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Are Quarter Horses Faster Than Thoroughbreds?



Are Quarter Horses Faster Than Thoroughbreds

Horses are majestic creatures, and their speed is a marvel to behold. The beauty of racing horses is a spectacle enjoyed by people worldwide, and it is no surprise that we have debates over which horse is faster. The question of whether quarter horses are faster than thoroughbreds has been a subject of debate for horse enthusiasts everywhere.

In this article, we will look into the speed potential of both breeds and determine which breed is faster.

What Are Quarter Horses?

Firstly, let’s talk about quarter horses. They are a breed that originated in America and were commonly used for short-distance races, such as quarter-mile races, where the name ‘quarter’ horse came from. They are muscular horses with a broad chest and strong legs, which provides them with the power needed for quick acceleration. Quarter horses are known for their sprinting abilities and can cover short distances at impressive speeds. They can reach a top speed of 50-55 mph and can maintain that speed for a quarter-mile.

Where Were They Bred?

On the other hand, thoroughbred horses were originally bred in England and are used for races with various distances. They are leaner than quarter horses, with a slender body and long legs built for endurance. Thoroughbred horses are known for their stamina and speed, making them ideal for races of varying lengths. These horses can run at top speeds of 55-60 mph, making them faster than quarter horses. However, they are not as quick off the starting line as compared to quarter horses, especially in races of shorter distances.

Style of Racing

The style of racing plays a vital role in determining which horse is faster. For instance, quarter horse racing mainly involves short distances and quick sprints, making quarter horses the ideal breeds for these races. On the other hand, thoroughbred racing usually involves longer distances, and this is where the thoroughbred horses excel. Thoroughbred horses are mainly used for races such as the Kentucky Derby, which is a mile-and-a-quarter-long race.

It is also important to note that the track’s surface and condition also influence a horse’s speed. Horses perform better on tracks that are firmer and have less give than tracks that are muddy or sloppy. The condition of the track can affect the horse’s speed, which is why trainers and jockeys carefully examine the track conditions before races.


Both quarter horses and thoroughbred horses are fast, but their exceptional abilities differ based on racing distances and styles. Quarter horses are built for quick sprints and acceleration over shorter distances, while thoroughbred horses are built for endurance and races of varying lengths. The decision on which breed is faster ultimately comes down to the specific race and its requirements. However, it’s important to note that a horse’s speed isn’t the sole factor in a race’s outcome, and various other variables come into play. Now that you have all the information, we hope we have settled the debate on which breed is faster.

Nonetheless, there’s no harm in admiring both breeds for their unique abilities and stunning performances on the track.

I am Tommy, an avid equestrian who is passionate about the lifestyle. Writing for an equestrian blog has been a lifelong dream of mine, as I have been around horses my whole life. My mission is to share all the knowledge and experiences I have gathered throughout the years in order to help others reach their goals in this amazing sport. My dedication and enthusiasm towards horses and all things related to them never cease to amaze me!

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