The quarter horse is the fourth horse breed to be named as a “Horse of Honor” of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
The Horses of Honor project highlights influential breeds of horse from around the world, and is part of the “Around the World in 80 horses” initiative by Games organisers.
The quarter horse, the preferred breed for the sport of reining, is best known as the horse that settled the American West and for its unmatched ability as a sprint racer. Indeed, the American Quarter Horse is the world’s fastest horse over one quarter of a mile, which is how the breed earned its name.
The other Horses of Honor so far announced by the Normandy 2014 Organising Committee are the Akhal Teke, the Barb and the Norman Cob.
The Akhal Teke, a light and fast endurance breed, was trained as a war charger by the nomads of Central Asia steppes for thousands of years. Present-day Turkmenistan is the cradle of the breed, which is used primarily as a racehorse in its home country.
The Barb, a light riding horse noted for its stamina, had a major influence on the racing breeds throughout the world. The breed originated in North Africa, and is now bred primarily in Morocco, Algeria, Spain and southern France.
The Norman Cob or Cob Normand is a breed of light draft horse that originated in the province of Normandy in northern France. It is a mid-sized horse, with a range of heights and weights, due to selective breeding for a wide range of uses.
Its conformation is similar to a robust Thoroughbred, and it more closely resembles a Thoroughbred cross than other French draft breeds. The breed is known for its lively, long-striding trot. There are three general subsets within the breed: horses used under saddle, those used in harness, and those destined for meat production.
They are popular for recreational and competitive driving, representing France internationally in the latter, and are also used for several riding disciplines.