American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse is a breed of horse that is known for its speed and agility.

They are the most popular breed of horse in North America, and are used for everything from trail riding to racing.

If you’re thinking about getting an American Quarter Horse, here’s what you need to know.

American Quarter Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the American Quarter horse:

Height (size) 14.3 – 16.0 hands
Colors They come in a variety of solid colors: roan, palomino, gray, grullo, buckskin, and dun.
Country of Origin United States of America
Common Uses They excel in reining, cutting, working cow horse, barrel racing, calf roping, and other western riding events, particularly those involving live cattle.

American Quarter Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The American Quarter Horse was a popular mount among cowboys during the open-range period of the West because of its gentle demeanor and natural cow sense.

It is estimated that the breed first appeared around 1660 as a result of a crossing of local Spanish horses and English horses that had been brought to Virginia beginning around the year 1610.

These horses were then also crossed with local breeds, like the Chickasaw horse.

The horses were successfully raced on quarter-mile courses in Rhode Island and Virginia by the late 17th century, earning the name Quarter Horses.

Also, because of its exceptional agility, ranchers, farmers, and anyone who needed dependable transportation across rugged terrain found the breed to be of immense value.

Although the breed has been around since the 1600s, the American Quarter Horse Association registry was not formed until 1940.

The versatility of the American Quarter Horse is reflected in its numbers – there are over three million registered American Quarter Horses worldwide, and the American Quarter Horse Museum is dedicated to showcasing this equine breed.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



They have a good-natured disposition, calm, cooperative temperament, and are easy to train.

This makes them a good choice for riders of all levels.

Physical Characteristics

American Quarter Horses are short and stocky.

They are muscular with short, wide heads, and deep, broad chests.

Fast starting, turning, and stopping ability and speed on short distances proved to be great for working cattle.

Even while traveling at fast speeds, Quarter Horses maintain their good footing and agility.

They are most recognized for their “cow sense” – an innate ability to maneuver cattle.


They come in a variety of solid colors: roan, palomino, gray, grullo, buckskin, and dun.

However, the brownish-red sorrel is the color most commonly seen.

White markings on the face and legs are common.

Height (size)

14.3 – 16.0 hands high






950 – 1,200 pounds (430 to 550 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

They excel in reining, cutting, working cow horse, barrel racing, calf roping, and other western riding events, particularly those involving live cattle.

They are just as comfortable on the trail, on the farm, as a show horse or a family horse.

The sport of Quarter Horse racing, which is more like a sprint than the Thoroughbred racing many people are acquainted with, has tracks all around North America.

Speeds of up to 55 miles per hour have been recorded in these short, intense races.

In addition to racing, the breed continues to be used on farms and rodeos in northern America.


Quarter Horses are prone to certain genetic diseases and health issues:

Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) – a disorder that causes uncontrolled muscular twitching, muscle weakening, or paralysis. The AQHA requires a DNA test for HYPP.

Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy – causes damage to the muscle tissue and may result in pain and discomfort.

Malignant Hyperthermia – a condition that causes a horse to have unusually high metabolic activity, which may result in a high temperature, elevated heart rate, fast breathing, and other symptoms.

Stress, overwork, or the use of anesthetic are all potential triggers for this condition.

Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA), also known as Hyperelastosis Cutis (HC) – a collagen defect that causes the skin layers not to be kept together tightly.

As a result, when the horse is ridden under a saddle or suffers trauma to the skin, the surface layer frequently splits or separates from the deeper layer, or it might totally pull off.

In extreme situations the horse may be skinned alive when the skin splits on the back and even rolls down the sides.

The vast majority of horses who have HERDA are put to sleep for compassionate reasons between the ages of two and four years old.

Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED) – a hereditary condition in which the horse lacks an enzyme that is essential for storing glycogen.

Consequently, the horse’s heart and skeletal muscles are rendered ineffective, resulting in an extremely quick death. This gene may be detected with a simple DNA blood test.

Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSM) – a metabolic muscle illness that causes tying up in horses. It is also linked to a glycogen storage problem.

It is possible to manage it with nutrition using low-starch diets, nevertheless, genetic testing should be done before breeding.

Lethal White Syndrome – a syndrome caused by a genetic abnormality that manifests itself in horses with white markings and may be fatal to foals.

Foals with two copies of this gene are born white with blue eyes and with underdeveloped intestines. There is no cure for this illness, however a DNA test is available.

Cleft Palate Birth Defect – a problem caused by a number of factors like genetics, hormones, mineral insufficiency, tranquilizers, and steroids.

Lifting head high when eating, dropping head low to drink, coughing when beginning exercise, and placing wormers or other oral medications in the side of the jaw and taking about an hour to administer full dose are some observations in horses with this condition who didn’t have surgery.

Popular Traits

QH is agile and fast and can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour over short distances.

They are also known for their ability to work cattle, which is known as ‘cow sense’.



Country of Origin

United States of America


Spanish colonial horses, Thoroughbred