There are so many kinds! Tall, short, thick, thin. How will you determine which one is best for you? You may want to start by asking yourself what type or style of riding do you want to do with it? Do you even want to ride at all? There are many different breeds; each one Is designed to perform different disciplines. Training and teaching a horse that is designed to do a certain discipline can be much easier. Let me explain a few different categories of breeds based on size and discipline to help you make your decision. I’ll start with some of the smallest types, miniature horses.
There are many different breeds of miniature horses. What all the breeds have In common is their small stature. They usually have a very thick mane and tail. Most often described as a barrel with legs. They are very friendly and often kept as Just pets. Even though they’re so small they can be hitched up to a cart and driven. And Just because they’re small doesn’t mean that they act any differently! They still have all the same behaviors as a regular sized horse. Actually they can be much more stubborn. Small children can ride these small breeds but an average sized person is much too large.
There are many organizations and competitions that these breeds can be shown in while being driven. Many people even Just drive them for pleasure and can enter them in local parades and shows. This breed can also be trained to act as an assistant for people with impairments, like a Seeing Eye dog. Next in line would be a pony-sized horse. There are many breeds of ponies as well. Its stature is much bigger than a miniature but still not the full size of a regular sized horse. You would be surprised most of these breeds are extremely strong for their small size and have lots of athletic ability.
Ponies usually are ranked in a range only up to 14. 2 hands. They’re very friendly and intelligent. These small horses can also be somewhat stubborn at times. Children ride most ponies. Depending on your body size a pony may be to small for you to ride. If that’s so they can also be driven. They can even haul a load in their driving cart, where as a miniature cannot. Most all ponies can be shown in competitions, Just the same as a regular sized horse. Most shows have designated classes for ponies. This makes it fair for all riders. Because of their size, certain rolling disciplines may be better for an averaged sized horse.
Which will take us to the next size up in horses. Average size horses are definitely the most common. They can be used for a wide variety of disciplines. Just the same as the pony and miniature sized horses, there are many breeds of the averaged size horse. This sized horse has a lot of energy and stamina. They’re built to be versatile. Long under-belly, semi-broad shoulders, lean, and muscular hindquarters. They can be used for just pleasure riding or can also be used for competitions as well. The disciplines that can be done with an average size horse can range from Jumping and venting to redoing and barrel racing.
This sized horse can be driven but not the best suited discipline for these breeds. You see the 1 OFF larger draft breed. They are leaner and Just not built to do this task as well as the other sizes of horse breeds. Last but not least, the largest size, Draft horses. These horses can grow to be extremely tall! Most are over 16 hands and 1200 lbs. Their conformation consists of very powerful hindquarters, broad shoulders and, short backs. There are also many breeds of these large, powerful horses. All these breeds are extremely strong and muscular. Although, their size may be intimidating they are very patient and noninsured gentle giants.
They’re meant for hard tasks, such as: Plowing, hauling, logging, and many farm tasks. They don’t have anywhere near the energy and stamina of the average sized horse. They are slow and powerful. They can also be used for security purposes, like a mounted patrol. There size is intimidating and when sitting on them you can see a large crowd. Draft horses are also hard to arouse or spook. The average sized horse can be fairly easily spooked, although it does depend on the horse’s level of training. There are competitions for these large breeds as well but there are not many.
If you wanted to compete with these large breeds you may have to travel more. It’s not common to compete with these big breeds. Most often you’ll see these breeds pulling carriages or in pulling competitions. A lot of Amiss families and farms have these breeds to do their farm work. And most often you’ll see a team of them. You can do a lot of tasks with Just one draft horse but often you see a team of 2 or 4. These breeds can be ridden but it’s often hard to find a saddle and tack to fit their size because it’s not common to ride them. As you can see, specific breeds and sizing are designed to do certain disciplines best.
Now that you have some information about most of the different types of horses you can make a decision as to which one would best suit your needs. Say you wanted to barrel race. You wouldn’t choose a big bulky draft horse to do the Job. You know you would need an agile horse, with energy and stamina, you would choose an averaged sized horse breed. All horses are intelligent animals and most can be trained to anything. But could you imagine even trying to train a draft horse to barrel race! Training will be much easier when the horses size and breed is best suited for that discipline. Some are built better and better suited for certain tasks.