Horse Breeds for Kids: Top 5 Horse Breeds for Kids

Best Horse Breeds for Kids

If you’re the parent of a horse-crazy kid, then you are probably constantly bombarded with the idea of getting a horse. When it comes to picking the right equine partner for your child, you want to make sure you choose one that is not only safe for your child to ride but also has the potential to help your kid develop as a rider. While any horse has the potential to be “kid-safe,” there are specific breeds that are popular mounts for children.

Whare are the best horse breeds for kids? The top 5 popular horse breeds for children include:

  • Quarter Horses
  • Pony of the Americas
  • Welsh Ponies
  • Miniature Horses
  • Appaloosas

 

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to remember that any horse from any breed can make a great kid-safe horse; however, these specific breeds are quite proven to be a favorite among children riders. To learn more about why each breed can make a great partner to your child, keep reading!

American Quarter Horses

What are Quarter Horses?

The American Quarter Horse is one of the most popular horse breeds in America. These are often stocky versatile horses that excel at many different riding disciplines. Quarter Horses have an average height of around 15 hh, but are often found as medium to large-sized ponies as well. Quarter Horses originated when colonists bred English Thoroughbreds to native American horses to develop a swift hardy breed.

Disciplines They Excel At:

When it comes to Quarter Horses, you can find them in just about any riding discipline in America. Their compact build makes them great for western disciplines like reining and cutting, while their endurance and level-headedness make them a trail riding favorite. I’ve also seen them excel in the hunter and jumper competitions and even eventing. 

Why They Make a Good Children’s Mount:

Here is a list of why you should consider a Quarter Horse for your child:

  • Quarter Horses are often found in size as large ponies to medium size horses. This means that it’s less likely for your child to outgrow the horse in size.
  • These horses are known for their level-headed temperaments and sweet personalities. They are often easy to train and mellow enough for a beginner or young rider.
  • Children often want to try everything when it comes to riding; Quarter Horses are versatile enough to learn and compete in many different types of riding disciplines.
  • As probably the most populous breed in America, Quarter Horses are often easy to find when it comes to purchasing time. 
  • These horses were bred to be hardy and low-maintenance. This makes it easier to care for them.

 

There are many reasons why the Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in America! I’ve seen Quarter Horses carefully carry around new riders then go and jump 4 ft with a different rider! These are unique and special horses that I highly recommend considering as a mount for your child. Check out the official American Quarter Horses Association website here.

Pony of the Americas

What are Pony of the Americas?

While the Pony of the Americas breed registration only started in 1954, this pony breed is now popular all throughout America. Pony of the Americas are often referred to as POA’s for short. The POA is often 14 hh or under, designating this breed specifically as a pony. This breed is most often known for its loud coloring, similar to Appaloosas. With an open registry that allows for other breed bloodlines, POA’s are often found to be versatile and varied in both ability and conformation. 

Disciplines They Excel At:

As someone who has owned and ridden multiple POA’s, there’s not much these ponies can’t do; however, these ponies are most often found as children’s mounts for western disciplines and hunter classes. Their original breeding of Appaloosa, Arabian, and Shetland also makes them great for trail riding and endurance. If your child is into gymkhana or western games, these ponies excel in this area due to their small size and speed.

Why They Make a Good Children’s Mount:

Just because I own a POA doesn’t mean I’m biased. (Although I am a little) These ponies have proven themselves as excellent children’s mounts. Here are some reasons you should consider a Pony of the Americas for your child:

  • The Pony of the Americas official registry has the biggest youth-oriented clubs in the country, regularly holding competitions and events where children can compete with their POA.
  • POA’s are under 14 hh, making them the perfect size for small children or youth to ride them. 
  • These are versatile ponies that can do well in just about any discipline.
  • If you’re looking for a pony with a calm personality and willing demeanor, look no further than a POA

 

With a POA, not only do you get a good ride, but you also get an eye-catching one as well! My two favorite aspects about this breed are 1) they try their hearts out, and 2) they look good doing it. You can learn more about them here.

Welsh Ponies

What are Welsh Ponies?

Welsh Ponies are probably one of the most popular rides among children, especially when it comes to the hunter discipline. Ranging from 11 hh – 14.2 hh, these ponies are often elegant yet athletic, making them great for youth riders looking for something fun! Welsh Ponies originate from the country of Wales, first as native horses and then being bred later on to different breeds like Arabians or Thoroughbreds in order to add specific traits.

