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American Quarter Horse

Country of Origin: USA

Quarter Horse


Perhaps most well known for their association with Cowboys of the wild west (although the breed began on the Eastern Seaboard) the Quarter horse is a symbol of American horsemanship & the oldest North American breed.


The Quarter horse originated in 17th century colonial Virginia, using English Thoroughbreds crossed with a variety of local tribal animals. Breeds available to the colonists at the time were of mixed Spanish descent, carrying traces of Andalusian, Barb & Arabian blood. The resulting crosses were small, stocky animals with muscular hindquarters.

Named for Speed

As their name declares, this breed is prized for their explosive speed over the quarter mile. Beyond speed, the versatility they displayed was a huge element of their success as a breed. They were easily capable of working during the week & racing on the weekends.

As the breed made its way west during the 19th century, it was continuously being fed new blood. The needs of settlers changed as they moved into Southwestern territories, as did the stock they encountered. Animals bred by western tribes & the local feral horses were smaller & better suited to the arid climate. The resulting crosses often had good cow sense & became popular with cattle farmers. These western crosses further enhanced the breed’s famous hindquarters.

Large ranches continued to rely on horsepower even after the age of mechanization, which made them instrumental in creating the Quarter horse we know today. Ranchers & cowboys bred for specific traits that ranged from working cattle, to racing, to after work rodeo activities.

Still Growing

In 1940 the American Quarter Horse Registry (AQHA) was formed by a group of horsemen & ranchers in the Southwestern states, with the goal of documenting the lineage of their animals. This was the beginning of America’s long love affair with the breed. Today the Quarter Horse Registry is the largest breed registry in the world with over 5 million registered animals.

Quarter Horse Types

Due to the many different bloodlines that were involved in creating the Quarter horse, there are a variety of types. The squat robust animal with powerful, rounded hindquarters is just one type of this versatile breed.

Stock Type
The Stock type is small with powerful hindquarters & quick, agile movement. Built to work cattle & respond quickly. Western pleasure show horses are often taller with smoother movements, but still feature the large hindquarters.

Halter Type
Halter horses have a specialized look, they are larger than the stock type & very heavily muscled. Taking the quarter horse aesthetic to the extreme, this type is bred to be muscular with small heads, large jowls & refined muzzles. There is controversy about how healthy it is to breed for such large muscle mass on the equine frame.

Racing Type
This type leans more towards the earlier animals of the eastern seaboard, heavier on the Thoroughbred influence for speed & agility. The racing type tends to be larger & leaner with longer legs. While retaining their powerful hindquarters, built for speed rather than the quick, short movements of cow horses.

Hunter Type
The hunter type also relies more on early Thoroughbred influences & tend to be even slimmer than even their racing counterparts. In the English show ring, their speed, athletic ability & agreeable nature makes them a natural choice.


Average height 15-5.2 hands
Strong, muscluar hindquarters make them strong sprinters
Versatile & eager to please


Head is short & wide, with a small muzzle & straight profile
Underline is longer than the back, gives compact impression
Chest is broad & muscular
Chunky, rounded muscular hindquarters
Legs are strong, with flat knees

Traditional Colors

All colors


Eager to please & versatile as they come.

Quarter horse


Pleasure/ trail horse
Show horse
Rodeo horse
Cutting horse
Work horse

Quarter Horse Products

Helpful Links

*All links open in a new window
American Quarter Horse Association | Facebook | Twitter
National Foundation Quarter Horse Association
American Quarter Horse Association – Australia
American Quarter Horse Association – UK
American Quarter Horse Association of New Zealand

Where to Buy

WIldcat Quarter Horses
Circle P Ranch
Quarter Horse Directory

Quarter Horse Studs

Circle P Ranch


Stock Type

Halter Type

Racing Type

Hunter Type

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Country of Origin: USA | Colors:
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