What is a Hot Blood Horse?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A hot blood horse is a horse which has been bred to be very fast and athletic. These horses are famous for their temperaments, and they can be difficult to handle, requiring skilled and experienced riders. Several oriental horse breeds such as the Arabian and the Moroccan Barb are classified as hot bloods, along with the Thoroughbred, a horse developed in England by crossing oriental horses with English horses. There are a number of uses for the hot blood horse, ranging from casual riding to racing, and numerous examples of these horses can be seen around the world.

A hot blood horse has been bred to be athletic and fast.
A hot blood horse has been bred to be athletic and fast.

The original hot blood horse was developed in the Middle East, and it is believed to be descended from a subtype known as the “oriental horse.” The oriental horse is adapted for the hot, dry, desert environment of the Middle East, with a lightweight but surprisingly strong frame, large nostrils, and a small, fine head. These horses are known for being extremely fast, and many have incredible endurance which allows them to keep going in conditions which would kill other horses.

Hot blood horses were originally developed in Middle Eastern countries.
Hot blood horses were originally developed in Middle Eastern countries.

Middle Eastern peoples raised hot blood horses for riding and recreation. These lightweight, strong, intelligent horses were ideally suited to desert life, and some Middle Eastern tribes became quite attached to their horses. Although the hot blood horse is well adapted for desert life, these horses do require appropriate food and special care, which can be difficult and expensive to obtain in the desert, so the ownership of a horse was a sign of wealth and power among many Middle Eastern peoples historically.

When the fast and temperamental hot blood horse was introduced to Europe, English breeders crossed it with established English breeds, attempting to bring out the best of both breeds. The result was the Thoroughbred, a hot blood horse which is famous for its speed, especially on the race track. Thoroughbreds share the traits of athleticism, speed, intelligence, and awareness which make the hot blood horse so popular in the Middle East.

Owning a hot blood horse is not for the faint of heart. As their name implies, these horses can be extremely temperamental and difficult to handle, even when well trained. They require skilled, experienced riders who are sensitive to their needs and not afraid to discipline their horses when they behave inappropriately. The reward for owning a hot blood horse is fierce loyalty, beautiful athleticism, immense speed, and incredible endurance. These horses are often owned by wealthy people who can afford their upkeep and take time to handle their horses on a daily basis.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@Iluviaporos - I know hot blooded horses have a bad reputation for being highly strung and it's true that they can be more sensitive than other kinds of horses, but they aren't as bad as most people make them out to be.

They think of the Arabian stallion, bred to be aggressive for racing and so forth. But Arabians were also kept close to families and needed to be calm enough to be brought along with the tribe whenever they moved. So they are very friendly and loving horses, as well as being sensitive.

As long as you handle them correctly, they will be very easy to work with.

They aren't for beginners to horses though, and they need to be trained from birth as horse breaking might not give them a very good disposition.


I always thought the name "hot blood horse" was related to the temperament of the horses as they are infamous for being highly strung and difficult to work with.

But recently I was told during some horse riding lessons it has more to do with the fact that they have a different kind of muscle that allows them to cool down faster. That's why they have such good endurance and can run so fast.

A cool blooded horse would overheat and harm itself, but a hot blooded horse is able to regulate its temperature better.

I imagine they wouldn't do very well in cold temperatures though, so that would be the drawback when it comes to survival in different countries.

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