High horses are not for everyone. Some of us just prefer smaller animals and for some of us, it’s simply not possible to climb a giant horse.
In this article, we will take a close look at some of the best smaller horse breeds you can ride. There are some great options out there, as you will see!
5 Horse Breeds For Kids & Short People
A normal-sized horse is around 5 feet tall from the ground to the withers.
The withers is a great way to measure the height of a horse because the neck and the head do not really impact how tall it is when you ride it. It’s the distance from the saddle to the ground that really matters.
These five horse breeds are perfect for the kids as well those people who are a bit lower than normal. They are also great for disabled people who often will have a hard time getting up on the horse. Older people will also benefit from a lower horse.
They’re just easier to climb and a lot easier to get down from.
1) Icelandic Horses (3 inches lower)
Icelandic horses are just a little bit lower than normal horses. They will be around 4.75 feet tall which makes it easier to access the saddle.
That’s around 3 inches lower than normal horses.
As the name indicates, these horses are developed and Iceland. They can even be smaller and sometimes almost look like a pony. Due to the harsh environment and nature of Iceland, these animals are strong, compact, and robust.
The breed is often used for sheepherding.
They are easy to work with and they are very friendly and calm. They have a long history of working together with people as the Icelandic people have bred them over many centuries.
They did not always appear to be small horses because it’s mainly the legs that are shorter. This can make them appear like a normal-sized horse but make no mistake, these horses are smaller and they are really clever too. They can keep track of a large flock of sheep and they will know exactly how to manage and control the animals.
2) Haflinger Horses (3 inches lower)
The Haflinger horses are also known as Avelignese.
They are also around 4.75 feet tall to the withers. That’s around 3 inches lower than the normal-sized horse. That’s often enough to matter in order to make it easier to access the back of the horse.
So as you can see they live up to their name.
This horse is quite famous for having a wonderful temper and personality. They participate in many disciplines because they are very strong and beautiful.
It’s a wonderful horse breeding from Austria and northern Italy which is also where’s the name comes from. (Hafling is a region). They were specifically bred for taking tours up in the mountains in ancient times. So as you can imagine, they are strong and compact horses.
The Halflinger horses are often used as family horses because the whole family is able to ride them due to their lower backs. This makes them great for beginners as well as bigger kids.
3) Gypsy Vanner Horses (5 inches lower)
These beauties are around 4,6 feet tall.
That’s around 5 inches lower than normal.
These horses are from Ireland. It’s also a small and robust fella with a very nice temper. They have long beautiful hair on the legs which makes it easy to recognize them.
You will find plenty of these cute little horses across America.
They often turn up at shows and you can also buy them in several places. Here in the states, they are often used for sports by amateurs and bigger kids because they are easier to ride than a normal-sized horse.
They sort of look like they are taken right out of a fairy tale because of the long hair across the mane and the legs.
4) Fjord Horses (6 inches lower)
The Fjord horses are even smaller. They measure 4.5 feet to the withers, which is more like 6 inches lower than a standard horse.
They come from Norway and they have typically been used in the mountains.
It has always been used as a farm horse and it’s one of the world’s oldest horse breeds. It’s well known for its good temper and it’s very easy to ride because it’s lower than other horses, as we mentioned.
It’s often used for schools and other places where you need horses with a very mild temper and a smaller size.
This is great for disabled people as well as older people looking for a good horse to ride. If you are a little lower than other people you would definitely also enjoy riding these majestic creatures.
They are also used to pull around tourists across Norway because they have that nice temper. If you don’t know the horse it will still be friendly to you and it will almost never kick out toward you or throw you off. That’s very nice if this is your first encounter with a horse.
5) Class B Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses (11 inches lower)
These horses are around 4,1 feet tall to the withers.
That’s around 11 inches lower than your standard horse.
These are your best friends if you really struggled to get on a normal horse. They are a lot lower than the normal horses and therefore they are very popular among beginners as well as bigger kids.
They are originally bred in Kentucky. The idea was to create an all-around good horse that you can use around the farm and for many other purposes.
This horse also has a sibling that’s a tad taller. It’s called “class A” instead of “class B”.
They are specifically bred for young people and new members of a farm to be able to ride them as soon as they meet them. This is due to their nice gentle temper and because they are quiet and calm most of the time.
How Much Weight Can These Horses Carry?
Generally speaking, a horse will be able to carry up to 20% of its own weight.
That being said, you might be able to go a little higher than the 20% with these guys because they are lower. So the legs are shorter.
On top of that, these smaller horses are often more robust and stronger built than tall racehorses.
This also tells from the weight of the horses above. Even though they are smaller and lower, they are typically not really lighter than ordinary horses. So, in theory, they should be able to carry the same weight as a normal-sized horse.
So as you can see, you don’t need to worry about these horses not being able to carry you. They are strong and more durable than normal horses so they can carry more weight (according to their size).
Can You Ride Miniature Horses?
We also find miniature horses which are more like dwarf horses. They are very popular as pets and smaller kids can ride them on until the age of eight or nine.
You can read a lot more here about whether you can ride a miniature horse.
Afraid Of Horses?
If you are generally a bit afraid of horses or if you just had a bad experience this can also be a good solution for you. Starting out with the smaller animal is a very good idea because it reduces the anxiety about climbing up on the back.
The closer you are to the ground the easier it is to let go and get over your fears of the horse.