14 Horse Breeds for Beginners

Horse breeds for beginners
Photo by Kirsten LaChance

When looking for horse breeds for beginners, it is important to examine a variety of aspects, including the horse’s gait, which can determine how smooth or rough the ride will be, as well as the horse’s temperament.

The size of the horse is also crucial; the larger the horse, the more challenging it can be for someone just starting out.

When measured at the horse’s shoulder, the average size of a horse is between 14.2 and 17 hands (4’10” to 5’8″). A horse is typically called a pony if it measures less than 14.2 hands.

Although no horse breed is perfectly suited for novice riders and owners, several breeds have characteristics that make them more appropriate for beginners than others.

Safety should never be anything other than your primary concern. When selecting horse breeds for beginners, You should give the horse’s temperament and experience greater consideration than the horse’s genealogy.

For example, the attentiveness and ease of training common in Morgans and American paint horses are crucial qualities that make these breeds ideal for beginning riders.

Horses that are easy to ride and train and have a smooth pace are ideal for riders who are just starting out. Your best bet will be an experienced horse that is also well-trained and has good manners.

We have produced a list of the top horse breeds for beginners to assist you in your hunt for the perfect equine companion.

1. Friesian Horse

Over three thousand years ago, the Friesian Horse originated in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands.

These stunning horses are sometimes gray or bay in color, but they are most commonly solid black in color and have long feathers (long hair) on the bottom regions of their legs.

Their long-flowing manes have earned them a reputation for being some of the most beautiful in the world. They range somewhere from 14.2 and 17 hands in height.

Because of their high levels of intelligence, sensitivity, and gentleness, Friesian horses are the ideal horse breeds for beginners.

They are placid, sociable, and willing to please in their natural state, and their jaw-droppingly stunning look is sure to make them the topic of conversation in your community.

2. Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse has existed for nearly two centuries. Its development took place in the southern states of the United States, specifically in and around the Appalachians.

They can be practically any solid color, such as black, brown, dun, or white, and both their manes and tails are long and flowing in appearance. They usually have a height ranging from 13.1 to 16 hands.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a breed of horse known for its pleasant demeanor, which makes them suitable horse breeds for beginners, including young children and older people.

They also gait, ensuring that even inexperienced riders have a comfortable experience atop one of these horses.

3. Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Breed

The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse gained recognition during the 1800s in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. Due to their smooth and pleasant gait, they earned the moniker “fox trot.”

They range in size from 14 to 16 hands, are available in a rainbow of colors, and often have white patterns on their face and legs.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is an endearing horse known for its calm demeanor and low-key personality. Because of its kind nature, this breed is an excellent choice for both children and adults.

Because of their easy pace and surefootedness even on difficult ground, in addition to their obedience, these horses are ideal for someone just starting out.

4. Morgan Horse Breed

Most people agree that Morgan Horses are the best horse breeds for beginners to start with. They were one of the earliest breeds of horses to be bred in the United States, and throughout their history, they have established themselves as hard-working animals with a muscular build.

They can be any color and stand between 14 and 15.2 hands tall. Although they can be any color, the most popular ones are black, bay, or chestnut.

The Morgan Horse breed is known for its kind nature, good manners, and ability to form strong ties with its owners. They have a positive attitude about interacting with people, are dependable, and are not easily frightened.

As a result of their habit of eating less than horses of other breeds, Morgans are among the easiest and most affordable horses to maintain.

5. Norwegian Fjord Horse

The Norwegian Fjord Horse was initially brought into domestication around the year 2,000 B.C., making it one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world.

The modern Fjord Horse normally stands between 13.2 and 15 hands tall and has a brown dun coloration.

The mane is typically clipped in a fashion that enables it to stand upright, highlighting the black hair located in the center of the mane and surrounded by white hair on both sides. Because of this, the Fjord Horse has a look that is quite distinct.

The Fjord Horse is a breed of horse that has a willing, gentle, quiet, and friendly nature. It is a good choice if you are seeking the ideal horse breeds for beginners.

This breed serves well for novice riders and as a therapeutic horse. These horses are not flighty, and it is common knowledge that they look out for the well-being of their riders.

6. Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse, which first appeared in the late 1800s, is a hybrid of several horse breeds, including but not limited to the Standardbred, American Saddlebred, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and Canadian Pacer.

They can range in height from 15 to 17 hands and come in various hues; brown, chestnut, bay, black, roan, and gray are the most common ones.

Tennessee Because Walkers are trustworthy, kind, and calm by nature, it is highly unlikely that they will run away from you.

They are also popular as gaited horses, which makes for a very smooth ride, and in general, it is not difficult to teach them because they are keen students.

7. American Paint Horse Breed

The first known appearance of the American Paint Horse in North America was in 1519, when Spanish adventurers brought the breed with them.

The American Paint Horse was a cross between Andalusian, Barb, and Arabian breeds. However, modern Paint Horses are a cross between spotted horses with American Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred genes.

