If you’ve spent enough time in the barn, you have possibility heard the terms warm, cold, or hot blood mentioned. Within a single boarding barn you might actually find a range of each.

These words have nothing with do with blood types. There’s no special test that needs to be run and you don’t even need your vets help.

Since horses are mammals, they are all warm-blooded. Here’s a look at what these words actually mean.


These horses are the nervous and energetic types. You might see people describe their Arabians and Thoroughbreds as hot-blooded. They tend to be light-weight, quick, and sensitive. Experienced handlers are sometimes needed for these fired up horses.


Large-built and tall describe the draft breeds that compile the cold-blooded type of horses. Shires and Belgians are perfect examples. Some ponies can even fall in the category of cold blood. These horses typically have easy-going personalities and a pleasing attitude.


Favored in dressage, eventing, and driving events, warm-blooded horses are, as the name implies, a mix of both cold and hot bloods. They tend to be more athletic than cold breeds, but not as uncontrollable as hot types. These warmblood horses can include Hanoverians, Trakheners, and Dutch Warmbloods.

It is good to know these words to describe the horses you are riding. Consider your horse’s breed and temperament to see what category he falls into.