to have it’s own personality.

  68. I know it’s a common choice, but my favorite breed is a quarter horse. They are so versatile! I have mostly ridden quarters and have done a lot of different styles of riding. You can choose to ride english one day and the next decide western or just do some showmanship or just chill out on the trails. The sky is the limit. You don’t see many other breeds with same versatility and easygoingness of the quarter horse.

  69. My favorite breed is a Quarter Horse! I know this seems like the most common choice, but I have a Quarter Horse – and he’s the sweetest thing in the world! They just have that adorable, calm, and caring personality that makes you fall in love with them! Mostly, I love how they can do anything: they’re just that versatile…

  70. The Appaloosa is my favorite horse breed. They have natural talent, so they can participate in many disciplines. I have an Appaloosa that I event, and I always get a mark on my dressage tests on how lucky I am to have him and that he is beautiful.

  71. My favorite breed is the Haflinger. Their intelligence and spunkiness made me really fall in love with them. I love their color, with the coat color varying from rich, deep reds to pale chestnut, and their angel-cake colored, thick, flaxen manes. My own Haflinger, Winston, is such a sweetheart and a joker, and him being my first horse (I got him when I was just 6), I think I’ll always be partial to Haflingers!

  72. My favorite breed is not just one but a mix of two-the Quarab. They have the willingness and soundness of a Quarter horse, but the stamina and smoothness of an Arabian. I fell in love with my Quarab instantly!

  73. One of my favorite breeds is the American Paint Horse. Their gorgeous color and their quick speed are instant classics. My beautiful 14-year-old registered Paint mare has been an object of training and adoration for me.

  74. I learned to ride an Arabian stallion named Sheik in Saudia Arabia. He was the love of my life and patiently taught me to ride. He was patient when I fell off and tried to climb back on. We use to chase dogs and one day I fell off. He stood beside me and intemidated the dogs until they left. Every time I see a bay Arabian I think of Sheik and how much he taught me about horses and life.

  75. My favorite is the Dutch Warmblood. They are amazing athletes, very sound horses, and generally have a very good temperament despite their athletic abilities.

  76. I love German Warmbloods! They are so willing to work for you and love to be ridden. Bubba, a horse at my barn who is a German Warm blood, is almost 20 years old and still loves to be ridden and just hang out.

  77. The horse that taught me how to ride and got me hooked to the sport was an old thoroughbred mare named Maggie. She was the same color as a copper penny, and, even at 23, had the fiery attitude that came with the hair color. She was also the most forgiving animal I’d ever met. Thoroughbreds, no matter how crazy they can be, will always be my favorite because of Mags.

  78. My favorite breed of horse is definitely the Quarter Horse. They are quick, catty, athletic, and powerful, while at the same time, they are quiet and gentle, and will do anything for you. Pair that with their huge sliding stops, and you’ve got one heck of a horse!

  79. I take care of an abused Paint Horse I call Dreamer.So the American Paint Horse is my favorite breed.I love to learn all about their native history dating back to Native Americans.Everybody should learn about the animals that helped made America possible.

  80. I love Appaloosas. They have been my favorite breed for a long time. Though I have only had one that tried to bite me I still think he is beautiful though. I have been looking for Appaloosa Miniature horses but no one has them. Showing that I’m in love with Appaloosas, I have a picture of one as my screen saver on my computer.

  81. I grew up on a farm in southwest Missouri and have had many different breeds of horses but I would say the Missouri Foxtrtter is my favorite. They were bred for endurance and durability for the rocky Okark trails. Their special foxtrot could take them a long way in little time without tiring them. They also have a great prsonality and can be used for practically any thing. My last horse was a foxtrotter mare. She was eighteen when I got her but had the energy of a five year old. I participated in barrels and speed races in local fun shows with her and she did good. But mostly I used her for riding on our forty acres. She was sweet and very energetic which I loved. Living up to her breed she was awsome on our wooded trails or in the pasture. I even harnessed her to a sled in winter and she would take me and my sisters flying around the field. I havn’t met another breed quite like the awsome Missouri Foxtrotter.

  82. My favorite horse that I have ever owned was a beautiful black Tennessee Walking Horse gelding named Houdini. He was the most talented, smart, and loving horse that my family and I had ever seen and he was the most trustworthy horse at our farm. When we had cattle he would instantly become a cutting horse, and in the show ring he acted like a flashy mount worthy of a king. He was so trustworthy that I would often ride him around our pasture, bareback and brideless. But sadly animals can’t stay young forever and I had to give him to my Grandma for light riding, but now that I have basically inherited my mother’s Walking horse I can see the same gentle personality in him, so I strongly believe that Tennessee Walkers are very beautiful loving horses.

  83. Paints! I have a paint gelding named JC with a beautiful coat…Though it doesn’t stay that way long. Mud is just a wonderful thing isn’t it?

  84. Quarter Horses are the most amazing breed! They are super friendly and will do anything to please you. My Quarter Horse,Bizzy, is the best thing that has ever happed to me. She is always happy to be with me and willing to work. Bizzy is my best friend:) Quarter Horses are just fun to be with!

  85. I would have to say the American Quarter Horse because you can use them for everything. I have one and she is the easiest to handle dispite the fact that she was abused!

  86. Welsh ponies! I have a welsh pony that is super trusting and would take a bullet for you she is an amazing jumper with a heart of a champion we have won many shows together and hope to do many more she also has saved me from a couple of spills many times!!

  87. Quarter horses! I love that they make great English or western horses. You can go to an AQHA show and show in halter, showmanship, western pleasure, trail, hunter under saddle, and equitation all on the same horse! Plus the AQHA offers many opportunities for people of all ages and riding levels to show.

  88. American Paint Horses!!! They are versatile, you can do anything from trail riding to reining to jumping with them. They are willing and smart. Paints have all the qualities of Quarter Horses wrapped in a flashy package!

  89. My favorite breed would have to be the American Quarter Horse. Big-time competitors may like the breed just because of their beauty or docile manner, and billionares may like them for just their speed and stamina. I, on the other hand, love them for their kind souls and open hearts. The horse I currently ride isn’t mine, but I fell in love the first time I climbed onto his back. Ace is his name and he is my partner in life. He prances around like a hyper little colt, but always ends up winning some type of award. Yeah, my favorite breed is the American Quarter Horse.

  90. I love Paints and Appaloosas. They are (almost) always willing to do anything you ask of them and they are all around GORGEOUS!

  91. My favorite breed would probably have to be the Paint horse. I have ridden and shown two, and both were great learning experiences that helped me with my riding!

  92. My favorite kind of horse is a gray Arabian that has faded to white. I love their big black eyes, flag tails, floating trot, size, teacup muzzle, gentleness and versatility.

  93. My favorite breed has to be without a doubt is the thoroughbred. Not just because I have one but because they are truly exceptional horses!! One reason their my all time favorite is they are witty social intelligent fiery and know matter how bad of a day your having they always seem to cheer me up!!


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