Choosing your trekking horse

Embarking on a long distance horse trek adventure, like the Azadi Far Ride to the Murray, is not just a physical feat, but a journey of trust and companionship between you and your horse. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trek or a multi-day ride, selecting the right horse is paramount to the success and enjoyment for both of you. In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors we consider when choosing the perfect equine partner for long distance horse trek escapades.


I rate the temperament of the horse very highly when making a selection for a far ride. The horse should be calm and easy to handle. A horse that is too flighty or unpredictable can be dangerous and stressful on a long ride. The horse should be comfortable being ridden and remain level-headed in a variety of situations, including hot weather, cold weather, rain, uneven terrain and roadways. But most important is their work ethic, you want a responsive,trainable and engaged companion. Look for a horse that’s naturally curious, confident, and willing to explore new surroundings with you.

Physical attributes

The most important physical attribute for a long distance horse is soundness. The horse should be free of any injuries or health problems that could compromise its soundness and well being. The horse should also be an appropriate size and build for the rider and items being carried.

In addition to soundness and size, the horse should also have good conformation and muscling. This means that the horse’s body is well-proportioned and well-balanced. A horse with good conformation and muscle build is more likely to be comfortable and efficient when riding long distances, but also less likely to suffer from an injury due to a strain on a weakness.

The final physical aspect to consider is the horses metabolism, whether it is a good doer or not, and their eating habits. Supplemental feed is heavy and it can be difficult to obtain consistent supply especially in remote areas. If they require bucket loads of hard feed to maintain condition or will turn their nose up at new grazing and water sources, they may not be ideal, despite ticking every other box.

Which bucket does your horse need?
Glory helping himself to the fish water.
Glory helping himself to the fish water. He definitely isn't fussy.

Experience & Fitness

The experience of the horse is also a factor to consider. A horse that has experience and is conditioned to riding long distances is more likely to be successful. A horse that is new to long distance riding, riding in general or unpredictable situations will need more training and conditioning before it is ready to embark on an adventure. While younger horses might have more energy, older horses can bring a wealth of experience to the table. Consider a horse that’s at a mature age but still in good physical condition. These well-seasoned equines often have the mental fortitude required for long distance horse treks.

The level of conditioning and fitness required will vary depending on the horses experience, underlying fitness, distance covered, weight to be carried and environment your long distance horse trek is planned for. I recommend allowing at least 3 months from a departure date to prepare your chosen mount.


While breed isn’t the sole determinant, in my experience certain breeds are better suited for long distance horse treks. Arabian horses are well known for their endurance, stamina (emotional and physical), good metabolism and willingness to work, so are a popular choice. Arabians are my prime choice for my far rides because of their compatibility with me and their compatibility with the nature of long distance horse treks. They are highly intelligent, have a great work ethic, are curious and always keen for adventure. Of course, I’m a little bit biased and other breeds like Quarter Horses and native breeds can also excel. Consider the horse’s physical attributes (inc. metabolism), temperament and previous riding experience to gauge its suitability.

Choosing the right horse for long distance horse trekking is an investment in shared adventures and unforgettable experiences. When choosing a horse for a far ride, it is important to consider the factors listed above, as every aspect plays a vital role in finding your perfect equine companion. The most important thing is to find a horse that you are comfortable and connected with, that can get you both through the ride. Remember, your journey and memories will be defined not just by the destination, but by the steps taken together along the way.

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