What You May Not Know About the American Quarter Horse

EQUINE | 28 SEP 2018

What You May Not Know About the American Quarter Horse

What we know today as the Quarter Horse breed, originated in colonial America in the early 1600’s. The Quarter Horse—a mixture of Thoroughbreds which were bred to Chickasaws (a combination of Arabian, Barb and Iberian), then bred to English mares—produced a muscular horse which could run short distances very quickly. Because these horses have a small amount of draft horse, they are known as warm bloods, like Morgans. The Quarter Horse was (and is today) a medium-boned, hardy horse, with a finely chiseled head and a relatively wide forehead.

The Most Versatile Horse

Over the years, the Quarter Horse evolved into a work horse, which could be used for virtually any task required by the new settlers in America. After helping the pioneers move westward, herding cattle and pulling wagons, the Quarter Horse is known today as the World’s Most Versatile Horse, numbering more than three million AQHA horses registered throughout the world. Quarter Horses are used today as ranch horses and race horses, as well as pleasure horses.

Today’s Quarter Horse

Today’s American Quarter Horse has sturdy legs, and heavy, muscular haunches, although Quarter Horse racing stock tend to be leggier, and reining Quarter Horses are more compact. Thoroughbred bloodlines have influenced both the temperament and the looks of today’s Quarter Horses,although Foundation Quarter Horses have been bred to remain true to the original Quarter Horse type and are primarily used to work with cattle. There are eleven foundation Quarter Horse bloodlines—eleven families who are ancestors to all Quarter Horses across the globe.

Quarter Horses typically range in size from 14.3 hands high to 15.3 hands, although those with Thoroughbred bloodlines can be taller, and Appendix Quarter Horses may be 16 hands high and even taller. Quarter Horses can be any number of colors, including buckskin, sorrel, cremello, dun, grey, palomino, roan, bay, grullo, perlino, smoky cream, black, or even pinto or spotted, so long as both the sire and dam are registered Quarter Horses. Many Quarter Horses have white stockings, blazes or stars.

Facts You May Not Know About American Quarter Horses

The AQHA was chartered in 1940, and the first registration number was given to the grand champion at the Fort Worth Stock Show (Wimpy).

The 20th registration number was reserved for W.B. Warren of Hockley, Texas—the first president of the AQHA, and his horse, Pancho.

The remaining 18 Quarter Horse registrations (of the first 20 registered) were given to stallions who exhibited the preferred Quarter Horse conformation, performance and parentage.

Wimpy, Little Richard and Tomate Laureles came from the famed King Ranch breeding program.

The Quarter Horse name came from the horse’s use as a sprinter, running quarter-mile races in Rhode Island and Virginia.

The Quarter Horse stallion, Peter McCue, was born in 1895. Today, his bloodlines appear in nearly every Quarter Horse.Sorrel and chestnut are the most common colors in the Quarter Horse registry.

The American Quarter Horse is adaptable, and well-suited for everything from shows to competition,racing and working cattle.

Quarter Horses typically have an even temperament, although you will find the Quarter Horse will a stubborn streak from time to time.

Quarter Horses are known for their “cow sense,” with many of them able to predict what a cow will do even before the rider reacts.

The American Quarter Horse Association was formed to protect the pedigrees of ranch horses, as many ranchers were looking at cross-breeding the Quarter Horse with other breeds to improve the “cow sense” of the other breeds.

So long as a Thoroughbred meets performance standards, the studbook for the American Quarter Horse remains open to Thoroughbreds.

An Appendix Quarter horse is a first-generation cross between a registered Thoroughbred and an American Quarter Horse or a cross between a “numbered” American Quarter Horse and an Appendix American Quarter Horse.

Appendix Quarter Horses can be entered into competition, however their offspring are not able to obtain full AQH Aregistration. That being said, if an Appendix Quarter Horse meets the conformation criteria, and has been shown or raced successfully, a transfer can be made from Appendix to the permanent studbook, making the horse’s offspring eligible for AQHA registration.

Quarter Horses are typically long-lived—between 25 and 30 years.

There are more American Quarter Horses living in Texas, than anywhere else in the entire world.

Breeders of American Quarter Horses separate the breed into: Progressive, Bulldog and Thoroughbred. The Bulldog is the working horse of the breed with stamina and strong legs. The Thoroughbred Quarter Horse is finer-boned and sleeker, and the Progressive is a combination of the Bulldog and Thoroughbred Quarter Horses.

The most successful racehorse was a Quarter Horse named Easy Jet, born in 1967.

Easy Jet was one of only two horses to be a member of the AQHA Hall of Fame,while also being an offspring of members. Easy Jet sired three future winners of the All-American Futurity

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