Horse Breeds in Critical Danger of Extinction

Breeds in Critical DangerAs I’ve spent the last few months researching & writing my breeds section I’ve come to care about each & every one of them. Not only for their contribution to life as we know it, but for their continued patience and understanding with us as a species.

Is Your Horse a Rare Breed?

Because each one is so precious to us for their unique contribution, we have to take care of those that carry low numbers. There are a number of breeds that are in very real trouble and each one listed on this page is in critical danger of becoming extinct.

‘Critical’ means these breeds have less than 300 active breeding mares worldwide. Sorry I don’t have images of all of them – they are that rare.

The Whole Critical List

This is the most up-to-date & comprehensive list I could find, but if anyone has any knowledge of more critical breeds (heaven-forbid) or any that have made a recovery I hope you’ll let me know in the comments below.


Suffolk Punch Horse

Image from Squeezyboy

Draft Breeds

American Cream Draft
A robust American draft breed that was officially recognized in 1950.
The oldest draft breed from England and very little has changed in their confirmation.

Cleveland Bay

Cleveland Bay Horse

Image from Goat Creek Ranch

Horse Breeds

Their bloodlines are at least 2000 years old and influenced many Iberian breeds. Cleveland Bay
Originally bred (with Barb foundations) as cart horses & principally bred by the church.
Colonial Spanish
Comes from Iberian animals brought to the Americas and bred very pure by several indigenous tribes.
Abaco Barb
A tiny population of mysterious Barb descendants of unknown origin found on Abaco island in the Bahamas.
Banker Wild Horses
Also believed to be of Spanish descent and found exclusively on the Outer Banks of the Carolinas in the US.
Carolina Marsh Tacky
Another descendant of Spanish animals found in South Carolina & once used as cow horses.
Florida Cracker Horse
Spanish stock that made their home in Florida & carried a high % of Spanish Jennet blood.
Spanish Barb
Created in the Americas in the 16th & 17th centuries by crossing Iberian animals with Barbs.
Spanish Mustang
We all know their story by now…it’s the American Mustang story.
Mountain Pleasure
Created around 160 years ago, this gaited breed association doesn’t encourage showing of their animals.

Dales Pony

Dales Pony

Lagniappe Aristocrat bred by Baroque Farm Dales Ponies

Pony Breeds

Exmoor Pony
A hardy pony whose ancestors roamed Britain around 100,000 years ago.
Dales Pony
A pony that is every bit as handsome as they are tough.


Caspian Horse

Image from Kerri-Jo

Small Horse Breeds

One of the most ancient equine bloodlines on the planet, the Caspian is also one of the few miniature horses made 100% by Mother Nature.

Sadly More To Come…

I feel sure that this list is missing animals of Asian & African descent & will be on the lookout for better information. If anyone can tell me where to find it, please speak up in the comments below!

22 Comments on “Horse Breeds in Critical Danger of Extinction

    1. Samantha


  1. Mary Jo Geddes

    This is completely awful how did this happen and is there anyway that we can get this back up in numbers I would hate to see these beautiful horses become extinct.
    Please let me know if there is any way that I can help or that we can get the word out. Thank you for sharing this alarming information to us.

    1. Paige Post author

      Your concern is warranted Mary, it would be such a shame to loose any of these magnificent breeds. Many of them have simply ‘outlived’ their usefulness in societies which is one of the main factors that seems to lead to their declining numbers. It’s the exceptionally isolated & pure breeds that concern me the most – animals that have wandered their native area since the Ice Age deserve every ounce of our respect.

      The best way to help is by getting the word out, write about it, blog about it & share the information on your social profiles. I have more lists to publish with threatened equines but it’s more than just horses!

      Here are some helpful resources if you’d like to learn more (if anyone has any more informative sites I hope you’ll share them too).

  2. Paige Post author

    I have four lists of animals with low numbers critical, threatened, vulnerable & at risk & they will post in the coming weeks.

