YQA - My Favorite Horse Breeds

Learn about one of our favorite parts of Equitrekking... Riding Different Horse Breeds

by Darley Newman

Traveling the world on horseback, means riding and adjusting to various breeds of horses in their native setting.

This is one of the most interesting parts of traveling the world to ride with the locals, as I ride different horses and different breeds wherever I go, from Highland ponies in Scotland to Icelandics in Iceland to Arabians in the Middle East. I am constantly adjusting to new riding styles and having fun dressing the part by fashioning the local riding clothes. 

While I don't have one favorite breed, our crew loves any kind of gaited horses, as they are smoother to ride, which is important when you are trail riding with equipment. 

One of my most memorable experiences riding a new breed in its native setting was riding Arabian horses with the bedouin in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan. I was nervous at first to ride Arabians in the open, vast desert, but luckily my horse Chams was a great match for me. He was definitely spirited and somewhat challenging when riding fast, but he did listen. 


Traveling on horseback alongside the locals, whose stories of the land, its history, and their own lives gives each destination its own story, I discover nature in a completely new and refreshing way.

One of my favorite horse culture experiences was in Iceland. Icelandic horses may be prized for their stamina, but their physical appearance also draws attention.

Icelandics’ coats come in myriad colors—chestnut, brown, bay, palomino, gray, and on and on. Big, bushy manes sprout from their compact, muscular bodies. 

Though they are pony-sized, Icelandics are referred to as horses, most adamantly so by Icelanders themselves. 

These small, hardy horses pack some might. They also possess the remarkable ability to move in ways distinct from other horses. Icelandic horses can walk, trot, and canter like other breeds, but their extra gaits—the tölt and the skeið, or pace—make them special.


Riding Connemara ponies on the beach in Connemara, Ireland was so fun, and I gained new respect for these hardy ponies by hearing stories of their survival in the mountains of Connemara from local Willie Leahy. 

There are different breeds of horses all over the world, especially right here in the USA, so why not saddle up and enjoy the diverse world of horses!

YQA stands for Your Questions Answered. Every Monday, TV host and travel expert Darley Newman answers viewer questions right here in Darley's Blog.

Search the Equitrekking Vacation Guide, a comprehensive resource for dude ranches, riding holidays, cattle drives and equestrian escapes and check out horse riding holidays Iceland at EquitrekkingTravel.com