For many first-time horse parents, a question that usually pops up is, what kind of horse is right for me? Or, what’s a good first horse? While a lot of that depends on your personality and what your horse’s purpose is, some of it is straight forward.
For example, when we say “purpose,” all we mean is what you will be doing with your horse. If it’s just a companion animal, just about any in the equine family will do.
But, if your main goal is to go trail riding, you may want to opt for a specific type of horse that’s not the biggest horse breed in the world so you’ll actually fit on the trails well together.
Or, if you’re looking to do barrel racing, you’ll need a horse that’s fast on her feet.
For some people, the ultimate horse is one that can do most things, and that horse is the quarter horse.
But, then, this begs the question …
Is the quarter horse a good first horse?
Yes the quarter horse is not only a good first horse, but likely the best first horse. In addition to being one of the most popular horse breeds in the United States, they also tend to be mild mannered and willing to work for their owners.
They love to run and can do short sprints that rival cheetah speed at full gallop, capable of reaching 55 MPH. Quarter horses, being medium size horses averaging 1,100 pounds, also tend to be quite nimble on their feet and can make tight turns at faster speeds than their bigger cousins can. All of these traits make them a great first horse for the new equestrian who is yet to know which disciplines to go into. In short, a quarter horse can do it all.
Quarter Horse History:
This is the most popular breed of horse in the United States with a lineage that can be traced all the way back to the 1600s, and were used heavily by Colonial Americans. In fact, according to the International Museum of the Horse, the first quarter horse races are said to have been conducted in Virginia in 1674.
They are also one of the most popular horse breeds with more than 5 million registered American Quarter horses world wide.
This breed got their name from the fact they can run a quarter mile faster than just about any other breed.
The average weight of a quarter horse is 950-1200 lbs and range from 14-15 hands (57-60 inches). Their body type is compact yet heavily muscled, helping them be so fast and versatile. The breed was officially given its name in 1940 when the American Quarter Horse Association was founded.
One of the most appealing attributes of the American Quarter Horse is just how versatile they can be. They can be used as cow horses on a ranch, race horses at the arena or as a pleasure horse for either western or English riding and thrive in all circumstances.
The Quarter Horse is the best all around horse for their multiple abilities.
Quarter Horses and Kids:
The breed is also known as a kid friendly breed and is an easy keeper once they are properly trained.
They are known for a steady temperament and tend to be quick learners. They are very easily trained to whatever discipline you are working on or need, and don’t need much except good pasture and hay.
I personally can attest that a quarter horse can do what the rider wants and is a fairly easy learner. We got our first horse thinking that we’d just spend time with her on the local Blue Ridge Mountain trails.
But what we ended up with was much more than that.
Our kid wanted to do hunter/jumper and do shows but our horse was so unprepared for any of this. When we got her, she was a Western Pleasure horse who had never jumped a day in her life.
After just a few short months she was re-trained and jumping low cavaletti jumps with ease. Fast forward a couple of years and the horse is capable of flying lead changes, jumping two and a half foot oxers, and shakes the ground in a full out gallop with our daughter holding on for dear life.
Quarter Horse Temperament:
Every quarter horse we’ve met to date, and there has been quite a few, has had an easy temper. They don’t get angry and are generally not hot headed.
Though, any animal can react to something they don’t like. For example, ours doesn’t like pigs all that much, and the first time she saw one it was end of the world scary for her.
We got through it, but it’s important to remember that a horse can spook at just about anything.
Ours has only reared up once because she was in a new environment with new horses and people.
But for the most part the temperament of the American Quarter Horse is mild-mannered.
Quarter Horse Conclusion:
This breed is a great first horse for any skill level and is known for being very calm. They get along with horses and people and truly help a new horse owner get confidence in horse ownership and riding.
So, is the quarter horse a good first horse? Yes, it is. It was for us and so many other people. I assume yours will be just as good.