What horse is faster than a Mustang?

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Key Points:

  • Horses were the quickest mode of land transportation until the development of railroads.
  • The Thoroughbred is often regarded as the world’s fastest horse breed over longer distances, with maximum speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour.
  • At a top speed of 50 miles per hour, the American Quarterhorse is perhaps the world’s quickest horse over short distances.
  • The Nez Perce tribe of the Pacific Northwest created the Appaloosa from a herd of horses introduced to the Americas by the Spaniards in the early 16th century.

Horses are wonderful creatures with great power and speed. From the time of their domestication from wild horses around 4,000 BC until the invention of trains, they were still the fastest source of locomotion on land.

While they no longer provide an essential service, horses are still ridden both for pleasure and for sport. This article will discuss the world’s top nine quickest horse breeds.

The key aspect will be top speed, but so will stamina and endurance over extended distances. Several of the horses on this list are described as “hot-blooded.” This implies that the breed combines great speed and agility with a bold and lively personality.

#9: Mustang

What horse is faster than a Mustang? The Mustang can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

©iStock.com/Daniel Eskridge

The Mustang is a free-roaming horse native to the western United States, derived from breeds introduced to the Americas by the Spanish in the 16th century. They are often mistaken for wild horses, but this is not quite the case, since they were at one point domesticated and only later became feral.

Weighing around 800 pounds, this stocky and versatile breed excels at all kinds of challenging tasks such as dressage, riding, ranch work, and racing. The ordinary Mustang can gallop at speeds of roughly 25 to 30 miles per hour, but they may theoretically go considerably faster for brief spurts, ranking #7 on our list.

The mustang is the quickest horse among free-roaming horses in the United States.

#8: Standardbred

What horse is faster than a Mustang? Standardbreds can run as fast as 44 MPH.

©Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

Developed on the east coast of the United States from a Thoroughbred horse in the 18th century, this American breed is a solid, muscular, well-built horse — featuring powerful shoulders and hindquarters — that trades some speed for sheer strength. They excel in many things, including jumping, pulling, and racing.

This makes them especially popular in the sport of harness racing in which the horse pulls a two-wheel cart behind it while competing against other horses. Another sport in which they may thrive is show jumping or eventing (a combination of multiple events).

They are also considered to be people-oriented horses, easy to work with and train, which makes them very good choices for pleasure and trail riding, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider. Despite very powerful, it lacks the speed to rank among the quickest horses in the world, at least when compared to the breeds listed below.

#7: Akhal-Teke

What horse is faster than a Mustang? Missing, an Akhal-Teke, earned a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics.


The Akhal-Teke is an old but uncommon breed of Turkmen horse whose ancestors may have come from Central Asia thousands of years ago. The quickest horse is The beautiful metallic coat, which comes from the opaque centers of the hair shafts, is a particularly unique and alluring quality in some individuals of this breed.

This horse excels in a variety of sports, including racing, show jumping, eventing, and dressage. While not exactly a popular choice on the racing circuit, several members of this breed made an enormous impact on international dressage competitions.

An Akhal-Teke stallion named Absent (who also had some Thoroughbred ancestry) won a gold medal at individual dressage for the Soviet Union in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He went on to earn a bronze medal in individual dressage in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and a silver medal in team dressage at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

#6: American Paint Horses

What horse is faster than a Mustang? Paint horse racing was sanctioned in 1966.


The American Paint Horse is one of the world’s quickest horses. It is related to the American Quarterhorse and the Thoroughbred (both of which are featured later in this list). The most prominent characteristic is the pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors covering the body. Black, bay, brown, and chestnut are all common and popular colors for this breed.

Several equestrian disciplines, including as reining, Western pleasure, and show jumping, they excel at.

The American Paint Horse Association, which maintains a complete registry for this breed, even operates its unique racing circuit. Izzy Legal, a horse who raced in the 1990s, still maintains the record for the most victories on the circuit.

These fast horses are reported to have peak speeds of approximately 40 miles per hour.

#5: Andalusians

What horse is faster than a Mustang? Andalusians can run a quarter-mile at 55 mph.

©Abramova Kseniya/Shutterstock.com

The Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse, which has lived on the Iberian Peninsula for thousands of years, conveys both speed and power in its appearance. It has a long flowing tail and mane and is well-built, compact, and beautiful in its movements.

Although the Andalusian has long been a favorite of Spanish nobles, it has also served as the foundation for various other breeds across Europe and the Americas, making it a truly global breed.

The Andalusian is not the fastest horse in history, but it is prized for its extraordinary range of motion and agility; this has given it a tremendous advantage in show jumping, dressage, and long-distance racing. Andalusians competed for Spain at the World Equestrian Games in 2002 and the Summer Olympics in 2004.

#4: Appaloosa

What horse is faster than a Mustang? The Appaloosa, like the Andalusian, can sprint a quarter-mile at 55 MPH.


Among the fastest horse breeds in the world, the Appaloosa was originally developed by the Nez Perce people of the Pacific Northwest from a stock of horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the early 16th century. Arabian and American Quarterhouse were subsequent additions to its genealogy (about which more will be said later).

It has a striking leopard-like speckled look all over its body. This breed is particularly well-suited for traditional western activities such as reining, cutting, and roping, but it can also be put to use for English disciplines such as show jumping, fox hunting, and eventing.

#3: Arabian

What horse is faster than a Mustang? An Arabian horse’s fastest recorded speed is 65 MPH.


