There are so many horse breeds that have their origin in America and they proudly own these breeds.

One such breed is the American Quarter Horse. It is a breed of North-America and is said to be the oldest and most- popular breed of horses in America. The Quarter horse is a friendly, gentle, and versatile horse. It is used as a pet and as a working horse. Below is a detailed overview of this famous horse breed.

American Quarter Horse Breed Information

History and Origin of the American Quarter Horse

The origin of the American Quarter Horse, as the name suggests, lies in Colonial America. This horse breed is a descendant of different breeds of Spanish and English horses that were brought to America in the 17th century. These horses were crossed with the local horses.

One of the famous breeds of these horses was Janus. It was foaled in 1756 and brought to Colonial Virginia. This breed contributed genes for the development of the Quarter horse. The breed got its naming after gaining popularity in the quarter-mile races.

These horses also contributed a lot to the westward expansion in the 19th century. The pioneers of this expansion required some willing horses with strong bodies. They served the cowboys, the farmers, and the transporters for transporting goods.

They were quite famous in America sine the 17th century, but the American Quarter Horse Association was formed in 1940.

The Personality of American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter horse is famous for its beauty, loyalty, agility, speed, gentleness, and friendly nature. This nature makes them easy to train and suitable for all types of rider. They are usually kept as a family pet.

The American Quarter horse is also famous for the ‘cow sense’. This is an instinctive skill of maneuvering cattle. It is a highly intelligent horse that is always willing to please its owner.

The versatile nature, steady, and mild temperament of the American Quarter horses make them the affectionate companions and the pleasure horses. They are dedicated to their work and remain calm and docile.

Physical Features of the American Quarter Horse


The American Quarter horse comprises of 2 types of bodies.

1). The Stock type

In this type, the horse has a short compact body that is agile and muscular.

2). The Hunter or Racing type

This type of American Quarter horses has a comparatively taller body with smooth muscles.

Generally, the American Quarter horse has a heavy but short muscular body. They provide a comfortable and elegant ride with their short-footed descent gait.

Quarter horses have a straight and flat body profile with a short and refined head, broad forehead, deep and broad chest, and rounded hindquarters. Their shoulders are sloping yet strong with a bush-like long tail. The eyes are large almond-shaped with pointed ears. Their legs are strong and muscular but the feet are small.

Life Span

The average life of an American Quarter horse is between 25 to 35 years approximately.

Height and Weight

The American Quarter horses are the bulky horse breed. Their height ranges from 56 to 64 inches. Some horses of this breed have been noticed with height up to 68 inches.

The weight of this breed is about 950 to 1200 pounds. Some horses can be a bit heavier.

Coat and Colors

Generally, the Quarter horse possesses a plain coat with a solid color but the spotted coat is also accepted with registered parents. White markings on face and legs are also common in the American Quarter horses. The Quarter horse is available and accepted in almost all colors. The most common and famous color of a Quarter horse is sorrel brownish-red. This is almost the same color as the chestnut. The other colors available for a Quarter horse are grullo, grey, buckskin, bay, black, brown, palomino, white, cremello, blue roan, bay roan, and red roan.

Nutrition and Feeding

Generally a horse like American Quarter requires food of about 2% of their body weight. It means that a 1200 pounds American Quarter horse will require 20 to 25 pounds of food each day.

The American Quarter horses can feed on fresh grass, hay, and grains like barley rolled oats, and bran. A moderate amount of fruits like apple and cabbage can also be added as a treat. Their food must be containing the nutrients of proteins, minerals, fats, vitamins, carbs, and an excessive amount of water.

Health Issues of the American Quarter Horse

There are several health problems and genetic issues that bother the strong and muscular American Quarter horses.

Malignant hyperthermia

This a condition that is majorly caused by hard work, stress, or anesthesia. In this condition, the horse reaches the state of abnormally high metabolic rate. This high metabolic rate results in increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and high temperature.

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis

This is a genetic disorder that can be transferred from only one of the parents. The victims of this disease go through paralysis, muscle weakness, or muscle twitching.

Polysaccharide storage myopathy

This is another muscular disease that affects the muscles and causes stiffness and pain.

Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia

This is a genetic disorder that is transferred if and only if both the parents have this disease. In this disease, the skin layers are not held together firmly, the outer layer of the skin gets loose and separated from the inner layers. Ridding can cause the outer layer to split or tear off. This is a rarely curable disease.

The affected horses cannot even tolerate the sun’s heat.

Breeding and Gestation of American Quarter Horse

The gestation of the American Quarter horse is similar to that of other horse breeds. The gestation period ranges from 320 to 360 days. However, the gestation of some mares can go beyond this range as well.

This means that the foal, a baby horse completes its developmental stages inside the mare’s body at a slow pace, in almost 1 year.

This development is not very visible and slow in the beginning and speeds up in the last 3 months. During these 3 months, 60% of the development of foal takes place.

Uses of the American Quarter Horse

The versatile nature of the American Quarter horse makes it usable in various fields.

  • This agile and muscular horse has been used for racing for centuries. The quarter-racing gave this breed its name.
  • For having the ‘cow sense’, the American Quarter horses were also used to maneuver cattle.
  • The American Quarter horses were used to pull carts and wagons for the transporters.
  • Their strong hind limbs make them ideal horses to use for hunting.
  • They take part in sports activities like reining, barrel race, and team penning.
  • The beauty of the American Quarter horse is proudly presented in the shows and exhibitions.
  • It is also used for dressage and parades.
  • The friendly nature makes it a good pleasure horse.

Grooming and Cleaning of the American Quarter Horse

To maintain a healthy and clean coat, daily grooming is the best idea. Grooming the legs, face, and body before riding makes the horse comfortable to ride. Grooming and brushing after a ride is also good for the coat and distributes the oil and sweat evenly in the coat and skin.

Detangler, shampoo, and conditioner used while cleaning the mane and tail can make them smooth and look nice.

The steady and mild temperament and friendly nature of the American Quarter horses make them an ideal choice to keep at home, especially for the beginners. They are sharp, intelligent, and their intuitive nature makes them easy to train horses.

Also Read:Best Horse Breeds in the world



Gokce Karin

Gokce's love and passion for farm animals stem from growing up on a farm in Mexico. After receiving Bachelor's degree in Equine Sciences & Livestock Farming, she started working at her own farm. Today, while managing her farm animals, she also contributes to - where she shares her experiences as well as helps people deal with their animals the best way.