American Quarter Horse

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American Quarter Horse
Fox with graver hair (red roan)

Fox with graver hair (red roan)

Important data
Origin: USA, 18th century
Main breeding area: United States
Distribution: spread worldwide
Stick measure : 145-175 cm
Colors : all colors
Main application area: Western riding

The American Quarter Horse (also Quarter Horse ) is numerically the most common horse breed in the world with over 4.6 million registered horses .

Background information on horse evaluation and breeding can be found under: Exterior , interior and horse breeding .


Short, noble wedge head with a small mouth, small movable ears and large eyes, pronounced ganache and forehead muscles, broad forehead; medium-long neck, slightly in the poll with sufficient freedom of gait, standing in a rectangular format with a good saddle position ; pronounced sloping shoulder, well-pronounced withers , medium-length back with strong loins, long, sloping, well-muscled croup with a deeply set tail, a lot of girth depth, strong chest with good muscles; Foundation correct and suitable for the horse, short cannon legs, pronounced joints, hard, medium-sized hooves, well-muscled forearms and thighs.

Two different types of Quarter Horses are currently being bred. One type is still compact and flexible. This horse is used for reining and western riding # cutting disciplines. The second type is tall, narrow and long. It is suitable for Western Pleasure , Horsemanship and Hunter disciplines.


Quarter Horse as Buckskin

All colors are used, since 2004 also Quarter Horses born cremello can be registered with the American Quarter Horse Association , provided that both parents are registered Quarter Horses, as evidenced by genotyping of both parents and the foal. If one parent is a paint horse , the foal can only be registered as a paint horse with the American Paint Horse Association . However, extended badges are still considered undesirable and not characteristic of the breed.

The "Buckskin" fur pattern is particularly typical. The term comes from the American and describes the brown that is lightened by the cream gene . This designation has established itself in the breeding of the quarter horse. At first glance, these horses are simply sand-colored. However, they come in a ton of different shades and markings. The color variations range from yellow or gold with black markings. The color "grullo" (mouse gray) has an eel line and sometimes also zebra stripes and shades. White markings are not welcomed and are only allowed below the carpal or ankle joint . The predominant color is sorrel (fox, 30%). The colors bay (brown, 20%) and chestnut (sweat fox, 10%) and, more rarely, black and gray are also common.

The AQHA recognizes these different coat colors (translated from: Reference Chart Color & Markings of the AQHA):

  1. Sorrel ( fox ): Reddish or copper-red fur. The mane and tail are usually the same color, but they can also be flax-blonde. Eel strokes are possible.
  2. Black ( Black ) Black coat without bright spots, and black mane and tail.
  3. Bay ( brown ): coat color from brown to red to reddish-brown. Mane, tail and lower legs are black. Eel strokes are possible.
  4. Brown ( dark brown or black brown ): Brown or black fur with light areas on the mouth, eyes, flank and on the inside of the thighs. Mane, tail and hips are black.
  5. Blue Roan ( black horse with graver hair ): The coat consists of a more or less uniform mixture of white and black hair (graver hair). The head and lower legs are dark. There may be some red hair in the mix.
  6. Grullo ( mouse fallow ): The fur is smoky gray or mouse-colored (no prickly hair or a mixture of white and black hair as in the Blue Roan, but each individual hair is gray). Mane, tail and lower legs are black. Usually with an eel line.
  7. Bay Roan ( brown with graver hair ): The coat consists of a more or less uniform mixture of white and red hair (graver hair) on most of the body. The head is darker, usually red, but can also have some black burin hair. Mane, tail and lower legs are black.
  8. Red Roan ( fox with graver hair ): The fur consists of a more or less uniform mixture of white and red hair (graver hair). The head and lower legs are red. The mane and / or tail are red or flax-colored.
  9. Chestnut ( sweat fox ): The coat color is dark red or red-brown. The mane and tail are usually dark red or maroon as well, but they can also be flax-colored. The mane and tail can be black, but the lower legs are red. Eel strokes are possible.
  10. Red Dun ( Fuchsfalbe ): A Dun with yellow paint or meat colors. The mane and tail are red, reddish, flax-colored, white or mixed. The eel line is red or reddish. Usually with red / reddish zebra stripes on the legs or horizontal stripes over the withers.
  11. Dun ( Falbe ): Yellowish to golden or brown fur with black mane and tail and Aalstrich. Usually with zebra stripes on the legs or horizontal stripes over the withers.
  12. Palomino ( Isabell ): The coat color is gold-yellow. The mane and tail are white. Without eel line.
  13. Gray ( mold ): A mix of white and other colored hair. At birth, the foals are white except for markings and get lighter and lighter with age until they have completely white fur.
  14. Buckskin ( earth-colored ): Yellowish to golden fur with black mane, tail and lower legs. Without eel line.
  15. Cremello ( Weißisabell ): The coat is white or slightly cream-colored. The mane and tail are also white. The skin is pink to pale pink all over the body. The eyes are blue.
  16. Perlino : white or slightly cream colored fur. The mane and tail usually have a darker shade - pale copper red or orange. The skin is pink to pale pink all over the body. The eyes are blue.

