What Is the Difference Between a Quarter Horse and a Thoroughbred

Horses are some of the most beautiful creatures in the world. Not only do they provide a service to mankind, but they also offer loyal companionship. To people unfamiliar with horses, all horses may seem the same. Even looking at a Thoroughbred and a Quarter Horse together, some would find it difficult to tell them apart. Thankfully, there are some ways to distinguish between Quarter Horse vs Thoroughbred.

How Are They Similar?

Both horses are excellent racehorses, so you cannot go wrong in choosing either. Both do well in dressage, racing, and jumping.

Both horses also feature the same types of markings and coloration. Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses both come in shades of brown, black, and gray. They typically have white markings on their faces and just below their knees.

When it comes to health, both horses suffer from some of the same ailments and need the same basic care. Both can develop respiratory illnesses, swamp fever, and may be prone to dental issues. With regular veterinarian care and consummate care by owners, these can often be avoided. The American Quarter Horse Association has released guidelines for caring for these majestic creatures.


Physical Differences

Even though Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds are similar in appearance, some differences can be spotted. When it comes to weight, both horses average around the same. There are some height differences. On average, Quarter Horses are slightly shorter than Thoroughbreds.

A Thoroughbred averages between 62 to 68 inches in height. Quarter horses, on the other hand, average between 56 to 64 inches. There are also some other differences in physical characteristics.

Quarter Horses

These horses have broad chests and short heads. They typically appear more muscular and “stockier” than thoroughbreds.


When you compare a Thoroughbred side by side with a Quarter Horse, you will likely see the thoroughbred looks more athletic, even though they are on the slimmer side.

Thoroughbred horses live, on average, 25-30 years, whereas Quarter Horses can live anywhere from 25-35 years.

Personality Differences

When it comes to their personalities, Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds are polar opposites. If nothing else sets them apart, their personalities certainly will. Most horse owners know the American Quarter Horse is one of the easiest going horses around. If you are new to training horses, the Quarter Horse is best.

Quarter Horses are more docile and adapt well to new surroundings and people, without becoming overly agitated. That said, still, make sure to be gentle when introducing yourself to a Quarter Horse.

Thoroughbreds are not as easy going and can often be difficult to train. Most people see Thoroughbreds as hot-headed animals that are not always accepting of new people. You should never attempt to ride a Thoroughbred without plenty of experience, so you will know how to handle them properly.


Providing Both Horses with Care

Providing the highest level of care is critical for any horse. It is imperative horses see the veterinarian at least twice a year. With both horses, proper dental care is essential. Brushing to remove decay and tartar will help to prevent tooth decay and loss. Should any signs of respiratory distress begin occurring, an immediate visit by the veterinarian is critical.

Taking care of both types of horses involves paying careful attention to any changes in behavior or feeding, as these can both signal there is a health concern that needs to be addressed right away.

Final Thoughts

Now, you know the basic differences between Quarter Horse vs Thoroughbred. No matter which horse you choose, they both have excellent attributes and are certainly good racing horses. With proper care and a lot of love, these horses can live for decades, providing the best in companionship. Horses are amazing creatures that deserve the highest level of respect. Love your horse today and make sure to care for it as it deserves, so it will be able to live and enjoy life for many years to come.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *