Whether it’s the first horse or not, no one wants an aggressive or unfriendly horse. However, personal traits don’t point to a particular horse breed. If you are friendly to your horse, be sure to get a nice horse too. So what is the friendliest horse breed?
Horses are naturally social. Therefore, hold your horses and check out our list of most friendly horse breeds.
How to Know Your Horse is Friendly Towards You
Knowing a friendly horse can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time owning a horse. These signs will help:
Comes Towards You
If you are walking in the pasture and your horse comes to you, it’s because they recognize you. That horse is friendly to you!
Let’s say your horse is eating some hay, and after you come around, it raises its head and comes to you. Then your horse proves that you are its friend.
If your horse approaches you without being told to, then your presence is essential to it. It’s for this reason why being relaxed and calm with your horse during work is necessary.
Horses are sensitive to emotion. When you are around your horse with frustrations and stress, the horse will associate you with the same feelings. But if you always approach your horse positively, it does the same to you.
Turns its Ears and Head towards You
A horse turning its head and ears towards you means it’s paying attention to you. That shows respect, and what’s friendlier than that? It’s ready to do anything you say next.
You might notice the ears and head moving with you even when not paying attention. That’s a good thing since it shows the horse’s focus is you. Your horse must focus on you rather than what’s going on around them.
If your horse is concentrating on surrounding distractions, then you have to work on your presence so that your horse focuses on you.
Follows You Around
Since horses go in herds, it’s rare to see one walking alone. When you observe your horse, you will notice your horse chilling out with others.
If your horse follows you around, then you are one of its friends. It has a strong bond in you and values your presence; that’s why it likes hanging out with you.
Follows Your Instructions
Its natural for herd animals like horses to prove their dominance. Watch out when a new horse is introduced in the pasture. You will notice even the calmest horse challenging the new one to establish its dominance.
Horses will also prove dominance over humans. They want to know which areas to keep off and which ones to dominate. Horses establish their dominance by testing you. They can either try scaring you or disobey your instructions.
If your horse regards you as its leader, it will always show you respect. However, don’t misinterpret this as horses like to be alpha creatures. They also want to have a leader.
If your horse regards you as its leader, the bond will be tighter. Hence, it will not disobey your orders; instead, it will follow them without question.
Relaxes Around You
A horse relaxes around its buddies. If your horse relaxes around you, it is a sign that it trusts and likes you! Some horses start to be aggressive when you meet. The horse then relaxes after spending some time, and you prove they can relax and trust you.
If you notice your horse is nervous when working with it, the best thing is to reinforce your bond. Show your horse that they have no reason to be frightened.
The Friendliest Horse Breeds Worldwide
Having the characters of a friendly horse, we have come up with a list of horse breeds matching with them. They include:
The Vikings used Norwegian Ford horses for war. They come from Przewalski Horse, natives of Central Asia. Their origin hasn’t been discovered yet, but they were farm animals in Norway for centuries. They are surefooted and robust, suitable to use in regions where vehicles can’t travel.
Since they are kind and gentle, Norwegian Fjord is a good therapy horse to help in autism in both adults and children. It’s also famous for rides and appears in most Norway competitions.
- Height – Most Norwegian Fjord horses are usually between 56 to 58 inches high. The average size is 52 inches.
- Color – Norwegian Fjord horse has six colors. Most of them are bay dun (brown). The others are cremello (white), yellow dun, buckskin dun (white dun), gray and red dun. They have dark ears, legs, mane, tails, and dorsal stripes despite the various colors.
- Traits – Norwegian Fjord horses are kind, gentle, and willing to work.
- Origin – Norway
Arabian traits are always an eternal debate. Others say that they are too secure to be friendly, while the rest disagree. Sometimes they can be vibrant, but these horses are gentle and kind that even children can handle.
- Height – most Arabian horses range from 56 to 60 inches but not beyond 64 inches.
- Color – the most common colors are gray, black, chestnut, and bay. It’s rare to find a white one.
- Traits – Arabian horses are brilliant in that they don’t follow blindly. Some horses are highly strung, while most are not.
- Origin – Arabian Peninsula
Norman Thelwell is behind the breeding of Shetland Pony. These ponies get stubborn, awkward, and grumpy to hide their good traits. They are too intelligent to follow the rider blindly. However, that doesn’t show they are stubborn.
Shetland pony is a friendly, affectionate, and loving breed that fits any child as a first pony.
