The Top 15 Horse Breeds For Beginner Riders

If you want to try riding, which horse breed is best for you? This list of horse breeds for beginner riders will help you make a decision based on your experience level and what kind of riding you want to do.

Best Horse Breeds For Trail Riding
The right saddle fitting is crucial for a comfortable and safe ride
Properly fitting boots are essential for a safe and comfortable ride
Finding the right bridle for your horse’s discipline is key for optimal performance
Supplements can be a great addition to your horse’s diet, but choosing the right ones can be overwhelming
Horse shows require proper etiquette to ensure everyone has a chance to shine


Appaloosa is a breed of horse that originated in the northwest United States, primarily in the state of Idaho. 

The Appaloosa has been used as a stock horse, as well as for riding and racing purposes. In recent years, they have become very popular with beginner riders because they are relatively easy to train and handle compared to other breeds.

Appaloosas are known for their spotted coat patterns which can range from minimal spots to large areas covered by white markings on their bodies and legs (mainly around their chest).

Choosing the right saddle is crucial for a comfortable and safe ride. Our Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Saddle provides all the information you need to make an informed decision based on your horse’s needs and your riding style.


Arabians are a popular choice for riding and racing. They were bred to be used as war horses, so they have a reputation for being strong and athletic. 

They’re also known for their intelligence and endurance, which makes them great choices for beginners who want to learn how to ride without getting tired out too quickly.


Haflingers are a small draft horse breed originating from the Tyrol in Austria. They are known for their hardiness and surefootedness, which makes them great for beginners who want to ride on trails.

These horses are easy to control as well as being calm enough not to spook easily when you’re learning how to ride them.

Properly fitting boots are essential for a safe and comfortable ride. Learn more about the importance of properly fitting horseback riding boots with our helpful guide, so you can avoid discomfort and accidents while riding.

Quarter Horse

Quarter Horses are known for their speed and agility. They can run fast, but they’re also great at jumping over obstacles. These horses are popular with beginner riders because they are easy to handle and forgiving of mistakes made by riders who aren’t as experienced.

Quarter Horses come in many different colors including bay, chestnut, black and brown; some even have white markings on their faces or legs! 

If you’re looking for a horse that will be used mostly for pleasure riding or racing then this breed might be right up your alley. However if you’re looking for something more utilitarian then maybe another type would suit your needs better (such as an Arabian).

Primary UseRacing, rodeo, and ranch work
TemperamentEasy-going and forgiving
TrainabilityEasy to train and handle
Recommended forBeginner riders
Brands known for breedingSmart Little Lena, Peppy San Badger, and Hollywood Dun It


Mustangs are a breed of horse that originated in the North American West. They were originally feral horses, which means they were free-roaming and unbranded and came from Spanish stock. 

The term “mustang” is also an American term for unbranded free-roaming horses, as well as a symbol of the Old West (think Clint Eastwood).

Finding the right bridle for your horse’s discipline is key to achieving the best performance. Check out our guide to the best horseback riding bridles for every discipline to ensure you have the right equipment for your chosen discipline


The Morgan horse is a breed of horse that originated in the United States. They are known for their versatility and athleticism, intelligence and gentle, kind nature, willingness to work hard, and easy-keeping qualities.

Morgan horses have an average height between 15 hands (60 inches) to 17 hands (72 inches). They come in all colors but bay roan, gray or chestnut are most common colors seen in Morgans today.

Welsh Pony

Welsh ponies are known for their spirited nature, and they’re great horses for beginner riders. They have a reputation for being feisty, which can make them difficult to train, but once you’ve earned their respect they’ll be loyal companions who will follow you anywhere.

The Welsh Pony has been bred in Wales since the 16th century. They stand at about 12 hands high (48 inches) and weigh between 900 pounds and 1,000 pounds when fully grown. 

They come in many different colors: black or brown with white markings; gray; chestnut with flaxen mane and tail; bay roan brahma dun palomino sorrel dun etc…

Tennessee Walker

The Tennessee Walker is a breed of horse that originated in the United States. It’s a gaited horse, meaning its natural gait is slower than other breeds’ gaits and smoother to ride than trotting or cantering. 

The Tennessee Walker is used for riding and driving, but it’s best known for its smooth gait–a trotting motion with some lateral movement to the side.

Tennessee Walkers are also known for their gentle temperament; they make excellent mounts for beginner riders because they’re easygoing, obedient and willing to learn new skills from their owners (like basic commands).

Supplements can be a great addition to your horse’s diet, but choosing the right ones can be overwhelming. Take a look at our Top 15 Supplements Every Horse Owner Should Know About to provide your horse with the best nutrition and health benefits.


Warmbloods are a cross between a light horse and a heavy horse. They have the speed, agility and jumping ability of light breeds, but also the strength, endurance and calm temperament of heavier breeds.

Warmbloods can be used for many different disciplines, including dressage (a type of riding competition in which the rider sits on top of their horse), eventing (a three-day competition involving dressage, show jumping and cross country) or fox hunting (riding on trails through forests chasing real foxes).


A Standardbred horse is a breed known for its speed. These horses can be trained to race, and they have a smooth, long stride that makes them ideal for beginner riders. They’re also extremely easy to train and ride because of their calm demeanor.

