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10 Best Horse Breeds For Beginners & First Time Owners

10 Best Horse Breeds For Beginners & First Time Owners

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Venturing into the world of horse ownership is an exciting journey, albeit one that requires careful consideration and thoughtful decision-making.

As a beginner or first-time horse owner, the choice of breed can significantly influence your equestrian experience. Certain horse breeds, due to their temperament, size, and care requirements, are better suited for newcomers to the equine world.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the top ten horse breeds that are ideal for beginners and first-time owners.

These breeds have been chosen based on their known reliability, gentle nature, versatility, and lower maintenance needs. They range from the calm and sturdy Quarter Horse to the patient and friendly Clydesdale.

Each breed has its unique charm and strengths, and understanding these can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your needs and aspirations.

Morgan Horse

Palomino Morgan horse stallion cantering through a field
Lisa Kolbenschlag /

Morgan Horses, named after their first recognized breeder, Justin Morgan, stand as a symbol of American equine versatility and durability.

These compact and muscular horses stand between 14.2 to 15.2 hands, sporting a body length almost equal to their height. The strong, arched neck is one of the distinguishing features of the breed.

Morgan horses have an amiable and easy-to-handle nature, and they are generally eager to please, making them an ideal choice for first-time owners.

Known for their endurance, Morgans have excelled in various equestrian disciplines such as dressage, show jumping, and endurance riding.

Beginners can enjoy a range of activities with this versatile breed, ensuring a positive first experience in horse ownership.

Gypsy Vanner

Beautiful black and white Gypsy Vanner horse with a long mane and feathered hooves cantering through a field
Nicole Ciscato /

The Gypsy Vanner, also known as the Irish Cob or Tinker Horse, is a strikingly beautiful breed renowned for its long, flowing mane and tail, and abundant feathering on the legs. Characterized by their unique, colorful coat patterns, Gypsy Vanners stand at around 14 to 16 hands high.

Despite their robust build, these horses are known for their calm and gentle temperament, making them ideal for first-time owners. As intelligent and patient learners, Gypsy Vanners adapt well to training, ensuring a smooth learning curve for novice horse owners.

American Paint Horse

American Paint horse cantering through a field
Lenkadan /

With unique and colorful coat patterns, American Paint Horses are not only visually appealing but are also known for their gentle, friendly temperament. Standing between 14.2 to 16 hands high, they have a muscular and compact build, inherited from their American Quarter Horse ancestry.

The breed’s amiable and laid-back nature and high trainability make them an excellent choice for first-time horse owners. They are versatile performers, excelling in various equestrian disciplines, which provides beginners with a wide range of opportunities to explore.

Welsh Cob

Welsh Cob horse being led during a horse show
nigel baker photography /

The Welsh Cob, native to Wales, is renowned for its strength, endurance, and friendly temperament. These hardy horses usually stand between 13.2 to 15.2 hands and are well-suited for various equestrian activities due to their robustness and willing nature.

Their versatility and good-natured disposition make them a reliable and enjoyable choice for novice horse owners, ensuring a positive introduction to horse ownership and care.

Norwegian Fjord

Norwegian Fjord mare with her foal trotting in a long grass field
Maria Junge Fotografie /

One of the world’s oldest and purest breeds, the Norwegian Fjord, is a sturdy and reliable horse known for its friendly demeanor. They typically stand at around 13 to 14.2 hands high and have a distinct dun coat and a unique two-toned mane.

Their calm disposition and adaptability across a range of equestrian activities make them perfect for first-time horse owners, providing a great balance of performance and ease of management.


beautiful haflinger horse galloping across an outdoor riding arena
Annabell Gsoedl /

Haflingers, originating from the Tyrolean Mountains of Austria, are compact, lively, and gentle horses, recognized for their hardy constitution. Standing between 13 to 15 hands, they have a chestnut body contrasted by a flaxen mane and tail.

Renowned for their robust health and adaptability, Haflingers are suited to various equestrian tasks, including riding, driving, and therapeutic riding programs. Their well-rounded attributes make them an ideal choice for first-time owners.

American Quarter Horse

American Quarter Horse cantering through a short grass field with a clear blue sky
Jaco Wiid /

The American Quarter Horse is one of the oldest American breeds known for its agility, speed, and calm temperament. With a height ranging between 14 to 16 hands, these horses are muscular and compact, enabling them to make quick maneuvers and short-distance sprints.

Their docile nature, combined with their resilience and versatility in disciplines such as Western riding, trail riding, and farm work, makes them an excellent choice for beginner horse owners. Their patience and adaptability provide a good foundation for first-time owners to learn about horse training and care.


Appaloosa cantering through a long grass field with a background of a clear blue sky
Zuzule /

The Appaloosa, with its rich history linked to the Nez Perce Native American tribe, stands out with its spotted coat. These horses typically stand between 14 to 15 hands and are celebrated for their hardiness, speed, and endurance.

The breed’s easy-going temperament and high trainability make them suitable for a range of equestrian disciplines, including trail riding, Western events, and dressage. Their versatility and adaptability make Appaloosas an excellent choice for beginner riders and first-time owners.

Connemara Pony

Dun Connemara pony stands in a paddock of long summer grass
nigel baker photography /

The Connemara Pony, a robust and athletic breed from Ireland, ranges from 12.2 to 14.2 hands in height. Despite their classification as a pony, these equines can carry adults with ease.

Their calm temperament and willingness to learn make the Connemara an excellent choice for first-time horse owners. They are versatile and hardy, making them well-suited for a range of equestrian activities, allowing beginner owners to explore various horse riding and care aspects.

Tennessee Walking Horse

Skewbald Tennessee Walking Horse grazing in a barron field
Courtney Hennegan /

The Tennessee Walking Horse, renowned for its distinctive four-beat “running walk” and flashy movement, stands between 14.3 to 17 hands. Their unique gait offers a smooth ride, making them perfect for beginners.

Known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, Tennessee Walking Horses make excellent trail riding horses and are a top choice for novice horse owners. Their genial nature allows beginners to build their confidence and skills, making the transition into horse ownership enjoyable.


Monday 14th of December 2020

Are friesian horses good for beginners?


Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Great recommendations!!! The only thing that confused me was, why a Fyord pony...I've seen a video of a little boy around 7, riding one and the pony slamming the boy into an eletric fence. Also, Pony's can be mean and have attitude. I would not recommend ponys for beginers, unless their old.


Tuesday 17th of November 2020

Fjords are not ponies. They are horses, regardless of height. They are generally a calm ride. I don't think it's the least bit fair to judge an entire breed of horse based on a single video.