Disciplines They Excel At:

As I mentioned earlier, the elegance and agility of these ponies make them a favorite in junior hunter classes. They also excel at jumpers and eventing but are quiet enough to also be used for trail riding. Welsh ponies are often easy to find and are always in demand as children’s mounts.

Why They Make a Good Children’s Mount:

Welsh Ponies around the world have the reputation for being a great equine partner for children. There are many reasons why you should consider getting a Welsh Pony:

  • Their size ranges from 11 hh – 14.2 hh, making them the perfect height for small riders.
  • Welsh Ponies are great for competing with, so if you have a child that wants to dip their toes in the show world, this is a great place to start.
  • They often have a quiet demeanor and are easily trainable, making the perfect mount for a child.
  • While elegant, these ponies are hardy, usually having good feet and a low-maintenance diet.
  • Welsh Ponies are easy to find as there is a large population in the USA, Europe, and other parts of the world.

 

I’ve met my fair share of Welsh Ponies, and they were always some of my favorite horses to ride. You can learn more about Welsh Ponies by checking out their official website here.

Miniature Horses

What are Miniature Horses?

Miniature Horses are….well…miniature horses! These horses are often smaller than 34″ tall, making them seem more like a pet than a horse! While you may be wondering why they aren’t called a miniature “pony” since their size technically falls under the height qualification for a horse, they are called horses since they are bred to resemble the build and proportions of a horse rather than a pony.

Disciplines They Excel At:

While they may be limited by their size, there are many different disciplines miniature horses excel at. They can be ridden by small children and are even seen at rodeos, trail rides, and jumper shows. Miniature Horses are also popular for driving and in-hand competition. If you have a child interested in learning other equine disciplines outside of riding, a Miniature Horse may be a good choice. 

Why They Make a Good Children’s Mount:

It’s always cute to see a little kid riding around on their Miniature Horse! These horses are often the first choice for many young riders who are too small to handle a larger equine. Here are some reasons you should consider a Miniature Horse:

  • Miniature Horses are the perfect height for a small child to ride or to be introduced to riding. They are also great for lead-line rides.
  • You can find these horses in abundance throughout most of the world, particularly in North America and Europe. If you want to purchase a Miniature Horse, you should have no trouble finding one.
  • Although small, these horses are versatile in both riding competitions and alternative disciplines like driving and in-hand competitions.
  • Miniature Horses are usually friendly and easy to handle, making them the perfect guide for teaching your child how to handle an equine.

 

There are many different Miniature Horse registries all throughout America and the rest of the world. This will show you just how popular these horses are. To learn more about Miniature Horses, click here.

Appaloosas

What are Appaloosas?

While many people think that “appaloosa” refers to certain patterns on a horse’s coat, the Appaloosa is actually a breed of horse. These horses usually range in height from 14.2 hh – 16 hh and they are most known for their loud spotted markings. The build of these horses can vary depending on the breeding; there are often stocky quarter horse-like appaloosas often used for ranch work and western disciplines while there are also lean athletic Appaloosas that excel in competitions and endurance riding.

Disciplines They Excel At:

I find Appaloosas to be one of the most versatile breeds of horse right up there with the Quarter Horse. Appaloosas can do anything from jumpers and eventers to endurance riding, trail riding, and any western discipline. Originating from native wild horses in the American West, these horses are hardy and can handle anything thrown their way.

Why They Make a Good Children’s Mount:

I’ve noticed that there is often at least one Appaloosa in every riding lesson program I’ve ever been in. This goes to show that these are great horses for kids to learn and grow with. Here are some reasons why an Appaloosa may be the right horse for your child:

  • Being larger in size, these horses are great matches for bigger children but are also level-headed enough to take care of smaller children as well.
  • Since Appaloosas are so versatile and able, this is a good horse that your child could grow with when it comes to ability rather than outgrowing.
  • Appaloosas are usually hardy and healthy horses, making them a great fit for a first-time horse owner.
  • It’s always a plus to have a horse that is pleasant to look at, and most Appaloosas are!
  • These horses will try their heart out on anything their handler asks, making them a trustworthy children’s mount

 

While I’ve never owned an Appaloosa, I’ve had the pleasure of riding quite a few, and I always thought they were the coolest horses. If you want to learn more about Appaloosas, click here to check out their Association’s page.

 

Many of the horses mentioned in the article are great for trail riding. If you’re looking specifically for a trail riding partner, check out my article Trail Riding Horse Breeds: Top Horse Breeds For Trail Riding.

 

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