The American Quarter Horse
By Michael Russell
It is thought, by some, that the foundation American Quarter Horse stock has at its roots Arabian, Turk, and Barb breeds. Others believe that the breed began with the acquisition of Chickasaw horses which were likely of Spanish extraction. Their history seems to begin around 1690, when horses exported from England were bred with native horses in America. The result of this cross was a small, stocky horse which was extremely fast in the quarter-mile sprint which the colonists loved to participate in during their off-time. Even when pitted against Thoroughbreds, this little horse came in first more often than not. Thus, the horse became known as the Quarter Horse.
In the 1800s, when the pioneers began to move west, they wanted a horse that could endure the rigors and was always willing to work. Their horse of choice was the Quarter Horse. They quickly found that the breed was excellent to use when working with cattle. Cattlemen soon preferred this animal because it seemed to know ahead of time what the cattle would do, and naturally moved to direct the herd where the cowboys wanted them to go. Even after the automobile was invented, Quarter Horses were still used almost exclusively on many ranches.