Our readers support us. This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More
Horses are incredible animals, as they make trusty, loyal partners. These intelligent creatures are capable of learning commands, tricks, patterns, cues, emotions, and much more.
The smartest horse breeds include the Arabian, Morgan, Saddlebred, Friesian, Thoroughbred, Clydesdale, Quarter Horse, and Andalusian. These breeds are notable for their willingness to please, quick ability to learn, good demeanor, playfulness, and friendly personalities.
Though intelligence varies by the individual horse, these breeds are known in the equestrian world for being particularly smart. They excel in many different disciplines both in and out of the show ring. Many of these particular breeds are also often noted for being great family horses
Here are the smartest horse breeds:
Not only are Arabians one of the oldest horse breeds, but they are also one of the smartest. These elegant horses are recognizable for their dished noses, light yet athletic builds, arching necks, and high tail carriage.
Arabian horses generally stand between 14-15.2 hands tall and weigh around 800-1,000 pounds. They come in a variety of different colors, with bay, chestnut, black and gray being the most common.
Arabian horses are one of the most versatile breeds and can make excellent family horses. These beautiful horses excel in saddle seat, hunt seat, western, dressage, and driving divisions. With incredible stamina, the Arabian breed has long dominated endurance competitions.
Though many people think of the breed as fiery, they are highly trainable, intelligent horses that often have gentle dispositions. They are wonderful show horses, but also make great companions and trail horses.
As America’s first official breed of horse, the Morgan horse has a long history of being a family horse. Proud and personable, these stunning horses have refined, muscular builds, beautifully chiseled heads, and arching necks.
Morgan horses generally stand between 14-16 hands tall and weigh between 800-1,000 pounds. Though they can come in a wide array of colors, the most common ones you will see are bay, black, and chestnut.
Famous for being “the horse that chooses you,” Morgans often form strong bonds with their owners thanks to their friendly attitudes. They have gentle dispositions which make them great horses for people of all ages. These smart horses are quick learners, willing to please, and loyal.
These expressive horses shine both in and out of the show ring. As a versatile breed, you can find Morgans competing in a variety of divisions in saddle seat, western, hunt seat, dressage, and driving. They have a flashy way of moving and make for sensible partners.
Also read: 11 Facts About the Morgan Horse Breed
Knowing for being stars in the show ring, Saddlebreds are smart, sociable horses. These high-stepping horses have expressive heads, an upright carriage, athletic bodies, and arching necks.
Saddlebreds typically stand between 15-17 hands tall and weigh between 900-1,100 pounds. They come in a variety of colors including chestnut, bay, black, gray, and pinto.
Alert and curious, Saddlebreds are often people-oriented horses. They are quick learners and are eager to please their owners. These gorgeous horses are bold yet gentle, making them all-around great horses for those young and old.
Though Saddlebreds are best known for showing in saddle seat divisions, they also excel in many other disciplines. They not only make outstanding show horses, but they can make wonderful trail and recreational mounts.
Once fierce medieval warhorses, Friesians are now stars on the big screen and in the show ring. These beautiful black horses have muscular builds, arching necks, expressive heads, feathering, and long, flowing manes and tales.
Friesian horses often stand between 15.2 to 17.3 hands tall, weighing between 1,200-1,400 pounds. In order to register, Friesians must be solid black with no more white than a star. However, in rare cases Friesians may be chestnut and be registered with the Fire Friesian Book.
Flashy and bold, Friesians have level temperaments and are praised for being highly trainable. They often exhibit friendly personalities, making them great family horses. These beautiful black horses are adaptable and willing to please their owners.
Friesians make stellar show horses in a variety of different disciplines. They are also a popular breed in the film industry thanks to their noble appearance and intelligence.
Though Thoroughbreds are most famous for being racehorses, this remarkable breed is much more than just fast. These fine horses have slim, athletic build with delicate heads.
Thoroughbreds stand between 15-17 hands tall and weigh around 900-1,150 pounds. They are generally bay, chestnut, black or gray in color.
These hot-blooded horses are smart and sensitive, often displaying a strong work ethic. Though they may typically be high-spirited, they can make wonderful horses for owners with the right experience. Thoroughbreds are ambitious and clever, often benefiting from having regular work.
Thanks to their incredible speed and stamina, many Thoroughbreds are bred to be racehorses. However, these athletic horses also shine in show jumping, eventing, and dressage.
As one of the most popular draft breeds, Clydesdales are known for their beauty and power. These beautiful horses have large, muscular builds, arching necks, powerful hindquarters, and feathers on their legs.
Clydesdales typically stand between 17-19 hands tall and weigh between 1,700-2,200 pounds. Most commonly they are bay with white socks, but they can also be roan, black, or sorrel.
Clydesdales are most recognizable for pulling the world-famous Budweiser hitch. They also star in many of Budweiser’s commercials, showcasing their trainability and intelligence. These magnificent horses are also popular show horses both in driving and riding.
Clydesdales have friendly, calm, easy-going personalities, making them wonderful horses for the whole family. These gentle giants are willing to please and enjoy being around people.
7. Quarter Horse
The Quarter horse is the most popular breed of horse in America, with more than six million horses registered since 1940. These hardy horses have compact, muscular bodies and powerful hindquarters.
Quarter horses stand between 14-16 hands tall, weighing around 950-1,200 pounds. They come in just about every coat color, with bay, chestnut, sorrel, black, palomino, and buckskin being the most common.
Quarter horses have easy-going personalities and are highly trainable. Friendly and loyal, they make great family horses. They are willing to please and have a natural ‘cow sense’ that makes them sharp working horses.
Quarter horses are popular for showing, trail riding, and recreational riding. They are outstanding mounts in western disciplines, but they also shine in English disciplines as well. Not only are they powerful, but they are also fast horses as well.
The exquisite Andalusian is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. These majestic horses have powerful builds, with arching necks and expressive heads with slightly convex profiles.
Andalusian horses generally stand between 15-16 hands tall, often weighing between 900 to 1,200 pounds. They can come in many different colors, however, bay and gray are the most common horse coat colors within the breed.
These intelligent horses are often easy to train and make stylish riding horses. Thanks to their graceful and animated way of moving, they are popular dressage horses, however, they excel in many equestrian disciplines. They exhibit agreeable temperaments, making them pleasant horses to work with.
Andalusians are stars both in and out of the show ring. Bold and brave, they make popular bullfighting mounts in Spain and Portugal.