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What is a Baroque Horse?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A Baroque horse is a horse with a strong and very agile body type. Baroque horses tend to have a gentle temperament, and are famous for moving very expressively and smoothly. They are comfortable to ride at any gait and they are also very versatile horses, able to compete in a wide variety of events in addition to being pleasure horses. Some examples of Baroque horse breeds include Lipizzan, Andalusian, Lusitano, and Friesian horses.

Horses with a Baroque body type have been bred since at least the medieval period to serve in battle. Modern Baroque horses share a number of physical types with medieval horses like destriers. They have excellent bone structure, with a solid musculoskeletal system designed to provide them with a great deal of power, and rounded, sloping hindquarters with tails set low. Baroque horses tend to have arched necks, small ears, large nostrils, and broad faces. Unlike the destrier, however, most are very gentle breeds and can be ridden safely by everyone from children just learning to ride to highly experienced equestrians.


The distinctive movement of the Baroque horse is big, powerful, and very free. A horse in peak condition working under an experienced trainer can be very graceful, as well as dynamic and powerful. Baroque horses are popular for dressage, an equestrian sport that requires a high degree of athleticism and control. Lipizzan horses are perhaps most famous among the Baroque breeds for their elegant movements, thanks to the widely publicized Lipizzan stallions bred and trained by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

Many Baroque horse breeds, in addition to being gentle and easy to train, are also known for their intelligence. They may be trained to engage in “intelligent refusal,” a horse training technique where animals are taught to refuse to do things they know to be unsafe. This requires a high level of cooperation between horse and rider.

Sales prices for horses in these breeds can be quite high, especially when a horse comes from highly reputable bloodlines and has been carefully trained. These horses can be used for driving as well as riding, and may be seen in a variety of types of equestrian competition. For people who cannot afford to purchase a Baroque horse, it is often possible to make a leasing or rental agreement with a stable. Many stables allow people to compete with horses they are leasing, providing opportunities for people who might otherwise be unable to maintain a horse for competition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What defines a Baroque horse?

A Baroque horse is characterized by its strong, muscular build, arched neck, and powerful hindquarters. These horses typically have a compact, rounded body with a broad chest and shoulders, which contribute to their impressive presence and ability to perform collected movements in classical dressage. They are descendants of the majestic war horses from the Baroque period.

Which breeds are considered Baroque horses?

Common breeds classified as Baroque horses include the Andalusian, Lusitano, Friesian, and the Lipizzaner. These breeds share the distinctive physical traits and movement that define the Baroque type. They are renowned for their grace, agility, and the artistry they bring to classical riding disciplines.

What is the history behind Baroque horses?

Baroque horses originated in Europe during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, where they were highly valued by nobility for their strength, beauty, and versatility. They were originally bred for battle, but their role evolved to include use in royal courts and classical dressage. Their lineage is closely tied to European history and equestrian tradition.

How are Baroque horses used today?

Today, Baroque horses are primarily used for classical dressage, a discipline that emphasizes harmony between horse and rider through precise, controlled movements. They are also popular in show performances, historical reenactments, and cinematic roles due to their striking appearance and expressive gaits. Their gentle temperament makes them suitable for amateur riders as well.

What are the temperamental traits of Baroque horses?

Baroque horses are known for their calm, intelligent, and willing nature. They are typically easy to train and eager to please, making them excellent partners in various equestrian disciplines. Their docile temperament combined with their physical prowess allows them to excel in activities that require both mental and physical agility.

Are Baroque horses rare, and how can one acquire one?

While not exceedingly rare, Baroque horses are considered less common than many other breeds due to their specific lineage and breeding standards. Acquiring a Baroque horse typically involves contacting specialized breeders or attending sales and auctions that focus on these breeds. Prospective owners should expect to invest in a horse known for its quality and heritage.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

Discussion Comments


I don't own a horse, but love to watch the competitions on TV. When we have our state fair, I also like to attend as many of the horse shows as I can.

I have only seen a couple baroque horses in person, but they seem to stand out from the other horses. There seems to be something very regal about the way they are presented.

One thing I love to do is go on a trail ride when I have the chance. Once I had the opportunity to ride a horse that was half Percheron and also had some Friesan bloodline mixed in with it.

This was by far the biggest horse I have ever ridden, and I thoroughly enjoyed my ride on this horse. It is probably the closest thing I will come to being able to ride a Baroque horse.


One of my friends has a baroque horse that is one of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen.

This horse has strong features, and is very even tempered and easy to work with. She likes to compete in dressage events with this horse.

All I have ever owned are quarter horses that I like to trail ride with. I have never competed in dressage, but like to watch the competitions whenever I can.

If you look through any listings that have baroque horses for sale, you quickly find out these horses are not cheap.

I don't know what my friend paid for her horse, but know that I probably wouldn't be able to afford one.

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