One of the things I love most about being an equestrian is that I can always learn more. In fact, it was my fascination with learning about different horse breeds that inspired my Discover the Horse Quest.
During my international travels, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and ride some of the rarest horse breeds in the world. In this article, I’ll introduce you to five types of horses you’ve probably never heard of:
- Camarillo White Horse
- Georgian Grande
- Nez Perce Horse
Thanks to the tireless work of breeders and breed enthusiasts, these rare horses remain part of our shared equestrian story.
#1: Camarillo White Horse
First up is the Camarillo White Horse, the breed originated in southern California. In 1921 Adolfo Camarillo bought a pure white stallion at the Sacramento State Fair — a stallion that would become the foundation for a new breed and start a century-long family tradition.
Camarillos have been used as flashy parade and performance horses, and it’s easy to see why.
They carry a specific gene mutation that prevents the coat from expressing color.
The mutation, which is only found in the Camarillo White Horse, gives them their stunningly white appearance. They are even born white, unlike grey horses that are born dark and lighten with age.
They’re so white, in fact, they resemble magical unicorns. With less than 30 Camarillo White Horses worldwide, they’re about as rare!
Famous faces seen riding them included President Harding and movie star Leo Carillo. This breed is used in a wide variety of disciplines from ranch sorting to jumping to dressage.
Check out this video to see me riding a Camarillo White Horse:
See what made our list of best breeds for first-time horse owners.
#2: Georgian Grande
In the 1970s, a man named George Wagner Jr. decided to recreate the original Saddlebred “type” by cross the breed with Drafts and Friesians.
The name means “George’s Great Horse.”
The goal was to combine the graceful elegance of the Saddlebred with the size and temperament of big bone breeds.
The International Georgian Grande Horse Registry was started in 1994, and they’re currently popular as performance and family horses. Though still quite rare, you can sometimes spot them at horse shows, in medieval reenactments, in films, and even as police horses.
Fully recognized by the United State Equestrian Federation as a participating breed, this is one breed you may not have heard of before, but should remember!
Check out this video to see me riding a Georgian Grande:
Our third rare horse breed is the Nokota. In the 1950s, when horses were accidentally fenced into the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a piece of living history was enclosed within.
The breed is thought to trace back to Sitting Bull’s war ponies.
Their ancestors include early Native American and frontier ranch horses. For at least a century, horses lived wild in the rugged area of the Little Missouri Badlands. Harsh winters, hot summers, and tough landscapes in North Dakota made these already tough horses even more durable.
There are less than 1,000 Nokota horses worldwide.
In the 1980s, two brothers named Frank and Leo Kuntz started buying horses from the National Park Service round ups in order to save them from slaughter. In 1999, the Nokota Horse Conservancy was created and the breed registry was formed.
Today, Nokotas are used for all types of disciplines, from dressage to mounted shooting. They’re known as sound athletes who develop strong bonds with people they trust.
Blue roan is the hallmark color of the breed, but they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Check out this video to see me riding a Nokota:
See who made our list of best horse breeds for older riders.
Breed number four is the Blazer, which originated in 1967. A man named Neil Hinck bred the first Blazer stallion.
All Blazer horses trace back to one founding sire, “Little Blaze.”
He was a combination of Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and Shetland. The foundation stock was hand picked based for conformation and disposition.
Blazer horses are efficient, standing only 13-15hh and easy to care for, feed, and maintain. They’re also versatile enough to excel at activities like extreme cowboy races, cow work, and mountain trail riding. Plus, they’re durable enough to keep working well into their twenties without missing a beat!
What endears them to breed enthusiasts most, though, is their undeniably friendly nature.
Check out this video to see me riding a Blazer:
#5: Nez Perce Horse
Our fifth breed is the Nez Perce Horse. The Nez Perce Tribe is known for breeding the Appaloosa, now one of the most popular breeds in the United States. They were one of the first tribes to use selective breeding techniques with their horses.
The Nez Perce War of 1877 resulted in a separation of the tribe and their prized Appaloosas. The Appaloosa became a “lost” breed until 1937 when an article written by a history professor from Idaho was published in the Western Horseman magazine.
Over a century after the war, the equestrian legacy of the Nez Perce tribe was re-invigorated with the arrival of four Akhal-Teke stallions. They were then crossed with Appaloosas to create an entirely new breed.
They called it the Nez Perce Horse to honor the tribe’s history and build new possibilities for the future.
There are a few specialized breeders that occasionally offer horses for sale, such as Falling Feather Farm in Idaho. They are bred to be strong and capable athletes. From the trail to the show ring, these horses’ incredible potential is still being discovered.
Check out this video to see me riding a Nez Perce Horse:
Whether you’re a new equestrian or a lifelong rider, it’s time to open your eyes to the wider world of horses with these rare breeds!
Check out the video below for a summary of the breeds featured in this article:
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