The American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is the first breed of horse native to what is now the United States. Developed to fill the colonist's passion for short-distance racing, these heavily muscled, compact horses can run a quarter mile faster than any other breed in the world. Over the years, the breed also became renowned for its cow sense (ability to read and outmaneuver cattle) and calm disposition. Today, the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed association in the world, with registered horses numbering nearly 4 million.
Today, the heavy muscling and sprinter's speed remains, but like many breeds the Quarter Horse become specialized to excel at certain events. Quarter Horses are seen in every discipline, ranging from roping and barrel racing to the refined English classes of dressage and show jumping. Although competition options are nearly unlimited, the number one interest of Quarter Horse owners remains recreational riding.
A typical modern day American Quarter Horse is a muscular, compact animal. The head should be short, broad, expressive, and with a chiseled appearance. The throat latch is clean and the ears are medium-length and pointed. The neck should be semi-long and flexible, leading into a sloping shoulder and well-defined withers. The hindquarters are well-muscled, with a long and gently sloping croup. The overall appearance of the American Quarter Horse should be one of a compact, powerful horse.
Because of the distinctive hindquarter muscling, Quarter horses are often photographed from behind to accentuate the musculature.
The American Quarter Horse Association recognizes thirteen colors for registered horses. The most predominant color is sorrel, but all colors are found within the breed. While newcomers often call the official gray coloring 'white' there are no 'white' American Quarter Horses.
Next - the mustang.