This story was originally published in 2016. Watch the 2018 Kentucky Derby live coverage on NBC Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Thoroughbreds are considered the fastest horses in the world and dominate the horse racing industry, while Arabian horses are known to be intelligent and excel in endurance riding. Take a look at some of the horse breeds used in racing, dressage and general riding.
American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is one of the most popular horse breeds today. It is the first all-American breed, used in rodeos, horse shows, general riding, work activities and urban mounted police units. The breed’s even temperament makes it an ideal horse for new riders.
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An extremely athletic and energetic horse that is considered the fastest horse in the world. They dominate the horse racing industry. They are also a popular breed for horse jumping, dressage and cross-country. These horses can be a lot to handle because they have so much energy. Therefore, they are not recommended for beginners.
Pinto is not a breed, rather it refers to specific coloring. Pintos can be found in four different breeds: Stock (Quarter Horse conformation), Hunter (warm blood conformation), Pleasure (Arabian or Morgan conformation), and Saddle (Saddlebred or Hackney conformation). There are two types of coats on Pintos, tobiano (white horse with large patches of color) and overo (colored horse with uneven white marks). These horses vary in size and temperament based on the type of pinto.
A large horse with a gentle disposition. They have great versatility and are easy to train. Therefore, they are popular carriage and dressage horses, and appear in circus shows and other performance events, and in the film and entertainment industry.
A docile, multi-talented horse commonly used in dressage, general riding, hunting and work activities. They are rather large horses averaging about 1,450 pounds, which makes them great work and hunting horses. Also known as the "Bay" horse.
Small and with delicate features, Arabians are one of the oldest horse breeds. They excel in all sports despite their lack of size, 800-1000 pounds, but dominate in endurance riding. Arabian horses are quite intelligent and affectionate toward their owners and are considered good horses for beginners.
Native American horses, they are one of the most popular horse breeds in the United States. This horse is known for its spotted coat, which can appear in five different patterns: blanket, snowflake, leopard, marble and frost. They are the only horses with vertically striped hooves.