what is a quarter horse

what is a quarter horse

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American Quarter Horse

Quarter Horse(REFON)-cleaned.jpg

A palomino American Quarter Horse shown at halter

Other names Quarter Horse
Country of origin United States
Distinguishing features Short, elegant head; muscular, well-muscled physique with a wide chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters; great speed over short distances.
Breed standards

The American Quarter Horse , or Quarter Horse , is an American breed of horse that is exceptional at short-distance sprinting. Its name is derived from its ability to outrun other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less; some have been clocked at speeds up to 44 mph (70.8 km/h). The 1600s are when the Quarter Horse first emerged.

The most prevalent breed in the United States is the American Quarter Horse, and the American Quarter Horse Association has about three million active American Quarter Horses registered, making it the biggest breed registration in the world. [1] The American Quarter Horse is highly renowned for its abilities as a racehorse and because rodeos , horse shows , and as a working ranch horse.

The American Quarter Horse’s small frame is ideal for the complex and rapid movements needed in reining , cutting , working cow horse, barrel racing , calf roping , and other western riding events, especially those involving live cattle. Added uses for the American Quarter Horse English disciplines, driving , show jumping, dressage, hunting, and many other equestrian activities.

Breed history[edit]

Colonial era[edit]

On the Eastern coast of colonial America in the 1600s, several local horses were initially bred with imported English Thoroughbred horses. [2]

One of the most famous of these early imports was Janus , a Thoroughbred who was the grandson of the Godolphin Arabian . He was foaled in 1746, and imported to colonial Virginia in 1756. [3] Thoroughbreds like Janus had a significant genetic impact on how the colonial “Quarter Horse” evolved. [4] [5] The offspring was a tiny, tough, and swift horse that was used both as a workhorse and a racehorse. [6]

As flat racing became popular with the colonists, the Quarter Horse gained even more popularity as a sprinter over courses that, by necessity, were shorter than the classic racecourses of England. These courses were sometimes hardly more than an open area with a level surface or a straight length of road. Local sprinters often prevailed when up against a Thoroughbred. citation needed Many colonial Quarter Horses were included into the first American stud books when the Thoroughbred breed became well-established in the country. [7] This marked the beginning of a protracted relationship between the Thoroughbred breed and what would eventually earn the title of “Quarter Horse,” after the 0.40-kilometer (1/4-mile) race distance at which it excelled. [8] [9] Up to 44 mph have been recorded for certain Quarter Horses. [10]

Westward expansion[edit]

In the 19th century, pioneers heading West needed a hardy, willing horse. On the Great Plains settlers came upon horses that were of Spanish ancestry. Hernán Cortés the viceroyalty of introduced by and other Conquistadors New Spain It evolved into Mexico and the Southwest United States.

The horses of the West included herds of feral animals known as Mustangs , as well as horses domesticated by Native Americans , including the Comanche , Shoshoni and Nez Perce tribes. [11] [12] As these western horses and the colonial Quarter Horse were crossed, the pioneers discovered that the new crossbred possessed intrinsic “cow sense,” a natural inclination for working with cattle, making it popular with cattlemen on the frontier. ranches . [13]

Development as a distinct breed[edit]

a snapshot of Peter McCue from approximately 1905 in Oklahoma

Early foundation sires of Quarter horse type included Steel Dust , foaled 1843; Shiloh Old Cold Deck (1862), (or Old Shiloh), a horse that was born in 1844, Lock’s Rondo, one of numerous “Rondo” horses, a horse born in 1880; Old Billy, another of the several “Billy” horses, foaled in 1880; Traveler a horse of undetermined breeding who was reportedly in Texas by 1889; and Peter McCue , foaled 1895, registered as a Thoroughbred but of disputed pedigree. [6] [15] Another early foundation sire for the breed was Copperbottom a horse born in 1828 whose genealogy can be traced back to Byerley Turk , a foundation sire of the Thoroughbred horse breed. [16] [17] [18] [19]

