Horse Breeds Around The World

As any rider knows, horses are a varied bunch, coming in all shapes and sizes. There are over 350 distinct breeds of horse worldwide, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are five of the most popular breeds around the world and where to travel to if youโ€™d like to try riding them on a horse riding holiday!


American Quarter Horse
Found at all the American ranches as well as many other trail riding destinations the quarter horse isย  world famous for its agility and athleticism and is popular with beginner and advanced riders alike. Head to one of the US ranches for an all-american experience on a horse-riding holiday at Lake Ranch, Circle Bar Ranch, Drowsy Water or White Stallion ranch. If thatโ€™s a bit far afield you can also ride them in the UK on the Dartmoor Crossing or Dartmoor Cattle Drive horse riding holiday.

Arabian Horse

One of the oldest breeds in the world, the Arabian horse is known for being beautiful and spirited. Perfectly suited to the desert landscapes it is found in, this is a fast breed most enjoyed by experienced riders on a horse riding holiday in Jordan, Morocco, Turkey or Egypt.



Known worldwide for its speed the thoroughbred makes a fantastic racing or competition horse as wellas a brilliant trail riding horse for an experienced rider. Ride these beautiful horses on a horseback safari in Kenya, Botswana or South Africa.


Icelandic Horse
The size of ponies but always called horses this special breed even has an extra gait all of its own: the tolt. Small, strong and stocky, these horses are extremely hardy and a huge amount of fun for riders of all abilities. Try them out on a horse-riding holiday in their homeland of Iceland.

Welsh breeds

A hardy breed, developed in the Welsh mountains, Welsh ponies and cobs are popular worldwide for both children and adults. Known for their intelligence, easy-going nature and cheeky personality they are great fun to ride especially on a horse-riding holiday on their home soil of Wales.



The Connemara pony originates from the West coast of Ireland but there are now Connemara breeders all over the world, a testament to the popularity of these ponies and their outstanding temperament and versatility. Today Connemaras excel across a range of disciplines from jumping to dressage to trail-riding. Two of our rides on the west coast of Ireland have a stable full of connemaras, and they make a fantastic companion on a horse riding holiday.

Camargue horses

The Camargue horse is an ancient breed native to southern France and large numbers of them still live wild in the marshes close to the mediterranean sea. The breed has existed for thousands of years and is considered one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. Renowned for its sturdy build and resilience, you can still ride these horses on a horse-riding holiday in France.



With their model looks, jet-black colour and flowing mane and tail, the Freisian horse is admired the world over. Originally from the Netherlands this breed is famous for its smooth, high-stepping trot and is commonly used as a dressage horse. This horse is exclusively balck and the only markings permitted are a white star. With an easy-going temperament and a keen to please attitude the Freisian is popular as a driving horse as well as used widely in film and television.

This Portuguese horse breed is still used today for dressage, bull-fighting and of course trail riding. They are admired for their elegant appearance and their confirmation which makes them extremely comfortable to ride. A breed favouredย  by riders with back problems searching for a horse-riding holiday.


Irish Draught
This is the national horse breed of Ireland and is popular as a cross-breed, being combined with thoroughbreds and warmbloods to produce Irish Sport Horses. True Irish Draughts were bred for farm work from the 18th century onwards and are strong, sturdy and economical to keep, indeed their preferred diet is allegedly boiled turnip!. Irish Draught Sport Horses excel at the top levels of eventing and jumping today and are common across Europe particularly in Ireland.