The American Quarter Horse is a horse that outrivals other horses over short sprint distances. It is an American breed of horse and the name refers to the short time it takes to complete a quarter mile distance or less. The breed was developed by the settlers of Virginia and the Carolinas by crossing local Chickasaw Indian Mustang Poniew with Thouroughbred horses imported from the UK and was used in the first horse races of North America. The races took place on the main streets of small towns. Since most main streets were a quarter of a mile long, the horses were known as Quarter-Milers. Soon they were called Quarter Horses.
The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed of Horse in the United States and the oldest surviving American horse breed. It is well known not just as a race horse but for its performance in horse shows, rodeos and as a working ranch horse. There are over 5 million Quarter Horses registered with the American Quarter Horse Association. A number of the horses that we use on our riding holiday in Peru are Quarter Horses incidentally!
The physique of The Quarter Horse is perfect for the short sprinting events and they have been known to clock up to 55 mph. The modern Quarter Horse has a short, refined head with a strong, muscular body, a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters. There are two main body types: the stock type, and the hunter or racing type. Their colouring varies from bay, black and brown and includes chestnut, palomino, buckskin and grey.
The quarter horse breeds make excellent riding horses, those usually shown in competition are larger, more muscular horses with wide jowls. Those for reining and cutting are smaller with more powerful hindquarters very agile and quick on their feet. All quarter horses however have speed, power and are more than willing to please their owners. Their even temperament makes them a great animal for new riders learning to ride and their breeding ability has made several stud farm owners both famous and wealthy.