Horses have throughout history maintained their utility to mankind. In years past, they were used in war, as a form of transport and as a primary source of labor. In those times, horses were mostly kept for what they could do in terms of transport and farm work. In today's society, it is only among farming communities or country people that horses are kept for their usefulness.
For most of the world however, horses are a symbol of wealth and class. Owning and being able to maintain horses carries a degree of sophistication that can be afforded by a select few. It is little wonder that the Queen of England herself is a noted horse enthusiast. As a direct result of this, there are many breeds of horses. Of these, there are those that are common and that occur in large populations and there are also those that are rare and far between. This article focuses on the later category. Now first on this list of rare horses is the Suffolk Punch horse. The Suffolk Punch, a breed of exclusively chestnut horses has its origins in England and was especially useful for farm work. The gradual increase in the use of machinery in the farm produced a proportionate decrease in the numbers of these horses. This is because farmers invested in machinery and did away with the horses as they did not need them anymore. It is now reported that there are just about three hundred of them left in England.
Another breed of horses that suffered a fate similar to that of the Suffolk punch horse is the Shire horse. This one was also of British origin and was used for farm work. Its numbers took a nose dive when farm activities were mechanized. The breed was known for its remarkable body strength which was almost always accompanied by equally large body size. Moving away from England, we find the American cream horse. Its name is a reflection of its American heritage and its cream coat. Like the Suffolk punch and the Shire breeds, it was also a draft horse and its usefulness dwindled with the advent of machines and motor vehicles. There are just about two thousand of them in the whole of America.
The Iranian Caspian horse is another horse breed so rare it was at some point considered to be extinct. An Iranian horse breeder however rediscovered the breed in 1965. Caspian horses are relatively small compared to others in this list and could even be considered ponies instead of horses. However, they are said to possess characteristics that identify them more as horses and not ponies. Last but not least is the so called golden horse, the Akhal Teke of Turkmenistan whose coat boasts a metallic sheen. Described by some people as the most beautiful breed of horses, they can also be found in Russia, parts of Europe and North America. Other than beauty, the breed is praised for their endurance in extreme weather conditions, speed and intelligence. There are just about over six thousand of them in the world.