Horse Facts: The Quarter Horse
Most horse-lovers would know that the Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with almost 3 million living American Quarter Horses registered. They might even know that the breed is well known both as a race/performance horse in rodeos and also as a working ranch horse.
With that being said, how much do you REALLY know about this beautiful animal?
The main duty of the ranch horse in the American West was working cattle. Even after the invention of the automobile, horses were still irreplaceable for handling livestock on the range. Major Texas cattle ranches played a significant role in the development of the modern Quarter Horse. To this day, the Quarter Horse dominates the sport both in speed events and in competition that emphasizes the handling of live cattle.
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. There are two main body types: the stock type and the hunter or racing type. The stock horse type is shorter, more compact, stocky and well-muscled, yet agile. The racing and hunter type Quarter Horses are somewhat taller and smoother muscled than the stock type, more closely resembling the Thoroughbred.
Quarter Horses come in nearly all colors. The most common color is sorrel, a brownish red, part of the color group called chestnut by most other breed registries. Other recognized colors include bay, black, brown, buckskin, palomino, gray, dun, red dun, red roan, blue roan, bay roan, and white.
Is the Quarter Horse Right for You?
Considering taking on the responsibility of a horse? With a calm, gentle demeanor, this breed is the ideal choice for families and beginning riders. Quarter Horses are blessed with a steady temperament, but this does not mean they are slow to learn. Their intuitive nature makes them easy to train for ranch work or competition such as roping and cutting. The same is true for more recreational purposes: They need very little guidance from riders once trained and tend to be "easy keepers" that thrive on good pasture or hay.