For ages, a special bond has grown between humans and horses. This bond traces back to ages where horses were being used to travel from one point to another, and then later, being domesticated as friendly partners. If you were to ask, what breed of horses are the most compatible equine partner? The answer, without a moment’s doubt, would be an American Quarter Horse.
Here’s a fact:
American Quarter Horses are titled as being the ‘most famous horse breed’ in the whole world, and this is because of their calm, warm-blooded, versatile nature.
With this article, you’ll easily be up to date with everything there is to know about the Quarter Horse and make a sound decision if you’re going to buy a new horse or take care of the beautiful Quarter Horse you already own.
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Quarter Horses
The Quarter Horse is one of the most beautiful horse breeds to own, with several distinguishing facial features.
Not only that, but this horse breed is capable of sprinting miles and miles on end, and that too, at excellent speeds.
Despite their broad bodies, they are in equal competition with Arabians and Thoroughbreds; two of the fastest horse breeds to ever exist.
American Quarter Horses are named so, because of their excellence when it comes to sprinting or covering distances which measure a quarter mile or less.
Upon test runs, the Quarter Horse absolutely crushed the competition in quarter distance race tracks.
And so, they were named American Quarter Horses.
However, they can perform speedy maneuvers over large distances as well and compete against other swift horse breeds.
American Quarter Horse Temperament
The temperament of Quarter Horses is generally even as they are warmbloods. This makes them gentle and calm in the presence of humans. Also, they are incredibly social and accepting of human touch.
The quiet demeanor, intelligence, and versatile temperament allow Quarter Horses to adapt to situations and respond accordingly. It is because of these very traits that Quarter Horses for beginners are considered to be one of the best horse breeds.
Quarter Horses are also sure-footed and have a ground-covering gait, which assists the beginners in mounting the horse easily, without having to worry about falling over.
Here’s the deal:
So, if you’re an experienced veteran or a beginner that’s just got his feet wet with horse riding, the Quarter Horse is likely to please you in every aspect.
Quarter Horses can be easily recognized from a distance. Their small and refined head gives them a distinct appearance which adds to their overall beauty.
Other than that, here’s a list of other distinguishing features found in the Quarter Horse:
- Muscular bodies – large, broad chests
- Strong, round hindquarters
- Puffy cheeks
- The Quarter Horse’s height lies around 14.3 to 16 hands
- Adults weigh around 900 to 1200 pounds
American Quarter Horses are generally found with two types of bodies. These two types and their differences are due to the upbringing of the horse and their usage.
- Stock type
- Hunter or Racing type
Quarter Horses which work in ranches or handle livestock generally fall under the ‘stock body type’. Such horses have a generally shorter stature but stand with the same, well-muscled, and strong body; just as agile as the average Quarter Horse.
The Racing or Hunter type horse is bred to take part in racing competitions and sprint over race tracks or courses. Such horses are taller, with more muscle on their bodies, and powerful hindquarters.
The ‘race body type’ Quarter Horses also show an uncanny resemblance to Thoroughbreds; another horse breed capable of similar sprints. Here’s our article on Quarter Horse vs Thoroughbred.
Colors in Quarter Horses
Quarter Horses exist throughout the world in several different colors. Sorrel, a brownish shade of red, is the most common skin color of an American Quarter Horse. Here’s a list of American Quarter Horse colors:
- Dun/Red Dun/Blue Dun
- Roan/Black Roan/Red Roan
However, these aren’t the only coat colors. Registries accept all colors of the Quarter Horse, provided that both parent horses were registered as Quarter Horses.
Chapter 2: The History of the Quarter Horse
We’ve learned a great deal about the nature, looks, and the increasing popularity of the Quarter Horse.
Next, let’s take a look at the history of this horse breed, and an overview of the current situation of Quarter Horses in the world.
The American Quarter Horse origin dates back to the 1600s in Virginia when several native horses of Spanish horses were bred with English horses.
