Best Horses for Trail Riding

Horse breed all have their individual strengths and weaknesses. Some show impressive stamina, while others are calm and gentle. Certain ones have incredible work skills and may be trained with ease. There are several superb talents that different breeds have to offer, but it takes a certain combination of traits to create a horse ideal for trail riding. These five breeds make the cut.

Mountain Horses

For those that prefer an agile breed that also happens to be gorgeous, there are Rocky and Kentucky Mountain Horses. The name says it all. They weren’t developed in a show ring environment, but instead, in the rugged mountains of Kentucky. Narrow passageways and dangerous slopes of the Appalachian Mountains helped them to develop sure-footedness. They are balanced, limber, and graceful, whatever the terrain. A naturally smooth four-beat gait from birth also appeals to riders.

These athletic beauties are calm, cooperative, and altogether pleasant to be around. Surviving harsh weather has also made this horse breed strong and perseverant. The dapple gene creates a signature look for numerous Mountain Horses: a chocolaty brown coat and flaxen mane and tail. All have solid-colored coats, with the exception of face markings and white spots below the knee or hock. A registered member of this breed must meet a height requirement of 14.2 to 16 hands.

Mountain Horses are family-friendly and easy to keep. In fact, they have been called the equine equivalent to golden retrievers countless times. Add their dexterity into the mix, and an incredible horse results. Whether upon flat plains or jagged cliffs, this breed is certainly the best to utilize on the trail; there is nothing a Mountain Horse can’t handle.

Blazers

Trained Blazer Horses can excel at any task. Ranch working, jumping, and even (you guessed it) trail riding are hardly challenges for this capable breed. They are not difficult to train in the least. Since Blazers are so gentle, they’re ideal for beginners whom are intimidated by riding. Ordinary people will have an unusually easy time handling them as opposed to numerous other breeds.

Between 13 and 15 hands, Blazers are small and muscular. Because of their short backs, carrying weight is not difficult for them, and that’s definitely important on the trail. Also useful are their flat bones, which make their bodies tough and enduring. Long undersides promote surprisingly long stride and speed. Smooth stride, along with strong balance, will make riding a Blazer comfortable for anyone. Since Blazers tend to weigh around 1,000 pounds, feed bills are lower for them than most other horses. Veterinary care typically costs less for them, too.

This seemingly perfect breed was developed by an Idahoan named Neil Hinck. His family was one of horsemen, so he was raised on a ranch. This gave him the opportunity to choose the best qualities of certain breeds and combine them until a horse called Little Blaze was born in 1959. Little Blaze was intelligent, strong, and gentle, but willing most of all. Nowadays, these are the qualities that make all Blazers admirable trail riding horses.

Icelandics

Icelandic is the optimal horse breed for children; an average height of approximately 12 to 14 hands caters especially to them. Despite their deceptive size, Icelandics can also carry adults effortlessly. They make a terrific choice for family trips. In addition to strength and intelligence, a keen ability to sense danger runs through their blood.

They originated in Iceland, where predators were scarce. Natural dangers lurked around every corner. Dealing with surprises like landslides and quicksand taught this breed to deal with sticky situations quickly and calmly. Instead of fleeing instinctively, Icelandics will assess whether or not an obstacle may be overcome. They can handle all sorts of challenging terrain. Being stout and hardy, elegant appearance is not among their positive qualities, but that doesn’t mean Icelandics aren’t talented on the trail!

These horses are built for riding; during the early twentieth century, they were constantly used for travel and transportation around Iceland. This breed can move rapidly without upsetting balance, and the extra weight of a rider poses no problem; Icelandics can out-pull most average-size horses! Also, only Icelandics can be ridden at all five gaits. Known for their endurance, brawn, and friendly demeanor, they are truly exceptional horses, worthy of the trail.

Tennessee Walkers

Also known as Tennessee Walkers, these horses were bred by farmers to do field work and to provide a pleasant saddle gait: the “running walk”. This four-beat lateral gait is rapid due to overstride, which is unique to Tennessee Walkers. Though quick at 8-10mph, the ride is unthinkably smooth! Horses of this breed are often ridden by people who need ensured comfort and ease, like the handicapped and people suffering from back problems.

This horse breed is also known for two other gaits. The flat-foot and canter are easy on riders. The flat-foot is slow and even, while the canter is more of a light gallop. The canter is sometimes called the “rocking chair gait”, which is named for rhythmic, graceful motions. A quick horse doesn’t always create an unsteady ride. When covering long distances, Tennessee Walkers are a surefire choice.

Beginners have no need to be intimidated by these compliant creatures. Affectionate and well-mannered, they are also trained easily. They tend to stay healthy from the consumption of nutrient-rich bluegrass and limestone-purified water. That wellness runs in the bloodline. Reputable stamina and temperament make Tennessee Walking Horses one of the choicest breeds for trail riders seeking comfort above all else.

Missouri Fox Trotters

Missouri Fox Trotters were bred by settlers in the Ozarks who wanted smooth-gaited horses to ride long distances. They certainly got what they wanted! The three gliding gaits of this horse breed are the canter, flat-foot, and the fox trot, from which the name is derived. The fox trot is a four-beat broken diagonal gait; the hind legs trot as the front ones walk. The hind hooves actually slide into place, making the ride surprisingly fluid.

These horses can endure far travels at reasonable speeds, and their sure-footedness comes in handy. Missouri Fox Trotters are even confident upon demanding terrain. No wonder they’re commonly used for cross-country trail riding! They seem relaxed when in action and training them is hardly a challenge. As for personality, they are considered pleasure horses because they’re so friendly and eager to please.

They are show-worthy, but most owners use them for pleasure riding. This breed is a proper choice for first-timers (children included) and well-seasoned riders alike. These horses lack the high-stepping gait of some other breeds, but still manage to provide such comfort for their riders. For these reasons, a multitude of horse adorers have absolutely fallen for Missouri Fox Trotters.