    From what I can tell there is crossover between lists (as numbers fluctuate) and accurate numbers are probably impossible to get from many countries. My main concern is including them all and I’ve got the Akhal-Teke (that post is coming) but I’m not sure I’ve got the Newfoundland and I’ll run through to learn which list they belong on and put them there.

    Thanks for your comments – helping these animals is a very important matter!

  3. Heidi Bemis

    There are more Florida Cracker horses than there are Galicenos yet the Galiceno is not recognized as rare? Perhaps they are so rare that they have been forgotten.
    The Galiceno was the first horse to get to the North American continent with Cortez in 1519. John LeBret was one of the first to go to the wild herds, where they bred naturally for 100’s of years, making them one of the purest breeds available. He brought them over the Mexican boarder in 1958 and the breed was quite popular for a short time. Unfortunately there are almost no breeders of these little horses (12 – 14hh) left in the world.

    1. Paige Post author

      Thanks for adding this info Heidi. Once all four of the lists have been published I’ll go back and create another post specifically for the information my readers have to offer about rare breeds. I know there are plenty missing & want to gather (& share) every one I can find. :)

    2. Kate

      One of the problems with the Galiceno Horse is that our breed association has folded and we have lost touch with breeders that have integrity. We have a few mares here in Texas, but most are too old to continue breeding. My last 3 foals went unregistered. I currently have 1 Galicenos and crosses here.

      1. Robert Rio

        Kate, I’m very much interested in the Galiceño. Any breeders in Missouri or surrounding states?


        1. Kate

          Not that I know of yet. I am still trying to connect with other breeders myself. Heidi Bemis and her partners have some beautifull stock in Florida. They may can offer AI if you ask them. There are other breeders here in Texas, I just don’t know them. We have one stallion ourselves and may one day also offer AI after we resolve our registry problems.

  4. Karen Brenner

    Your headshot of the Suffolk Punch looks just like Emma of White Hall from Indiana. I just finished a painting of her…. it’s posted on my blog today if you’d like to see it.

  5. Victoria Tollman

    We are the only conservation nonprofit specializing in the equine breeds. We have over 30 breeds listed. We encourage you to view our website and become involved. Extinction is Forever!

  6. Rick Blaney

    We are dedicated to preserving the Galiceno breed and welcome all who are interested in this breed to contact us, and tell us your experiences with these horses. We would like to include such comments on our website:
    Galicenos of Suwannee, Live Oak, Florida

  7. alli renee

    Mustangs are so pretty! They’re the story of the west and are now parasites to farmers, the history of the west is fading with the mustangs.

  8. Dave S.

    The extinction of certain breeds of horses is unfortunately “our” fault.
    Breeds of horses come in to and out of favor all the time, you can see this by just looking at the numbers (example: over 6 million Quarter Horses). A lot of breeds get passed by simply because they never were in favor. Some breeds
    like the Abacco Barb were never noticed by horse people (and in their case) they are the most endangered of all breeds <—-this breed will be the first to leave us (simply because we took "notice" far to late to save them). The bigger reason for breed extinction is "US" we look at and favor the breeds we know about and pass by the horses that don't appeal to us. There extinction is a fact that can't be denied, and it's all because of popularity.

    1. Sarah

      Finally! Someone else who knows what the Abaco Barb are! It drives me nuts that they aren’t recognized enough! There is only one left now but they still haven’t made onto many “rarest horse breed” lists!

  9. horse crazy

    i am wondering were the fjords and arabians stand i love arabians and want to get one. i also want to now the extinct horse breeds!

  10. Henry Díaz

    In Peru, there is two breeds in risk of extintion: Caballo Morochuco y Caballo Morochuco Chumbivilcano. Both relate with an old equestrian culture from the Andes, so adaptated to altitude over 4,000 meters above sea level and able to take advantage of poor forage…

Comments are closed.