Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Quarter Horse!
Have you ever wanted a horse or marveled at what beautiful creatures they are? Chances are, you have! Quarter Horses are just one type that you might be interested in!
Quarter Horses are truly an American breed of horse. Everyone has heard of them, and many people consider them to be one of the best all around breeds of horses. I will start with some history. They are one of the oldest breeds in America – starting from the early 17th century in Virginia, when settlers got horses from the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaw Indians horses were descendants of horses brought by Spanish explorers. These horses were then bred with English running horses, which gave them a good solid horse which could do everything they needed, from pulling and hauling, to riding and herding horses. In fact, the Quarter Horse eventually got its name because it could sprint a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse! Today, Quarter Horse racing is still in effect in the western United States.
The American Quarter Horse Association was the first registry for these horses, being founded in 1940 by Robert Denhard. It is now the largest breed registry in the world with over 3 million registered horses! These horses are considered a stocky type of light horse breed. They usually weigh under 1,500 pounds and are used most often as leisure horses. They can be used for other tasks as well – such as racing, ranch working, and as show horses. The Quarter Horse can reach 15-16 hands and they are compact, stocky, and muscular horses.
Quarter Horse care is fairly easy as far as horse care goes. They keep weight on quite easily and only need a low amount of daily feed (compared to some other horses). Their diet should consist of grass and hay, with vitamin and mineral supplements provided on a minimum basis as needed. They can become overweight somewhat easily so you must make sure to not overfeed them! This may be because their ancestors were free-roaming plain horses, making it necessary to thrive on the simple foods that were available. These horses can be kept in either a pasture or a stall, and they should be provided with ample exercise.
Training of Quarter Horses includes many different activities and sports because of their speed and agility. They are excellent at cutting, reining and gymkhana. They are also great at ranch-type work, including driving cattle which makes them wonderful Western Pleasure Horses. They can also do well at jumping and English Pleasure activities. They are very good at stopping quickly and turning sharply. In general these horses are fairly attentive and responsive in temperament, making them great family horses, beginner horses, and trail riding horses.
In general, Quarter Horses are pretty hardy horses and they live some of the longest lives! It takes ongoing neglect of their basic maintenance to really cause them problems. However, one genetic disease to be on the look out for before purchasing a Quarter Horse is hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This disease is not very common but it is passed down from the sire and should be tested for in any horse that you plan to obtain. The disease causes uncontrolled muscle twitching and/or muscle weakness and can sometimes cause collapse and death.
Quarter Horses are available just about everywhere in the United States and you should be able to locate one quite easily if you wish to obtain one. Look at Animal-World’s page on Quarter Horses for more information.
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.