Breeds presented at WSHE

The Lusitano, also known as the Pure Blood Lusitano or PSL (Puro Sangue Lusitano), is a Portuguese horse breed, closely related to the Spanish Andalusian horse. Both are sometimes called Iberian horses, as the breeds both developed on the Iberian peninsula, and until the 1960s they were considered one breed, under the Andalusian name. Horses were known to be present on the Iberian Peninsula as far back as 20,000 BC, and by 800 BC the region was renowned for its war horses. The fame of the horses from Lusitania goes back to the Roman Age, which attributed its speed to the influence of the West wind, who was considered capable of fertilizing the mares. When the Muslims invaded Iberia in 711 AD, they brought Barb horses with them that were crossed with the native horses, developing a horse that became useful for war, dressage and bull fighting. In 1966, the Portuguese and Spanish stud books split, and the Portuguese strain of the Iberian horse was named the Lusitano, after the word Lusitania, the ancient Roman name for the region that modern Portugal roughly occupies. There are four main breed lineages within the breed today, and characteristics differ slightly between each line. Lusitanos can be any solid color, although they are generally gray, bay or chestnut. Horses of the Alter Real strain are always bay. Members of the breed are of Baroque type, with convex facial profiles, heavy muscling, intelligent and willing natures, with agile and elevated movement. Originally bred for war, dressage and bullfighting, Lusitanos are still used today in the latter two. They have competed in several Olympics and World Equestrian Games as part of the Portuguese and Spanish dressage teams. They have also made a showing in driving competitions, with a Belgian team of Lusitanos winning multiple international titles.

The Haflinger is an old breed of small horse that originated in the Tyrolean mountains of Austria. Originally the family farm horse of the peasants who resided in this region, the Haflinger was called-upon to perform reliably, capably, and cheerfully under harsh conditions. Whether the job was to plow steep fields, provide transportation in the worst winter storm, pack heavy loads or pull fallen trees, Haflingers did it all. The attributes of the modern Haflinger are its beauty, disposition and versatility. Years of careful breeding have resulted in a small, sturdy, sure-footed horse that does well on minimal pasture, is hardy to cold weather and has a dependable, affectionate temperament. The combination of these breed traits makes the Haflinger ultimately suitable for all equine disciplines–truly the all-around family horse. The Haflinger is strong enough to be comfortable mount for adults. The Haflinger’s chestnut coloring ranges from light blonde to dark chocolate, with thick white or flaxen mane and tail. They vary in height from 13 to 15 hands and weigh from 800 to 1300 lbs. Haflingers are well-muscled, with a powerful build, sturdy bone, and large hooves. The overall impression is of a breed of exceptional conformation and beauty, with a kind eye, an intelligent expression and bearing of great vitality and nobility.

The Gypsy Horse, also known as a Gypsy Vanner or Gypsy Cob, originates from the UK and Ireland. They have the appearance of a small draft type, standing generally between 13 and 16 hands in height and characterized by a “sweet” head, well-muscled, powerful build, a well-rounded hip that is commonly referred to as a “Apple Butt”, abundant mane and tail and long hair/feather on the lower legs. They possess an incredibly gentle and willing temperament making them the ideal choice for many youth and amateur riders. Gypsy horses are commonly known for their eye catching black and white tobiano coloring but they also come in a variety of colors and patterns such as appaloosa, buckskin and blue roan. They are descended from a combination of Shires, Clydesdales, Friesians, Fell and Dales Ponies with their origins in the Romany gypsy community of the UK and Ireland. These horses were originally bred by the Romany people to pull their wagons or “caravans” known as Vardos. Today, the Gypsy Horse is excelling in nearly all riding disciplines as well as driving.