They are well-known for the enormous patches of two colors you may find on their coats, typically white with brown, chestnut, bay, or black.

The American Paint Horse is a breed that, in general, does not require as much exercise as other types of horses due to its comparatively low-maintenance nature.

The horses range in height from 14.2 to 15.2 hands, and in addition to their moderate stature, the gentle demeanor, friendliness, and composure they exude make them the ideal horse breeds for beginners.

Because of their intelligence and strength, these horses are simple to teach. In addition, they are powerful and quick.

8. American Quarter Horse

Spanish conquistadors were also responsible for introducing the American Quarter Horse to the continent of North America some 500 years ago.

The Cherokee and Chickasaw horses of the First Nations, as well as English Thoroughbreds, were later used for breeding these horses, which resulted in a mixture of Arabian, Barb, and Iberian bloodlines.

These horses are available in many different coat colors: brown, palomino, gray, black, roan, bay, sorrel, and buckskin.

One of the reasons that the Quarter Horse is one of the best horse breeds for beginners is because of their mild-mannered and submissive personalities.

They range in height from 14.3 to 16 hands and are very trainable and friendly horses, making them excellent choices for beginning riders of any age, including youngsters.

9. Appaloosa Horse Breed

In this instance, the Spanish brought their horses to Mexico in the 1500s. These horses eventually made their way into North America.

The Nez Perce tribe, who resided along the Palouse River in what is now North-Central Idaho, owns the credit for developing the distinctive spotted coat of the Appaloosa horse.

They range in height from 14.2 to 16 hands and have a solid color with a spotting pattern (such as chestnut, black, gray, buckskin, dun, etc.). They also have a solid color.

The Appaloosa horse is popular for its intelligence, gentleness, and playful nature. They are also extremely loyal to the family that they adore.

The strong attachment they form with their owners is one of the reasons they are the appropriate horse breeds for beginners, but regrettably, this is not the case with all Appaloosas that are now in existence. They also tend to be easily agitated and regularly require a lot of physical activity.

10. Connemara Pony Breed

Nobody really understands where the Connemara Pony came from in the first place. When the Spanish Armada ran aground in County Galway in 1588, Connemara (part of the region) was part of the area affected.

As a result, the local breeds of Ireland were mixed with Andalusians. The Connemara is a pony that is smaller than most horses.

They typically range in height from 13.2 to 15 hands, making them more manageable for novice riders. They might be black, bay, chestnut, brown, or palomino, although dun and gray are their most prevalent colors.

Connemaras are intelligent, adaptable, gentle, and sensible, yet they are hardy and agile at the same time. They are excellent for novice riders of any age, including children.

11. Arabian Horse Breed

According to popular belief, Arabians have fiery tempers and blood. They were well-known for their speed, endurance, and strength, making them ideal warhorses.

A substantial number of Arabians are calm and reliable. When confronted with frightening circumstances, a docile and unruffled horse is less likely to become startled.

Geldings(mature males who have had their testicles removed) are the most subdued of all Arabians. If you are just starting out with horses, a gelding might be an excellent choice for you.

They usually stand between 14 and 16 hands (56 and 64 inches) tall and weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds. Their height ranges from 14 to 16 hands. Surprisingly, they have a lifespan of anything between 25 and 30 years.

12. Thoroughbred

Because people breed these horses for competition, thoroughbreds can be challenging for just starting riders.

In most cases, it is best to avoid purchasing a retired racehorse that will habitually take off at the sound of a starter gun.

However, non-racing thoroughbreds can be calm and reliable, and they might make good horse breeds for beginners because of these qualities.

13. Icelandic Horse

Icelandic horses are famous for their solid footing, longevity, and ability to withstand tough environments.

They mature later than other horses, and most are not ready to go for rides until around the age of four, although some of them can live up to 40 years.

They are descents of the Shetland ponies, and because of their smaller size, they don’t appear to be as intimidating to novice riders.

The Icelandic horse is another breed that has a gaited gait. Their one-of-a-kind gait, known as a “tolt,” consists of a brisk walk done at a faster pace. This allows them to maintain a level of riding even when traversing uneven terrain.

14. Draft Crossbreeds

A draft crossbreed is an excellent choice if you are looking for the best horse breeds for beginners. People crossed some draft horse breeds, such as Clydesdales, Shires, and Percherons, thoroughbreds, and painted horses to produce docile animals of smaller stature.

These horses make good use for farming and other purposes. These crossbreeds are less problematic for novice riders to saddle, ride, maintain and stand at a more manageable height.


Untrained and highly spirited horses can be challenging for even the most experienced equestrians, so beginners should steer clear of them altogether.

It’s possible that someone with limited horse expertise would find the Akhal-Teke breed too energetic to handle.

Similarly, the high level of agility possessed by Andalusian horses can also make them difficult for novice riders to control.

As is the case with every breed, there are exceptions galore, and it all comes down to the individual horse in terms of their age, experience, level of training, and disposition.

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