While most people are familiar with many of the pure breeds of horses, there are many interesting crossbreds. Each breed has its own benefits, and it is not unusual for people to try to get the best of both breeds by crossing them. The following are some common crossbreds and their usual characteristics.
Most Arabian crosses are designed to refine the horse, without adding much height. Arabians are known for being highly sensitive and intelligent horses, who can be a bit flighty or silly at times. Most of the breeds they are crossed to tend to be solid citizens who could use a bit more pep. Many Arab crosses make excellent all-round horses who do well for children and for pleasure. Some make excellent dressage horses or hunters, combining the beautiful Arab movement with the solid personality of their crosses.
Some of the most common Arabian crosses include the Morab (Morgan x Arabian), the Quarab (Quarter Horse x Arabian) and the Arapaloosa (Appaloosa x Arabian). Another common Arabian cross is the Anglo Arabian (Thoroughbred x Arabian). Anglo Arabians are unlike the other crosses in that they are highly sensitive, have good height, and are excellent athletes. The cross has been so well established in France, that it became the foundation of their Selle Francais breed. Arabians also cross very well with some pony breeds such as Welsh Ponies.
Thoroughbreds are the most common horses to see crossbred into other breeds. Adding size and refinement, the Thoroughbred is an amazing athlete who generally produces crossbreds with excellent performance potential.
One of the most popular Thoroughbred crosses is the Appendix Quarter horse. Not only are half-breds accepted as Appendix Quarter Horses, a high percentages of Thoroughbred blood is permitted in the registry.
Smaller thoroughbreds are also crossed onto many pony breeds to produce pony-sized offspring with horse-type bodies. This type is highly popular in the hunter ring. Many successful ponies that near the highly desirable 14.2hh size are in fact part Thoroughbred.
Many breeders like to cross Thoroughbreds to draft horses. These crosses are lighter weight than drafts, and are well suited to riding. Many draft crosses become field hunters, but some of the more refined crosses become good performance horses.
Appaloosas are hardy horses who are renowned for their unusual coloring. Some breeders like to cross other types of horses to Appaloosas to attempt to get the Appaloosa coloring on a horse while retaining the type of the breed they are crossing to. Arapaloosas are the Arabian x Appaloosa cross mentioned earlier, but other popular crosses include Pintos (Pintaloosa) and Tennessee Walkers (Walkaloosa).
A cross between a Shetland pony and an Appaloosa mare produced the colourful Pony of the Americas, now an established breed.
Some people enjoy crossing the highly popular gaited breeds, such as Tennessee Walkers, to other breeds. They try to retain the gait, but gain the size, substance or coloring of the other breed. Some gaited crosses include the National Show Horse (Arabian x Saddlebred) and the Tennuvian (Tennessee Walker x Peruvian Paso).
No matter where you look, you will see other types of crossbred horses. Some are popular enough that breed registries have been formed for them. Others are still rare. While many breeders consider crossbreds to be no different than grade horses, others will defend their crossbred “breed”, claiming that it has as much validity as other breeds. Either way, you can find a cross of almost anything if you look hard enough.