Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

8 Baroque Horse Breeds (with Pictures)

Oliver Jones

Baroque horse breeds are those that are directly descended from horses that were popular during the Baroque period, after the Middle Ages. They tend to be agile, strong, and descended from horses like the destrier, which was the warhorse of the Middle Ages. Owners praise the breeds for being easy to train and ride, and the range of breeds that fall under this mantle regularly take home top honors in multiple disciplines.

Below are eight Baroque horse breeds from this memorable time period. Others have existed in the past, but are no longer around today, while some crossbreeds may also join the list as they become recognized by breed registers.

divider-horse

1. Andalusian

Andalusian horse
Image Credit: oliviacastillo, Pixabay

History

The breed comes from Iberian breeds and originates from the Andalusia region, which is where it gets its name.

Appearance

The Andalusian is a distinctive-looking breed with a long, flowing, dark mane. It moves gracefully and everything about this Baroque breed grabs attention. It is a compact horse and, while it is most likely to be gray or bay, the breed does come in a host of different colors and markings.

Uses

Popular for dressage, the Andalusian is also found on the trails, being driven, and regularly used for classes and riding lessons.

Health and Care

It does require a lot of grooming, thanks to its mane and thick tail, and Andalusians are prone to small intestine issues, some metabolic issues, and laminitis.


2. Frederiksborger

History

The Frederiksborger, or simply Frederiksborg, is Denmark’s oldest horse breed. They were considered a luxury item throughout the Baroque period and the breed retains a degree of rarity to this day, making them costly.

Appearance

The strong breed usually stands between 15 and 16 hands high with a muscular neck, wide muzzle, and broad withers. The breed is most commonly seen in a chestnut color with some white markings, although you will also find grays, palominos, buckskins, and bays.

Uses

The Frederiksborger is a good horse for novices and first-time riders. It is also used for competitive equestrian sports, showjumping, and dressage. Its rarity, however, means that is not often seen in events.

Health and Care

Limited stock means that the breed is prone to genetic conditions.


3. Friesian

History

The Friesian horse originates from the Friesland region of the Netherlands. It was bred as a draft horse and was heavily used as a destrier during the Middle Ages. Although the breed fell out of favor following its heavy use and was close to extinction on more than one occasion, it has grown in popularity once again, and certain groups and breeders are taking steps to ensure its ongoing existence.

Appearance

The most distinctive physical characteristic of the breed is its large, muscular, black frame. It will usually stand between 14 and 17 hands high, but those above 15.2 hands are considered the best stock. They have a Spanish-style head, which means short ears, and although their bodies are compact, they are very muscular.

Uses

Traditionally, the breed was popular as a destrier, because it was large and strong enough to carry a knight in full armor. Today, it is especially popular for its skill in dressage and driving.

Health and Care

Although they are considered a strong and healthy breed, the Friesian is prone to dwarfism, hydrocephalus, and megaesophagus, among health conditions associated with interbreeding.


4. Kladruber

Kladruber horses in the field
Image Credit: Pavel Jacubec, Shutterstock

History

The Kladruber is a Czech horse breed and is considered one of the world’s oldest breeds. The breed is nearly 400 years old and is very rare, having been bred primarily for the Czech Royal Family in the past.

Appearance

The Kladruber is a big breed, measuring between 16 and 17 hands high and only available in black or gray. The breed should not have any markings and should be entirely black or entirely gray only. It has a deep chest, strong legs, and large hooves. The mane and tail are thick and flowing.

Uses

The breed is very rare, and several disasters have struck the breed’s stock in the past. However, some efforts have been made to resurrect the breed, which is popular for official purposes and also for driving.

Health and Care

It is generally considered a healthy breed.


5. Lipizzan

Lipizzan
Image Credit: photosforyou, Pixabay

History

The Lipizzan was bred in the 16th century in Austria when the Habsburgs took the Andalusian horse of Spain to Austria and founded a stud in Kladruby. Over time, Barb and Spanish stock were bred into the horse. The result is one of the most famous and highly revered breeds of horses today.

Appearance

The breed is a type of gray horse. Born black, brown, or black-brown, the coat lightens until it has the white color that the breed is known for. The breed has a sturdy body and a proud head, large eyes, and small ears. It is a strong horse with muscular hindquarters and good tendons and joints.

Uses

The Lipizzan horse was bred for its ability to tackle the airs above the ground, and the breed is still very well known for its ability in dressage and dressage style skills. It is also the breed that is used in the world-renowned Spanish Riding School.

Health and Care

The white coat of the breed means that it is prone to melanomas. Otherwise, the breed is considered healthy and hardy.


6. Lusitano

White Lusitano horse in stables
Image Credit: bellajojos, Pixabay

History

The Lusitano breed is a Portuguese breed that is closely related to the Andalusian. Both breeds are referred to as Iberian horses because they developed on the Iberian Peninsula. They were used as war horses for hundreds of years, and it is contested that the Lusitano is the oldest saddle breed in the world.

Appearance

The breed stands at just over 15 hands high, although it is possible to find some that stand a hand taller than this. They are usually bay, chestnut, or gray, although they can be of any solid color. It is often described as having a noble appearance with a well-proportioned head and body.

Uses

They were originally bred for use in war, bullfighting, and dressage, and the breed is still used for dressage and in bullfighting. The breed has appeared in several Olympic Games in the dressage discipline.

Health and Care

Most Lusitanos are gray, and the light color means that the breed is prone to melanomas and owners should look for bumps around the muzzle and tail where the hair is thinnest.


7. Menorquin

History

The Menorquin comes from the island of Menorca, which is where the breed gets its name. It is considered an endangered species and it is believed that only several thousand examples of the breed exist today.

Appearance

The breed must be black, and all black, to be considered a Menorquin. It is an agile but slender horse, having never been employed for agricultural work. The average height is 15.3 hands and it has long limbs and lively eyes.

Uses

The breed is slender and energetic, and it can be used for most disciplines of riding, competing, and driving. However, it is most commonly used, today, in doma menorquina, which is a style of riding specific to the island of Menorca.

Health and Care

The Menorquin is a healthy breed with no known illnesses or common complaints.


8. Murgese

History

The Murgese is an Italian breed that was created by crossing the Barb with the Arabian bloodline. They are a semi-wild horse, and they retain this almost feral nature today, being used primarily for cross-country riding, although they were once very popular with the Italian cavalry and have been used for draft work.

Appearance

The horse stands between 14 and 16 hands high, making it one of the smaller breeds on this list. It is black or a dark roan color and has a light head with a prominent jaw. It has small ears, strong legs, and strong feet.

Uses

The Murgese is most commonly used for cross-country riding, at which it truly excels. Although the breed is quite rare, it has gained in popularity and is seeing increasing use for riding lessons and other purposes.

Health and Care

The breed is considered a healthy and hardy breed with few known health problems.

horse shoe divider

Baroque Horse Breeds

The Baroque horse breeds tend to be agile and strong, having historically been used as war horses and for other physical purposes. Above are eight Baroque breeds that still exist today, including the popular Andalusian and Friesian breeds, along with the renowned Lipizzan breeds.


Featured Image: PeterT, Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.