15 Best Horse Breeds for Beginners and First-Time Owners

There are numerous horse breeds in existence, all around the world. However, there are certain horse breeds that are more suitable for beginner riders. Their suitability is primarily based on their calm temperament and friendliness.

Even though horse breeds are known to show similarities, temperaments, nature, etc. are known to vary individually. Therefore, it is best to try out a horse, see if it’s compatible with you before buying.

Having said that, let’s take a look at our list of fifteen horse breeds for beginner riders!

By the way, if you’re interested in having a look at our list of the best horse breeds in the world (not necessarily for beginners), then check it out here.

15 Best Horse Breeds for First Time Owners

To help you decide the suitable horse breed, we have assembled a list of the fifteen most popular horse breeds for first-timers.

1. American Quarter Horse

Quarter Horse, American, Foal, Colt, Animal, Farm

The first breed in this list is the famous American Quarter Horse.

Height: Up to 16 hh

Weight: 950-1200 lb. (Adult)

American Quarter horses are very calm and intelligent. These hot-blooded horses hailing from America have strong, dense legs which contribute to their speed. They have wide eyes which make them aware of their surroundings, which also makes them responsive to their owners. These horses are very gentle and beginner friendly and, thus, easy to train.

They are most popularly used in races or show jumping.

2. Morgan Horse

Morgan, Horse, Saddle

Morgan horses are among the first breeds of horses developed in the USA.

Height: Up to 15.2 hh.

Weight: Up tp 900-1,100 lb.

The Morgan breed is considered to be one of the best horse breeds for beginners. This is because it is ideal for saddle placement and has a kind aura, always ready to please its owner. Its sturdy muscles ensure the safety of the rider.

It is an adaptable breed with satiny fur. Its wide eyes and strong build ensure its expressiveness and speed. Thus, it is capable of enduring huge weights and is a fast breed of horse.

3. Friesian Horse

Horse, Horses, Animal, Nature, Pasture, Whey

The Friesian horse originated in Friesland, Netherlands.

Height: 15.2-17 hh.

Weight: 1200 pounds to 1400 lb.

Friesian horses are usually black in color. They have an athletic build, which is why they were initially used in wars. They have strong bones and inclining shoulders which aid them in high jumps.

In addition to this, the Friesian breed has a submissive demeanor and these horses are always eager to learn. This aspect makes them training friendly which is why they have found a place in this list of horses for beginner riders. If you’re looking to buy one, then here’s a guide on how much a Friesian costs.

4. American Paint

Horse, Paint Horse, Mammal, Horse Riding, Farm, Animal

The Spanish explorers, in the 1500s, brought the American Paint horses to North America.

Height: Up to 16 hh.

Weight: 900 to 1200 pounds.

This breed is very unique. Unlike most horses, American Paints have spotted patterns which distinguishes them from the rest. They are tall, strong and have a coat combination of two colors.

These horses are great for first timers in horse riding because of their gentle nature. They are submissive and are commonly used in various sports such as racing, show jumping, and hunting.

5. Arabian Horse

Horse, Mold, Thoroughbred Arabian, Pasture

Arabian horses are one of the fastest Hot-blooded species.

Height: Up to 14.3 hh.

Weight: 800 to 1000 lb.

Hailing from Arabia in the Middle East, these horses are famous for their slanted necks and muscle build.

Despite their ferocious speed, Arabian horses appreciate human interaction and never shy away from carrying out their owner’s tasks. They participate in horse racing or for travelling, but can also be good for beginners. The only requirement is their proper training, for which their master might have to hire a coach.

6. Icelandic Horse

Horses, Iceland, Landmannalaugar

The small-sized, almost as small as a pony, Icelandic horse was bred in Iceland.

Height: 14 hh.

Weight: 730 to 840 lb.

These horses are smaller in size and have short, yet muscular backs. Since they originate from Iceland and are purebreds, other breeds of Icelandic horses are not imported into Iceland and the ones sent for export are not accepted back.

These horses are ideal for beginners because they are easily manageable. They are friendly and very hardy, so they have a longer lifespan than other breeds. Icelandic horses are mainly beneficial for slaughter, help in agriculture and sports such as show jumping.

7. Thoroughbred

Source: thevetexpert.com

Thoroughbreds are the fastest horse species alive.

Height: 16 hh.

Weight: 1000 lb.

Thoroughbreds have hind legs which are exceptionally strong. They are high spirited with a knack for obeying their owners. The world’s fastest horse Winning Brew, is also a Thoroughbred.

These horses are most commonly found in races, so riders thinking of pursuing a career in horse racing should definitely consider this breed. Since these horses get excited very easily, the rider may need to hire a coach to train them.

If speed is what you’re looking for, then take a look at our list of the fastest equine breeds on the planet (but make sure you’re buying one that’s beginner-friendly.)

8. Appaloosa

Horse, Appaloosa, Nature, Animal, White Horse, Meadow

The Appaloosa, an American horse breed, is best known for its colorful, spotted coat.

Height: Up to 16 hh.

Weight: 1000 to 1100 lb.

Bred from the combination of American Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds, this breed is swift enough to be used for racing. Its strong back is another advantage to the rider.

Appaloosas are gentle and obedient to their owners, which makes them a fit to beginners. They are popular for use in endurance riding competitions.

9. Tennessee Walking Horse

Source: wikipedia.org

Tennessee walking horses are known for their unique four-beat running-walk.

Height: Up to 15.2 hh.

Weight: 1000 lb.

Tennessee Walking horses have long necks and small heads.

They are sure footed which leads to a seamless riding experience and, thus, are a very suitable horse breed for beginners. These horses are loyal and submissive so it can be said that they are easy to train. They are mostly used for carrying huge weights and for racing.

10. Norwegian Fjord

Norwegian Fjord Horse, Horse, Ungulate, Mount

The Norwegian Fjord is found in the mountainous regions of western Norway.

Height: 13 to 14 hh.

Weight: 900 to 1200 lb.

This breed is easily distinguished because of its receding hairline, stretching all the way to along its neck. Their massive build makes them ideal for carrying huge weights. Since they are bred in mountainous regions, these horses are healthy and popular for riding, use in agriculture, and racing events.

Because of their calm demeanor, they are great for beginner riders. These horses also have a forgiving temperament, allowing the rider a smooth experience when riding.

11. Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

Source: horse-canada.com

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle horse is a breed that originated from the state Kentucky and is related to gaited breeds like the Tennessee Walking horse.

Height: Up to 11 hh.

Weight: 950 to 1200 lb.

They are medium built horses with a lower height in comparison to other species. These horses have a deep chest, which helps them run for a longer distance and time. They are also able to carry huge weights.

This breed is acceptable for beginners because of its gentle nature. These horses are easy to control, so they might also not need any external assistance.

12. Welsh Cob

Source: wikipedia.org

Welsh Cobs are great for both children and adults to ride.

Height: Up to 14.2 hh.

Weight: 400 to 700 lb.

Unlike other breeds, Welsh Cob have short legs, however, they are very sturdy which ensures smooth rides.

Welsh Cobs are lively and smart which makes them very interactive. They can bear huge weights which makes them a multipurpose horse. They are gentle in nature and their small size makes it easier for them to control and maintain.

13. Missouri Fox Trotter Horse

Source: foxtrottertrailhorse.com

The Missouri Fox Trotters were bred in the 19th century by by settlers of the Ozark Mountains.

Height: 14 to 16 hh.

Weight: 1000 lb.

Missouri Fox Trotter horses have short but firm legs, pointy legs, and a strong build. These horses have a life expectancy up to 30 years and have coats colored black, brown, cremello, etc.

They are ideal for children because of their calm nature and are eager to interact with and please their owners. Furthermore, they are not bouncy because they have short legs, thus, guarantee a smooth ride for their masters which makes them an appropriate choice for beginner riders.

14. Mustang

Source: thehorse.com

Mustang horses are commonly known to be wild horses but they are actually feral horses.

Height: 12 to 14 hh.

Weight: 800 lb.

They are sure footed and have a strong built. Besides having a striking appearance, Mustangs have strong legs which makes them reliable for travelling and other activities.

Moreover, their friendly nature ensures that the rider is comfortable and their firm legs call for a smooth riding experience. Mustangs are usually used for trail riding and travelling.

15. Clydesdale

Source: wikipedia.org

Clydesdale is a breed of draught horses originating in Clydesdale.

Height: 17 to 18 hh (it’s one of the largest horse breeds in the world)

Weight: 2000 lb.

Clydesdales have feathery legs, long necks which enable them to carry loads for long periods of time. They usually have coats in colors such as bay, black or dark brown.

A Clydesdale is good for beginners because it has a calm nature. These horses can work in cold weather and in mountainous areas, as well. They are used as draught horses, in agriculture and also for traveling.

What to Look for in a Horse (for Beginners)

Now that you know what breeds are great for beginners, let’s talk a bit about what to look for in a horse you’re about to buy as a beginner rider. Now, we do have a separate article on this, but we’ll give you a brief explanation here as well.

There are several factors to account for when searching for a horse as a beginner. For your ease, we have assembled a list of factors to consider before purchasing a horse as a beginner.

Only Buy Trained Horses

It is only rational to buy yourself a cheap horse, however, it is most likely that this horse will be untrained. There is no harm in training the horse yourself, but it will take you a lot of time. Furthermore, most horses are have a wild spirit, and it is important to get rid of that essence; so that they are not unpredictable and cause you injuries.

Another important factor to consider is that the horse should be mature. Mature horses do not get excited or run away easily. Most of the time, they are already trained by their previous owners so all you need to do is familiarise yourself with them.

Try the Horse Before Making a Purchase

It is better to request the horse seller to try and test the horse for a few days. These sellers will not be hesitant to lend their horses, because they are also looking for a loving family.

You also need to make sure that you try out other horses to see which one suits you best. It is natural to opt for a horse with an attractive, shiny coat but that doesn’t mean that horse will easily accept you as its owner or will be a suitable partner in the long run (pun intended). Thus, it is sensible to first explore all the options.

Buy a Horse Best Suited for Your Needs

You don’t get to buy a horse every other day. Therefore, it is best if you patiently see if you are comfortable with the horse’s riding speed, nature, and compatibility.

Don’t Buy a Horse Just Yet

We all get eager and excited before something only to realize mid-way that it wasn’t for us.

This should never be the case when it comes to horse riding, especially when you are about to purchase your own horse. Because buying a horse is not only expensive but also demands a lot of time and attention.

It’s best to buy a horse only if you meet the following requirements:

You’re Experienced Enough

To know whether you love horse riding enough to buy your own horse, it is advised to ride the horse at least 2-3 months before you make the final decision.

You Have the Dough

A huge responsibility comes with purchasing a horse. Apart from the cost of the horse, you need to have enough money for regular visits to the vet, buying nutritious food for them, and might have to employ external help.

You’re Ready for the Commitment

Most horses require a lot of maintenance in terms of time and money. For this, you need to need to a lot of time in your schedule in which you solely take care of your horse.

Don’t just get a horse for the sake of experiencing the thrill during horse riding. Are you ready for these commitments? If yes, then good luck with finding your horse!

FAQs on Horse Breeds for Beginners

For further clarity on this guide, we have compiled a series of Frequently Asked Questions.

What’s the best breed of horse overall?

The best breed is the American Quarter, because it is an all-rounder. Because of its height, it is fairly easy to control. Moreover, these horses are commonly used for horse races and for labor in agriculture.

Their strong build is an added advantage. An American Quarter is friendly and welcoming, making it perfect as a beginner’s horse.

For children specifically, the Welsh Cob is the best fit. This is because it has a calm aura and is very easy to train.

What are the healthiest horse breeds?

Arabian horses are the healthiest breed. Due to their hard structure and muscle build, they are least likely to contract diseases.

They have a minimum lifespan of 25 years and a maximum lifespan of 30 years. Arabians are also known for their endurance and have a lot of stamina.

However, they require an extra nutritious diet. They also need to be properly trained, so that they can participate in races.

What age horse is best for a first-time owner?

Horses of middle age ranging from 10 to 15 years are the best bet for beginners. This is because at this point in the horse’s life, they do not need training and their muscles have fully grown.

So, even if a rider with no experience was to ride it, there will be no damage to the horse’s body and its growth will not be affected. This will ensure that the horse is able to live healthily for a long period of time.

Should a beginner horse rider buy a Stallion, Mare, or Gelding?

Geldings are the most appropriate option for beginners because they are gentle and easy to tame.

Stallions are the worst for beginners because of their unpredictable nature. Worst case scenario, they might attack the rider and everyone within their reach. This is because when you separate stallions from other horses, they develop pent-up anger. Then, when exposed to other horses or people, they exhibit wild, uncontrollable behavior.

Mares are also unsuitable because it is possible for them to get moody and ruin the rider’s experience.

What is the cheapest horse breed to buy?

Thoroughbreds are the cheapest horses because their breed is widely available. Nevertheless, these horses have a lot of potential as they are energetic and keen to impress their owners.

Purchasing Thoroughbreds for a cheap price also means that they might need training. Still, their maintenance costs are high because they are the most ideal breed for racehorses and require a healthy and fulfilling diet.


The Icelandic Horse is the most suitable horse breed for beginners. In addition to their breathtaking appearance, these horses are easy to handle and submissive to their owners.

They just require extra love and care from their owners, and so does every other breed. Their benefits are numerous which makes them an ideal breed for first-timers.

On the other hand, as a beginner, you should avoid Akhal Teke and Andalusian horses because they are very difficult to tame. So, they might need a lot of time and dedication if you want to use them as an everyday horse.

Happy riding!

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