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It can be argued that all recognised breeds of horse were initially crossbred in order to establish the breed independently; however some crosses are recognised and others are not. Generally speaking, if the differing parentage of the horse is known then the term crossbreed can apply. Sometimes the parentage is not known, and in this case the horse might be referred to as a ‘grade horse.’

Some crossbreeds are recognised as breeds in their own right, an example being the Anglo-Arab which is a cross between a Thoroughbred and an Arabian. Because the breed is well conformed and boasts the best qualities of its differing forebears, it is recognised independently. Most of the Warmblood horses that are recognised as breeds are in fact crosses between Thoroughbreds and draught horses.

While it is usually quite easy to tell which breed(s) has contributed to the bloodline of a horse from its appearance and conformation alone, the bloodline of some horses is so heavily influenced by differing breeds that the ancestry is unknown. Equines with unknown ancestry or ancestry that is known but not recognised, come under the category for ‘crossbreeds.’

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Our Other/Crossbreed owners' thoughts

12th May 2015
Miren A. Del Olmo
  • VioVet Customer Since: July 2013
  • From: South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Abalon is not a crossbreed. In fact he is a Pure Bred Menorca from the island of Menorca in the Balearics. The breed is old but was only recognised as an individual breed in 1986. The breed has Barb, Andalusian and Thoroughbred blood (from when the island was under British rule). Pure Bred Menorca horses are taller and lighter than Andalusians and only black horses are allowed into the breed, which numbers are quite small. They have wonderful quiet characters, very laid back. Like with the Andalusian, male horses are normally kept entire because they give so very few problems, and mares are mostly used for breeding. In their native Menorca they are trained in Menorca dressage. They are used in fiestas where they are surrounded by crowds, loud music and fire crackers while performing levades and the "bot" (walking on their hind legs). That can give a better idea of how laid back they are. For more information on the breed, the breeders association has a website in English as well, at

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