Well, I think that depends.
I own a lot of horses. From Foundation Sugarbush Draft horses, through the culmination of Everett Smith's program (Sweetie, my darling filly) plus a whole gaggle of horses from "off breeds" (those I'm not breeding FOR) for my program. I have a Percheron, some Appaloosas, a couple of Quarter Horses, a Paint (yeah, so what if he's a solid), an Arabian, lots of draft crosses, a few Thoroughbreds, and some mutts just to round it out. I am not a breed snob in the least, if you can't tell.
Now, I have become most interested in working with adult novice riders. Those of us who grew up in love with horses (or not) and decided to one day learn to ride. Some own a horse, and some don't. What I find most interesting though, is how much the ideal of "the perfect horse" changes from person to person. Those who grew up in horses tend to have inherited certain thoughts about horses, but for many novice riders, it's all so fresh and new, that I find myself looking at horses in a whole new way - through their eyes.
I have a friend who loves dressage. She wants the best horse ever as her dressage mount, so she owns warmbloods. In her mind, if it isn't a warmblood, then it can't be good at dressage. Well, I'm happy for her, but I completely disagree! My wonderful Thoroughbred gelding is a much nicer horse to ride then any of hers. Oh sure, some of her horses might out perform Diesel, but none of them will work as hard, while being so sweet, and give so much of himself to please. Diesel though, is just a Thoroughbred.
Poko is part draft, and part something that had LP (Mustang? Appaloosa? POA?). No one knows his breeding, but I can tell you that this horse works HARD. He doesn't like to goof off and piddle around. Oddly, I got Poko because he did not fit well with a friend of mine. I like an intense horse, while she wanted a packer. Poko is intense. When I ride him, he acts like he's all mellow and laid back, but god forbid I trust him to that. If I slouch off in the saddle, he drops his shoulder, and makes it easy for me to lose my balance. Nothing "bad" mind you, but he expects me to work as hard as he does... and he puts his all into it.
Boo will carry a kid around for hours, and do his best to make sure she stays on top of him. If she loses her balance, he simply slows down and moves under her. That's priceless in a pony in my mind! But, he understands when he has more rider too. With me, he will even do a few high school moves, such as a spanish walk, and a levade. He's very talented, and I can't even begin to touch his potential. Boo can jump 4 feet cleanly from a bad take off (and has, thank goodness I wasn't on him!) and my dressage instructor loved him to death. He's good. He's damned good. But he's kinda short.
So many vast differences, and yet, not a one of these horses is "bad". I couldn't honestly tell you which of these horses I prefer, either. My point here is that so many people talk about the "best" breed, as if it's a hard fact. It's not. The "best" of anything is always an opinion. Sure that opinion can be based on facts, but it's still an opinion.
I have pretty horses, and I have ugly horses. I have big horses, and I have little horses. I have smart horses and I have dumb horses. I have all types of horses, and there is someone that thinks each of them is the "best" at something. The way I see it, I have an entire pasture full of the best horses in the world!
But I do have one equine that is definately NOT my best horse.......
Because she's my best donkey! I love my Maggie Mae.
I never truly appreciated all of this though, until I relaxed in my riding. When I wanted to be the best jumper in the world (around age 12) I was positive that stock breeds sucked. Well sure, they will never be the next Olympic champion jumper. What I didn't realize though, was that some where, out in the world, is a person who needs exactly what stock horses are for.
When my new horsey friends talk about their horses, I listen. I hear what they love, what they dislike, and I actually think about what they say. In the years I've been doing this, I have learned to appreciate so much more in a single horse, then I ever did when I was trying to be a show queen. I wouldn't go back to that mentality for anything now. I find when I go "work" my horses, I have a smile on my face, even when they are bad. I appreciate each horse for being what it is, not for what it is not. I am able to realize when something "bad" about a horse is nothing more then my own personal opinion, and not truly a problem. Maybe the horse is too calm? Well some where out there is a first time rider who would LOVE a horse that is nice and slow.
I will never make it to the big leagues in horses, but I'm perfectly happy with that. In fact, I hope to stay working with young horses and novice riders. My focus has completely changed, and I'm so lucky it has. This section of the horse world is so sadly under represented, and under appreciated! I know when I was getting into horses, finding someone to work with me, on my terms, was almost impossible. So now, I try to fill in that gap for those around me.
Because lets all be honest here. There's really only one thing that matters when it comes to horses:
The love of it