Finding a breed of horse that is very good for trails will make a significant difference in many situations, whether you’ve been thinking about getting a horse for yourself or looking for new locations to ride.
When someone is unfamiliar with horses, their huge size and presence might be daunting. Spending a lot of time with these incredible creatures is the best way to understand their emotions, what is OK to do and what not to do, and how to stay safe.
Beginners should usually begin on a horse that has a calm disposition and is safe and reliable. They’ll be much more willing to overlook faults made by the person who is riding them or caring for them. There’s a lot to learn for folks who have been riding for years but are new to horse ownership.
Specific horse breeds, however, are especially suitable for trail riding. You’re hardly going to take a horse that’s been bred for racing on a leisurely trail stroll. Selecting a breed that isn’t easily scared and will stick with you as you educate yourself or keep clients safe will make matters easier, more predictable and more enjoyable.
Every breed has its own set of characteristics, although some are better suited to the job than others. These are some of the best horse breeds for trail riding. Let’s jump in!
1. The Morgan Horse
Morgan horses are a popular breed in the United States and throughout the world. It was one of the earliest horses bred in the United States, and its placid demeanour has earned it a popular choice in many other nations.
They’re a fantastic all-around animal with a stocky build that’s modest enough for kids to ride yet competent enough to withstand difficult terrain. They have a friendly demeanour and readily build ties with people.
They’re also intelligent and can quickly adjust to diverse riders of different abilities. Morgans are popular for trail riding and hiking, and they also do well in British riding.
Some Morgans are highly trainable, making them suitable for owners on both ends of the gaited/non-gaited divide. They’re adaptable horses who are equally at home on the trail as they are in just about any other profession, be it English or Western.
Indeed, the first Morgan, Figure, could draw over 400 pounds and was so swift that he was never defeated over one quarter mile. They’re eager horses with a fantastic sense of humour on the way, according to legend. This breed of horse comes in pretty much every colour imaginable, but the most prevalent are either black, brown, or chestnut.
2. The American Paint Horse
The American Paint horse will most likely be the best all-around animal. Due to their distinctive colors, you can detect these adoring horses from a mile down the road.
They’ve appeared in western movies and on farms across the USA. They have a kind demeanour and aren’t easily agitated, which is helpful if you’re out in the forest or on a trail with other creatures. Because these horses are energetic, they might not always be the greatest horse for a complete novice.
The American Paint horse, on the other hand, is a wonderful alternative for folks who have lots of riding expertise and are wanting to get their first horse.
One of the main reasons why the Paint Horse has become such an excellent trail horse is that it is purebred or has a parent who is recognized by either the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) or even the Thoroughbred Registry (also sometimes referred to as the Jockey Club).
It possesses every one of the traits of a Quarter Horse (in fact, many Paint Horses are dual classified with the AQHA), and also the pace of a Thoroughbred, which is why many people consider it to be the ideal trail horse. They’re capable of rational thought for themselves, yet they prefer to be led.
Also, many Paint Horses are double-registered with the American Quarter Horse Association as a means 0f ensuring that they have all of the necessary qualifications.
3. The Appaloosa Horse
Appaloosas are frequently regarded as being one of the best all-around riding horses. They do, however, require a rider who is experienced. If you’re unfamiliar with horseback riding, you can get caught on a route or ride in the wrong direction because these horses can be headstrong.
They’ll do very well on terrain with daily exercise and a little expertise, and they’re a real treat to ride. The breed has traditionally been praised for its agility, sure-footedness, and endurance, and was first bred by the Nez Percé Indians in the north-west of the United states.
Appaloosas already possess all of the features of a Quarter Horse, plus they’re coloured. They’re tough animals who enjoy going out in all types of weather conditions. They have a big jump as well as being terrific on the trail, so that you can mix them if you wish.
They’re always a topic of conversation, so if you’re travelling with a fresh team, you’ll never be bored on an Appaloosa Horse.
4. The Arabian Horse
Due to their big personalities, Arabians are not the finest animals for novices, but when the appropriate person is in charge, they may be fantastic trail riding horses. It’s not that they will have bad personalities; they’re just stubborn.
For people who are new to the activity, their strong bodies and minds make them difficult to manage on the path. The manner in which these horses are treated will have a significant impact on their performance on the trail. The more effort you invest, the more enjoyable your journey will be.
Some believe that the Arabian is too feisty to be utilised as a trail horse, however this is more a reflection of the particular horse than the species overall.
Of course, there are more than enough high-strung Arabians, but there are still plenty who aren’t, hence why many riders and experts don’t believe it ought to be a factor. Arabians, on the whole, have the power, stamina, intellect, and energy required to become excellent trail horses. They’re excellent in endurance riding and won’t wear you out quickly.
They can live with much less water than most of the other varieties owing to their desert heritage. They were developed for their intellect as well as their agility and stamina.
5. The Quarter Horse
The Quarter Horse is the archetypal rodeo steed. It is one of America’s oldest equines, and it has long been a fixture on farms and ranches all around the world.
These horses are known for their pleasant demeanour, as well as their intelligence and dependability. They are keen to obtain people’s confidence and can rapidly pick up new jobs. All of these characteristics combine to make them America’s favourite horse breed.
Quarter Horses are popular because they can sprint and perform as a worker. They live for a long period and reach a fair size, neither too big nor too small. They don’t take a lot of upkeep and are entertaining to be around.
When you think about trail riding, the Quarter Horse is probably the very first breed that immediately springs to mind, regardless if it isn’t the breed you’d like. It isn’t by luck that the Quarter Horse is the very first horse that comes to mind.
They were developed for quickness at first, but due to their inherent cattle sense, they transformed into a great cow horse as the breed progressed. Since then, a variety of ‘forms’ have arisen, each with its own set of criteria, such as a cutting, reigning, or leisure horse.
The Quarter Horse has amazing strength, because of the fact that it saves its strength for when it’s required.
6. The Tennessee Walking Horse
Try the Tennessee Walking horse if you really want a horse that will tolerate novice errors well.
For generations, educators and current owners have chosen these horses because they are among the gentlest available. Wherever you may be, they will adapt to your qualifications and experience and are quite sympathetic whenever something is awry.
They’re a blast to ride since they respond quickly to instructions and have a wide range of skills.
Gaited horses are increasingly fashionable on the trail, and it’s obvious to see why if you think about how pleasant they are to ride.
The Tennessee Walker is without question the most beloved of all gaited species on the path. It was developed to check the crops throughout the day and draw the household chariot at nighttime. While they aren’t used as often in harnesses nowadays, they are nevertheless regarded for their quickness and pleasant gaits.
They’re believed to skim over the terrain and give the rider the sensation of floating. They’re sociable horses that adults and children can effortlessly manage.
7. The Mustang Horse
Riding a Mustang on a trail seems completely natural. They are naturally adapted to new habitats, so nothing you encounter on the walk will shock them. They can handle a variety of terrains and will not be readily frightened if you run upon deer or other animals.
While Mustangs are typically portrayed in movies as rebellious and difficult to teach, they quickly build ties with people and, with proper training, can become quite easy to handle.
Mustangs are among the best trail horse breeds, which may come as a surprise. It’s understandable, given that their careers have essentially been a big trail ride.
Mustangs are used to coming across weird things out in the open, and they can pick up on specific odours or sounds on a trail with ease. Surefootedness is a feature in Mustangs that renders them more dependable on the route, especially in rough ground.
Mustangs are usually better to handle than you might imagine, and they form deep ties with their masters quickly.
8. The Thoroughbred Horse
The Thoroughbred gets his name and fortune on the racecourse, however that doesn’t mean he can’t win on the trail. These horses are large and graceful, with a comfortable ride that helps the time spent on the path fly by.
Thoroughbreds with proper training will keep a steady pace during the ride, however their stubbornness and highly energetic demands may show at times. Many of these horses come from second-chance farms or sanctuaries, and with the extensive training, they can work well with riders of all abilities.
Ex-racehorses are perfect for trails and, unsurprisingly, are extremely quick. Even for a newbie, a Thoroughbred off the track that has been thoroughly re-trained by a specialist will be the ideal trail horse. This breed is extremely fast, yet notwithstanding their urge to run, they are calm, calm, and willing to cooperate alongside their rider.
9. The American Saddlebred
The American Saddlebred was created with the intention of being a warhorse. But we’re talking about historical wars in which horses played a key part.
They were built to be ridden for lengthy periods of time over rough terrain in adverse weather. They have a huge size, and their stride makes riding trails a lot of pleasure. They have good stamina levels, so they can go on lengthy rides, and they work well with people of all levels of expertise.
The American Saddlebred Horse is a horse breed that originated in Usa. The American Saddlebred Horse, formerly known as the Kentucky Saddler, was developed as a battle horse. They were primarily created to handle extended trail rides both during and after wartime.
Although American Saddlebred Horses can be feisty sometimes, they have a leisurely stride that makes them perfect for trail riding. They are amiable and excel at recreational riding sports such as trail riding for the entire family.
10. The Rocky Mountain Horse
The Rocky Mountain horse originated in Kentucky, a horse-crazed state with knowledgeable breeders and riders. Riders of all abilities will enjoy riding these horses up mountains and down lowlands because they have one of the smoothest gaits you’ve ever seen.
It’s difficult not to stare at a Rocky Mountain horse’s gorgeous chocolatey colors and light ponytails while riding. This breed is frequently used for impaired riders’ trail rides.
The Rocky Mountain Horse’s ambling stride is light and comfortable for riders, particularly on trails. The species is recognised for its extremely attractive appearance, with dark coats and delicate flaxen manes and tails. For aged or handicapped equestrians, this breed is one of the greatest trail horses.
11. The Spotted Saddle Horse
The Spotted Saddle Horse is a distinct breed that is not to be mistaken with an American Paint Horse. Tennessee was developed in America by mating pinto ponies with gaited horses.
The Spotted Saddle Horse, like Morgan horses and riding horses, is an excellent trail horse. Spotted Saddle Horses have a lovely pinto coloration and a fluid stride. Since they do not gallop like Quarter Horses or Paints, they provide an extremely smooth and silky ride.
The only two qualifications for registration are pinto colour and a sauntering gait, which is why many Spotted Saddle Horses are dual classified as Missouri Foxtrotters, Tennessee Walkers, and American Saddlebreds.
This sauntering stride, combined with their disposition and competitive aptitude, makes them a fantastic trail horse. They’re nimble but not overly careful, so they’re unlikely to slip but also won’t be wasting time overthinking each step.
They enjoy being in the company of others and are simple to train. They’re loving horses with the gentleness of a pony but the strength of a lion, according to legend.
12. The Andalusian Horse
The Andalusian horse is a type of horse that evolved in Spain and was not permitted to be imported until the 1960s.
The Andalusian horse is beloved amongst riders of all types because of its remarkable grace and powerful yet small bodies. They have a lot of stamina, a fast pace, and can endure tough terrain if necessary. Consider the Andalusian horse a strong choice if you’re seeking for a truly classic-looking trail horse.
The Andalusian will not be the first breed that comes to mind when searching for a new trail horse because of its heritage and widespread use in the traditional equestrian field, but it’s still a very successful stock horse.
It was mated as a stock horse to work alongside the region’s ferocious Iberian bulls, and they do it without objection and even without becoming agitated.
This, combined with their enthusiasm to put their foot to anything, making them an ideal, if rather strange, trail companion. They’re extremely fit and, in the past, were required to be able to ride for at least 12 miles before halting from the age of five.
13. The Icelandic Horse
This breed comes from Iceland, as its name says. They are now the only horses permitted in Iceland, as importing horses from other nations is prohibited.
The breed thrives in a range of sports and can manage a multitude of activities. Icelandic horses are tiny, with an average height of 14 hands, yet they are exceptionally tough and make excellent trail horses.
Icelandic horses are known for being sociable, quiet, and simple to handle, making them a popular trail horse breed.
In Iceland, they are still frequently employed to collect sheep, and they must endure hard hours being ridden over harsh, hilly, and occasionally freezing terrain. They do so cheerfully, without becoming exhausted, and frequently with plenty of vitality left over.
They also feature an integrated homing technology that allows them to navigate back to their starting point – ideal if you’re tired after a long ride. Because they have no predators in their homeland Iceland, they will examine rather than fright towards something.
Despite their small size, they are powerful horses capable of carrying most riders. Their easy gaits can be fairly quick, so they have little trouble keeping up with the much larger horses.
14. The Australian Stock Horse
The Australian Stock Horse, often known as the Stock Horse, was born in Australia, as its name suggests. It’s a species recognised for its toughness, endurance, and placid demeanour.
All of these characteristics are perfect in a great trail horse. Stock Horses have a sure-footed gait, which means they go smoothly without falling or stumbling like many types do. They excel as trail horses because of their power, dependable pace, and intellect.
The Australian Stock Horse is truly a species for all needs, having been created to cope with all of Australia’s environments, both in terms of the environment and landscape.
It’s still employed as a work horse, but it’s also regarded as a versatile horse capable of excelling in whatever activity it’s exposed to.
They’re primarily ridden in Australia in the Australian stock technique, which is quite similar to the Modern style. They’re usually a little thinner than Quarter Horses, yet they’re sometimes known as Australian Quarter Horses.
Mules are known as the ideal 4×4 since they can traverse practically any terrain. They have remarkable poise, are quite stable on their hooves, and possess a great deal of strength. They are, therefore, more stubborn and difficult to teach than horses, but once you have a mule, they are extremely ready to work.
Mules are not advised for novices owing to their obstinacy, but they are ideal for experienced people looking for exciting trail rides in a range of environments.
They can hold a lot more weight than you might believe; they can comfortably hold approximately 20 percent of their body mass. Because their skin is harder than a horse’s, they are less prone to get cuts or bruises.
Mules are reported to be smarter than most mares and donkeys, as well as having a kind disposition and being inherently cautious.
Mules have become increasingly popular among trail riders, and it’s obvious to see why if you think that they’re being used to take passengers (and all of their belongings) over rugged, hilly, and even deadly ground for decades.
They have the positive attributes of both their parents, being the spawn of a male donkey and a female horse, yet they are considered to be more clever than either of its parents.
16. The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse
Missouri Fox Trotters first appeared in the 1800s in the large state of Missouri. They were raised to deal with the daily tasks of herding cattle, keeping a ranch, and travelling vast distances.
The breed was highly trainable and performed a “foxtrot,” which is similar to strolling with the front limbs and galloping with the rear legs. In truth, the horse always has one hand on the floor. This allows the Missouri Fox Trotter to run quicker with less effort, which is beneficial when travelling large distances.
Missouri Fox Trotters can move quicker with less energy, allowing them to travel further and save energy. Because they were developed to withstand the mountainous areas of the Ozarks, these animals are tough and surefooted.
Forest Rangers and Grand Canyon guides employ them because they have a proven history as among the most reliable trail riding horses in America.
Missouri Fox Trotters are gaited horses with broad shoulders, tall withers, and a more erect head than some other varieties.
These horses are plump and big-boned, but nevertheless athletic. When contrasted to other animals, gaited horses walk uniquely. Although it appears like the horse’s limbs are swinging in synchrony, one foot remains on the floor at all times.
17. Haflinger Horses
Haflingers are drafting animals that are ideal for a variety of activities such as cart hauling, dressage, showjumping, and, obviously, trail riding. They are calm and frequently calm, yet they still have a great deal of energy, making them swift and enjoyable to ride.
This variety comes in a variety of varieties. There are two types of haflingers: the old/mountain kind, which is constructed and developed to be a mountainous pack horse, and the new/sport type, which would be constructed lighter and great for dressage, as well as going a little quicker on your trail rides.
This equine used to dwell among mountain ranchers in the Alps, who decided to domesticate it in order to fully exploit its inherent power and stamina, attributes that rendered it a wonderful variety for working in the fields. Ploughing, draft work, and hauling were among the general responsibilities.
The Haflinger grew gentle and easy to control as a result of its regular proximity to people. Because of this, the species was conscripted in huge numbers as a pack horse during WWII; however, after the war, only a few of these horses survived.
18. Criollo Horses
The Criollo horse is a vibrant and pleasant horse that is quick, dependable, and level-headed. They are extremely ready to get to work and enjoy exploring new types of terrain.
These are suited for both novice and professional riders for trail rides, as well as for a variety of disciplines due to their versatility. They have a lot of power, yet they’re still quite easy to ride.
Criollo is a horse subspecies used as a farm and saddle horse in Argentina, Brazil, as well as other Parts Of South america. The variety was established from horses brought from Spain and left to run free for 300 years in Argentina.
A group of wild horses was collected in 1920, and a breeding programme was started. The extremely hardy Criollos have gained style and elegance as a result of selective breeding.