Quarter Horse Question

Forgive my ignorance. English rider asking about quarter horse disposition. I came across a 16.2 almost 16.3 QH for sale. I had no idea that a QH could be that tall unless it was mixed with TB - sure enough the pedigree is 100% QH from one end of the page to the next. I did not know that there was a racing line of QH that are taller and leaner than the stock line. (If I have misstated this please correct me)
My question is about disposition. I know that QH are known for their easy going disposition. Does this apply to the horses bred for racing also - or are they more high strung like a TB? Please educate me on what to consider when looking at this horse to potentially purchase for low level eventing. (likely never exceed Novice, Training at the most). THANKS

Let’s just say that QH folks I know, who made the move from traditional stock/ranch QH to appendix, said they had to give a little on their expectations of a nearly non-reactive steady-eddie ride. :grin: In their case I think they meant they learned to be a bit more tolerant, not that they lowered their expectations of training in ground manners and listening to the rider. TB’s & appendix can learn those things.

They are increasingly popular among non-racing QH lovers due to their athleticism and ability to excel across a range of activities. And their speed - younger riders especially seem to like that.

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Appendix owner here I am 🙋

Yes he’s taller and leaner than ranch quarter horses, he’s fast athletic and reactive, very affectionate and lap dog disposition. Curious and very smart but as OverandOnward said not a steady-eddie ride, he’s not bad but very opinionated and sometimes he’s hot and silly. I love him but I definitely was more relaxed riding my old cuarti de milla ranch horse


Gotta go look at the horse in front of you. Any broad-brush stereo typing is a bad idea, as I’ve known more “buck you off dirty” QHs than any other breed.


There are practically breeds within the breed now. QHs bred for english events are easily 16-17 hands, while cutting-bred QHs are maybe 14-15 hands. You can’t paint the entire breed with one personality - it varies from individual to individual, and bloodlines have a lot to do with it.

Racing QHs as a general rule tend to be wired to be a little more reactive than, say, the western pleasure bloodlines because of what they’re being asked to do, but I’ve known many racing QHs that transition easily to gentle riding horses. They are typically fairly well conformed (form to function - they have to withstand the rigors of racing) but are often more downhill than other categories. They’re also commonly bigger because they’re racehorses - so easily 15-17 hands.

I’ve known many, many racing QHs that finished their racing career, got turned out a couple months, and went right to a new career. Often barrel racing or roping, but I’ve known some that also did eventing/jumping/dressage.

The bloodlines have their own traits – for example, the Dash For Cash and First Down Dashs are generally quite trainable and people oriented, but they are often crossed with, say Beduino bloodlines, that are very athletic but a little tougher minded.

Then the individual horse has its own personality. If you post the horse’s bloodlines, those of us that are more knowledgeable can give you some ideas on it.


I agree. My previous QH had no Thoroughbreds in his pedigree and he was quite spooky. My current QH has no Thoroughbreds in his pedigree and he seems to think spooking at anything is a big waste of energy.

When I was in college, I rode an appendix quite often and he was as steady an Eddie as you could ever hope to find.

I also agree with everything @kelo said. That is my experience, as well.

Someone once posted here asking about how one went about buying cheap QHs off the track, like you do with Thoroughbreds. Folks told her that you can’t. Racing QHs are quite in demand because the vast majority transition easily into other disciplines and are especially valued as barrel racing prospects.

My guy has Surprise Enterprise among his ancestors, I’m not very i to QHs’ pedigree but I’ve been told that his offspring are often beautiful, very athletic, very good movers but quirky ones. My horse matches perfectly

In this day and age 16.2+ is not a rarity in in Quarter Horses. In fact in AQHA hunter classes that would be around the average height.

As to personality. You can take your pick, it is individual to the horse. Just like any other breed, the spectrum is large. I have met TB’s that are lazy, dead heads and QH’s who are raving lunatics and the whole spectrum in between. Bloodlines can help you tell but there is is always the odd duck.

QH’s are a breed, but it is a huge breed, with a vast spectrum of characteristics. As @endlessclimb said do not paint them with a broad brush, meet the horse in question and judge him on his own merits.

FWIW quarter horses weren’t a breed until the 1940s, it was initially conceived of as a registry.

It would be a rarity to see a qh with no TB blood. And as above, quarter horses run the gamut of size and temperament as they are bred for widely different purposes.


It doesn’t have to be a racing-bred QH to be that tall.

Someone I know who is very active in our AQHA breed shows who does a lot of Western Pleasure and Hunter classes, currently has a 3-year-old that is nearly 17 hands. Horse of course has WP lines. Nothing race.

Myself, I primarily barrel race and I myself prefer the running style of a bigger horse, close to 16 hands or bigger. My current ones are 15.2 hands and 15.3 hands and 14.2 hands. I used to run a 16.1 hand horse on barrels and I miss that size, LOL. My next one I am hopefully going to try to find over 16 hands again.

As someone said, there is a very large variety in sizes for QH and might have nothing to do with being bred for racing.

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While some breeds can tend to be " hotter" or more challenging than others percentage wise, you just can’t evaluate any horse based solely on the breed. If it was that easy many people would be happier with the horses they purchased.

Go see him and then evaluate him based on who he is. There are some nice, big, long legged QH’s out there who do real well in english disciplines and if you didn’t know the breeding you would never know otherwise.

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Appendix Quarters can be 50% TB and obtain full AQHA papers through competition. They’ll be listed as a QH after that so there can be a lot of TB blood in horses AQHA calls QHs


I’d love to see his papers! That would probably help those of us who know certain stallions/lines get’s general dispositions a bit.

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At that height, you’re probably looking at hunter bloodlines, not racing bloodlines. The horses bred for the AQHA hunter events often look like big, leggy TBs but have the minds of western pleasure horses. A lot of these horses definitely DO have TBs on their papers and are registered as Appendix AQHA initially, but they can earn their “white papers” (regular AQHA registery) if they earn enough points showing.

Or they can be like two AQHA hunters I owned (until the day they died because they were awesome), and just be big guys. One was 16.2 and the other was 16.3. The 16.2 was bred for all-around events and he excelled at them but especially the hunter stuff because he was “typey” at time when we were just starting to see 16+ hand horses with lean builds showing up in the hunter classes. The 16.3 hand horse was out of a 15.2 mare and by a 15 hand stallion and he just kept on growing. He was a gentle giant, who had the mass and bulk of more typical AQHA stock types but also some freaky height for his breeding. He looked like a warmblood, acted like a labrador. Anyone could ride him anywhere. Absolute saint.

On that note, the other horses that tend to get some size on them in the AQHA world are halter horses (16.3 mentioned above had some halter lines). They can easily reach 16+ hands. The halter “flunkies” that don’t make the cut with the right amount of mass, etc, can sometimes be okay hunter horses. They usually can’t compete with purpose bred AQHA hunters, but in open shows they can do okay.