First of all the American Quarter Horse is not a genuine breed of horse, but rather a horse that is registered with the American Quarter Horse Association which requires no standards but only paper work. In other words, any horse, whose parents (dam and the sire) are registered with the AQHA, is automatically registered with the AQHA regardless the conformation and or performance, and sadly and unfortunately is also permitted to reproduce at the discretion of the clueless owner, often motivated by clueless judges. In addition to this the AQHA allows constant crossbreeding with the English Thoroughbred, in which case no stability of any breed can be sustained by constant cross breeding, and every decent horse breeder knew that for centuries.
One could argue that the
English thoroughbred registry is not a subject to performance or
conformation, but that would be a false assumption. First of all the English
Thoroughbred Stud Book is closed, which means that no crossbreeding is allowed
or registered, which is not the case with the AQHA. At the same time majority
(not all, as there are stupid people everywhere) of thoroughbreds are selected
for breeding according to their performance, which is speed and endurance under
saddle tested in racing.
The AQHA has no such tests or standards, and in contrast with the English Thoroughbred it has one of the slowest horses (the halter and western pleasure horses) in the world registered alongside with one of the fastest horses (AQH racing) in the same registry. In short, you have two opposite types of horses registered and intermixed/inbred in the same breed registry. Needless to say that in such cases many horses end up looking as if Dr. Frankenstein assembled them from various available parts. Many of the AQHs could be compared to some kind of absurd assembly of a vehicle made part of Cadillac, part of tractor and part of a lawnmower. And so it is no surprise that I have seen more deformed horses among the AQHs than in any kind of breed of horse.
The photos above are the legs of a yearling that has placed as the third best yearling at the "World Championship" in a halter horse class in the USA. This is how absurd the AQHA and the APHA are in jugging horses. Totally clueless judges make judgments like these, which then adds to the proliferation of downright crippled from-birth-horses. In the days of sanity horses like this were put down, while in these days of insane feminine sentiments cripples like this are not only maintained but also reproduced. Just another example of the modern feminine progressive world influencing the way we breed and care for horses, reproducing and rewarding weakness, failure and incompetence. If you see nothing wrong with the horse's legs in the photos, please stay away from horses and animals all together.
The above pretty much shows what the range horses look like today. Nothing like the AQH. Just notice the difference only in the heads of the range horses and the below typical "pork" head of the QH.
This horse would die in only one hour of gallop in the dessert, especially an AQH paint. The Hollywood movie madness is responsible for much of the horse abuse in the modern world today.
The typical "pork" head of the Quarter Horse.
The most important part of a genuine breed of horse is that it consistently passes on its progeny the particular inbred attributes for which it was bred, in which case one has to wonder what these are in the AQH. Is it the speed and endurance like in the case of the English Thoroughbred? No, because if it was so, they would race all the QHs as they do the TBs, providing the individual horse makes the races and is fast enough. What are the conformation or performance requirements for the QHs? There aren't any, or one could say there are many conflicting requirements, which only add to the chaos of AQH breeding.
Let's see what we have here: The halter horses, the race horses, the western pleasure horses, the reining horses, the roping horses, the cutting horses and such and so forth. According to which of these one selects a horse for breeding? According to which of these the horse is registered?
Let's look at the performance: Most halter horses can't even walk, as most are genuinely picked only according to the looks like some poodles, which is determined by the concept of pretty rather than something real, let alone practical, and so many of these horses are genuine cripples passing on to their progeny all sorts of deformities. The western pleasure horse is like some car that the slower it goes and the more gas it uses the better, as opposed to the racing QH the faster it goes the better. Please also note that there is no endurance test for QHs in any discipline, especially not in the racing as it is in the case of the TBs, since most run only at the distance of quarter of a mile (about 400 meters).
The QH is not a breed of horse, it is mere registry started by some fools and nothing more. It is all about getting money, via the registration fees, out of the sucker born every minute. Because of this irresponsibility the AQHA has the most injured, and literally crippled from birth, horses, hence so many cases of founder, navicular related lameness, splints, ring bones, side bones, stifle problems etc. etc. Now when you add all the stupid and silly stuff that people do with these so-called quarter horses, like reining, barrel racing, western pleasure or cutting the obvious is inevitable, a whole lot of lame and crippled horses. This is of course great for the AQHA, because people have to frequently replace these cripples for new "registered" horses, not to mention that it is also very lucrative for the breeders, veterinarians and related equine drugs and supplements industries.
The QH is not the same horse that people used out in the west in the cattle business. Most of the cowboy horses were not bred by people but rather were the so-called range horses that had fair amount of the mustang blood in them, in which case many of them had the Spanish blood in them. There is no worse crossbreeding combination than that of the English Blood with the Spanish Blood. This is how the Spanish totally ruined the Old Spanish horse (the real Andalusian) during the 18 hundreds Anglomania that swept the Europe, and also reached this continent.
