A Stock horse is a horse of a type that is well suited for working with livestock, particularly cattle. Such horses are riding horses characterized by agility, quickness, and powerful hindquarters. They are usually noted for intelligence and "cow sense," having an instinctive understanding of how to respond to the movement of cattle so as to move livestock in a desired manner with minimal or no guidance from their rider. Such horses are used both as working animals on livestock ranches or stations, and are also seen in competition where horses are evaluated on their ability to work cattle.
The term is used refer to any of the following:
- A horse used for competition based on the movements of a working ranch horse, including:
- Any of the western riding or "stock horse" breeds developed for ranch work in the United States, or work on cattle stations in Australia, including, but not limited to:
- Any other breed of horse used for ranch work or for stock horse types of competition.
- Any breed or type of light riding horse of a phenotype that includes a powerful build with heavily-muscled hindquarters that appears suitable for work as a stock horse. This includes some representatives of a variety of breeds and crossbreeds. Among breeds with stock horse-type representatives include: