Best Pony Breeds For Beginners

James Lee
• Wednesday, 14 October, 2020
• 9 min read

Physical Characteristics: Medium-boned; finely chiseled head; wide forehead; flat profile Generally, geldings (castrated adult males) are the calmest and make the best beginner horse.

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Physical Characteristics: Compact body; wedge-shaped head; short back with sloping shoulders and powerful hindquarters Largely bred for racing, a thoroughbred might turn out to be more horse than most beginners can handle.

And in most cases, you should pass on a retired racehorse that is trained to bolt at the crack of a starter pistol. However, there are some quiet and steady thoroughbreds that make great first horses.

These horses are typically attentive, social, and have a strong desire to please their caretakers. These horses are generally easy to care for, and health issues are rare.

Physical Characteristics: Smooth lines; small ears; expressive eyes; crested neck Kentucky mountain horses are a gained breed, which means they have a four-beat hoof movement for a smoother ride.

Physical Characteristics: Muscular, compact body; flat facial profile; arched neck; deep chest; well-sloped shoulders The Missouri fox trotter horse is another gained breed for a comfortable ride.

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With its head down and tail up, the horse steps deliberately with one always foot in contact with the ground. This horse has a friendly, gentle disposition and is a great choice for families.

Physical Characteristics: Straight facial profile; pointy ears; muscular body; short back; sloped shoulders Justus de Cuveland/Getty Images Icelandic horses are sure-footed, long-lived, and resistant to harsh conditions.

They descend from Shetland ponies, and their small stature makes them feel less imposing to new riders. Their special step is called a “told,” which is a sped-up walk that offers a level ride even over rocky terrain.

Australian Scenic/Getty Images Clydesdale's often have a quiet demeanor that beginners enjoy. These horses tend to be forgiving of a beginner’s mistakes and are generally calm and steady.

In general, beginners should avoid untrained and highly spirited horses, as they can be difficult for even veteran equestrians. Similarly, the athleticism of Andalusian horses can make them difficult to manage for beginners.

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A novice rider needs to gain proper balance, requiring a horse that gives them confidence in the saddle and forgives their mistakes. The United Kingdom and Ireland might be small countries, but they have an incredible diversity of native horse and pony breeds, many of which are perfect for novices.

Morgans stand an average of between 14.1 and 15.2 hands high and easily recognized by their small stature, graceful, upright necks, and well-muscled bodies. Morgan horses are ideal for beginners because of their sweet, gentle natures and strong desire to please.

The Morgan horse can do it all being favored in both English and western disciplines, trail riding, and carriage driving. Gypsy Manner horses resemble a draft type animal with an average height ranging between 14 and 15.2 hands high.

Initially, the Gypsy Manner lived as a member of the family, coping with the hazards of everyday life on the road. Perhaps the main reason why Gypsy Manners are ideal for first-time horse owners if the fact they are a very hardy breed.

The Connemara pony is native to an area in western Ireland where they were the backbone to many Irish farming families. The Connemara pony has a gentle disposition and loves human interaction, making them easy to handle and train.

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Safe, sensible, intelligent, and patient, this hardy breed is a superb mount for both beginner adult and children horse riders alike. Connemara's ponies are incredibly athletic and versatile with a natural jumping ability and seen competing in all disciplines as well as trekking and hacking.

They evolved from the Section A Welsh Mountain pony, crossbred with larger breeds like Arabians, Hackneys and Thoroughbreds to create a sturdy animal. This hardy breed is intelligent and friendly that is gentle enough for children and beginner adults to ride, but with the ability to compete in different disciplines with a more experienced rider.

Because of their varied size range and calm nature, the Welsh Cob is found in many riding schools, being useful for different types of clients. Bred for its strength and size, these gentle giants performed in battle, as farm horses and for pulling carts.

The Shire horse is renowned for their kind, easy-going nature and is not easily spooked and rarely buck or rear. However, its exact origins are uncertain but thought that the bloodlines include European draft and warm blood breeds crossed with lighter framed Spanish horses like Andalusian's.

They became all-around horses carrying out farm work, pulling the cart to take the family to Sunday Mass as well as the owner’s mount in the hunting field. Compared to other draft breeds, the Irish Draft is smaller standing between 15.1 and 16.3 hands with a lighter frame.

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However, they are incredibly versatile with an impressive jumping ability and compete in all equestrian disciplines as well as for use in the mounted police. Strong and sturdy, Norwegian farmers used Fjord horse to pull heavy loads on their hilly farms.

The Fjord horse is possibly the oldest and purest breed in the world, originating from Norway more than 4000 years ago. The Harbinger horse originated in Italy and Austria during the late 19th century, developed for transportation and farm work.

Temperament is a significant part of the Harbinger breeding programs, and horses should have a kind and quiet nature. America’s favorite horse breed comes in three categories of Bulldog, Thoroughbred and Progressive, standing between 14 and 16 hands high.

Do I want a young horse that will learn and grow with me, or a seasoned veteran that can teach me the ropes? Once you have a general idea of the types of things you’d like to do with your horse, find yourself some local experts who can guide you in the process.

These intelligent and affable horses are known for their flashy coloring, willing natures, and good work ethics. Paint horses are often chosen as beginner mounts because they have a reputation for being strong, docile, and trainable.

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Consider the other breeds in your potential horse’s pedigree, and how it might affect your goals down the road. If you’re a very new beginner, an experienced paint horse can teach you a lot about being a good equestrian.

Jean , via Wikimedia Commons Suitable Disciplines : Saddle seat, showing, driving, jumping, dressage, trail riding However, there are plenty of calm Saddlebags in lesson programs, teaching precocious beginners the ropes.

Things to consider : The Saddle bred is a graceful and athletic breed, and is an excellent choice for the beginner who may want to perform on the flat. A young beginner could show his horse in a lead-line class, and a good Saddle bred could grow with him all the way into adult competitions.

Known for their easygoing dispositions and willing natures, the versatile Appaloosa can be a great choice for a beginner rider. Found in nearly every discipline, Appaloosas turn heads in competitions with their unique spotted coats.

If you take time to search carefully, you’ll be able to find an Arabian to suit your needs, even if you’re new to the equestrian world. These gentle giants can make excellent mounts for larger adult beginners.

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Overall, these gentle giants are friendly and trainable, and many appear in lesson programs teaching adult beginners the basics. Things to consider : The tallest of the pony breeds, Connemara's often reach 15 hands high.

Small and docile enough to teach children to ride, the Harbinger is also stout and strong enough to handle many adult riders as well. The Harbinger is an excellent beginner horse, with a calm disposition and a willingness to work.

Versatile, athletic, and trainable, the Quarter Horse is a solid choice for both experienced equestrians and beginners alike. With over 5 million Quarter Horses in the world today in nearly every discipline, you’ll be sure to find one to meet your needs.

Things to consider : A Quarter horse is bred for athleticism, speed, and performance. They may need time to settle down, and proper training to make them safe and easy to handle.

However, there are many, many experienced and safe Quarter Horses serving in beginner lesson programs all over the country. Consider choosing an older and thoroughly trained Quarter horse with a calmer temperament for your first mount.

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The Missouri Fox Trotter is a smooth gained horse from the Ozark Mountains of Tennessee. Known for their ambling “fox-trot” gait, these surefooted horses can comfortably cover miles of rough terrain.

Shetland ponies are small and relatively easy to handle, which makes them perfect mounts for the smallest of beginners. They make excellent trail horses, and they are flashy performers in the show ring.

Things to consider : While the running walk may be desirable for beginners or riders with physical limitations, some may want their horses to trot and canter. It can take some time to get used to, but many beginner riders find the running walk to be much more comfortable and easy to sit than the standard two-beat trot.

Things to consider : While they are intelligent and trainable, a young Thoroughbred right off the track may not be a suitable partner for a beginner. With a good temperament and suitable training, a Thoroughbred can make an excellent partner for a bold beginner.

The Welsh Cob is a larger version of these versatile ponies, capable of carrying teenagers and adults. Things to consider : Because many ponies are too small for adults to ride safely, they can pick up bad habits from inexperienced novice riders.

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