Whether you are riding for pleasure, for trail, for work or for sport, the Western discipline is one of the most popular and versatile styles in the world. The best Western riding horse breeds are also known for their versatility.
These horses are mentally calm and intelligent and physically fast and strong. Read on to learn more about what makes the five best Western riding horse breeds so special under saddle.
Best Western Riding Horse Breeds #1
The Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States. The breed traces its origins to ranches in Western America, and many Quarter Horses are still working cattle on ranches today.
This famously level-headed animal was literally bred to ride Western, so it’s not surprising that it tops the list of the best *Western riding horse breeds. With mid-size and mid-energy, the Quarter Horse is basically the family car of the horse world.
Best Western Riding Horse Breeds #2
American Paint Horse Association
APHA stands for the American Paint Horse Association. Paint horses have many of the same bloodlines as Quarter horses. Thoroughbred crosses are also allowed, resulting in faster, more agile trail mounts.
Paint horses are easily recognized by their flashy coat patterns. These photogenic equine are often featured in classic Western and Native American art.
Best Western Riding Horse Breeds #3
Tennessee Walking Horse
If you have back problems but refuse to give up riding, then the Tennessee Walking Horse is the horse for you. If Quarter Horses are family cars, then Tennessee Walkers are Cadillacs.
Their long, smooth gaits create less shock, allowing for a more comfortable ride. To keep the ride as comfortable for the horse as it is for the rider, you’ll want to outfit your Tennessee Walker with a gaited trail saddle designed to accommodate their unique build and stride.
Best Western Riding Horse Breeds #4
Mustangs are the only free-roaming breed of horses in America. Originally descended from Colonial Spanish working horses, the breed now incorporates a number of other influences.
Time and natural selection have shaped the Mustang into a hardy, high-endurance animal. With training, these once-wild horses are among the best *Western riding horse breeds, particularly if you’re a fan of tough trails.
Best Western Riding Horse Breeds #5
Percherons are one of the smaller draft horse breeds. Like most draft horses, they are naturally calm, but their Arabian ancestors give them more speed and agility than their larger counterparts. Riders
come in all sizes, so the best *Western riding horse breeds do, too! Percherons are great for a slow lope along the beach or a long day on the trail. Their size makes them especially useful when you encounter blocked trails.
Just remember that an extra large horse needs a saddle with an extra wide or Draft-sized gullet, like this Big Horn model.
Western riding is commonly thought of as a working discipline. Cowboys and ranchers all ride Western. So do speed eventers, endurance riders and trail enthusiasts.
But plenty of pleasure-only riders prefer the comfort of a Western saddle, too. While breed is a good place to start, ultimately what makes the best Western riding horse for you will depend upon what you want to get out of your ride.