The mustang is a free-roaming horse of the American west that first descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Mustangs are often referred to as wild horses, but because they are descended from once-domesticated horses, they are properly defined as feral horses. The original mustangs were Colonial Spanish horses, but many other breeds and types of horses contributed to the modern mustang, resulting in varying phenotypes. Most contain a greater genetic mixture of ranch stock and more recent breed releases, while a few are relatively unchanged from the original Iberian stock, most strongly represented in the most isolated populations. They are bred by Mother Nature to survive in a tough desert environment. Strong, intelligent, with good bone, and very hardy, wild horses can be trained to do anything their domestic cousins do. Wild burros are gentled and often trained for livestock guardians, riding, packing, and driving. These lovable animals make wonderful companions for horses. In 1971, the United States Congress recognized wild horses and burros as living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.

The Peruvian Paso breed traces its Spanish roots back over 475 years to when the conquistadors conquered the Inca Empire, including what later became recognized as the South American country of Peru. They carry the blood of the Andalusian, Barb and Spanish Jennet. By selective breeding, the distinctive gait, termino (swinging of the front legs in a swimming motion) and agreeable temperament were set into the horse that became the Peruvian Paso. The gait is a natural 4- beat lateral gait that produces the widely recognized smoothest ride which along with termino produces a spectacular, stylish action. Peruvian Pasos are used for trail riding, parades, exhibitions and shows. They come in most colors, and generally stand 14.1 to 15.2 hands. They usually weigh 850 to 1100lbs. The Peruvian Paso is also known for its brio, meaning its energy, arrogance and willingness to keep on going. The Wine Country Peruvian Paso Horse Club was formed in 1991, is very active in Northern California and is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, enhancement and enjoyment of the Peruvian Paso horse. Activities of the Club include quarterly meetings/socials, a quarterly newsletter, trail rides, play days on horseback, seminars/clinics, parades and exhibitions.

The beauty of the Morgan horse lifts the heart. The breed exists solely because they please people. It’s their heritage. The Morgan is easily recognized by his proud carriage, upright graceful neck, blended with soundness of limb, athleticism, and stamina. In addition, Morgan thriftiness and longevity have made this breed a good bargain for more than 200 years—easy to love and affordable to own. The Morgan horse is free moving and calm under western tack or elegant and aristocratic when ridden in English style. A tractable temperament allows the Morgan to excel when driving in single or multiple hitches. Companionable and comfortable on a quiet pleasure ride anywhere open skies beckon, working as a sensible partner in a long day of ranch work or endurance riding, waiting alert and ready to enter a show ring, or performing in formal riding disciplines, the Morgan is a versatile horse within a versatile breed. The Morgan horse agreeably adapts to his owner’s lifestyle. This first American breed can be found worldwide. Reliable, loyal, tireless, and versatile, a Morgan becomes one with people with of all ages and walks of life and shares the mutual enjoyment in every equine pastime.

The story of the Canadian Horse began in 1665, when King Louis XIV sent the first horses to the colony of New France, now Quebec. In them, the blood of royal horses combined with the working breeds of Normandy or Brittany. They were elegant and brave, but rugged enough to survive in the most challenging environment. The Canadian Horse may have had royal blood, but he quickly became a horse of the people. With their compact, muscular bodies, thick winter coats, and rock-hard feet, they could outwork much bigger horses. They could pull a sleigh 60 or even 80 miles in a day – and live on “almost anything – or almost nothing.” Their legendary toughness earned them the nickname le petit cheval de fer: the “Little Iron Horse.” But the Canadian Horse’s temperament is what makes him truly special. The breed standard says that the Canadian Horse should be ‘of docile temperament, but full of vigor and spirit without being nervous.’ The intelligence, work ethic, and kind, calm nature of the Canadian Horse endears him to all who know him. In the 1700s, Americans discovered the Canadian Horse. In Vermont, they contributed to a new breed—the Morgan. They gained fame as trotters and pacers as the sport of harness racing—which originated on Canada’s frozen lakes—gained popularity. They came west on the Oregon and California Trails, and Canadian stallions stood at stud from St. Louis, Missouri to Albany, Oregon. But although the Canadian Horse was extremely popular for crossbreeding in the United States–a strain of Canadian blood runs not only in the Morgan, but also the Standardbred and many American gaited breeds–he was never bred pure here.