Working cattle was the ranch horse’s primary responsibility in the American West. For moving cattle on the range, horses remained indispensable even after the development of the vehicle. large Texas cattle therefore ranches , such as the King Ranch , the 6666 (Four Sixes) Ranch, and the Waggoner Ranch played a significant role in the development of the modern Quarter Horse. The knowledge and abilities needed by cowboys and their horses formed the basis of the rodeo , a tournament that started with friendly rivalry between cowboys It developed into a significant sporting event that is held across the west. The Quarter Horse dominates in events that require speed as well as the ability to handle cattle. [20]

Sprint races were also a well-liked form of weekend entertainment, and breeding businesses benefited financially from racing. As a consequence, the emerging American Quarter Horse breed received more Thoroughbred blood. It was also advantageous for the American Quarter Horse to include Arabian , Morgan , and even Standardbred bloodlines. [21]

In 1940, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) was established by a group of ranchers and riders from the Southwest of the United States who were committed to maintaining the lineages of their ranch horses. [22] The horse with the initial registration number, P-1, was the grand champion stallion of the 1941 Fort Worth Exposition and Fat Stock Show. Wimpy , [23] a descendant of the King Ranch foundation sire Old Sorrel . Other sires alive at the founding of the AQHA were given the earliest registration numbers Joe Reed P-3 , Chief P-5, Oklahoma Star P-6 , Cowboy P-12, and Waggoner’s Rainy Day P-13. [24] The Thoroughbred race horse Three Bars , who was there when the AQHA first began, is acknowledged by the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame considered one of the important founding sires of the breed of Quarter Horse. [25] In early AQHA pedigrees, other notable Thoroughbred sires include Rocket Bar , Top Deck and Depth Charge. [26]

“Appendix” and “Foundation” horses[edit]

The AQHA stud book has been available to further entries since since the American Quarter Horse was recognized as a breed in writing. Thoroughbred through a performance standard, blood. A first generation cross between a registered Thoroughbred and an American Quarter Horse, or between a “numbered” American Quarter Horse and a “appendix” American Quarter Horse, results in a “appendix” American Quarter Horse. The term comes from the fact that the progeny is recorded in the “appendix” of the studbook of the American Quarter Horse Association. Although the appendix’s listed horses are permitted to compete, their descendants are not initially eligible for full AQHA registration. If the Appendix horse meets certain conformational criteria and is shown or raced successfully in sanctioned AQHA events, the horse can earn its way from the appendix into the permanent studbook, making its offspring eligible for AQHA registration. [27]

A constant gene flow from the Thoroughbred breed into the American Quarter Horse breed has changed many of the traits that typified the breed in its early years of formation because Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred crosses continue to be registered in the official registry of the American Quarter Horse breed. Some breeders fear that the breed standard’s integrity is starting to be jeopardized by the ongoing inclusion of Thoroughbred bloodlines. Some people have established many independent organizations to promote and register “Foundation” Quarter Horses because they prefer the older breed of horse. [28] [29] [30]

Modern American Quarter Horse[edit]

The western disciplines are a good fit for the quarter horse.

The American Quarter Horse is a show horse , race horse , reining and cutting horse, rodeo competitor, ranch horse, and all-around family horse. Rodeo competitions like employ Quarter Horses often for events like barrel racing , calf roping and team roping ; [31] [32] and gymkhana or O-Mok-See. [33] Other stock horse events such as cutting and reining are accessible to all breeds, although American Quarter Horse predominates.

