Whether you’re a novice looking for lessons or an experienced rider searching for your next mount, choosing the right breed of horse is essential.
Having a bad experience early on can really shake your confidence. But choose the right breed to begin with and a beautiful, life-long love of horse riding will begin.
To keep you and those around you safe while you’re learning the ropes (or should that be reins?) you should invest in horse rider insurance. Here at Equesure, we have three different types of policy so you can pick the one that suits you best – Junior (5-17 years), Adult (18-65) and AdultPlus – but more about that later.
In order to get the perfect partnership, you have to consider a number of things first. Just like every rider, every horse is unique and finding the right one for you can take some time.
Remember, riding and caring for a horse can be a very expensive hobby so you don’t want to invest in an animal that doesn’t complement your riding style or capabilities, as neither of you will enjoy the experience!
First, think about your physical attributes like your height and weight. You don’t want a horse that’s too short or too tall for you, especially if you’re choosing a pony for a child. As the Blue Cross explains, a rider should be able to easily climb onto their horse unaided from the ground and once they’re settled, the feet should rest in line with, or just above, the horse’s elbows.
When it comes to your weight, Equine Helper suggests that horses can easily carry 15 to 20 per cent of their own body weight – any more and they may start to struggle and show signs of fatigue.
You also need to consider your current level of riding ability, as well as your aspirations for the future. For example, if you’re already an experienced rider, a young and inexperienced pony probably won’t help you progress to competition status as they can be quite unpredictable. Equally, if you’re just starting out in the saddle, an older, steadier steed can make you feel more confident in an instant.
As we’ve mentioned, all horses are unique and have their own traits and personalities, so choosing an animal with the right temperament is crucial.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common breeds of horse and suggest which types of rider they might be suitable for.
As Horse and Hound explains, Cobs aren’t technically a breed of horse but more a type. They are one of the most common choices for first-time riders in the UK thanks to their even temperament, hardiness and versatile nature. They will be happy hacking through the countryside and living outdoors.
If you see a horse pulling a carriage or plow, it will probably be a coldblood. These large, muscular animals are known for being cool, calm and collected, and are often referred to as ‘gentle giants’. Popular with pleasure riders and beginners because of their slow and steady nature, examples of coldbloods include Shires, Percheron, Ardennes and Clydesdales.
If you’re an experienced rider looking for a horse that has speed and agility, then a warmblood might be for you. Highly trainable, these beautiful animals are a great choice for show jumping, dressage and eventing. Examples of warmblooded breeds include the Halflinger, American Warmblood and Holsteiner.
Thoroughbred or Arabian horses are not for the faint-hearted! These breeds are true flight animals with bundles of nervous energy. These streamlined horses make excellent racers thanks to their speed and endurance but they can prove a real challenge to train, so they’re definitely not suitable for first-time horse owners.
If your little one wants to get into horse riding (and who can blame them?) it’s important to know which breeds work best with children.
Your child’s first experience on a horse can make or break their affinity with these great animals so you’ll want to get it right first time!
Most parents will take their child to a professional riding school and leave them in the capable hands of qualified instructors who will be able to suggest the best breed and size of horse or pony for them.
Ultimately, it’s all about safety and building confidence. According to Spruce Pets, some of the best breeds to get youngsters started in horse riding include:
If you want to get your child a horse to handle, rather than ride, the miniature horse is a great option. They can have lots of fun in agility competitions and can be a great way to introduce your child to the wonderful world of equines.
Choosing the right horse can be a long and confusing process, so it’s always best to seek the advice of the professionals. Ask breeders and breed associations which horse or pony might be right for you and your circumstances.
Make time to talk to experienced horse owners, too, to learn more about the realities of riding and handling certain breeds.
If you’re looking for horse riding lessons, visit the Association of British Riding Schools to find approved riding centres or livery yards near you.
We all know it’s important to protect our equine friends with the right horse insurance but what about the rider? Horse rider insurance can include cover for things like public liability, personal accident or dental work that the rider might need following a fall.
It can also include protection for your saddlery and tack, school fees and custodial liability.
Our specialist team can help you find the horse rider insurance that’s right for you. Why not get a quick quote today?