As I said ("all colors except piebald"): White, Mixe (Buckskin Roan, Dunalino etc.), Leuchtrappen (Smoky Black / s) and z. B. types of champagne (amber, gold, classic, sable champagne), pearl (apricot, black, bay pearl) and silver / wind colors are possible (silver black / bay, ...), but not recognized Standard quarter horse colors.


Mostly calm and friendly being, sensitive, but extremely nervous, easy to train and very capable of learning. Some have the so-called "cow sense" - the instinct to follow the cow without further influence.

Breeding history

Horses were extinct on the American continent before the conquistadors re-imported them. The Spaniards and Portuguese brought Arabs , Berbers, and Andalusian horses to what is now Mexico. With the great numbers of settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries, their typical horse breeds also arrived: Irish ponies, English thoroughbreds , but also Percherons and others. From the combination of these breeds and the descendants of the Spanish horses, the American Quarter Horse emerged, a horse breed that is unmistakable in type and character.

The name is derived from the Quarter Mile Races , which were popular in the cities of the southern states towards the end of the 18th century . These were races in which the main road was simply cordoned off over a distance of about 440 yards (approx. 400 m) and two horses competed against each other (match race).

The American Quarter Horse played an essential role in the conquest of the West. Only the toughest and most productive animals survived in the daily struggle for survival. They were indispensable partners for the cowboys at ranching , but they also pulled the farmer's plow or, on Sundays, the carriage to church, so that they could be relaxed and run a race afterwards . This versatility and reliability became an essential trait that the breed has retained to this day.

The classic, muscular, but fast and agile quarter horse is now known as the “stock type”. His later specialization led to types that differed more or less clearly. They are named after the corresponding tournament disciplines of western riding . The “Halter” type is, so to speak, the bodybuilder among the quarter horses, the already pronounced muscling becomes extreme here. "Pleasure" horses are lighter, their type occasionally tends towards Arabs (head). The horses for cattle work, whose “ cow sense ” enables them to work almost independently with cattle, and “ Reining ” horses, which are relatively small and light and therefore extremely agile, are bred purely for performance and less for appearance . The racing quarters represent a special line: Even today, the races over short distances are the most highly endowed in the USA. Thoroughbred was crossed very heavily here, the only crossbreeding that is still allowed today. Animals from such crosses are entered in a so-called appendix register of the stud book and can earn full AQHA papers through tournament or racing successes.

Import and breeding in Europe

On May 25, 1964, the Swiss Jean-Claude Dysli returned to Switzerland with two quarter horses, which he brought with him by ship from California, and established a quarter horse breed with the animals. Dysli brought western riding and the breeding of the quarter horse to Europe.

Tax fraud

Between 1977 and 1981 at least 465 Quarter Horses were imported into Germany from the USA on presentation of under-invoiced invoices and millions of tax dollars evaded.


See also

Web links

Commons : American quarter horse  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: American Quarter Horse  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Der Spiegel: Customs fraud when importing US western horses