The origins of the American Quarter Horse can be traced to colonial America. The name “Quarter Horse” reflects its ability to outrun other horse breeds in races of a quarter of a mile or less, making it popular with colonists for whom casual horse racing was a common pastime.

Through the years, American Quarter Horses moved west with settlers and were crossed with other horses, including the mustangs that roamed the western states. As the breed evolved, their short bursts of speed and sure-footedness made them the mount of choice for cowboys working cattle.

What Does an American Quarter Horse Look Like?

The horse should possess eye appeal that is the result of a harmonious blending of an attractive head; refined throat latch; well-proportioned, trim neck; long, sloping shoulder; deep heart girth; short back; strong loin and coupling; long hip and croup; and a well-defined and muscular stifle, gaskin, forearm and chest. These characteristics should be coupled with straight and structurally correct legs and feet that are free of blemishes. Overall the horse should be a balanced athlete that is muscled uniformly throughout. American Quarter Horses come in a wide array of colors, from classic sorrel to stunning buckskin and eye-catching blue roan.

Today’s American Quarter Horse is best known as a show horse, racehorse, reining and cutting horse, rodeo competitor, ranch horse, and perhaps most importantly, as an all-around family horse. The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States, and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is the largest breed registry in the world.

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