Happy Horses are Successful Horses so Pick your Horse Wisely

If you want a successful horse pick one suited to your required need. For more information read this post and have a happy equine partnership.

Jeremy Ricketts
Jeremy Ricketts Posted on 9 January 2023
2 Min Read Horse back riding

Have you ever heard the phrase, “horses for courses”? In the racing world, this means certain horses suit certain race lengths and tracks. However, as far as picking a horse for your equine needs remember that certain horse types suit specific riding activities.

Important Considerations when Picking a Horse


  • Many types of horse compete at grass root level
  • The higher you progress the more important it is that your horse is built for the job he is performing


Unusual horse types do compete at a high level, but these horses are very unusual. It is hard to find an elite competition horse so if you want to reach the top, look at horses built for the job.

The Horse required for the Grass Roots Competitor

These horses are usually between 15hh and 16hh and are the sort we call “good all-rounders”. Remember, smaller horses are usually sounder and hardier than tall horses so why go for a big horse when a 15.2hh horse will meet your needs. In England, these horses typically have some pony blood and Irish connections. Others are crossed between Warmbloods or Thoroughbreds and ponies. Some are Anglo-Arab horses or Arabians crossed with pony blood. Many of these smaller horses have hybrid vigour. So what is hybrid vigour?

Harnessing Hybrid Vigour Horses

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A Horse with the Correct Conformation will stay Sounder

If a horse is built for his job he will find it easier to perform and he will generally stay sounder. There will be less wear and tear on his body. In addition, look for a horse with serviceable legs and feet without significant conformational issues. Although there is no such thing as a perfectly made horse, avoid significant structural deviations.

The Horse Required for the Serious Competitor

Endurance Horse Riding

Endurance Riding

Arabians and Anglo-Arabs dominate. The horse must be small, with a short back, a light frame, and a good strength to weight ratio.

Jeremy Ricketts on Lexington


Warmblood and Irish horses with a high percentage of Thoroughbred blood and actual Thoroughbreds dominate. The horse must be bold with the desire to gallop and jump. He must also move well for the dressage phase.

show jumping

Show Jumping

Warmblood and Irish horses dominate, but they are typically bigger built than event horses with less thoroughbred blood and do not need to be galloping machines. The horse must be a careful jumper with the scope to jump big tracks with wide spreads.



Warmblood horses dominate this discipline. A natural balance with cadence and the ability to extend are all extremely important.

Horse western

Western Activities

Quarter horses dominate with various lines bred for different intended uses. These are the horses for reining, cutting, barrel racing, bulldogging, and any other western activity.

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Jeremy Ricketts

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Hello, I'm the resident writer here at The Rideout. I've been riding horses for the best part of... well my entire life! Over the years of owning, riding, competing and looking after horses I've built up a small wealth of information.

This site owes tribute to my many hours spent in and out of the saddle learning about the behaviours, needs, and quirks of these amazing animals. From basic care and grooming to advanced training techniques, I've honed my skills through years of hands-on experience.

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