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Which toy riding horse is best?

Handmade wooden rocking horses have been around for more than three hundred years, some surviving long enough to become part of museum collections. Toy horses with wheels have been around even longer than that.

Kids love horses and motion toys, so a toy riding horse is the best of both worlds. If you are looking for a toy riding horse that walks, trots and gallops in sync with your toddler, take a look at the Radio Flyer Chestnut Plush Interactive Riding Horse. The horse’s deluxe plush coat is soft to the touch and pleasant to hug.

What to know before you buy a toy riding horse

Horses on rockers

Kids love playing with a traditional rocking horse, which is typically mounted on curved slats like the wooden rocking chairs you see on a porch. The horse rocks back and forth as kids shift their weight, controlling the speed of the rocking with the motion of their bodies. The downside of a rocking horse is that they only go back and forth. Rocking horses can also tip over backwards if the rockers are not long enough. 

Spring-mounted riding horses 

A spring-mounted horse is suspended at all four corners by springs, so the motion can go back and forth as well as up and down. It can even go side to side to a small extent, too. This is the easiest type of riding horse to fall from, so it is not a good choice for little kids who are still developing balance and coordination. It also may not be ideal for daredevil kids who will do their best to make their bronco buck as much as they can.

Battery-powered riding horses

Kids can scoot around on electric riding horses using the wheels mounted on the bottom of the hooves. These toy riding horses are the tallest option and are great choices for kids with a developed sense of balance. Luckily, tipping over only really happens when kids ride their battery-powered horses on uneven ground.

What to look for in a quality toy riding horse


Safety should be a primary concern when purchasing any toy. Toy horses with lower centers of gravity are often safer than toy horses with high saddles. Look for toy riding horses with a wide base, too, as these are more likely to keep children upright as they rock and play. 


If you buy a rocking horse, check to see what materials it’s made out of. Avoid buying rocking horses with low-quality plastic, as these may scratch the floors in your home. If you purchase a springy rider, make sure it comes with pads to protect your floor from the metal frame.


Electric riding horses have limited riding time, which depends on what type of batteries they use. Take a look at how long it takes the battery to recharge, so you know how quickly your kids can get back in the saddle for more riding fun.

How much you can expect to spend on a toy riding horse

Most rocking horses cost between $30-$60. Spring mounted toy riding horses run from $100-$200. Prices for battery-powered riding horses on wheels range from $200 to as much as $500.

Toy riding horse FAQ

Are riding horses safe for little children?

A. Some are safer than others, so choose a riding horse toy that is appropriate for your child’s age, size and level of coordination.

Which riding horses are best for toddlers?

A. Ones that are low to the ground and have a wide, stable base.

What’s the best toy riding horse to buy?

Top toy riding horse 

Radio Flyer Chestnut Plush Interactive Riding Horse

Radio Flyer Chestnut Plush Interactive Riding Horse

What you need to know: This horse walks, trots and gallops in sync with your toddler. It even says fun phrases as your toddler rides, like “neigh” and “yee-haw!”

What you’ll love: This spring-suspended riding horse sits in an alloy steel frame with a wide stance for added safety. It can safely hold riders who weigh 60 pounds or less. And the springs have a cover around them to protect fingers and toes from pinching. This toy riding horse comes with a bandana, a curry comb and a lifelike carrot. The horse has a deluxe plush coat and padded head that are soft to the touch and pleasant to hug. 

What you should consider: This is one of the more expensive riding toys available.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top toy riding horse for the money

Little Tikes Rocking Horse

Little Tikes Rocking Horse

What you need to know: This compact, lightweight and affordable riding horse is the safest way to ride, even for smaller kids.

What you’ll love: The wide rocker base, low seat and perfectly placed handles make this one of the safest riding horses you can buy. This riding horse is extremely sturdy and kids can ride it inside and outdoors. It’s made of smooth, highly durable plastic and comes fully assembled. All edges are rounded for added safety as small children develop their balance and coordination.

What you should consider: It doesn’t have any additional sounds or features. It’s a very basic rocking horse.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Kid Trax Rideamals Toddler Electric Riding Horse

Kid Trax Rideamals Toddler Electric Riding Horse

What you need to know: This little pony comes with wheels instead of horseshoes, and it’s powered by a 6-volt rechargeable battery.

What you’ll love: Made for kids from 18 to 30 months old, this electric riding horse trots along at a safe, smooth 1.5 miles per hour. It has 20 unique sounds and comes with a brush to smooth its coat and a plastic ear of corn. The flip-over reins allow kids to pull this horse behind them when they are heading back to the barn for recharging.

What you should consider: The weight limit of this powered riding horse is 44 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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