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A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Best Horse Breed

Choosing the Right Beginner Horse

Choosing the right beginner horse is an exciting but challenging task that requires careful consideration. Selecting a horse with a good temperament, suited to the rider’s ability level and the intended equine activity, is crucial to ensure a positive experience for both the horse and the rider.

In this article, we will explore how to choose a suitable beginner horse, the traits to look for in a horse, and the best horse breeds for beginners.

Characteristics of a Good Beginner Horse

  • Mature horses are often the best choice for beginners. They have been accustomed to the saddle and bridle and are generally better trained than younger animals.

  • A well-mannered horse is an essential trait that beginners must look for. Beginner horses should be tolerant of riders who may make mistakes and should not spook easily.

  • Horses with an even temper make great beginner horses because they are less likely to get nervous or agitated in unfamiliar settings. Safety is paramount when selecting a beginner horse.

  • The horse should be reasonably safe for the rider to handle and ride, and without any known vices.

Importance of Individual Horse Evaluation

While there are generalizations about horse breeds, every individual animal has its traits and quirks. When choosing a beginner horse, consider its personality, riding ability, breed, and intended use.

Each horse is unique, and you may find some quiet Thoroughbreds or hot-headed Quarter horses. Try to ride the horse and spend time with it before making the final decision.

Matching Horse with Equine Activity

Different horse breeds excel in various disciplines and activities. A horse breed that is well-suited for one type of riding may not be suitable for another.

For example, horses bred for racing may be too sensitive and demanding for beginner riders, while a draft horse intended for farm work might have an easy-going nature that makes it perfect for a beginner rider. Therefore, when choosing a horse, consider the intended equine activity to ensure that it is well-suited for the rider.

Getting Experience with Horses

Before purchasing a horse, it’s best to gain some experience working with horses. This includes taking riding lessons, getting a horse on loan/lease, and attending horse shows or exhibitions.

Horse riding lessons are an excellent way of gaining experience and learning more about horses without making a financial commitment. It would help if you also considered the cost of owning a horse, including feeding, shelter, and veterinary care.

Rules for Buying a Horse

  1. Ride the horse to determine how it feels before making the final decision.

  2. Verify the identity of the person selling the horse and get as much information as possible about the horse and the seller.

  3. Always get a vet-check to confirm the health of the horse before buying it.

  4. Get a bill of sale and ask questions if you don’t understand anything about the transaction.

Best Horse Breeds for Beginners

  • Quarter horses are the most popular breed in the United States, known for their versatility, athleticism, and calm temperament. They excel in western riding.

  • Paint horses are known for their unique markings and are a popular choice for western riding, trail riding, and ranch work.

  • Morgans are a smaller breed that is versatile and easy to train. They excel in both western and English riding.

  • Percherons are draft horses that have a gentle and calm nature, making them ideal for beginner riders.

Horse Breeds Not Recommended for Beginners

  • Arabian horses are sensitive and high-strung and require a skilled and experienced rider.

  • Standardbreds are bred for racing and can be too hot-headed for beginner riders.

  • Haflingers are draft ponies that are not always well-suited for beginner riders due to their strong-willed nature.

  • Appaloosas can be unpredictable and require experienced riders.

Traits to Look for in a Beginner Horse

A beginner horse must possess the right temperament, suited to the intended equine activity, and be safe to handle. The horse should also fit the rider’s talent level and provide enjoyment.

Before purchasing a horse, it’s important to consider all of these factors and ride the horse to determine how it feels.

In Conclusion

Choosing a beginner horse requires careful consideration. It’s important to look for a mature, well-trained, well-mannered, even-tempered, and safe horse.

The horse should be matched to the intended equine activity and fit the rider’s talent level. Before purchasing a horse, gain experience working with horses and follow essential rules.

Finally, consider the best horse breeds for beginners and avoid breeds that may not be well-suited for novice riders.

Getting Experience with Horses: The Key to Success

If you’re thinking of buying a horse, it’s essential to get some experience working with horses before making the final decision. Riding lessons, loaning or leasing a horse, and exposure to horses are great ways to gain knowledge and insight into these incredible animals.

Riding Lessons

Riding lessons are an ideal way to gain experience and knowledge about horses. A riding facility with an experienced trainer can be a valuable resource for anyone interested in riding and caring for horses.

Instructors can teach riders balance, posture, and other essential skills required to ride while providing insight into horse care and management. Riding lessons are an excellent way to gain confidence when around horses, and the techniques learned can be put into practice when buying a horse.

Loan/Lease a Horse

If you’re not ready to commit to owning a horse, loaning or leasing a horse is an excellent option. This allows you to care for the horse for a set period, usually for a specific price.

You’ll be responsible for feeding, grooming, and caring for the horse during that time. Leasing or loaning a horse is an excellent option if you have experience in horse care and management or have a friend who is willing to lend you their horse.

This option is also suitable for aspiring horse owners who want to test their compatibility with horses.

Exposure to Horses

Another way to get experience with horses is through exposure. This can include attending horse shows, exhibitions, and events where you can observe horses in action.

Being around horses can provide insight into their behavior, social structure, and management, which can be helpful when owning your own horse. However, it’s important to note that exposure to horses doesn’t provide hands-on experience, and it may not be sufficient for beginners.

Rules for Buying a Horse

Riding the Horse

Before buying a horse, it’s essential to ride it. This will provide you with an opportunity to get a feel for the horse’s temperament, riding ability, and suitability for your intended activities.

Always ask the seller’s agreement on what you can do with their horse before mounting, saddling, or bridling it.

Checking the Horse Person

If you’re not an experienced horse person, consider taking someone along that is. An expert eye can often detect confirmation defects or other issues that can be problematic or dangerous down the road.

When purchasing from a horse trader or a private seller, take the time to check the reputation and credentials of the individual. Scams are not unknown in the horse world, and being diligent can save you heartache and money.

Vet-Checking the Horse

Another important step in the horse buying process is having the horse vet-checked by an experienced equine veterinarian. The vet can conduct routine tests and examine the horse’s overall health to provide insight into future expenses and necessary care.

Getting Information About the Horse/Seller

Gathering information about the horse and the seller is essential when buying a horse. Speak with the vet to get an idea of the horse’s history and performance.

Research the seller’s history and reputation in the equine community and make sure the seller is upfront and honest.

Best Horse Breeds for Beginners

  • American Quarter Horse

    The American Quarter Horse is one of the most popular horse breeds in the world, known for its individual traits and loyalty to its rider. A Quarter Horse is versatile and is comfortable on the trail or working on a ranch.

    They are easy to train and have an excellent temperament, making them great for novice riders.

  • American Paint Horse

    The American Paint Horse is a cross between a Quarter Horse and a Thoroughbred. They have a gorgeous coat of many colors, are smooth to ride, and have a great temperament.

    Paint Horses are versatile and can participate in various equine activities, including trail riding, ranch work, and more.

  • Morgans

    Morgans are an attractive breed with a versatile nature perfect for first-time riders. They are hardy, economical, and suitable for a variety of equine activities.

    Morgans are known for their good temperament, making them a great choice for novice riders.

  • Percherons

    Percherons are a draft horse breed known for their calm demeanor and exceptional work ethic. They are big in size, intelligent, and have good stamina.

    They are great trail horses, and novice riders can enjoy the ride with these calm and gentle giants.

Horse Breeds Not Recommended for Beginners

  • Arabians

    Arabians are beautiful horses with an excellent reputation for reliability and high energy. They are willing learners but require an experienced hand to handle.

    Arabians can be nervous and require a skilled rider to keep them focused and calm.

  • Standardbreds

    Standardbreds are bred for racing, and while they are an extremely athletic breed, they may not be the best choice for beginner riders. They have an uneven gait that can be difficult for some riders to handle, and they can be rough horses.

  • Haflingers

    Haflingers are a small but powerful breed that can be quite stubborn. They may be difficult for an inexperienced rider to handle, especially if the horse requires correction or is not submissive.

    They have a unique personality, and with enough time and effort, they can make excellent partners for an experienced rider.

  • Appaloosas

    Appaloosas are a high-energy breed that requires a lot of exercise to stay healthy. They are not a suitable breed to be chosen by novice riders.

    Appaloosas can be unpredictable, and inexperienced riders may not be able to manage them properly. In conclusion, choosing the right horse breed is essential for novice riders.

It is crucial to consider the horse’s temperament, riding ability, and intended use when selecting a breed. It is recommended that beginners stick with breeds that are known for their gentle nature and easy-going personality, such as the American Quarter Horse, the American Paint Horse, Morgans, and Percherons.

Horse breeds that require an experienced hand, such as the Arabian, Standardbred, Haflinger, and Appaloosa, are not suitable for beginner riders, who may find these horses challenging to ride and manage. Ultimately, picking the right breed takes careful consideration and extensive research, but the effort is well worth it in the joys and rewards that come with horse ownership.

In Conclusion

Choosing the right horse breed is crucial for novice riders. To ensure a positive experience, it is essential to consider the horse’s temperament, riding ability, and intended use when selecting a breed.

Novice riders should consider breeds that have a gentle nature and easy-going personality, such as the American Quarter Horse, the American Paint Horse, Morgans, and Percherons. On the other hand, breeds that require an experienced hand, such as the Arabian, Standardbred, Haflinger, and Appaloosa are not suitable for beginners.

Remember, picking the right breed takes careful consideration and extensive research before purchasing a horse.


1) What should beginner riders consider when selecting a horse breed?

– Beginner riders should consider the horse’s temperament, riding ability, intended use, and level of experience when choosing a breed.

2) What are the best horse breeds for beginners?

– The best horse breeds for beginners include American Quarter Horses, American Paint Horses, Morgans, and Percherons.

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