What Are The 3 Types of Horses?

For many horse owners, knowing the different types of horses can be helpful in determining what type of care and environment their horse needs.

What are the 3 types of horses? There are three main types of horses: draft, saddle, and gaited horses. These distinctions are made primarily on the role the horse had historically.

Horses are known for their height, strength, and speed. They can be described as follows.

Draft Horses

Draft horses are strong workhorses that carry heavy loads and pull farm equipment or carriages. They are generally used for tasks such as pulling vehicles, ploughs and carts.


Draft Horses


This type of horse is usually over 16 hands in height at the withers (the point where a man’s head would rest on top of the animal) with short legs that can carry heavy weights due to their massive musculature.

Saddle Horses

Saddle horses are smaller than draft horses with a more refined build, but they still have enough strength to carry riders on long distances. They are what most people think about when they think “horse“.

Saddle horses have an easy to ride gait that makes them popular with riders who want speed and agility.


Saddle Horses


These animals are often smaller than draft horses but still taller than terriers or other small breeds, typically around 14 – 16 hands high at the withers and have long slender limbs that provide good speed without sacrificing agility or stability.

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Gaited Horses

Gaited horses refer specifically to animals which pace, trot or amble. They are known for their ability to perform four-beat running steps instead of two-beat ones like other breeds which is why they’re also popular show animals that trot around arenas in circles at competitions.


Gaited Horses


Gaited horses are often used as show or pleasure horses because they offer comfort for long periods of time on the trail.

Difference between the 3 Horse Types

Draft horses are the heaviest of all horse types with sturdy limbs that carry their bulky weight (typically over 1800 pounds) well on the terrain without becoming winded easily. These animals also rarely break down because of how much stamina they can maintain throughout the course of their workday.

Saddle horses are also good horses for riders who want to cover large distances in one day because of their endurance. These horses are usually around 14 hands high with a long stride and good bone structure for carrying weight but not as heavy as draft horses.

On the other hand, gaited horses are best for people who want to ride a lot but on smoother surfaces. They have an ambling gait which is very comfortable and efficient for the rider and they’re usually 16 – 18 hands tall so you can sit in their saddle more relaxed than if you were riding another type of horse with shorter legs like a draft horse.

Draft, Saddle and Gaited horses are all different breeds with unique characteristics.

Draft horses have a larger stature than the other two types of horse and can weigh up to 2000 pounds. They are bred for their strength and power which is why they are commonly used in logging, agriculture, or as workhorses on farms.

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Saddle Horses generally range from 1200 to 2000 pounds but some may be smaller or bigger depending on what kind of riding you enjoy doing most. This type of horse is bred for stamina rather than strength so they will be more comfortable being ridden long distances such as 50 miles per day instead of 10 miles per day like draft horses would prefer to do.

Gaited Horses generally range from 1000-1100 pounds and stand about 16-18 hands tall. These types of horse tend to have much smoother gaits which make for easier rides on rougher surfaces. They also don’t require any special shoeing when ridden in an arena where there’s usually smoother surfaces.