American Quarter Horses

by Mary Haley, Editor

The American Quarter horse is the most popular horse in America today. With over 3 million registered horses, their use continues to increase even today. The Quarter horse has not been around as long as the Arabian horse but it is a much more popular horse in terms of use and ownership in America.

The Quarter horse was named after its original use for racing quarter mile lengths. The horses were brought over from Europe by some of the original colonists along with their love of racing.

The colonists would race these horses down quarter mile tracks, usually on roads or paths. In order to breed a powerful racing horse they combined the best qualities of several different breeds. Arabian or Turkish stallions were bred to English mares to produce a horse that was well muscled and close to the ground.

Cowboys would eventually start using the Quarter horse to help them herd cattle. Quarter horses proved to be a very agile horse; they could literally turn on a dime. This type of agility proved very useful for the cowboys in rounding up cattle, these horses can turn and accelerate rapidly.

Today, Quarter horses are used in all sorts of horse competitions. They make up 50 percent of all registered horses in the United States. One of the competitions they are used for is called barrel racing. Barrel racing is where the horse must run an obstacle course changing directions quickly to get through the course in the least amount of time. Naturally, this event involving quick changes of directions is a perfect event for the Quarter horse.

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is the main Quarter horse association in America. The AQHA is also the largest horse association in America boasting over 300,000 members!

A membership to the AQHA cost $35 a year, and gives you access to the many services the AQHA offers. Their website,, gives a large amount of information and offers a breed registry. Through their website you can search pedigrees back through four generations. Also listed are all show dates and show results.

No matter if you are an exhibitor, a racer, or a cowboy, the AQHA tries to provide individualized service for every segment of the Quarter horse association.

The quarter horse has proven to be one of the fastest and most agile horses alive today. If you want a horse that can turn on a dime and accelerate quickly the American Quarter horse is for you…

This article may be reprinted with permission so long as no changes are made to the text and the following credit appears: 2006-2008 Horse Resource Organization Information, products and resources related exclusively to horses. Author: Mary Haley.

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