Quarter Horse: This horse is considered the oldest American breed, its roots can be traced back to the 1600’s. The horses in America at this time were mostly of Spanish origin, a mixture of the barb and the arabian.
In 1611 the first significant import of English horses was made to Virginia. When the new English horses were bred to the native stock, the foundation of the Quarter horse was born. This resulting horse was small, standing only about 15 hands, with heavy, muscular hind quarters. A very versatile horse that had many jobs, they were used for farm work, cattle roundups, and also riding and carriage horses.
Flat racing became popular with the colonists and they would race their horses over quarter mile stretches, it was then that the breed became officially known as the "Quarter Horse," named after the distance of which it dominated.
Early foundation sires of the breed included Steel Dust, Shiloh and Old Cold Deck. Joe Baily and Peter McCue were two of the most renowned sires of the 20th century.
Highly respected as the best cow horse in the world, this breed has a natural instinct for working with cattle, coupled with it's speed and agility, it is the breed of choice for cattlemen on ranches. The main duty of the ranch horse in the American West was working cattle. The skills needed by cowboys and their horses became the foundation of the rodeo, a contest which began with informal competition between cowboys and expanded to become a major competitive event throughout the world.
This powerful horse excels in many different sports including, calf roping, barrel racing, team penning and reining. They also make the ideal trail mount and are great all around family horses.
The American Quarter Horse was not recognized as an official breed until 1940, and today is the most popular breed in the United States. The American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with more than 4 million Horses registered.
There are 17 recognized colors of this breed including the most prominent color of sorrel. The others are bay, black, brown, buckskin, chestnut, dun, red dun, gray, grullo, palomino, red roan, blue roan, bay roan, perlino and cremello. The average height of the breed ranges between 15 and 15.3 hands.