Friday, April 19, 2013

Quarter Horse - An Ideal Cow Pony

Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse, sometimes described in more elaborate terms as the famous and celebrated Colonial Quarter Pather, was first bred during the early 1600s in Virginia. The first colonists crossed the imported English Thoroughbred with assorted native horses that descended from Spain and were brought to what is now the Southeastern United States by the Conquistadors. This new breed was small, tough and quick. They were recognized as a versatile work horse during the week and an explosive racehorse on the weekend.

The sports-crazy English settlers raced their horses over quarter-mile stretches run through the brush, plantations and villages. Local entrants often triumphed, with some sprinters being clocked at up to 55mph. For this reason the animal became known as the Quarter Horse. In the 19th century, pioneers heading west began crossbreeding the Colonial Quarter Horse with the wild mustangs of the Great Plains. The resulting new breed had an innate "cow sense", a natural instinct for working with cattle. Its speed, balance and agility made it the ideal cow pony.

The American Quarter Horse is still popular today as a race horse, show horse, reining and cutting horse, rodeo competitor, ranch horse and all-around family horse. When I return to my parents home, I often find myself back in the saddle again. I can assure you that Diamond, one of the quarter horses pictured above, is an excellent trail riding mount. There is nothing prettier than coming down out of the hills and gazing to the west at the dark silhouette of historic Chimney Rock set against a fiery-orange, Nebraska sunset.

6 comments:

  1. I wonder how the cow sense began. Had mustangs just interacted with cows that often that it was in their genome?

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

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    1. It was in their genome because they are descended from Spanish cow horses. The Spanish imported horses and longhorn cattle into Mexico. The vaquero cowboys from Mexico were expert horsemen and cattlemen. Some of their horses escaped and formed herds that roamed across the great plains. When these mustangs were bred with the colonial quarter horse the result was a very compact, quick, agile horse with a natural instinct for herding longhorns.

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  2. Works hard and plays hard, now I know where the name Quarter Horse came from.

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    1. They are a great all-around horse. Perfect for working cattle but also very enjoyable to trail ride.

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  3. I didn't realise Quarter Horse was because they raced over the quarter mile. Beautiful horses. What is the name of the other one?

    Rinelle Grey

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    1. They were not great distance runners but they were very fast for the quarter mile. The name of the white quarter horse in the picture is Sport.

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