The breed is not only well-suited for western riding and cattle work. Many race tracks offer Quarter Horses a wide assortment of pari-mutuel horse racing with earnings in the millions. [32] Additionally, Quarter Horses have been prepared for competition dressage and show jumping . They are also used for recreational trail riding and in mounted police units. [23]

Worldwide exports of American Quarter Horses have also occurred. Large numbers of Quarter Horses have been imported by European countries like Germany and Italy. following the American Quarter Horse Association Brazil is home to the second-largest Quarter Horse registry (which includes horses from Canada) behind Australia. [34] In the UK the breed is also becoming very popular, especially with the two Western riding Associations, the Western Horse Association and The Western Equestrian Society. The AQHA-UK is the association for the breed of British American Quarter Horses. [ citation needed [With the science of linguistics becoming more global, reining its recognition as one of the designated seven events of the World Equestrian Games , there is a growing international interest in Quarter Horses. The most prevalent breed in the United States is the American Quarter Horse, and the American Quarter Horse Association Having approximately 3 million American Quarter Horses registered globally in 2014, is the biggest breed registration in the world. [35] The Texas Legislature 2009 saw the official “State Horse of Texas” designation go to the American Quarter Horse. [36]

Breed characteristics[edit]

A halter-type Quarter Horse

The Quarter Horse has a small, short, refined head with a straight profile, and a strong, well-muscled body, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters. They typically range in height from 14 to 16 hands (142 and 163 cm, or 56 and 64 inches) tall, however some Halter-type and horses of the English hunter breed may reach heights of 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm).

There are two main body types: the stock type and the hunter or racing type. Shorter, more compact, stocky, and well-muscled, but yet nimble, the stock horse type. the hunting and racing variety Quarter Horses are somewhat taller and smoother muscled than the stock type, more closely resembling the Thoroughbred . [37]

Quarter Horses come in nearly all colors . The most common color is sorrel , a brownish red, part of the color group called chestnut most other breed databases. Other recognized colors include bay , black , brown , buckskin , palomino , gray , dun , red dun, grullo (also occasionally referred to as blue dun), red roan , blue roan, bay roan, perlino , cremello , and white . [38] In the past, spotted color patterns were excluded, but now with the advent of DNA As long as both parents are registered, the registry accepts all colors for parentage tests. [39]

Stock type[edit]

A horse of the stock breed is one that is ideally adapted for working with other animals, notably cattle. Reining and cutting Horses are smaller in height and have extremely strong hindquarters. They also move quickly and agilely. Western pleasure Show horses often have a somewhat higher topline, slower movements, smoother gaits, and a slightly more level topline—all while retaining the Quarter Horse’s very muscular hindquarters. citation needed ]

Halter type[edit]

Horses shown in-hand in Halter Competition still have tiny heads with broad jowls and elegant muzzles, but they are bigger yet and look to be extremely strongly muscled. There is controversy amongst owners, breeder and veterinarians regarding the health effects of the extreme muscle mass that is currently fashionable in the specialized halter horse, which typically is 15.2 to 16 hands (62 to 64 inches, 157 to 163 cm) and weighs in at over 1,200 pounds (540 kg) when fitted for halter competition. Concerns with the horse’s weight to frame ratio go beyond that. skeletal system , but the massive build is also linked to hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) in descendants of the stallion Impressive (see Genetic diseases below).

Racing and hunter type[edit]

Getting ready for a hunt seat competition on a quarter horse

Quarter Horse race horses are developed for sprinting short distances between 220 and 870 yards. Thus, they have long legs and are leaner than their stock type counterparts, but are still characterized by muscular hindquarters and powerful legs. The term “the world’s quickest athlete” refers to quarter horses, who compete mostly against other quarter horses in races. [40] The show hunter type is slimmer, even more closely resembling a Thoroughbred , often indicating a larger proportion of breeding for the appendix. They are shown in hunter/jumper classes at both breed shows and in open USEF -rated horse show competition. [41]

Genetic diseases[edit]

Breeders of Quarter Horses are concerned about a number of hereditary disorders, including:

  • Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), which is caused by an autosomal dominant gene linked to the stallion Impressive . It is characterized by uncontrollable muscle twitching and substantial muscle weakness or paralysis among affected horses. It is a dominant gene, therefore [42] only one parent has to have the gene for it to be transmitted to offspring. DNA testing for HYPP is available and mandated by the AQHA Since 2007, the AQHA has prohibited the registration of horses with the homozygous form (H/H) of the gene. heterozygous Although changing this classification is now under discussion, (H/N) horses are still permitted to be registered. Additionally all Quarter Horses born 2007 or later that are confirmed to be descendants of Impressive must carry a note about the risks of HYPP on their registration papers. The halter classes are changing significantly as a result of HYPP. Halter classes are dominated by the Impressive bloodline. Impressive, a very prolific halter horse, brought to the stock breeds the muscle mass that became popular in halter competition. This muscle mass and HYPP are related[ citation needed ] and the kind of horse in halter classes is expected to vary as the condition is minimized throughout the breed. Already there have been rule changes, including the creation of a “Performance Halter class” in which a horse must possess a Register of Merit in performance or racing before it can compete. [43]
  • Malignant hyperthermia . A causative mutated allele the ryanodine receptor 1 gene (RyR1) at nucleotide C7360G, resulting in the replacement of the amino acid R2454G. [44] has been recognized as an inherited trait in American Quarter Horses and breeds of Quarter Horse heritage. autosomal dominant [45] [46] Stress, anesthetic, or overwork are possible causes. [47]
  • Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA), also known as hyperelastosis cutis (HC). This is the result of an autosomal recessive gene in contrast to HYPP, HERDA can only be passed along if both parents have the gene. The skin’s layers are not tightly bonded together when a horse has this condition because of a collagen deficiency. Thus, when the horse is ridden under saddle or suffers trauma to the skin, the outer layer often splits or separates from the deeper layer, or it can tear off completely. Rarely does it heal without leaving unsightly scars. Another potential issue is sunburn. In extreme circumstances, the skin may break down the back and even slide down the sides, essentially skinning the horse alive. Between the ages of two and four years, the majority of horses with HERDA are put to death in a compassionate manner. The very contentious and divisive idea, advanced by academics at Cornell University and Mississippi State University Is it the legendary foundation stallion’s sire line? Poco Bueno is thought to be the cause of the illness. As of May 9, 2007, Researchers working independently at Cornell University and at the University of California, Davis announced the development of a HERDA DNA test. Over 1,500 horses were tested during the development phase of the test, which is now available to the general public through both institutions. [48]
  • Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED) is a hereditary condition in which the horse lacks an enzyme required for storing glycogen , the horse’s heart muscle and skeletal muscles cannot function, leading to rapid death. The condition affects foals who are homozygous for the lethal GBED allele, meaning both parents carry one copy of the gene. The horse King P-234 has been linked to this disease. There is a DNA blood test for this gene. [49]
  • Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy Equine metabolic muscle disease (also known as EPSM or PSSM) causes tying up , and is also related to a glycogen storage disorder. [50] While also seen in some draft horse breeds, the PSSM gene in Quarter Horses has been linked to three distinct yet unreported lineages, with an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern. [51] PSSM is present in 48% of Quarter Horses exhibiting neuromuscular disease signs. To some extent it can be diet controlled with specialized low-starch diets, but genetic testing is advised before breeding, as the condition exists at a subclinical level in approximately 6% of the general Quarter Horse population. [52]
