If you are a horse-lover, then you probably already know how easy it is to fall in love with these animals. Horses are friendly, intelligent, and loyal animals. They have been living side by side with humans for centuries. Their physical characteristics make them suited for working, pleasure riding, but also for racing competitions. However, it is wrong to claim that all horses are the same. Over the years, several breeds have come through, all with different physical but also behavioral traits.
With more than 350 horse breeds (without including crossbreeds), all with different attributes and characteristics, choosing one might be a challenging task. If you are looking for a beginner’s horse or one horse with whom you’ll be able to bond, consider riding one that falls under our list of the most loyal horse breeds.
Indeed, while no horse breed is perfect for beginner owners and riders, attributes such as a calm nature and an innate sense of loyalty will guarantee a smooth ride. Loyal horses tend to be more patient and simpler to train. Of course, the best way to figure out whether a horse is right for you is to spend time with it. If you need some inspiration, take a look at this essential guide on some of the most loyal horse breeds out there.
1. Quarter Horse
One of the most popular horse breeds in the US, Quarter horses are good at racing, but also for pleasure rides. With their muscular neck and legs, they make a well-rounded and flexible breed. This breed earned its initial popularity by constantly beating Thoroughbreds in short distance races. Thus, the name of the breed, which comes from the race it is best at, which is the quarter-mile. Indeed, Quarter horses are not able to keep up for longer races, but they are versatile enough to be perfect as show horses, rodeo horses, and cow horses as well.
The good temper, remarkable adaptability, and reliability that characterize them are some of the factors that make them loved by many riders. Keep in mind that some Quarter horses can be too energetic, but with patience and time, these horses will surprise you for their intelligence and loyalty.
- Height: 56 to 64 inches
- Weight: 950 to 1,200 pounds
- Other characteristics: Wide forehead, flat profile, medium boned, chiseled head, calm, friendly, easy to train, speedy.
Originally from the sandy deserts of the Middle East, Arabians are known to have a bit of a hot temper. That is probably because they were historically bred as warhorses, with a focus on endurance, speed, and strength. Despite this, they are one of the favorite breeds among horse owners around the world.
Their robust build allows them to survive even in the harshest conditions. Most Arabians are also quiet and trustworthy, less prone to be afraid of challenging situations, which make them suitable for beginners. Thanks to their considerable intelligence, these horses are fast learners but need constant exercise, as they get bored fast. Arabians are beautiful horses, incredibly athletic, and much more attached to their riders compared to other breeds.
- Height: 56 to 64 inches
- Weight: 800 to 1,000 pounds
- Other characteristics: Short back, sloping shoulders, compact body, wedge-shaped head and face, powerful hindquarters, proud, elegant, social.
3. Irish Thoroughbred
When it comes to endurance and speed, Thoroughbreds are probably one of the best-performing breeds on the racetrack. These horses are not only graceful and muscular but also energetic and athletic, which means they are not particularly suited for beginners. They need attentive training to help them channel their energy. With lots of patience, Thoroughbreds will show you their loyalty and respect. As the bond with their riders gets stronger, their performance will also increase. Indeed, these horses have strong work-ethics and are very intelligent. It is good to mention that due to their fast metabolism, Thoroughbreds tend to require more nutrition and feeding than other breeds.
- Height: 60 to 68 inches
- Weight: 1,000 to 1,300 pounds
- Other characteristics: Lean body, flat muscles, deep chest, hot-blooded, athletic body, agile.
4. Morgan Horse
Morgan is a versatile breed and a perfect choice for a family horse. They are attentive, social, and tend to be characterized by a strong desire to please their caretakers. According to the American Morgan Horse Association, this breed has it in its heritage to bond with people and please people.
Morgan horse is not only one of the most loyal horse breeds, but also a suitable choice for both beginners and experienced riders. They are quick at learning commands, easy to take care of, and have good health. This breed is ideal for almost all disciplines and can adapt to different riders’ experience levels. Whether you are looking for a pleasure riding companion or a horse to be racing at the competition, a Morgan will be your safest choice.
- Height: 56 to 60 inches
- Weight: 900 to 1,100 pounds
- Other characteristics: Small ears, expressive eyes, crested neck.
Clydesdales are suitable for beginners because of their calm and steady temperament. However, one of their main downsides is their size, which not only might make it intimidating for people to ride them, but can also make it challenging to find the right saddle fit and tack sizing. These heavy build horses are tall but famous for their calm temper, which is why they are also known as the “Gentle Giants.” Clydesdales are friendly, patient, obedient, and can become extremely loyal to their caretakers when offered the appropriate attention. Keep in mind that they tend to become stubborn when neglected. Because of their sense of loyalty, they might become violent when sensing a threatening situation for their owners. These beautiful horses are often used in fields for agriculture and hauling but are great for pleasure riding, fairs, and exhibitions.
- Height: 64 to 72 inches
- Weight: 1,800 to 2,000 pounds
- Other characteristics: Round feet, long neck, cold-blooded, calm, easy to train, silky mane, and tail.
6. American Paint Horse
Arguably one of the most visible characteristics of this breed is the beautiful, colored coat and its unique patterns. Indeed, no two Paint horses will ever have the same combination of colors. Of course, this is only one of the many reasons why American Paint horses are so special!
It is not only their striking looks that have attracted attention to this breed.
Indeed, Paint horses are calm and easygoing, able to form deep bonds with people. Because of their intelligence, they are easy to train and suited for beginners. For all these reasons, it’s no wonder they have been one of the most common horse breeds for centuries. This breed is close to the Appaloosa in appearance and has origins dating back to the 16th century in North America.
American Paint horses are versatile and characterized by genial temperament, as well as athletic and strong. For these attributes, they are often a popular choice for transportation, equine sports, trail riding, and barrel racing.
Many people are falling in love with these affectionate horses, that we could not leave them out from this list about the most loyal horse breeds. It is worth pointing out that this breed is more vulnerable to health issues than other listed on this essential guide. For instance, they tend to develop lethal white syndrome and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, causing muscle twitching.
- Height: 56 to 64 inches
- Weight: 950 to 1,200 pounds
- Other characteristics: Muscular body, broad chest, distinctive coat pattern, strong hindquarters, easy to train, intelligent, calm.
7. Tennessee Walking Horse
The Tennessee Walking Horse is the result of the combination of several breeds chosen for their desirable traits. With its versatility and docility, this horse breed works well for smooth rides and exhibitions. Because of their elegant looks, it is hard to imagine these horses working hard on a farm, but the reality is that they are mainly utility horses, or at least they were in the past. Because of their eagerness to please their owners and caretakers, Tennessee Walking Horses learn commands fast and can be extremely loyal. The smooth gaits that characterize this breed make these horses particularly suited for older riders or people suffering from back pain.
- Height: 59 to 68 inches
- Weight: 900 to 1,200 pounds
- Other characteristics: Versatile, gentle, easy to train, loyal, smooth gaits.
The Bottom Line
With this guide, you hopefully have a clearer idea of what are the most loyal horse breeds. As mentioned, these horses tend to be easier to train, more predictable, and calmer, which are all characteristics that will contribute to a smoother ride. Whether you are looking for a companion or a racer, you’ll have to select your horse with good care.
Keep in mind that despite the breed, each horse will have a unique personality. Commit to choosing a horse based on the temperament and training, rather than on its pedigree.
Look at traits such as agility, intuitiveness, and calmness. If you are a beginner, try to avoid highly spirited horses such as the Akhal-Teke and the Andalusian. Again, don’t underestimate the power of the individual horse’s personality, as it might be stronger than the breed’s typical traits.