Best Horse Breeds For Riding

There is a wide variety of horse breeds and asides from their beauty and strength, they are also renowned for their speed. And while there are no perfect horse breeds, there are breeds that have been deemed more suitable than other breeds. A typical example shows horses are not suited for all types of races. Some are calmer and more receptive than others.

In choosing a horse breed for riding, it is advised you pick a horse on the basis of its temperament and its training. According to animal experts, you can determine if a horse is right for you by spending adequate time with it.

A list of some of the best horse breeds fit for riding has been listed below, accompanied by a detailed description of each horse breed and its uniqueness.

The American Quarter Horse is often regarded as the topmost horse breed in America. This horse breed can be energetic with a finely chiseled head, wide forehead, and standing at a height of 56 to 64 inches.

Weighing about 950 to 1200 pounds, the American quarter horse is also famous for its adaptability and reliability. They have an amazing ability to sprint and have been reported to clock speeds of 60 miles per hour in a quarter-mile distance.

Image courtesy UAFW

American Quarter Horses are muscular and compact and their average temperament allows them to adapt to situations and people. They are perfectly made for life on a ranch and can be frequently seen at western events. This breed has proven to be well-suited for showjumping competitions and dressage shows.

Quarter horses are great for rough terrain. They are also sturdy enough to carry any human while being low enough to make hopping and jumping off easier. This breed enjoys being outdoors. They are also extremely curious and are able to learn and execute tasks faithfully each day.

Quarter horses have a huge following in the USA. From online groups to local AQH associations, there is a community out there connected in love for this breed. And it’s hard to see that followership dropping soon as a result of the outstanding health bill of this breed.

From its compact frames, solid muscles, and strength, the American Quarter Horse is one of the best horse riding breeds in the world.

  • Arabian Horse

Although the Arabian breed of horses is known to be quiet in nature and trustworthy, they are hot-headed with a lot of speed, outstanding strength, and endurance. These qualities made Arabians the perfect warhorses in times past. They are compact with a wedge-shaped head and powerful hindquarters. They can weigh as much as 1000 pounds and grow as tall as 64 inches.

Image Courtesy Arabain Horses

The Arabian horse breed is one of the oldest breeds known to man. Over the centuries, this breed has had to survive in tough arid desert conditions through adaptation. These conditions required hardiness, endurance, and superior lung function. This adaptation has given this breed the ability to conserve energy which makes it suitable for long-distance races. This breed has the distinction of being a top choice in improving other breeds. They are intelligent, friendly and agile.

This breed of horses is elegant, dramatic and eye-catching. Its high tails, arched necks, and well-sprung ribs make the Arabian breed one of the most beautiful breeds on the planet. As a result of their personality, it is hard not to notice the Arabian breed of horses when they make an entrance. Beloved by pleasure riders, the Arabian breed is exciting and fun to have.

  • Thoroughbred

This breed of horses came from cross-breeding of Arabian, Barb and Turkoman horses. To be exact, the thoroughbred can be traced to three different breeds; the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Barb. It is important to point out that this cross-breeding was carried out by the English.

Best Horse Breeds For Riding

The thoroughbred breed of horses is predominantly bred for racing. Weighing between 1000 to about 1300 pounds, this breed of horses can grow as much as 68 inches. They possess a deep chest, are lean with flat muscles, and are long.

Thoroughbreds are racehorses although most people have the misconception that they are not. Thoroughbreds are more suited to motivated competitors and racers or horse lovers who enjoy adrenaline racing.

The thoroughbred horse breed is known for speed also and can clock 40 miles per hour. The racetrack is their home and history has proven they are no match for other breeds. Thoroughbreds are known for their courage.

They don’t back down from a challenge even if it involves covering ground in a fox hunt exercise. They are frequently used as jumpers and require constant mental and physical challenges.

  • Icelandic Horses

Icelandic breed of Horses, one of the most recognizable breeds of horses, is known for living long, being tough in harsh weather conditions, and being gaited. They are descendants of the Shetland pony. This breed of horses is sure-footed and their stout little bodies make them feel a little less imposing to riders.