In the original days of the word Quarter horse such horse was any horse, and mind you, any horse that was participating in the local racing like at the fairs and such. In such racing no registry or papers were required, and many of the owners of such horses traveled from one fair to another, like in rodeos, making couple of dollars racing. And so, the original meaning of the word quarter horse was simply a racehorse whose purpose was racing for short distances on local tracks or fairs and such, and in no way it referred to a particular breed of horse, but rather referring to the particular use of horse. Therefore the genuine QH was any racehorse and since the fastest horse is the Thoroughbred many of these horses were crossbred with the TB to improve the speed, hence till this day the TB blood is still allowed into the registry.
However, as it is today, any horse is registered with the breed registry regardless its performance or conformation, and any QH is allowed to reproduce, unlike in the case of many of the European breeds of horses in the past, where only the select few were allowed to reproduce, which is what breeding of horses is about, the unified selection, which is, and always was, absent in the QH breeding. And so it is no surprise that the AQH has so many malformed and deformed animals that I have ever seen. And so the AQHA is not at all about any breed or inherited attributes of a breed of horse, but it is simply all about the registry fees that the fools pay or pay attention to.
Since the AQH is not a breed, one can find in that registry all sorts of horses, mostly however downright cripples from birth, but sometime fairly nice horses. The latter in much smaller numbers than the former, not to mention that these "nice" horses cannot pass their inbred attributes onto their progeny since these horses are not members of a particular breed of horse, but rather are horses merely registered with the AQHA. In short, the AQHA registration merely certifies that the animal you've purchased is a horse.
One of the most preposterous criteria in selecting an QH for breeding is the obsession with big and heavy muscles, especially with the round and big hind quarters, and round and wide shoulders. This obsession with this split, round and wide ass is nothing new, and it was present in Europe in the draft horse breeding, hence many breeders adjusted their breeding according to the demand. In some cases they almost ruined such breeds like the Belgian. The irony of this is, that the desired big and round ass in the horse was in the draft horses, and I cannot recall that any times during the history of mankind the same kind of ass was desired in a riding horse. Every horseman knew that the longer muscles in riding horses were stronger as opposed to the bulky and compact muscular structure that is always weaker. On the same note every horseman knew that wide shoulders on horses are weak when it comes to carrying a rider, and so it was undesired in riding horses, while only in the QH it is something praised and rewarded, especially in the halter horse classes.
The weight of the animal is very
important in the use of horses, as one wants in the draft horse not only
more weight in the animal for the heavier draft, but also more weight on the
forehand, as such horse needs the more "forward-weight-distribution" in
order to move heavy loads. In the opposite in the riding horses the lighter
weight of the horse is preferred, since the addition of the rider already
adds to the weight of the horse, hence burdens the legs more, while the wide
and heavy muscles make the horse slower and less durable. In the opposite,
and unlike the AQH, the
Endurance and durability is totally ignored in the breeding of the AQH. I wonder what kind of use a cowboy would have for a horse that can run only 400 yards and then shuts down as if the legs were cut off. On the other hand in the old days, when horsemen bread and trained horses, the riding horses of the more modern military were tested in races that were long and very difficult, hence in this way people selected horses according to the durability of the animal and its endurance as well as the speed. One of the oldest and still fairly original races can be seen in the Grand Steeplechase of Pardubice, where horses not only run fast, as well as jump over obstacles, but they also have to run frequently through freshly plowed fields, as well as on the grass, no matter what weather. In contrast to the AQH the range horses of the old west times were hardy and extremely durable while often enduring miles and miles of cattle driving. Most of the QHs today would not even mange to last past one day, especially not in frequent gallops, as they are extremely weak with poor lungs, though to a greenhorn they appear strong and powerful.
The most absurd and ludicrous thing I've seen in the movies, was the paint horse in the Hidalgo movie that not only had a very difficult time galloping but was also fairly sore, not to mention that one has to wonder about a paint in the desert. Unfortunately it is exactly this kind of stupid movies that motivate many people in owning and riding horses, and the results are self-evident as the horse world is predominantly filled with fools and idiots, which the AQHA and related industries exploit.
In conclusion, please keep in mind that only genuine fools and careless people invest in horses and expect profits. Also keep in mind that no genuine horsemen peddle horses, as there is a huge difference between a horseman and a horse trader, the latter adheres to no horseman's ethics or principles.
The quote "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" is not referring to the actual horse, as it is a proverb that is actually advising not to insult or offend a person that is giving a gift (in appreciation, reward, admiration, thanks and such) and has nothing to do with getting a free horse.
In the horse world it should rather say "Beware of a free horse", since in most cases people give horses away because they do not want to feed them and cannot sell them, hoping to find some fool to take them, because most either do not have the heart to put such horse down, or do not want to go through the troubles/expenses to dispose of the animal in one way or another. I do not know of any person that gave away a "good horse", hence if it sounds too good to be truth it is not the truth in most cases for sure. A "gift horse" is for most part unwanted/undesired animal, and many of these end up in the so-called adoption agencies.
Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek