American Quarter Horse

Quarter Horse

.The American Quarter Horse was one of the first horse breeds native to the United States. (It and the Narragansett Pacer appeared about the same time).  The breed evolved when the bloodlines of horses brought to the New World were mixed. Foundation American Quarter Horse stock originated from Arab, Turk and Barb breeds. Selected stallions and mares were crossed with horses brought to Colonial America from England and Ireland in the early 1600s. This combination resulted in a compact, heavily muscled horse that evolved to fill the colonist's passion for short-distance racing. 
   These powerful animals could run a short distance over a straightaway faster than any other horse, with the fastest being named Celebrated American Running Horses. There were many variations of names throughout the years but in 1940, a registry was formed to preserve the breed which officially became the American Quarter Horse. The first American Quarter Horse races were held at Henrico County, Virginia in 1674. One-on-one match races were run down village streets, country lanes and level pastures. By 1690, large purses, heavy betting, disagreements and fights were a common occurrence around match races. It is reported that grand plantations may have changed hands on the outcome of these sprints.
   As pioneers moved westward, so did the American Quarter Horse. During the 1800s, vast cattle ranches began to stretch across the plains. Known for its cow sense (the ability to outmaneuver cattle) and calm disposition, the American Quarter Horse was ideally suited for the challenge of the West.
   Today, heavy muscling and sprinter's speed remain characteristic traits but the breed has been specialized to excel at particular events. Competing in every discipline imaginable from traditional rodeo events such as roping and barrel racing to the refined English classes of dressage and show jumping has made the American Quarter Horse the one of the most versatile breeds in the world. Although competition options are nearly unlimited, the number one interest of American Quarter Horse owners remains riding for recreation.

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