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7 Best Horse Breeds for Trail Riding

When it comes to trail riding, you want a horse that you can trust. As the best breeds for trail riding, these horses are sure-footed, smooth, well-mannered, and calm, yet also have a sense of adventure.

A good trail horse will have a sturdy build and be steady on their feet. Size also matters as well, as you want a horse you can easily mount and dismount anywhere on a trail.

Though most well-trained horses can make great trail horses, some breeds just naturally excel out on the trails. Both gaited and non-gaited horses can make wonderful mounts while out exploring, depending on your personal preference.

Here are the 7 best horse breeds for trail riding:

Quarter Horse

American Quarter horse - Good horse breed for trailer riding
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Height: 14-16 hands tall
Country of Origin: America
Characteristics: Quarter horses are known for their calm dispositions, friendly personalities, stamina, sturdy builds, and athleticism.

Due to their calm dispositions and well-muscled bodies, Quarter Horses excel as trail horses. They are often easy-going and make safe horses for people of all ages.

Known for their stamina, they can carry on for hours on end. Their sturdy builds and powerful hindquarters allow them to carefully navigate any rough terrain. As the most popular breed in America, many people use Quarter Horses for trail riding, as they are wonderful working horses.

Tennessee Walking Horse

Tennessee Walking Horse breed
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Height: 14.3- 17 hands
Country of Origin: America
Characteristics: Tennessee Walking horses are known for their smooth gaits, friendly personalities, good temperaments, refined builds, and athleticism.

Comfortable and sleek, Tennessee Walking Horses are great partners for out on the trails. As a gaited breed, they make for a very smooth mount, which is especially good for riding over uneven terrain.

They have great endurance and their unique gait is ground covering. Though they have a refined build, they are still sturdy which makes them great for children and adult riders. They are friendly and easy-going, making them a joy to work with.

Morgan

Palomino Morgan horse - Good horse breed for trail riding
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Height: 14.1-15.3 hands
Country of Origin: America
Characteristics: Morgans are known for their friendly personalities, calm dispositions, athleticism, style, and refined builds.

Well-loved for their versatility, Morgans not only make wonderful show horses but also wonderful trail horses. Curious, yet sensible, they make trusty mounts for the entire family.

Their friendly dispositions and willingness to please make them great companions out on the trails. Though elegant and refined, they also have a compact, sturdy build that allows them to be great riding horses. They have great stamina and are known to be sure-footed, allowing them to successfully cover long trails of all terrains.

Appaloosa

Appaloosa horse in a field grazing
Marie Charouzova / Shutterstock.com

Height: 14.2-16 hands
Country of Origin: America
Characteristics: Appaloosas are known for their good temperaments, friendly personalities, stamina, athleticism, and hardy builds.

Known for their beautiful coats, Appaloosas also stand out as trail horses. These hardy horses have great stamina and are always up for a long ride.

They are reliable and even-tempered, making them trustworthy mounts. Both kids and adults can successfully ride them, as they are willing to please and always up for an adventure. Stylish and sure-footed, you will have a great time out on the trails with an Appaloosa.

Arabian

Arabian horse breed - Trail riding horse breed
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Height: 14.1-15.1 hands
Country of Origin: Arabian Peninsula
Characteristics: Arabians are known for their endurance, athleticism, style, refined builds, and friendly personalities.

Though some may think that Arabians are too hot for trail riding, they actually can make wonderful trail mounts. They excel in endurance competitions, which means they have plenty of stamina for long rides.

Arabians are well-known for their versatility, which is one of the main reasons they can do so well as trail horses. Though elegant and refined, they have the hardiness for all forms of terrain. They are friendly and willing to please, making them popular horses for everyone.

Paint Horse

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Height: 14.2-15.2 hands
Country of Origin: America
Characteristics: Paint horses are known for their good temperaments, friendly personalities, athleticism, strength, and hardy builds.

Not only will you stand out on a Paint, but you will also have a wonderful mount. Paints have a sturdy build making them great riding horses for people of all ages.

They typically are calm and docile, making them reliable no matter what the occasion. As amazing working horses, they have all the skills you need for out on the trails. Their friendly nature and social personalities make them great horses.

Rocky Mountain Horse

Rocky Mountain Horse breed on a trail ride
volkova natalia / Shutterstock.com

Height: 14.2-16 hands
Country of Origin: America
Characteristics: Rocky Mountain horses are known for their smooth gaits, stamina, good temperaments, friendly personalities, and strong builds.

Bred for comfort, there is no doubt that the Rocky Mountain Horse makes a great trail mount. They are gaited, which allows for a smooth ride in the saddle for hours on end.

These hardy horses have excellent stamina and footing, allowing them to easily converse all terrains. They have wonderful temperaments and make great family horses. Their strong builds make them suitable for just about anything.

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