These ponies are natives of Shetland Isles, which have made them tough ponies. They can survive any type of wither, even without any protection.
- Height – Shetland Ponies can reach up to 42 inches. Ponies below 34 inches are considered miniature, while the others are standard.
- Color – They have solid colors
- Traits – The ponies are independent, intelligent, and extremely strong.
- Origin – Shetland Isles, Scotland.
Justin Morgan bred the Morgan breed through his horse named Figure in the 1700s. Recently, DNA tests showed higher chances that Morgan horses came from Canadian, Welsh Cob, and Friesian horses.
The Figure became popular in strength and high performance. Its name was changed to Justin Morgans’ Horse and later to Morgan. Though it’s now centuries past, the same traits have been passed to the modern Morgan.
- Height – Morgans range from 56 to 62 inches.
- Color – they are mostly black but can have other solid colors.
- Traits – They are stable and intelligent. Morgan horses are also famous for courage and speed.
- Origin – USA
Quarter Horse is famous for its versatility. They are good at handling ranch animals and perfect to work there. They are good in all disciplines, from jumping to barrel racing and all.
Thoroughbreds, Oriental and Spanish horses are ancestors to Quarter Horses, like most American breeds. For this reason, and strict breeding has made a Quarter Horse a versatile and robust horse.
- Height – Quarter Horse height ranges from 56 to 64 inches but can stand up to 68 inches.
- Color – They have any colors, applying to Pinto and Appaloosa. But the most common is brown.
- Traits – Quarter Horses are intelligent and gentle horses with high speeds.
- Origin – USA
Friesian horses are very affectionate and playful. Kings and noble people prefer them making them graceful. Though they are popular in driving, Friesians excel in driving. Their elegant gaits and manes give an attractive sight.
- Height – Most Friesian horses range from 63 to 68 inches. They can never go beyond 48 inches.
- Color – Friesian horses are usually black. There are also bay and chestnut horses, but very rare.
- Origin – Netherlands
Icelandic Horse is a descendant of ancient horses in Iceland. Therefore they are regarded as the purest breed worldwide. It’s because, for centuries, Iceland’s geography couldn’t allow interbreeding from other species.
Iceland still holds the pureness till today. No interbreeding is allowed in the country. When a horse leaves, it’s for good; it can’t be allowed back.
Icelandic Horses are not only friendly; they are a comfy ride for possessing two extra gaits (the pace and the tolt).
- Height – Icelandic Horses, are usually 52 to 56 inches tall.
- Color – They can possess any color, but the most common are solid colors.
- Trait – They are friendly and resilient horses with impressive courage. They are also famous for their calmness and intelligence.
- Origin – Iceland
Connemara Pony is a descendant of Celtic ponies, ancient war chariot horses. But they have now evolved to surefooted and strong ponies due to their native home. The weight they pull is much heavier than their weight.
The versatile Connemara Pony performs best in almost all disciplines. It’s also behind the establishment of other breeds.
- Height – Ponies in the USA stand between 52 and 60 inches. Ponies in other countries are 58 inches and below.
- Color – Dun, black, brown, bay, gray horses, and sometimes different solid colors.
- Traits – Connemaras are kind and gentle. They are wholly courageous and intelligent enough to think for themselves.
- Origin – Ireland
Akhal Teke horses are known to be fiery and vibrant. However, it doesn’t conclude they are unfriendly. They are also not perfect for new horse owners or beginners, but they are the most loving horses among other breeds. Akhal Teke horses are usually loyal and devoted to their owners and sometimes can get jealous.
- Height – Akhal Teke horses range from 56 to 64 inches. Some can even stand beyond 60 inches.
- Color – They have a metallic sheen, commonly seen in cream or golden dun. But can possess other solid colors.
- Traits – The horses are intelligent and willing and quick to learn. They are also gentle and love to socialize with other people.
- Origin – Turkmenistan
Due to their massive sizes, Clydesdale horses seem unfriendly, but they are more of gentle giants. They are also the tallest in the world.
The original purpose for Clydesdale horses breeding was for agricultural purposes. Today, they have demanded rides due to their round and large build.
- Height – Clydesdale horses are usually 72 inches tall or beyond.
- Color – They can possess solid colors but are famous for bay color. Some have their legs and faces with white markings.
- Trait – They are gentle and easy-going horses.
- Origin – Scotland
There is no definite answer on the friendliest horse breed. But a horse that you will be your friend. Knowing a friendly horse breed with the warm horse characteristics and species mentioned above will be easier.