The Arabian is one of the world’s oldest and most well-known breeds, going back 4,500 years to the Arabian Peninsula. Featuring a distinctively wedge-shaped head and high tail carriage, this horse was bred to survive long journeys in difficult desert climates, making it one of the fastest horses over immense distances.

Arabians have thick, robust bones that allow for thick hoof walls. They are known for their extraordinary endurance and the breed’s dominance in endurance riding events. Well-bred horses are the quickest, and Arabians are robust horses with incredible endurance.

The breed is good-natured, high-spirited, quick to learn, and eager to please, and it is capable of forming close ties with people. Because these traits are so appealing to breeders, a part of the Arabian lineage is found in just about every modern racehorse in the world today. These fastest horses are reported to reach peak speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour, maybe even faster in brief spurts.

#2: American Quarterhorse

What horse is faster than a Mustang? The American Quarterhorse has been recorded at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.


The American Quarterhorse, with its broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters, is perhaps the fastest horse in the world over short distances, eclipsing just about every other breed on this list. The term is derived from its outstanding ability to sprint across a quarter-mile track. It originated from the 18th century with various crosses between the English Thoroughbred and several Spanish wild horses that had been let loose upon the Great Plains and then domesticated by native groups.

Today the American Quarterhorse serves many roles as a racehorse, show horse, ranch horse, rodeo horse, and all-around family companion. They have been known to attain speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, yet their limited stamina means they are less suitable for longer races than the number one breed on our list. Although not many individuals of this breed are household names, the American Quarterhorse is one of the most popular horse breeds in the world. They are available in a variety of hues, including bay, black, brown, gray, dun, red and blue roan, and palomino. Sorrel, a brownish-red tint, is perhaps the most popular option.

#1: Thoroughbred

What horse is faster than a Mustang? Thoroughbreds are the world’s quickest horses over long distances.


Tall, lean, and very athletic, the Thoroughbred is often regarded as the world’s quickest horse breed over longer distances. Topping out at speeds of around 40 to 45 miles per hour, it was developing in the 17th and 18th centuries by crossbreeding local English mares with imported Arabian, Barbs, and Turkoman stallions. The horse was eventually transported across the rest of the globe, serving as the foundation for many other breeds. While their exceptional speed is best suited for horse racing, Thoroughbreds also excel at other riding disciplines such as dressage, polo, show jumping, and hunting.

Thoroughbreds have produced some of the quickest horses in history, at least on the racetrack. Winning Brew, a two-year-old filly, established a Thoroughbred record for peak speed over two furlongs (approximately a quarter-mile) at the Penn National Race Track in Grantville, Pennsylvania, in 2008. Winning Brew completed the course in 20.57 seconds, or just less than 44 miles per hour. Man o’ War (an early Hall of Famer), War Admiral (the 1937 American Triple Crown winner), Secretariat (the 1973 Triple Crown winner), and American Pharaoh are other candidates for the fastest horses in history (the 2015 Triple Crown winner). The average speed of a Kentucky Derby winner is 37 miles per hour, which is not nearly as quick as Winning Brew.

In Summary: 9 Fastest Horses in the World

Rank Breed Traits/Speeds
1. Thoroughbred athletic, fastest at long distance, 45 mph
2. American Quarterhourse fastest at short distances, 50 mph
3. Arabian one of the oldest breeds, 40 mph
4. Appaloosa distinguished by a striking leopard-spotted look
5, Andalusians extraordinary range of motion and agility
6. American Paint Horses among the fastest top speeds at 40 mph
7. Akhal-Teke ancient Asian breed with metallic coat
8. Standardbred excels in harness racing
9. Mustang can gallop at speeds of 25-30 mph

Arabian Horses Were Brave in Battle

The Arabian breed has long been favored on the battlefield – including Napoleon’s favorite, the brave Marengo. Which, in reality, were the quickest horse breeds. Perhaps one of the most famous war horses, this stallion was named after the battle of Marengo between France and Austria. Marengo fought with Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He was born in England and died there in 1831.

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The Featured Image

black American Quartherhorse running in pasture black American Quartherhorse running in pasture

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What horse is faster than a Mustang?

About the Author

After a career of working to provide opportunities for local communities to experience and create art, I am enjoying having time to write about two of my favorite things – nature and animals. I spend half of my time outside, generally with my husband and our fourteen-year-old dog. We love to take walks by the lake and take photos of the animals we meet including: otters, ospreys, Canadian geese, ducks and nesting bald eagles. I also like to read, find new books to add to my collection, collect and play vinyl, and listen to my son’s music.

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Related Questions

  • Are Mustangs the fastest horse?

    Mustangs aren’t very speedy. Quarter horses and thoroughbreds are considered the fastest horses in the world and dominate the horse racing industry, while Arabian horses are known to excel in endurance riding and long distance racing. The typical Mustang travels at a speed of 40 to 48 kilometers per hour (25 to 30 mph).

  • What is a fast horse called?

    An extremely athletic and energetic horse that is considered the fastest horse in the world. They have complete control of the horse racing business.

  • What is the fastest racing horse?

    Thoroughbred Winning Brew holds the Guinness World Record for the quickest speed from the starting gate for a Thoroughbred racehorse, at 70.76 km/h (43.97 mph) over two furlongs, however Quarter Horses achieve faster speeds over shorter distances.

  • What is the fastest horse ever?

    Winning Brew

    Winning Brew, a horse, set a Guinness World Record in this feat. Francis Vitale trained her in the United States. The race was recorded at the Penn National Race Course, Grantville, Pennsylvania, United States. Winning Brew covered the quarter-mile (402 metres) in 20.57 seconds.

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