Sometimes known as artificial selection, selective breeding is a process humans have long used in animal reproduction. In this process for animals, males and females are mated because they possess specific abilities and characteristics. While selective breeding is used on farms to produce healthy and hearty animals that will one day feed people, other animals such as thoroughbred horses have been selectively bred mainly for speed and for endurance. This employment of selective breeding often produces positive results for owners who have a purpose in mind. For example, light horses, such as those used by the pony express, were bred for speed, energy, and endurance. Similarly, horses today are bred for riding and performing in various competitions–racing, jumping, and sports such as polo.
The higher-energy horses are known as warmbloods. These horses are tall and strong, and they are also very athletic horses. With their superior abilities, warmbloods dominate the Olympic sports of dressage, jumping, harness competitions, and equestrian sports. Several breeds of horses are placed into the category of the light horse type. Among them are the Albino, Quarter Horse, Paint, Mustang, Oldenburg, Hanoverian Dutch Warmblood, Holsteiner and Trakehner. The agile and fast Thoroughbreds and the spirited Arabians are also Warmbloods.
The Quarter Horse is named a horse with strength and energy for its ability to run a quarter-mile at a faster speed than any other horse. This horse is a working horse for ranchers that can sprint short distances. It makes a great pleasure horse, as well.
High-spirited, the Arabian breed is energetic and fast. These horses are very agile and can perform speedy maneuvers, traits that help them win professional competitions. Arabians also have much endurance, dominating in endurance racing.
Familiar to many, thoroughbreds are viewed by crowds at the racetrack and on television. This hot-blooded breed originated in England, where they were initially called “The Running Horses.” After the first race in England in 1511, these horses became known as “The Running Horses.” Sleek, flexible, and nimble, these sprinters of the world are known for their speed, power, and spirit.