Did you know a horse could be cold blooded? Horse Tips for Writers

Cold blooded horses? Well, yes.

But not like a reptile!

Categorisation by temperament

Horses can be categorised in a number of ways, taking into account breed and type, but doing it by temperament gives you 3 simple categories:

  • Hot bloods
  • Cold bloods
  • Warm bloods

Hot Bloods

These are the fiery tempered, least predictable breeds. They tend to be the ones we associate with speed and/or endurance racing.

The main examples are THOROUGHBREDS (TB), the horses you see on the racecourse in most countries.

Anthony 92931/Wikimedia.org

Anthony 92931/Wikimedia.org

and Arabian horses, versatile in many fields, but particularly in endurance racing

Heather Moreton/ Wikipedia.org

Heather Moreton/ Wikipedia.org


Cold Bloods

These are you slow, sensible, docile types, particularly suited to carriage driving or working the land.

Well known examples would be the Shire horse (draft horse)


and the Cleveland Bay




Warm bloods

A warmblood is achieved by crossing a hot blood with a cold blood. These are the types of horse that excel in general competition spheres – dressage, show jumping, eventing, etc.

Being possessed of the cold blood’s sensible and calm nature and more solid physical construction, with a bit of hot blood speed,  sensitivity and fineness, warmblood temperaments can lean more to one side or the other according to the mix and proportion of cold and hot blood.

Most countries produce their own versions of the warmblood, and often the breed is simply known as, for example, a Dutch Warmblood, or a British Warmblood. Probably best known are the various German breeds, named for the regions in which they are bred, such as the Hannoverian or the Holstein.

World dressage champion Totilas - a Dutch Warmblood

World dressage champion Totilas – a Dutch Warmblood


All clear?

Don’t forget, if you have any burning questions you need answered about horses, just leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to write a post on the subject.



  1. I wrote about Lusitano horses bred in Portugal and Mexico for use in bull fights there and in Spain. Would you classify those as warm-blooded? This is an interesting post, Deborah Jay!


    1. Oh, interesting question!
      The Iberian breeds, Lusitanos, Andalusians, Lippizaners are very old breeds in their own right. I’d probably classify them as warm-bloods, though on the hot-blooded side of things on the grounds that they have a lot of Arabian back in their breed histories.
      I train a number of horses of these breeds and they tend to be an interesting mixture of fiery temperament, mixed with much common sense! Watching the prize giving at the 2004 Olympics, with the Spanish team in Silver, with 3 of the team horses being Iberian, they were impressively quiet compared to the other warmblood horses, yet they can be very ‘proud’ in the bull ring and fiestas.


      1. Very cool, Deborah Jay. I have only seen these breeds in videos and other media, but every time, I was transfixed. Thanks for answering!


      2. Thanks for dropping by – see you again 🙂


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