What is a Cold Blood Horse?

Mary McMahon

A cold blooded horse is a horse which belongs to a breed known for having a stable, calm temperament. Most cold bloods are also very strong, rugged, durable animals, and they have been used as work horses and stable companions for centuries. Examples of cold blood breeds are quite varied, ranging from gentle giants like Clydesdales to intelligent, rugged Welsh ponies. There are numerous uses for cold blooded horses, and they can be found all over the world.

In addition to cold blood and hot blood horses, there are warmblood ones, such as the Trakehner.
In addition to cold blood and hot blood horses, there are warmblood ones, such as the Trakehner.

The term “cold blood horse” is used to refer to a horse with specific traits and tendencies, rather than a specific breed of horse. The cold blooded type is also extremely diverse, with many people saying that the term refers essentially to any horse without oriental bloodlines, as oriental horses are considered “hot” because of their temperament. However, many horse fans also use a third category, the warmblood horse, to refer to sport horses which are neither cold blooded nor hot blooded. Warmbloods are also not merely crosses between hot blood horses and cold blood horses, contrary to popular belief.

Cold blooded horses have been used as work horses for centuries.
Cold blooded horses have been used as work horses for centuries.

As the name of the cold blood horse implies, one of the defining characteristics of a cold blood horse is a very calm temperament. A cold blooded horse is generally extremely mellow, difficult to spook, and very patient. These horses are also bred to be very strong and sturdy, with less of a focus on speed and light weight and more of a focus on endurance and power. As a result, the cold blood horse has often been used for farmwork and hauling.

Many cold blood horse breeds are large and very heavy. Draft horses, for example, are considered cold bloods. They are also very durable animals, willing to tolerate a range of conditions and able to adapt to changing situations. An abundance of cold blood horse breeds are also known for being more rugged than other horses, a trait which can be valuable for owners with limited resources.

Some ponies are considered cold blooded, which can be a bit confusing, as ponies are known for being stubborn. However, the famous attitude of the pony is rooted in intelligence, rather than a particularly strong will, and a well trained pony will be obedient, calm, friendly, and “bomb-proof,” meaning that he or she is very difficult to scare. These traits have made ponies popular among beginning riders for centuries, as most ponies will refuse to do something unsafe, but they are not highstrung and irritable like hot blooded horses are.

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Discussion Comments


@KoiwiGal - I think that there are quite a few societies in place to ensure that cold blooded horse breeds, and indeed, most rare breeds of farm animal, are not going to go extinct.

And, while big horses like Clydesdales aren't as popular as they were when they had to do the work tractors do today, they are still put to use.

I once rode in a horse drawn carriage pulled by a pair of Clydesdales and the driver told us that they had been bred and trained by the Amish.

There are still people in the world who use the animals for their traditional purposes. I think that's really interesting and encouraging for the horses as well.


Many cold blooded horses are just beautiful to look at, like Shires or Clydesdales. It's no wonder, though they were bred to be so very calm. They are often enormous and very strong.

If they had the temperament of a hot blooded horse they could do a lot of damage to a person or a stable.

I think that they might have been descended from the same stock as war chargers that were once bred to carry a knight with full armor. This makes sense as well since a warrior would depend on the horse being as obedient and calm as possible.

It's a shame that they aren't as popular now and many of the breeds are in danger of going extinct.

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