Icelandic Horses

The Icelandic breed has a speed-up walk called the tolt. This walk offers a level ride even in rocky terrain. It also canters, paces and walks. This breed of horses is squat-legged, deep-chested, and possesses shaggy fur. They can weigh between 700 pounds and 900 pounds.

Icelandic Horses are such a beauty to behold. With their manes, puffy in nature, and tails and forelocks, Icelandic horses are a beauty to behold. Although they are small, they have a great personality matched with an outstanding spirit and are capable of carrying humans with ease.

  • Norwegian Fjord Horses

This breed of horse is considered one of the best in the world. Its stripe, distinct color, and black and tan mane make it easy to recognize even in a stable full of horses. It is usually tagged as a light draft breed.

Norwegian Fjord horses

The Norwegian Fjord breed of horses is regarded as one of the oldest breeds and purest form of horses known to the world. They are pint-sized, strong, and good at finding their way through trails.

The Norwegian Fjord is known to be a versatile breed and possesses a cool, mild personality. Despite their size, they are capable of pulling heavy loads and driving carriages. Their mild nature makes them a popular choice for therapeutic riding exercises and pleasure rides.

  • Appaloosa Horses

The Appaloosa breed possesses spotted coats that draw attention and make them the cynosure of all eyes wherever they go. This makes them easily recognizable. It has mottled skin and white around its eyes. Their hooves are also striped too.

The Appaloosa breed originated from native America, all thanks to the Nez Perce tribe. Almost tragically, the Appaloosa breed almost went into extinction during the great depression when the Nez Perce tribe almost lost their lands to war. A lot of Appaloosas were either captured or killed. Gratefully, this breed gradually found its feet again when interest in it began to peak in the early 1900s. This breed of horses, along sides the American Quarter Horses are an important part of horse history in the United States.

Appaloosas are fast runners, possessing speed, strength, and durability. Its small nature has also made it a favorite choice for kids. They are also a popular choice for long-distance trail rides. They are also suitable for barrel races and pole bending.

It must also be noted that Appaloosa has a high propensity towards blindness. Seeking professional advice from a veterinary doctor on the possible risks, symptoms, and general horse health is highly recommended.

  • Connemara Pony

The Connemara Pony is strong in nature, athletic, kind, and versatile. Having originated from Ireland, the Connemara Pony has become famous for being ever-present in shoe rings. They are an amazing category of horses and need I say they are very cute.

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They are built for endurance. At a height of 12 – 14 hands, the Connemara is just a perfect size for average adults and children. Its size makes mounting and dismounting easier. Connemara ponies are very good at jumping and fox hunting. This breed of horses is desperate to please and goes down to work when the time comes.

They possess strong backs and amazing hindquarters. They also have crested necks with rib cages also deep. They are tough and willing to work hard even on tough and difficult terrains. One thing to point out though is that Connemara ponies are prone to Hoof wall Separation Disease. A timely visit to your veterinary doctor will surely pay a lot of dividends.


Other Notable Mentions

  • The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse

The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse is a special breed designed for comfortable riding. The ‘Foxtrot‘, its special gait stance, makes for a good scene.

This horse breed walks deliberately, first raising its tail and putting down its head, h makes sure one foot is always in contact with the ground. This breed is friendly and largely recognized as a family horse.

The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse has a straight facial profile, a sturdy muscular body accompanied by sloped shoulders, and a short back. They can grow to about 64 inches in height and anywhere between 900 to 1300 pounds.

  • Clydesdale

Calm and steady, Clydesdale can grow to about 72 inches in height while weighing around 2000 pounds. Possessing round feet, a broad forehead, and an arched, long neck, they can be intimidating at times and prove difficult to mount.

Breeds To Avoid

While we talk about breeds that are best for riding, it is also important we touch a little on breeds to avoid when choosing horse breeds for riding.

Untrained horses should be avoided at all costs. Untrained horses are often too difficult to train and stubborn to control. The Andalusia and Akhal-Teke breeds are perfect examples of breeds to avoid.

In the end, it all depends on individual horses and individual needs. 

See also  Arabian Types of Horses