Soon, these cross-bred horses began competing in several competitions and showed signs of success in terms of quarter-mile races. Hence, the breed came into being.
Quarter Horses were mostly bred for performance, agility, and versatility and are linked to Thoroughbreds and other horse lines. Although Thoroughbreds were unbeatable in speed and swift movements, the Quarter Horse didn’t fail to impress either. Here’s what we think about whether a Quarter Horse can beat a Thoroughbred.
They began as work or ranch horses and soon made their way into competitions which catered the handling of live cattle and other western riding events and competitions.
Quarter Horses Today
Owing to the popularity of this beautiful equine breed, there are more than 5 million Quarter Horses registered all over the world and this number continues to rise annually.
American Quarter Horses are also exported to other parts of the world, mainly Europe and Australia. This is mainly because of added popularity in terms of interaction and as a mean of entertainment.
Quarter Horses Breeding
Another topic of importance with Quarter Horses is breeding. Being regarded as the oldest horse breed, they are directly or indirectly involved with several modern breeds.
Several breeding facilities in the United States (US) and other countries still breed Quarter Horses with other breeds to produce horses sharing traits of both the parent horses.
If cross-bred horses are not preferred, selective breeding is also done with Quarter Horses. This is so, purebred Quarter Horses are born and the line is pure.
Chapter 3: The Diet of an American Quarter Horse
The importance of a properly managed diet for a Quarter Horse can’t be stressed enough. A proper diet results in elevated moods, better performance, and guarantees the well-being of the horse.
American Quarter Horses aren’t choosy when it comes to food, and are herbivorous. That is, they rely on pasture grass, chaff, hay, and grains for nutrients.
An additional amount of (necessary) nutrients can also be added to the diet through supplements and concentrates.
Let’s discuss a little more about the actual dietary requirements, unhealthy food, and treats for Quarter Horses.
How to Figure Out the Perfect Dietary Plan?
If you’ve ever owned a horse before, you may be well equipped with knowledge pertaining to the importance of diet plans. If not, then there’s no need to stress as we’ve got you covered.
Most of these nutrients are added to the diet through forage and grains. However, the lack of one of these nutrients or more should be well taken care of using supplements.
If there’s one supplement all horse owners should have, it’s Joint Combo which improves joint, coat and hoof health in horses; all at the same time!
Minerals requirements like calcium, potassium, and vitamin intake are also met through their usual foods and can be added by means of concentrates if the desired amount is not met.
Access to fresh water is necessary. To keep their energy replenished and stay calm under the sun, horses might require water to stay hydrated. Summers can make Quarter Horse crave water more than they do in winters.
Here’s the deal:
Underfeeding or overfeeding the horse can lead to serious complications down the path. For this purpose, there should be a defined diet plan depending on the activity, age, and weight of the Quarter Horse.
Factors That Impact the Dietary Requirements of Quarter Horses
Here’s a list of things which play a necessary part in making the diet plan for the Quarter Horse:
- Weight and Size
- Physiological state – workload, stress, pregnancy, breeding or others
Weight and Size
Estimating the right weight of the Quarter Horse is necessary as their muscular body demands a diet which keeps their weight at bay and does not cause excessive hunger.
Paste your text HereQuarter Horses generally weigh around 800-1200 pounds.
You can easily find a livestock scale and use it to weigh your horse.
Determining the number of calories and required energy, you’re encouraged to feed the horse approximately 2% of the body weight.
In case, you’re not convinced, it is better to consult with veterinarians who might weigh the horse themselves and produce for you, a specialized diet program.
Not every Stallion or Mare is used for breeding, neither is every mare pregnant or lactating.
It’s important to take the physiological state of the Quarter Horse in mind as it produces a clearer picture of the dietary requirements.
Generally, a pregnant Mare or a breeding Stallion will be requiring extra forage and supplements to keep up with their bodily energy requirements.
Apart from that:
Workload also plays an important role. Forgetfully, people might overfeed their horse thinking about the workload that they put their horse up to or for its well-being.
Light workload horses which work lesser hours in a week will require significantly lesser nutrients than a show horse which works round the clock to improve performance and skill.
Foals, young horses, require lesser feeds or can compensate food with the mare’s milk.
Younger horses, after the growth of teeth, begin to chew and are generally satisfied with the fresh hay or grass from the pastures.
Adult horses require a higher intake of nutrients to keep up with their requirements. Alfalfa, a source of protein, can also be an excellent addition to the diet.
Signs of an Improper Diet
Here’s a list of conditions which show up if an improper diet intake is selected:
- Sickness – dental problems, warm temperature, hyperactive
- Lack of energy
Most of these are due to the necessary requirements not being met.
Here’s a fact:
Horses don’t have a large appetite and can’t eat larger meals at once.
Rather, their supply should be continuous, in smaller portions, throughout the day.
It is recommended to provide easy access to horses to grass, hay, and water so they may eat easily. Forage should be selected based on excessive nutritional requirements only. And, if have good quality hay available, concentrates might not be required at all.
Giving treats to Quarter Horses is a great gesture and results in the upbringing of mood and encourages the horse to behave nicely.
Most treats include baked goods, grains, and other vegetables. Diced apples and carrots are also considered to be good treats along with sweets and candies.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, then buy these delicious Stud Muffins for your buddy.
Treats are usually given during training sessions to administer positive or good actions with good outcomes. This way, the house repeats such activities to be treated nicely.
Here’s the thing:
Treats are amazing, and the reaction of your horse might melt your heart.
But, remember, treats are items which have a load-full of nutrients and candies might have excessive sugars.
Such items shouldn’t be a part of normal diets as they cause a mineral or nutrient imbalance.
Chapter 4: The Lifespan of an American Quarter Horse
An equine lover would forever and ever wish to be in the beloved company of the horse or species they share a special bond with.
Sadly, aging doesn’t mean the same when it comes to humans and their equine counterparts. The average lifespan of a Quarter Horse (and other equines) is about 25 human years, and can, at times, extend to over 30 years.
However, the American Quarter Horse Association considers 25 to be the age at which Quarter Horses are considered deceased unless the horse lives beyond that and the owners notify the registry.
The average lifespan of an American Quarter Horse is affected by several factors like breed, genetics, body weight, and the workload. With the veterinarian care available in such modern times, the general age limit can be extended as well.
Determining the Age of the Quarter Horse
Before we discuss the factors affecting a Quarter Horse’s lifespan, let’s take a look at how vets and experts determine the age of horses in general.
Although there’s no hard and fast method for determining the age of a Quarter Horse, most people rely on approximations based on the teeth of the horse.
The method, however, is still not proven to give the best results as it is better suited for foals with a refined tooth-wear and not adult horses.
The teeth structure of a horse is divided into two main areas: Incisors and Molars. The progress and growth of these teeth allow experts to determine the age.
Here’s a chart to figure the age of young foals:
|Age (in years)
|Structure of Teeth
|No signs of teeth in the gum
|Growth of temporary teeth
|Corners start to grow. Temporary teeth take a firm place in the gum.
|Permanent center tooth appears.
|Permanent center teeth grow. The appearance of Canine teeth.
|All temporary teeth wither away. ‘Full mouth’; Signs of permanent teeth.
5 years of age marks the end of the precision of this method. Usually, more and more teeth begin to appear in the gum and show some wear.
With older or adult horses, the teeth wear starts to disappear and often, it is fairly hard to determine the age group of the horse.
If you’re looking for more precise methods to find the age of your Quarter Horse, it is better to find the registration certificate or other official documents.
Upon registration with the AQHA, the horse’s age is marked with an increase on the 1st of January, every year. You may also find the actual birthdate in the documents and keep your own count.
What Factors Affect the Lifespan of a Quarter Horse?
Unless serious health issues are discovered in the Quarter Horse, the extension to the lifespan of the horse is somewhat upon the hands of its owner and can be made better.
Here’s a list of factors which affect the lifespan of an average Quarter Horse:
- Breed and Genetics – natural and can’t be meddled by humans
- Housing and Stabling conditions
- Diet and Nutritional Intake
- Maintenance and Care
Sometimes, out of love and care for the horse, owners tend to overfeed their horses with treats and foods which are not healthy for them. Overweight horses are prone to more health conditions and make it harder for the horse to be active.
Horses generally require a specialized intake of nutrients and no two horses can share similar dietary requirements.
Vets should be consulted to determine the most appropriate diet plan and you should stick to it unless the results are not satisfactory.
Although Quarter Horses are well-known for their overactive nature, their exercise regime should be planned ahead. Proper exercise is the key to prolonging the lifespan of the horse.
Due to this very nature, the Quarter Horse doesn’t approve of being restricted to closed stables. Rather, they desire an environment which complements their nature and incites them to be active and joyous.
Keeping the horse well-fed, groomed, and in pastures or spacious surroundings, might impact the moods of the horse and prolong their life. For equine lovers, this care is nothing more than a divine task to perform.
Chapter 5: Caring for an American Quarter Horse
Another overwhelming aspect of newly owning a Quarter Horse can be taking care of these gentle, stunning species.
Unless you follow the “a horse is just a horse” mentality, you’re good to go. Equine lovers will know how to take care of a horse as their soul mate, treat them rightly, groom, and love them so their life is prolonged and they stay healthy.
Similarly, let’s discuss a few aspects of grooming and maintenance which you should always keep in mind when caring for your horse.
Horses are generally more comfortable in the surroundings of other herd animals like cows, or preferably horses.
Since they are herd animals, it results in better moods and causes the growth of a balanced personality with a calm temperament.
Although there are cases where Stallions can’t totally grasp the concept of herds and get competitive with other Stallions. This might not happen if competitive horses are distanced when in a herd.
So, if you seek companionship for your horse, you can rent stalls or acquire boarding services so your horse is always in the company of other herd animals.
Although it may seem as if some horses do not require shelter because of their thick skin and the ability to fend off the heat from the sun, it is a better idea to provide them comfortable housing nonetheless.
Caring for Quarter Horses includes providing them access to protective shelters at all times so when they wish to avoid unlikely weathers or the heat, they can rest inside.
Access to private lands or lush green pastures is not possible in the city, and for such purposes, these lands can either be borrowed or rented.
Many different facilities and individuals provide these services to board the Quarter Horse for a nominal fee annually and take good care of the horse.
This way, you can also provide your Quarter Horse, the equine company it so gravely desires.
An important aspect of taking care of the Quarter Horse is indulging in playful activities as part of the training process.
Although adult horses are generally taught and well-behaved, you might require several one-to-one sessions with foals so their upbringing is done through proper training sessions.
If you’re not comfortable or can’t attend to the horse at all times, you can also provide access to reputable professionals who can take good care of your horse for you.
From diet to proper training, they’ll ensure everything runs smoothly. What’s in it for you? Less stress, more time to play, and more productivity!
Last but not least, professional care and visits to the veterinarian are important to ensure a healthy Quarter Horse.
The vet might also be able to help out with dental hygiene, vaccinations, and develop a timely schedule to ensure no harmful condition develops.
For hoofing, you should also schedule a checkup with the farrier.
Chapter 6: American Quarter Horse Price
The price of an American Quarter Horse is around $1000-4000. However, that’s not all you’ll have to pay. The costs of owning a Quarter horse are also a factor to consider.
If you’ve finally grown the courage to saddle up and make your way to buy a Quarter Horse, you might be interested in the cost you’ll incur when doing so.
Well, here it is:
The annual cost of owning and maintaining an American Quarter Horse can be around $2,500, excluding all additional costs of food, maintenance, shelter, and other equipment.
The rough estimate of $2,500 might be higher if the Quarter Horse you’re going to buy has proven its worth through performance or participated in several competitions.
Next, let’s discuss the factors which might increase or decrease the cost of owning a Quarter Horse.
What factors affect the cost?
It might be easy for you to fall in love with the beauty of the American Quarter Horse, the masculinity it holds, and the grace with which it walks.
Here’s the deal:
Buying a horse solely because of its masculinity or appearance is not the best approach.
When purchasing a horse, you should take note of several different aspects. Here’s a summarized table of the factors and their impact:
|Impact on Final Cost
|Adult horses are expensive; due to experience and training. Also depends on health.
|Trained horses do not require hard work; expensive
|Insured horses will cost higher; Sick horses will be inexpensive
|Wins or titles will increase the price significantly
|Historically important breeds and their descendants cost higher than normal
Quarter Horses are classified as adults in the age group of 8 – 15. Generally, horses which lie in this range are expensive as they are in their prime and capable of more workloads.
Compare this experience to younger horses; inexperienced with no training. Younger Quarter Horses are sold at considerably low rates. But, for an equine lover, it is an opportunity to train a horse however he/she wishes.
Minor health conditions won’t be costly and are covered in the insurance. Life-threatening injuries or genetic conditions might gravely affect the cost of the Quarter Horse. Consult with the vet before your purchase, it’s your right.
These are by no means set guidelines, but quick pointers for you to make the right decision. Get yourself a lovely equine Quarter Horse, and you’re not going to regret it.
All Maintenance Costs of Quarter Horses
If you’re way past the buying phase or are about to buy the first Quarter Horse, you will be needing to spend just a little more to ensure that your horses’ stay at your place is satisfactory.
You might be wondering:
What do these costs include?
It’s everything apart from the buying price. The cost of maintenance: food, shelter, equipment, and veterinarian.
Don’t stress, if you’re truly an equine lover, the cost of maintaining your favorite breed isn’t too high.
As discussed, Quarter Horses require lesser feeds and can continue without being cranky or show signs of weakness.
An estimate suggests you’ll be required to spend over $100 annually on the dietary or nutritional intake your horse is going to want. This cost includes everything from vitamins to supplements, concentrates to quality hay.
Veterinarian Care and Farrier Costs
To ensure a healthy Quarter Horse, you’ll be required to spend a few visits to the vet and the farrier every year.
These scheduled visits are so you can ensure no plague is developing in the teeth and the hoof care is carried out.
The costs which vet care and the farrier add to your annual expenditure are $300. If your horse isn’t insured and suffer from a disease, the maintenance cost might be a little higher in this case.
It is always recommended to get your horse insured; the first moment you get a chance to.
Quarter Horses require slightly larger barns or pastures to roam around so their lively nature is well complemented.
Providing shelter is also important and will mark a small increase in the annual budget. However, if you’re unable to find yourself a land or can’t own one, you can shift your attention towards renting a stable or boarding your horse somewhere else.
Boarding is a recommended option as, horses love the company of their fellow equines.
To mount a Quarter Horse, you’ll be requiring a few more equipment. Saddles, brits, and brushes are a few to name.
This might sound a little expensive, but, this one-time expense adds a $2,000 to your annual expenditure.
However, you can start off by buying a basic horse tack set that costs roughly around a tenth of the price mentioned above.
Chapter 7: The Uses of American Quarter Horses
Quarter Horses are also known for their swift, speedy maneuvers, and quick stops which make them the perfect candidate for barrel racing, calf roping, and several other competitions.
Apart from this, they’ve been excelling at various English and Western competitions. Here’s the complete list of competitions in which the versatile Quarter Horse excels:
- Barrel Racing
- Calf Roping
- Show Horse
- Working Cow-horse
- Ranch Horse
This is simply because of their well-muscled bodies and powerful, round hindquarters which make them the perfect candidate in many equestrian fields.
Let’s discuss a few uses of the American Quarter Horse, next.
Race or Sprint Horse
Prominent Quarter Horses have been clocked at 55 MPH, which makes them the ideal candidate for racing in such short courses.
Quarter Horses are generally put up against other Quarter Horses in competitions to find out the ultimate winner.
Quarter Horses are also used as working horses in various ranches or to handle livestock because of their excellent ‘cow sense’ and the ability to manage them well.
Quarter Horses also participate in working cow-horse competitions where they are asked to direct the cows in the arena, back behind the fence or in their stalls.
Chapter 8: The Health Concerns of an American Quarter Horse
Quarter Horses are prone to a few genetic disorders and health conditions. It is important for owners and breeders to know these generative problems beforehand, so curbing them is easier before undesirable situations are created.
The chapter covers an extensive discussion on the genetic disorders and how it affects the health of the Quarter Horse.
Although not every horse is vulnerable to such conditions, researches found more chances in horses which were bred through selective breeding to produce stallions and mares showcasing extra performance and beauty.
Here’s a list of the genetic diseases in Quarter Horses followed by a brief discussion on each of them:
- Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP)
- Malignant Hyperthermia
- Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia
- Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED)
- Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSM)
- Lethal White Syndrome
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP)
This disease is caused due to the dominance of genes linked to an already-affected parent. The disease causes muscle contractions and tremors in the beginning and can cause paralysis or worse forms of muscle degradation later.
This is yet another dominant condition which is caused by an uneven workload, usage of anesthesia, and stressful conditions. High blood pressure, uneven body temperature, and muscular degeneration are some of the symptoms.
Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia
Unlike the HYPP, this disease is caused due to the presence of recessive genes which are carried by both parents. It causes swift skin degeneration causing the skin to tear away from the muscle and peel off.
Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency
It is due to the lack of an enzyme in the affected horse which causes a glycogen storage deficiency.
Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy
This is a metabolic muscular condition which is usually due to overfeeding carbohydrates. In situations like this, the muscle tissues of the horse begin to show signs of damage (called ‘tying up’).
Lethal White Syndrome
This syndrome is usually associated with the foals being born with white coat colors (all skin or some patches) and blue eyes. However, these seemingly normal horses are born with malfunctioning colons and have to be euthanized to avoid excruciating pain.
Unlike genetic diseases with Quarter Horses, a few health concerns might show up as the horse’s age progresses. Weaker immune systems and the ability to fend off diseases generally decreases with age.
Veterinarian care is of prime importance in this case and should be consulted right away for changes in diet, surroundings, and other important aspects.
With good care and maintenance, the age of the horse can be slightly increased but such horses should be retired from working and be used for small rides so their conditions don’t worsen over time.
Surely, we’ve parted you with everything there is to know about the might American Quarter Horse.
Remember, this beautiful horse breeds demands your attention and will be the perfect addition to your family as this family-oriented horse will soon begin to mingle with everyone around you and keep everyone happy.
Although we’ve tried to cover everything about the Quarter horse, there might still be some questions in your head. A few commonly asked questions are listed below.
What are Quarter Horses mainly used for?
American Quarter Horses are well-known for their swift motion, and speeds in a quarter mile or less.
Because of these traits, they mainly excel in several English and Western competitions like reining, racing, cutting and others. Being a herd animal, they are also used to manage livestock and work as a ranch horse.
Are American Quarter Horses good for beginners?
American Quarter Horses are calm and have a mild temperament which makes them the best equine partner for beginners.
With sure-footed movements, ground-covering gait, and an easy to mount body, it should be easy for the beginner to start.
What is the difference between a Quarter Horse and a Thoroughbred?
There are a few differences between a Quarter horse and a Thoroughbred. Thoroughbreds are usually bred to run and cover distances which are longer than a quarter-mile. Their lean physique and strong body make them perfect for races and jumping.
American Quarter Horses are bred to cover quarter-mile distances and excel at it. Their strong, muscular bodies make them the perfect choice for racing, reining, and other western competitions.