Ride Around the World Horse: The Quarter Horse of the US
In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week.
The Quarter Horse
Environment: Cool temperate
Origin: 18th-19th century
Colors: All solid
The Quarter Horse, the first all-American breed, is claimed to be "the most popular horse in the world." Over 3 million are registered with the American Quarter Horse Association.
Breeding: Its foundation was English horses, imported to Virginia about 1611, and Spanish stock, brought to America in the previous century. It was used for every sort of work: Farming, hauling, working cattle, in harness, and under saddle. The settlers raced them over stretches of about a quarter mile, hence the name Quarter Horse, from the horse's ability to sprint faster than any other breed over this distance. In the West, it is the supreme pony, working cattle with an uncanny instinct.
Characteristics: The old Quarter Horse was noted for massive quarters that facilitated its sprinting ability from a standing start. The recent infusion of Thoroughbred blood, with the aim of increasing racing speed, has tended to reduce this notable characteristic.
Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Quarter Horse.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 206-207.