The earliest record of the Quarter horse comes from the 1600s when imported English Thoroughbred horses were crossed with native breeds on the Eastern coast of America. This offspring was smaller than the thoroughbred but hardy, quick, and popular as a work horse during the week and a race horse on the weekends.
By the 19th century, pioneers heading west needed hardy horses and set off across the Great Plains accompanied by the colonial era Quarter Horse. Along the journey the horses were crossed with wild mustangs as well as native american breeds and arabians bought over by Spanish colonists. The pioneers found that this new crossbreed possessed a natural understanding of cattle work and the breed became hugely popular with ranchers hence the ubiquity of Quarter Horses at American ranches today.
Today you can find the breed at rodeos, on ranches, on the race track and being used as a trail riding horse on many horse riding holidays. The breed is becoming more popular in the UK thanks to it’s suitability as an allrounder, its turn of speed and its willing temperament. You can ride Quarter horses on riding holidays in Dartmoor or at any of the US ranch horse riding holidays.