The Foundation and Improvement of the Quarter Horse Breed
It’s difficult to give the exact origin of the present-day Quarter Horse because the blending of bloodlines to produce a suitable short-distance horse that was started in colonial areas prior to the Revolutionary War.
The Quarter Horse
This blending of bloodlines and the infusion of Thoroughbred blood was continued in the southwestern range territory as cattle country developed.
- Cowboys wanted to be well mounted.
- Ranchers tried to breed the kind of horses on which men could work cattle and that could also be used for horse racing.
- The Quarter Horse was not raced on carefully prepared tracks but was raced on any suitable open space.
- Organized races were the exception rather than the rule with many of the races being run as match races after a private wager between owners or riders.
In the Southwest country as in the East, no particular attention was made to keep short-distance horses as a distinct breed. Fast horses whose offspring made good cow ponies were crossed on an existing stock of mares.
Many times these mares carried Spanish, Arabian, Morgan, or Standardbred breeding, and some have been referred to as cold blooded mares.
The naming of horses after individuals was common practice, and often when the horses were sold their names were changed; such practices have led to total confusion in attempting to verify pedigrees after the horses, breeders, and owners had died.