This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which ride-on horse toy is best?

Ride-on horses have been a popular toy since the first rocking horses appeared in the 17th century. In an age where children are doing a lot of sitting in front of TVs or playing on tablets, ride-on horses are an excellent opportunity for kids to develop the good habit of exercising. Ride-on horses can also develop essential skills in youngsters. If you are looking for the best one to buy, then take a look at the PonyCycle Mechanical Ride-On Horse for a great experience for your child.

What to know before you buy a ride-on horse toy

Ride-on toys can develop gross and fine motor skills and encourage better balance and confidence in young children. Active kids can spend their energy riding, rocking and jumping their way through hours of playtime. Before purchasing a ride-on horse, what should be your considerations?


Ride-on toys need to pass stringent safety tests. The American Society for Testing and Materials requires that all toys manufactured or imported after Feb. 28, 2018, pass a series of safety tests. In addition, some ride-on toys may have small parts and should not be used by children under 3. Others may have metal parts, particularly spring horses. These parts should be manufactured safely, and springs should have durable covers.


Young children can develop their balance using ride-on toys. As children gain more confidence, they will use handlebars more effectively, have better posture and develop gross motor skills. Children who use ride-on toys at a young age can go on and learn more advanced skills more efficiently, such as bike riding or rollerblading.


The bond between parent and child can strengthen as the child learns and becomes more confident. Independence on a ride-on horse can only be gained once the child is assured, well-balanced and controlling the ride-on well. The process of achieving this is a two-way thing that should be enjoyed by children and parents alike.  

What to look for in a quality ride-on horse toy


Traditional rocking horses should have a good-quality wooden base. These horses were all wood in the past, but now they may be covered in soft plush, which is more realistic, and your child will connect better with this. Steel frames are necessary for spring horses but ensure all safety standards are met when purchasing.


Above all, your child should be having fun. The more fun the child has, the more exercise they will get and the more those motor skills can be developed. If your child does not have fun on a ride-on horse, it may be a good idea to look at other kinds of ride-on toys or different ways to develop those skills.


A regular rocking horse will do just that – rock! However, some ride-on horses may have other features that make them more appealing. Singing horses may help your child connect with their toy and love using it more. Horses that are not stationary may add another level of interest for some children, inspiring imagination and excitement.

How much you can expect to spend on a ride-on horse toy

Inflatable hoppers such as this iPlay, iLearn horse can be found for less than $35 and are a more budget-friendly way to have fun and develop skills. More sophisticated ride-on toys that could be mechanical or battery powered might cost in excess of $300.

Ride-on horse toy FAQ

How can I check if the toy has passed ASTM safety standards?

A. This may be mentioned in product descriptions or in the user manual, which may be downloadable from the product’s page on the retailer website. Generally, buying from reliable retailers should instill confidence, while buying from countries that don’t require the same testing may result in an unsafe toy being bought.

How many years can a ride-on horse toy last?

A. There’s no reason why a good-quality ride-on cannot be passed on to younger siblings at a later time if they have been cared for. However, knowing when to dispose of an old toy is vital for safety. If parts are getting old, it isn’t worth risking.

What are the best ride-on horse toys to buy?

Top ride-on horse toy

PonyCycle Mechanical Ride-On Horse

PonyCycle Mechanical Ride-On Horse

What you need to know: A non-powered, mechanical horse-riding experience for children from 4 to 9 years old.

What you’ll love: This 31- by 13- by 36-inch brown plush horse is a great ride-on toy for kids. Push down on the pedals to move the mechanical legs. The horse moves easily along flat surfaces on wheeled hooves. It is a safe product and has passed the safety standards for American and European toys.

What you should consider: Children should be supervised, and the horse should not be used on slopes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top ride-on horse toy for money

Happy Trails: Plush Rocking Horse

Happy Trails: Plush Rocking Horse

What you need to know: A classic-looking plush rocking horse with a wooden base for children 3 to 7 years old.

What you’ll love: Children can get hours of exercise as they imagine themselves as cowboys and cowgirls riding through the range. It is a handcrafted wooden core encased in soft brown plush, giving a modernized feel and look to a timeless toy. 

What you should consider: The horse was initially and incorrectly advertised as a singing horse by some online retailers, which led to some poor reviews.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Rockin’ Rider: Lacey: Talking Plush Spring Horse

Rockin’ Rider: Lacey: Talking Plush Spring Horse

What you need to know: A singing soft-plush spring horse for children ages 2 to 5.

What you’ll love: This soft, adorable horse sings songs and speaks while moving its mouth when your child squeezes either of its ears. The mane and tail are brushable, and the stirrups have three positions to align with your child’s growth. The springs are protected by covers, and the frame is made of reliable and sturdy steel.  

What you should consider: Adult supervision is recommended for this toy, and the batteries are included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Barry Peacock writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.