  • Lethal White Syndrome . Although ” cropout ” Quarter Horses with Paint markings were not allowed to be registered for many years, the gene for such markings is a recessive and continued to periodically appear in Quarter Horse foals. As a result, it is thought that certain Quarter Horses may be genetically predisposed to Lethal White Syndrome. For this disorder, a DNA test is available. [53]
  • Birth defect with a cleft palate is more than simply a hereditary condition. There are several factors that might contribute to this problem. Genetics, hormones, a lack of minerals, tranquilizers, or steroids are some of the potential causes. Cleft palates are quite rare. The success rate of cleft palate surgery is not very great. The procedure only has a 20% success rate on average. According to studies, quarter horses have had the most study done on them and are more likely to have this issue. Some observations of a horse with a cleft palate and no surgery are: lifting head high when eating, dropping head low to drink, coughing when beginning of exercise, and placing wormers or other oral medications in the side of the jaw and taking about hour to administer full dose. [54] [55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “AQHA Annual Report – 2014 Horse Statistics” . American Quarter Horse Association . Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  2. ^ Denhardt Quarter Running Horse pp. 4–8
  3. ^ Denhardt Quarter Running Horse pp. 20–32
  4. ^ Mackay-Smith Colonial Quarter Race Horse p. 106
  5. ^ Mackay-Smith Colonial Quarter Race Horse p. 138
  6. ^ Jump up to: a b Beckmann, Bruce. “Quarter Horses” . Handbook of Texas Online State Historical Association of Texas Retrieved 2006-05-30.
  7. ^ Mackay-Smith Colonial Quarter Race Horse p. xxxi
  8. ^ U.S. Quarter Horse Britannica School. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 2015. Web. 1 Jul. 2015.
  9. ^ Dutson, Judith (2012), The Storey’s Illustrated Guide to 96 North American Horse Breeds , Storey Publishing , p. 64, ISBN   9781603429184
  10. ^ “AQHA World Records” . Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. taken from 2021-06-27.
  11. ^ Moulton, Gary E., ed. (2003). The Lewis and Clark Journals . Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN   978-0-8032-8039-7 .
  12. ^ Yolanda Murphy and Robert F. Murphy. Shoshone-Bannock Subsistence and Society. Good Press, 2019.
  13. ^ Mackay-Smith Colonial Quarter Race Horse p. 193
  14. ^ Oklahoma State University. “Quarter Horse” . Breeds of Livestock . Oklahoma State University. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. obtained on June 11, 2008.
  15. ^ “Copperbottom” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-10-26. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  16. ^ “Lost Bloodline” . Archived from the original on 2019-10-28. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  17. ^ Sir Archy
  18. ^ History of the Quarter Horse
  19. ^ Ryan Doan, Noah D. Cohen, Jason Sawyer, Noushin Ghaffari, Charlie D. Johnson, and Scott V. Dindot (2012). a quarter horse mare’s whole genome was sequenced and its genetic variations were analyzed. . BMC Genomics . 13 : 78. doi : 10.1186/1471-2164-13-78 . PMC   3309927 . PMID   22340285 .
  20. ^ Quarter Horse Breeds – Department of Animal Science, Breeds of Livestock . afs.okstate.edu .
  21. ^ Denhardt Quarter Horse pp. 143–167
  22. ^ Jump up to: a b Kentucky Horse Park. “American Quarter Horse” . Horse Breeds of the World at the International Museum of the Horse . Kentucky Horse Park. Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  23. ^ American Quarter Horse Association Combined Stud Book 1-2-3-4-5 p. 1
  24. ^ “Three Bars (TB)” (PDF). American Quarter Horse Association. updated from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  25. ^ Wiggins Great American Speedhorse p. 166
  26. ^ “Documents and Forms” . American Quarter Horse Association . www.aqha.com. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  27. ^ Foundation Quarter Horse Association. “Foundation Quarter Horse Association” . FQHA Website . Foundation Quarter Horse Association. Archived from the original on 1 April 2007. 2007-04-02 was retrieved.
  28. ^ Foundation Horses. “Foundation Bred Quarter Horses” . FoundationHorses.com . Foundation Horses. Archived from the original on 26 April 2007. 2007-04-02 was retrieved.
  29. ^ National Foundation Quarter Horse Association. “National Foundation Quarter Horse Association” . NFQHA Website . National Foundation Quarter Horse Association. Archived from the original on 22 April 2007. 2007-04-02 was retrieved.
  30. ^ Ross, Michael W; Dyson, Sue J (2010-11-11). E-book: Diagnosis and Treatment of Lameness in Horses . ISBN   978-1437711769 .
