American Quarter Horse
The worlds most popular light horse breed is an American Quarter horse that has more than 4 million registered horses. Its the oldest horse breed in the United States and its name comes from the ability of these horses to race in a quarter mile or less with speeds up to 55 mph 88.5 km.
The record is 440 yards in 21 seconds or less. Heavily muscled and compact, these horses can run a short distance over a straightaway faster than any other horse! Thoroughbred horses crossed with horses descended from Spain developed from Iberian, Arabian and Barb horse, as Chickasaw horse in the 17th century are the beginnings of this breed.
Those horses were small, hardy, quick and used as work and racehorses. The establishment of the Quarter Horse took place in the southwest range country. The first Quarter horse that attracted attention in the Southwest was Steel Dust, foaled in Illinois in 1843. He was a blood bay, which achieved popularity as running horse and stood 15 hands high and weighed approximately 1,200 pounds.
Peter McCue was foaled in 1895 and is the most famous sire in the establishment of the Quarter Horse breed. Many registered Quarters are traced in the mane line as his sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons. Today the best-known Quarter Horse is the King Ranch, Kingsville, Texas. The average height of a Quarter horse is between 14 and 16 hands and weight around 1200 pounds.
Characteristics of the modern Quarterhorse are a small, short, refined head, small fox-like ears and a broad forehead, strong, well-muscled body, and neck, with a strong back and good withers. Quarters have thick muscular shoulders and are exceptionally famous for their powerful hindquarters.
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