What is an American Quarter Horse?

American Quarter Horse Profile

The American Quarter Horse is arguably the most popular horse in the world. There are over 5 million horses registered with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). The AQHA is the largest breed registry in the world.  The quarter horse got its name from the ability to out run other breeds of horses on the quarter mile or less. They were bred to sprint. The quarter horse is best known for their performance in western riding sports, such as rodeo, reining, cutting, working ranch, barrel racing, and other western sports. Although the quarter horse is also shown in the English disciplines, driving, and racing as well.


In the 17th century, colonists, in what is now known as the United States, began crossing imported English Thoroughbred horses with native horses, such as the Chickasaw horse. An English Thoroughbred stallion named Janus became critical in the development of the Quarter Horse. The resulting horses were small, hardy, and quick. As flat racing became more popular the resulting horses that were bred as sprinters to out ran Thoroughbreds on the quarter mile; hence the name “Quarter Horse”. In the 19th century, pioneers began to move westward across the nation. As these settlers moved across the plains they encountered a feral breed of horse that were descendent from the Spanish horses, which we now call Mustangs. They cross bred their “Quarter Horses” to these mustangs.The resulting animals had an innate “cow sense”. These resulting horses become very popular among ranchers, cowboys, and rodeo riders. The early foundation stallions for the Quarter Horse breed include such names as Steel Dust, Shiloh, Lock’s Rondo, and Peter McCue. The American Quarter Horse Association was formed in 1940 to preserve this breed of ranch horses.  The first horse registered was Wimpy. Today the AQHA holds more than 5 million horses to its registry, the largest in the world. 


Today the American Quarter horse is one of the world’s most versatile breeds. The modern Quarter Horse has a small, short, and has a refined head. Their head has a straight profile and is not typically dished. They have strong muscular bodies with a broad chest and powerful hindquarters. They typically stand between 14 and 16 hands, although some English types can stand as high as 17 hands. There is two main types of Quarter Horse, the stock type and the hunter/race type. The stock type tends to be shorter and more compact. While the hunter/race type tends to taller and more refined, sometimes resembling the Thoroughbred. The Quarter Horse can come in almost any color.  The most common color is sorrel, which is a type of chestnut coloring.


So if you are looking for a versatile or “cow sense” companion, you have found it in the American Quarter Horse. The World’s Most Popular Horse Breed! Visit SaddleOnline today and find your perfect saddle!