Best Riding Horse Breeds Revealed!

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Last Updated on April 13, 2022

When choosing the best riding horse breeds, there are many to pick from! Every horse breed has its advantages and disadvantages, and each is suited to different equestrian disciplines. So, whether you want a riding horse for a trail ride or one for high-level dressage competitions, keep reading to find out all about the best horse riding breeds!

How To Pick The Best Riding Horse Breeds

If you are looking for a new riding horse, you can be tempted to try to find a specific breed. While all horse breeds have certain characteristics, within each breed the ability and temperament of each horse can be very different. It is important to take all the characteristics of the horse into account to ensure your needs are met when getting a new riding horse.

How To Pick The Best Riding Horse Breeds
  • Temperament

Within one breed of horse, you can encounter a huge range of temperaments. Some breeds, such as draft horses, tend to be calmer and more placid, while others, such as the Arabian, are notorious for their fiery nature. However, there are always exceptions in any horse breed, so you may find a calm Arabian or excitable Belgian draft horse!

  • Age – Best Riding Horse Breeds

The age of a horse is one of the most important factors to consider in a riding horse. Younger horses are less experienced and tend to be unsuitable for novice riders. Older horses are calmer and less unpredictable but may lack the boldness of a younger horse.

How old the horse is will also affect what you can do with it, and how many years of ridden work the horse has left. The skeletal system of the horse does not fully develop until it is 6-8 years old, so a younger horse will need to be ridden carefully to avoid injury. An older horse may have started to get stiff and less agile, and the workload will need to be decreased as it gets older.

  • Physical Ability

Some horse breeds are highly sought after for their physical abilities, however, not all horses of a specific breed will have these talents. For example, Thoroughbred horses are fast, which is why they are used for horse racing. But not all Thoroughbreds are fast enough to race, and some can be quite slow indeed!

Assessing the physical ability of a riding horse can be tricky, especially if you’re buying a younger horse that has not yet reached the peak of its potential. It is a good idea to ask an experienced horse person to assess the conformation and movement of the horse. The pedigree of a horse can give an idea of the potential athletic ability, but this is not an exact prediction.

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Popular Riding Horse Breeds

If you’re on the lookout for a new riding horse, here are a few pointers for the best breeds to suit all situations:

Best Riding Horse Breeds For Beginner And Novice Riders

If you are learning to ride and looking for your first riding horse, you will need a breed that is calm and sensible. For smaller adults and children, a breed such as the Fell pony or Haflinger would be suitable. Larger adults would be better suited to a taller horse, such as a draft horse breed.

Best Riding Horse Breeds For Jumping

Jumping over a fence takes skill and accuracy, as well as a bold, brave temperament. Horse breeds that consistently win showjumping competitions tend to be either Thoroughbreds or warmbloods.

Popular warmblood riding horse breeds for jumping include the Hanovarian, Selle-Francais, and Dutch Warmblood.

All of these breeds have a big scope when it comes to jumping ability. However, they are not suitable for a novice rider to learn to jump, as they can be fast and unpredictable.

Best Riding Horse Breeds For Trail Riding

For covering many miles of mountain or woodland trails, many people choose a gaited horse breed such as the Icelandic horse. These horses have an extra or different pace, making them far more comfortable if you are planning on spending many hours in the saddle.

Best Riding Horse Breeds For Western Riding

For Western riding, you will want an agile horse with quick reactions. The American Quarter Horse is always popular for Western riding, as well as the Appaloosa, Morgan, and American Paint horse. These breeds are all very talented at Western riding sports such as reining and barrel racing.

Best Riding Horse Breeds Summary

So, as we have learned, deciding on the best riding horse breeds is not an easy task! This is because each breed of horse is very different in terms of size, temperament, and athletic ability. The right horse breed for you will depend on your experience level as well as what you intend to use it for.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the best riding horse breeds! Are you a big fan of a particularly unusual breed of riding horse? Or maybe you prefer a cross-breed to a pure-bred horse? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


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