American Quarter Horse

Facts about the American Quarter Horse, breed history, and more.


American Quarter Horse History

The American Quarter Horse traces its roots to early America, where settlers crossed English horses to those of Spanish ancestry, producing a compact and muscular horse. These horses could run a short distance over a straightaway faster than any other horse, and also served as multi-use work horses and family mounts.

Halter and showmanship horse and handler

In the 1600s, English colonists began calling these horses “Celebrated American Quarter Running Horses.” Later, Thoroughbred blood was also introduced. The American Quarter Horses moved west with the settlers and grew in popularity among ranchers, showing an inherent sense for working cattle. In 1940, the American Quarter Horse Association was founded, and the breed received its official name.

Bay American Quarter Horse

Today, the American Quarter Horse is the most popular American breed and can be seen in virtually every riding discipline. In addition, American Quarter Horses still race a quarter mile at tracks throughout the United States. They are also gaining popularity in Europe and around the world.

American Quarter Horse Characteristics

There are 16 recognized colors of the American Quarter Horse. The most prominent color is sorrel (brownish red). Other colors include bay, black, brown, buckskin, chestnut, dun, red dun, gray, grullo, palomino, red roan, blue roan, bay roan, perlino and cremello. American Quarter Horses range in size from 14 to over 16 hands high.

For More Information

American Quarter Horse Association,

Further Reading
American Quarter Horse All-Stars
The American Quarter Horse is Named the Official Horse of Texas

This breed profile was originally posted on December 15, 2006.


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