Primary UseRacing
StrideSmooth and long
TrainabilityEasy to train and ride
Recommended forBeginner riders
Brands known for breedingHanover Shoe Farms, Diamond Creek Farm, Blue Chip Farms


Standardbred horses are best known for their primary use in racing, with a reputation for being fast and having a smooth, long stride. They also have a calm temperament, making them easy to train and ideal for beginner riders. Some well-known Standardbred breeding brands include Hanover Shoe Farms, Diamond Creek Farm, and Blue Chip Farms.

Paint Horse

Paints are a very social breed of horse who love to be around people. They are known for their intelligence, athleticism and endurance. They make great all-around horses that can do just about anything you want them to do!

Paint Horses come in many colors including bay (brown), black, chestnut or roan with white markings on the face and legs; these markings may also appear on other parts of the body as well as feet. 

The most common color pattern is called tobiano which means “to tie up” because it resembles a saddle tied over one side of the body (usually white belly). 

Other types include overo where there is no white on top half but some white below withers; sabino which looks like dun coloration only with distinctive facial markings such as lip spots or stripes down sides; splash which has splashes across back shoulders etc.; calico which has large patches mixed together into one color scheme – usually black & white but sometimes brown & white too!

Horse shows require proper etiquette to ensure everyone has a chance to shine. Our guide on the Do’s and Don’ts of Horse Show Etiquette covers everything you need to know about appropriate attire, behavior, and sportsmanship at equestrian events.

Percheron Draft Horse

Percheron Draft Horses are a large, heavy draft horse breed. They have long bodies and short legs, which is why they are known for their fast trotting speed. 

This breed originated from France and was originally bred to pull plows and other farm equipment. Percheron Draft Horses are also one of the oldest horse breeds in the world; their ancestors were used as cavalry horses during World War I!

Percherons tend to be very calm under saddle, making them perfect for beginner riders who want an easy-going partner on trail rides or at competitions like shows or races where they can show off their skills as an equestrian athlete (or just hang out).

Clydesdale Draft Horse (also known as Clydesdale)

The Clydesdale, also known as the Clydesdale Draft Horse, is a draft horse breed that originated in Scotland. 

The breed’s name comes from its home country: Clyde is the river that runs through Glasgow (Scotland’s largest city) and dale refers to the lowland valley where they were first bred.

The Clydesdales were originally bred for use as packhorses and farm laborers but have become popular among show horses today. These horses are known for their large size–they can weigh between 1,500-2,000 pounds and stand about 6 feet tall at the shoulder!

Shetland Pony (also known as Shetland)

Shetland ponies are small, sturdy horses with a solid build. They’re known for their intelligence and easy-going temperament. 

The Shetland Pony is also one of the best horse breeds for beginners because they are easy to care for and can be trained by children or adults alike.

Shetland ponies come in a variety of colors including bay (brown), black, chestnut and gray; some have white markings on their face or legs as well; others may have spots or stripes over their entire body called pinto coloring. Their average height ranges from 13-15 hands high (52″-58″).

TrainabilitySuitable for both children and adults
Recommended forBeginner riders
Brands known for breedingIsles stud, Hame fae Hame Pony stud, Whalsay stud


Shetland Ponies, also known as Shetlands, are a small, sturdy horse breed with an easy-going temperament and high intelligence. They are one of the best horse breeds for beginners due to their suitability for both children and adults, as well as their ease of care. Some well-known Shetland Pony breeding brands include Isles Stud, Hame fae Hame Pony Stud, and Whalsay Stud.


If you are looking for a horse that is easy to manage and has a calm personality, we recommend the Appaloosa or Haflinger. 

If you want a horse that can be trained for riding as well as working on farms or ranches, then go with the Quarter Horse or Mustang. 

If you’re looking for something unique in terms of color or markings (like spots), consider buying an Arabian horse!

Further Reading

For more information on beginner-friendly horse breeds, check out the following resources:

Farmhouse Guide: This article lists the top horse breeds for beginners and provides a brief overview of each breed’s temperament and suitability for novice riders.

The Spruce Pets: This guide highlights horse breeds that are perfect for first-time horse owners and includes information on their strengths, weaknesses, and riding abilities. This article discusses the best horse breeds for novice riders as well as tips on what to look for when purchasing a horse and how to care for them.


What are the best horse breeds for beginner riders?

There are several horse breeds that are well-suited to beginners, including:

  • Quarter Horse
  • Arabian
  • Appaloosa
  • Paint
  • Thoroughbred

How do I choose the best horse breed for me?

Consider your riding experience, the primary reason for having a horse, and what you will use your horse for when choosing the best breed for you.

What traits should I look for in a beginner-friendly horse?

Beginner-friendly horses should have a gentle temperament, be easy to handle, and respond well to training. They should also be well-suited to the rider’s ability level and riding style.

Should I buy or lease a horse as a beginner?

Leasing is a great option for beginners who are still learning about horse ownership. It allows you to gain experience and try different horse breeds without the long-term commitment and expense of owning a horse.

What are some common mistakes beginner horse riders make?

Common mistakes beginner riders make include incorrect positioning in the saddle, using improper equipment, neglecting basic horse care, and underestimating the time and financial commitment of horse ownership.