How Tall are American Quarter Horses?

American Quarter horses are a multi-talented horse breed making it the most famous horse breed of North America. These horses have a muscular body but have rather small legs which make them shorter than other breeds.

So, exactly how tall are American Quarter horses? The average Quarter horse height in hands is 14.3 to 16 which is 57.2-64 inches. Considering the size of this animal’s body, its legs are quite small making it look chunky.

However, if you really want to get a good idea of the height of a Quarter Horse, you’d have to read ahead. We’ll discuss how exactly horses are measured, the average height of all horses and much more.

What is the average height of horses?

As a standard:

Equines above the height of 14.2 hands at the withers are categorized as average-height horses.

All horses measuring 14.2 or less are considered to be ponies.

The average height of all horses is somewhere around 15.2 hands.

But the truth is that the heights of horses vary greatly.

That is because:

Different horses are bred to have different traits and features depending upon their purpose.

How to measure a horse’s height?

Horses are measured in hands; where one hand equals 4 inches.

The average height of a horse is about 5 ft and 2 in.

When measuring your horse, make sure you make it stand on a plain foundation.

You can use either a measuring stick or a tape for the measurement.

The height of equines is measured from their hooves to the top of their withers (the part at the base of a horse’s neck).

The height of American Quarter horses

The average American Quarter horse height in hands ranges from 14.3 to 16.

This means that an American Quarter will not be the tallest in the stable.

The reason for its comparatively shorter height is that it has short legs.

American Quarter horses have muscular and fleshy physiology on the upper portion.

Therefore, these comparatively tiny legs make them look a bit chunky.

However, with the infusion of a thoroughbred bloodline, the breed’s average height has increased.

Here’s our famous article on Quarter Horses vs. Thoroughbreds.

So, it won’t be surprising if you see an American Quarter horse standing 16 Hands tall.

Why is the Quarter Horse America’s favorite horse breed?

Even though the American Quarter horse is not among the taller horses, it is still the most popular horse breed in America.


Because where this horse lacks in height, it compensates in elegance, strength, loyalty, and intelligence.

American Quarter horses are considered to be the all-rounders of the equine family and justly so:

  • American Quarters are known to excel in short-distance racing
  • They make great pleasure horses owing to their spectacular personality
  • They are also widely used as cattle horses

Physical traits of the American Quarter Horse

Now that you know about the height of this spectacular breed, it is time to get into more detail about its physical appearance.

1. American Quarter horse colors and markings

According to the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA):

Chestnut and Sorrel (light chestnut) are the most common colors in the breed.

Other accepted colors include black, red, gray dun, brown, red and blue roan, etc.

The breed standards are quite strict when it comes to markings.

Appaloosa and Pinto markings are unacceptable in American Quarter horses.

The breed standards only allow white markings confined to the horse’s face and below its knees.

Ironically, however, there are many foals of pure-bred parents that have broken this rule.

Other common markings found in American Quarter horses are:

  • Stripes
  • Stockings
  • Blazes
  • Stars

2. Quarter horse’s body type

American Quarter horses are rugged medium-boned horses having flat profiles.

These horses have a muscular neck complementing a deep chest and slopping, muscular shoulders.

These horses have a small finely outlined head having a pair of wide eyes.

The pointed ears of the American Quarter horses are always alert.

Although its legs are muscular and sturdy, they are quite small compared to its upper body.

3. American Quarter horse’s weight

The average weight of the American Quarter horse is 1,200 pounds because of their muscular build.

However, due to a difference in the weight to frame ratio, some people show concern regarding the skeletal strain this breed might undergo.

What are American Quarter Horses used for?

As mentioned earlier:

The American Quarter horses are a spectacular breed of horses that excels in more than one area, some of which are described as follows:

1. Herding

American Quarter horses are known to have Cow Sense. This term refers to knowing how to live and interact with cattle.

It’s a special trait that enables these horses to be an excellent companion to work with cattle.

What’s more, these horses have also been used to pull wagons and carry passengers across vast lands.

The sturdiness of the breed and its agility lets it cross a variety of terrains without much difficulty.

2. Racing


The American Quarter horses were quite popular in short races, i.e., quarter-mile races.

Because of low stamina, these horses were unable to compete in longer races.

Therefore, in the early 19th century, this breed, unfortunately, lost its popularity.

However, the horses eventually gained their recognition as short racehorses.

3. Other uses of American Quarter Horses

This multi-talented horse has and is being used in a variety of other domains such as:

  • Show Horse
  • Rodeo Horse
  • Pleasure Horse

Check out our complete guide on Quarter Horse uses.

American Quarter Horse’s personality 

American Quarter horses are remarkable creatures with a lovely [personality.

These creatures have high emotional intelligence.

Therefore, these horses are known to make emotional connections with their handlers and other humans or horses close to them.

A high emotional sense makes them an excellent choice to keep them at home.

Moreover, if you initially make a strong bond with your horse, it becomes really easy to train.

Quarter Horses are great for beginners

American Quarter horses are known to have a keen intuition regarding the skill of their handler.

It creates a better understanding between the horse and the rider.

This intuition lets them adapt to the skill of the rider making it safer.

Because of this, American Quarter horses are great for amateur riders or beginners.

Hence, American Quarter horses are usually seen in riding classes.

The dark side

American Quarter horses are highly intelligent which makes them easy to train and adapt.

However, this higher intelligence can have a darker aspect to it.

American Quarter horses retain a sense of integrity and can sense if something is not right.

They remain loyal and respectful only if their keeper is respectful to them.

On the other hand, if they sense that their rider is not giving due respect and misusing their loyalty, they can become rather stubborn and, in some cases, aggressive.

Genetics and temperament of the American Quarter Horse

Every American Quarter horse is known to have a varying temperament and personality.

However, it is not because of the individuality that is found in every breed.

Rather, it is because of the horse’s lineage and its genetics.

The temperament of your American Quarter largely depends on its genetics.

For example:

If the ancestors of the horse were energetic, active and stubborn, you’d clearly see these traits in your horse as well.

Related Questions

How does the American Quarter horse breed get its name? The American Quarter horses were initially identified as racehorses.

These sturdy horses left their mark in the quarter mile race.

Hence, people started calling them the American “Quarter” horses.

Do American Quarters get bored? American Quarters are working horses that like to remain active.

Although these horses won’t mind an idle day in the stable, they would definitely not be happy if their vacation exceeds a single day.

Other Sources

Photo credits: Jean, CC BY 4.0, via Flickr

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *