What is a Hot-Blooded Horse?

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  • Written By: Katharine Swan
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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Although the term hot-blooded horse usually makes people think of a high-spirited, hot-tempered animal, temperament is not actually the determining factor. Hot-blooded horses are actually breeds that fall within a certain class. In this case, they are breeds that are typically smaller and leaner. A hot-blooded horse also tends to have a shorter, thinner coat than cold-bloods.

The hot-blooded horse is known for having great energy and endurance. This is possible because of its lighter body construction. Because hot-blooded horses are lightly muscled, they don’t tire as quickly as horses that are heavily muscled. Their muscles also cool faster, enabling them to work or run harder and longer than bigger horses. Despite their smaller size, hot-bloods are not less strong than other horses, but they are considerably more agile.

A famous example of a hot-blooded horse is the Arabian. This popular breed comes from the Arabian Peninsula, an area that is very hot and arid. Because of the extreme climate, Arabians were bred to be energetic and to have a lot of stamina. However, because they are so high-spirited, they are often considered to be better suited for experienced riders.

Another well-known type of hot-blooded horse is the Thoroughbred. Most racehorses are Thoroughbreds, which should tell you a lot about the amount of energy and stamina typical in this breed. This English breed actually shares bloodlines with the Arabian — the breed was created by crossing Arabians with English horses.


A less commonly known hot-blooded horse is the Moroccan breed known as the Barb. Although the Barb is small and light enough to be considered a hot-blood, it lacks the grace and beauty that the Arabian is known for. Instead of having a small, delicately shaped head, the Barb’s head is large and not considered very pretty. Its body is also plain, but it is definitely built for getting the job done: The Barb is just as well known for its speed and stamina as the Arabian.

Finally, the breed known as Akhal-Teke is a type of hot-blooded horse that also comes from the Middle East. These horses are noticeably leaner-looking than the Barb, and are proportionately longer than other hot-bloods when measured from the center of their chest to their tail. Their long bodies combined with their amazing stamina make them perfect long-distance race horses and jumpers.

Many competitive riders and experienced horse people prefer a hot-blooded horse to the slower, less athletic, yet stronger cold-blooded breeds. As a result, many of the horses you see in competition today are hot-bloods, making them some of the most well-known breeds in the world.


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