  31. ^ Jump up to: a b Lynghaug, Fran (2009-10-15). The Complete Guide to the Standards of All North American Equine Breed Associations: The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide . ISBN   9781616731717 .
  32. ^ “National Saddle Clubs Association – Home” . www.omoksee.com .
  33. ^ “The Canadian Quarter Horse Association” .
  34. ^ “AQHA Annual Report – 2014 Horse Statistics” . American Quarter Horse Association . Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  35. ^ Hatch, Rosie (Ed.) (2022). Texas Almanac 2022-2023 Texas State Historical Association, Austin, TX, p.
  36. ^ “Light Horse: Breed Types and Uses” (PDF). Alabama Horse Council . 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 19, 2019. 2019 September 9: retrieved
  37. ^ “Registration rules” (PDF). Association for American Quarter Horses. updated from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  38. ^ American Quarter Horse Association. “Rule 205 (d) of the 2008 AQHA Handbook of Rules and Regulations” . AQHA Website . American Quarter Horse Association. updated from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2008.
  39. ^ Ellen., Frazel (2012). The American quarter horse . Minneapolis, MN: Bellwether Media. ISBN   978-1612115436 . OCLC   794554681 .
  40. ^ M., Baxter, Gary (2011). Adams and Stashak’s Lameness in Horses (6th ed.). Somerset: Wiley. pp. Chapter 2. ISBN   9780470961773 . OCLC   927499663 .
  41. ^ “Details on AQHA HYP rules for registration” . Archived from the original on 2009-01-20. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  42. ^ “AQHA Handbook, Section 448 Performance Halter Classes” . Retrieved 30 September 2012.[ permanent dead link ]
  43. ^ Aleman M (2009). Ryanodine Receptor 1 (C7360G) Mutation Associated with Malignant Hyperthermia in Quarter Horses . Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine . 23 (2): 329–334. doi : 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0274.x . PMID   19220734 .
  44. ^ Lenz, Tom R. “American Quarter Horse Heritable Diseases and Their Management” (PDF). Tom R. Lenz . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-09. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  45. ^ “Malignant hyperthermia: a review” . ResearchGate . Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  46. ^ Gallant EM, MacLeay JM, Lentz L, Valberg SJ, Mickelson JR, Gallant SR, de la Corte F (1999). “One condition, several etiologies: Exertional rhabdomyolysis in Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds” . Equine Vet J Suppl . 30 (30): 533–8. doi : 10.1111/j.2042-3306.1999.tb05279.x . PMID   10659313 .
  47. ^ “HERDA: DNA Tests for Disfiguring Skin Disease Available” . The Horse . May 28, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  48. ^ Valberg, Stephanie; James R Mickelson. Horses with Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED) . Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED) . University of Minnsesota. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. obtained on June 12, 2008.
  49. ^ Valberg et al., ” Exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis in thoroughbreds and quarter horses “, Equine Vet Journal Supplement , pp. 533–38
  50. ^ Ulman, Katherine. “Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolysis” . Summer 2000 Newsletter The Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab at Purdue University. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. obtained on June 12, 2008.
  51. ^ “Prevalence of PSSM in Quarter Horses” . The Horse . 14 September 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  52. ^ University of California – Davis. “Horse Coat Color Tests” . Veterinary Genetics Laboratory . University of California at Davis. Archived from the original on 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  53. ^ Shaw, Sarah (2015). 28 instances (1988–2011) of horses and foals with cleft palate were studied for their clinical characteristics. . Can Vet J . 56 (7): 756–760. PMC   4466833 . PMID   26130841 .
  54. ^ LemcN Kirkham (2002). “Surgical cleft soft palate repair in a foal”. Australian Veterinary Journal . 80 (3): 143–146. doi : 10.1111/j.1751-0813.2002.tb11375.x . PMID   12019699 .


Further reading[edit]

  • Denhardt, Robert Moorman (1997). Foundation Sires of the American Quarter Horse . University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN   978-0-8061-2947-1 .

External links[edit]


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