The Barb is a light riding horse with great stamina. It has a powerful front end, high withers, short back, a sloping, narrow croup, and carries its tail low. It is hardy, with clean legs, and small, round, sound hooves. It does not have particularly good gaits, but gallops like a sprinter, which has influenced the racing breeds such as the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, and Standardbred.
It usually is gray, but bay, black, chestnut, and brown horses are also found. The Barb stands 13.3-14.1 hands high.