We continue our Meet Our Breeds series this week with Max, who is a Pony of the Americas. The Meet Our Breeds series is designed to help you meet the many horses and ponies of different shapes and sizes who model our tack in our online shop.
The Pony of the Americas is one of the relatively few breeds that originated here in the United States. According to the Pony of Americas Club Inc., the POA traces its roots to a Shetland stallion crossed with an Appaloosa/Arab mare. Breeder Les Boomhower was fascinated with the idea of a pony with the spotted pattern of the Appaloosa.
POAs vary in physical appearance, similarly to Appaloosas; they may have a blanket coat pattern or a full-spotted leopard pattern. They also have the mottled skin on their nose characteristic of Appaloosas. POAs range in height from 11.2 hands to 14 hands high. Their physical structure is often akin to a small Quarter Horse with some marks of Arabians.
The POA is known as an excellent children’s and family horse due to its size and temperament. Most of them are used for Western riding disciplines, but are sometimes found in driving harness or under English tack.
Max is one of the horses at the Asbury University Equine Center in central Kentucky, where he helps prepare students for careers in the equine industry or for veterinary school. Two Horse Tack appreciates Asbury’s generosity in letting us photograph their horses with our products!
We continue our Meet Our Breeds series this week with Norway the Andalusian stallion. He is one of our most popular models, as the striking gray showing off the red and yellow English bridle that so often catches attention on social media.
The Andalusian has a royal history, as one of the breeds sought after by Spanish and Portuguese royalty after tracing its origins to the Iberian Peninsula.
The stout nature of the horse gave it the strength for high level dressage as well as durability for use by cavalries, which was a popular outlet for them through the 1700s.
As with so many breeds, Andalusian numbers dwindled in the early 1900s. In the United States, low numbers were partly due to tight import restrictions, which were in place until the 1960s, but the breed has since spread. According to one 2010 study, there were around 185,000 registered Andalusians across the world.
Andalusians are typically around 15.0 hands with thick, wavy manes and tails, with slightly convex faces, with compact yet substantial frames.
Andalusians are closely related to Lusitanio horses, and also had influence on the gene pools of the Lippizzaner, Friesian, Oldenburg, Hanoverian, and Holstein.
The breed is used for both driving and riding. Although it’s primarily known for its affinity for classical dressage, Andalusians are also involved with bull fighting, show jumping, and even western pleasure.
Two Horse Tack takes pride in fitting tack to all breeds and sizes of horse. To ensure a custom fit, include your horse’s height, weight, age, and breed (as well as any measurements you may have from current tack) in the Order Notes section at checkout.
From time to time, we’re proud to say we get happy notes from customers whose horses love Two Horse Tack. We were fascinated by a recent photo we got from MacKenzie, who was showing off her new lime green halter and lead on her mount, Ichabod.
Ichabod is 1/4 Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred and 3/4 Norwegian Fjord. If you haven’t seen a Norwegian Fjord before, they probably look like the rocker dudes of the equine world.
Norwegian Fjords trace their lineage back to just after the Ice Age, when it’s believed they were domesticated in Norway. The Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry’s website indicates the horses were selectively bred for at least 2,000 years, based on findings at Viking burial sites.
Norwegian Fjords are believed to have arrived in America by 1888, though it took another 80 years for a large number of the breeding stock in the United States to be imported.
As you can see in this photo of Ichabod, most Fjords are some variety of dun with a dorsal stripe and upright mane of a light color with dark tips.
The stout and distinctively-colored Fjord is heavy enough for plowing fields and pulling timber but small enough to be a good riding horse. The Fjord excels at mountain riding due to its sure-footed nature, and are also used often in combined driving.
Two Horse Tack is proud to outfit Ichabod and all other breeds. Even if your horse is tough-to-fit, we can help with our wide range of sizes and custom sizing. If you’re concerned about getting the perfect fit, include your horse’s breed, age, height and weight in the order notes at checkout!
Traditionally, our “Meet Our Breeds” series has been limited to the many, many breeds who help us model Two Horse Tack for our online shop. But after a recent tack giveaway via Endurance Granny, we encountered a breed that was new to us. Our contest winner told us she was the owner of a Florida Cracker Horse, which we’ve since learned has its roots in Spanish stock.
The Cracker Horse originated as the cattle breed of the same name–from Spanish stock brought over with the first explorers to Florida in the 1500s. According to the Florida Cracker Horse Association, the breed traces back to several influences from its time in Spain, including the North African Barb, Spanish Sorraia and Spanish Jennet (which is a gaited breed). That makes the Cracker Horse similar to the Peruvian Paso, Paso Fino, and Spanish Mustang.
When the first explorers left Florida to head back to Europe, they left some of their animals behind to make room for souvenirs in their ships, and the horses became feral in the area.
When they were retamed, it was by the cowboys in Florida working Spanish cattle. The Cracker Horse was quickly found to be a good size (between 13 and 15 hands) for cow work and had the advantage of a few extra gaits like the flatfoot walk and running walk along with the endurance needed to work cows all day. Their name came from the cracking sound that the cowboys’ whips made as they slung the whips through the air onto the ground, creating noise to chase cattle in the direction of their choice.
The breed suffered a big loss when the agricultural model in Florida changed; a parasite in the state’s cattle population in the 1930s caused many farmers to switch from the free-ranging model for raising their cows to a system of pens and fields, reducing the need for a horse to work the herd. Numbers dwindled and the breed almost vanished.
The Florida Cracker Horse Association was founded in 1989 to find the remaining Cracker Horses and preserve the breed. At that time, there were just about 30 of the Cracker Horses remaining; today there are over 800 horses registered with the Association.
Learn more about Cracker Horses here.
We were excited to meet Jai Jai and his human Aubrey. Like his ancestors, Jai Jai is hoping to put his stamina to good use–he is an aspiring endurance competitor. As the winner of our giveaway for an Australian barcoo bridle, we’re looking forward to seeing photos of Jai Jai carrying our lightweight tack into his first competition one day.
This week, we continue our Meet Our Breeds series, in which we introduce you to the equine models who show off our tack on our website.
This is Seamus, one of our handsome male models and a Racking Horse. The Racking Horse was developed in the U.S. as a riding horse with the beauty and comfort suitable for transporting people around large farms and plantations. The Racking Horse is typically a light body type, averaging 15.2 hands with a long, elegant neck, full flanks, and sturdy legs. They are great beginner horses for both riding and driving.
The breed’s “rack” is its own additional gait which has four beats as each foot strikes the ground at a different time. The Racking Horse has this gait naturally and does not require special training to learn how to do it. The Racking Horse Breeders’ Association of America has 80,000 registered racking horses in the United States.
Seamus here belongs to Liz S. in Versailles, Ky., where he is both a great under saddle and driving horse. Liz is part of the Kentucky Mounted Patrol, which works with local, state, and federal first responders to aid in emergencies in situations where vehicles and on-foot personnel cannot.
We’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with the Adventures with Shyloh blog for a fun new tack giveaway contest, which is perfect for readers of our Meet Our Breeds series.
Visit Adventures with Shyloh and guess the breed of the pictured horse, then choose the custom tack piece you’d like to win. Enter here.
When we met Ashlyn last week after one of our latest tack giveaways, we became intrigued by her fascinating breeding. Ashlyn is an Appaloosa/Gypsy Vanner cross; we love her flaxen mane and fantastic feathers, so we looked into the history of the Gypsy Vanner breed.
Here’s what we learned:
The Gypsy Vanner originated in Britain around World War II to pull Romanichal caravans. The Romanichal people combined Clydesdales and Shires with smaller breeds like Dale ponies and Hackneys, and selected for unusual coat patterns. The result is a colorful breed with the frame and feathers of a draft but in smaller packages around 15 hands or so. The breed was briefly in danger of becoming extinct, but societies in North America, Europe, and Australia popped up in the mid-1990s to help preserve the breed.
Today, there around 3,000 Gypsy Vanners in the United States. They are designed to pull carts and are a favorite for driving, dressage, pleasure riding, and occasional low-level jumping. The breed is known for its kind temperament, which is common among draft-based breeds.
We continue our Meet our Breeds series with two equine models who look like they belong in shampoo ads. Meet Urzela W and Sjouckje Van De Elsenerhof, the Friesians!
The Friesian breed is known for its black color, light draft build, silky mane, tail, and feathers, Spanish style conformation, and its nimble movements. The average Friesian stands between 14.2 and 17 hands tall.
It was originally dubbed “Frisian” but the ‘e’ was added to distinguish the horses from the Holstein Friesian cattle. The breed was developed in Friesland, Netherlands and was a favorite for use in war in the Middle Ages throughout Europe since their size enabled them to carry a knight in full armor while still moving quickly. Friesians were being imported into the United States as soon as 1625 with the Dutch and later gave rise to the Morgan breed here.
The breed’s studbook was founded in the 1879 and since the breed has nearly become extinct several times, although it is coming back into popularity for driving and dressage. It has also been a favorite for circus work.
Their flashy appearance has made Friesians extremely popular in film. They have been featured in Ladyhawke, The Mask of Zorro, Eragon, Alexander, The Chronicles of Narnia, Clash of the Titans, and Conan the Barbarian.
Read more about the history of the Friesians here.
Both of our models posed for us courtesy of Leandra Friesians,
where they are broodmares. Urzela W joined the Leandra band in 2011 and has eight total foals on the ground. Sjouckje Van De Elsenerhof was imported from the Netherlands in 2009 and is known for her excellent movement and affectionate nature.
This week in our Meet Our Breeds series, we introduce you to Solitaire and Commanche, our Appaloosa models.
The Appaloosa is a breed based on a coat pattern. The breed was originally developed by the Nez Perce people of the Pacific Northwest. The tribe lost most of its horses in war, threatening the breed’s future until it was revived in the 1930s.
Today, the Appaloosa is the state horse of Idaho. The breed’s body type is influenced by Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Arabian blood. Solid horses may be included in the registry if they can be blood typed to verify Appaloosa parentage.
In addition to their unique coat colors, most Appaloosas have striped hooves, mottled skin, or white sclera around their eyes. More than 700,000 Appaloosas have been registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club since its foundation in 1938.
We are lucky enough to have two Appaloosa models on our website. Solitaire is one of the many fantastic equine teachers in the Asbury University’s equine program. Asbury offers undergraduate degrees in equine science, and also has its own riding program.
Commanche hails from Easy Riders Ranch in Georgetown, Ky. He is one of nine horses who provide riding lessons, riding by the hour, and rides at birthday parties.