American Quarter Horse
North Americas most popular breed. Developed by the early English settlers
in Virginia and the Carolinas by crossing mares of Spanish decent with
imported English stallions - Thoroughbred, Hobbies and Galloways. It was
produced to provide a good all-purpose riding and harness horse but also
raced over short distances. Taking its name from the quarter mile sprints in
which it competed so well - it claimed to run the quarter mile faster than
any other equine. Racetracks were cut in the virgin forests and were usually
a quarter of a mile long.
The best-known progenitor of the breed was Janus, a 14h.h. English bred
horse by the Godolphin Arabian.
Thoroughbred racing ousted the Quarter horse and it was used more for a cow
pony, because of its remarkable manoeuvrability it became very adept at
herding and cutting cattle.
Recently there has been a revival of Quarter horse racing and they now
compete on proper tracks.
An attractive, compact horse of kind disposition, being both athletic and
fearless with good conformation. The average height is 15.2h.h. but it
ranges between 14.3 and 16h.h. It is predominantly chestnut, but any solid
colour is permissible. The head is short and fairly wide with a tapering
small muzzle, large, wide set bright eyes and medium length alert ears; a
fairly long flexible neck; sloping shoulders and well-defined withers; a
short strong back and compact body with a broad chest and deep girth;
well-sprung ribs and powerful loins; powerful, well-muscled hindquarters
with a gently sloped croup; good strong limbs with short cannons and broad,
low set hocks; large, well-defined, muscular thighs and gaskins; medium
sized feet open at the heal.
Today it is still used for Quarter Horse racing, working cattle and for many
other equestrian pursuits: - Western show riding, rodeo, trail riding,
showing, jumping and dressage. It is no wonder that it is claimed to be the
most popular breed in the world with a registry containing over two million
entries. The first Quarter horse exported to Australia was in 1954, where
there are a number of large successful studs. The American Quarter Horse
Association was formed in 1940. Its registry is now the largest of any breed
in the world, with more than two million horses listed. There is also a
British Quarter Horse Association and Quarter horse racing.