Quarter Horses as Endurance Horses? - Page 2

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Quarter Horses as Endurance Horses?

This is a discussion on Quarter Horses as Endurance Horses? within the Horse Breeds forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    05-01-2012, 11:03 AM
Green Broke
I knew some one who did 50 milers on her arab when her boy friend decided to join her. He had a cow bred qh that he was penning on, got her into shape and beat out several arabs for second place. If you want to be truly compeditive, a qh is probably not the best choice, but there are exceptions to the rule.
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    05-01-2012, 11:05 AM
Green Broke
The lighter ones(avoid halter breeding) and alot of old school, ranch bred horses do well. Any thing heavily muscled is at a disadvantage
    05-01-2012, 02:13 PM
Considering the difference in muscle mass it makes more sense as to why my QH was sweating 10X more than my Arab. My QH is roughly made up by barrel lines. I don't know much about QH lines but he seems very ranchy to me. Here is the link to his pedigree if you are interested, his name is Sun Frost Dude.
Sun Frost Dude Quarter Horse
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    05-01-2012, 02:28 PM
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
QH's arnt suited for the sport. Be like running a dragster in the Daytona 500.
That over heating and muscle mass is a huge difference.
They tend to be built like wrestlers, lots of big bulky muscles which as you stated don't lend themselves to cooling.
Once again Joe - you are generalizing. The heavily muscled QH are not suited. But neither are the fine boned halter Arabs.

My QH gelding was an awesome distance horse. He settled in better for longer distances. 50 and 60's showed his best readings when I did competitive. He placed in the state and the region when I was active in the sport.

Build says a lot - but so does heart. My guy has a ton of heart. I stopped distance riding due to time and finance constraints. I still go on conditioning rides with my stock horses.
    05-01-2012, 02:38 PM
Green Broke
Exactly, I am generalizing, you play the averages. 95% of horses winning endurance races are Arabs or Arab crosses, probably 90% of the horses in endurance are arabs,
I also said "tend" and I also said their may be exceptions. But if you want a WTC horse to do endurance you are way better off shopping for an animal specifically bred for the sport.

In general QH's are not suited for endurance, proven by their lack of representation in the winners circle or even at events.
In general Arabs are much better suited, proven by their overwelming dominance in the sport.

Supposedly a shetland pony finished Tevis, but I don't think I would shop for one as my next endurance horse.
    05-01-2012, 07:50 PM
It is not really the muscle mass, but the muscle type. Because they have been bred for generations for performance (strength), their ratio of fast to slow twitch muscle fibers is at the high end of all breeds that I am aware of. The fast twitch muscle fibers bulk up, which gives them the heavily muscled look (they really don't have more muscle cells - just bigger fast twitch cells). Fast twitch muscle provides great strength, but uses a lot of energy for its contractions...obviously the more energy used, the less endurance the horse will have.

At the opposite extreme are Arabs, which have been bred with a high percentage of slow twitch fibers - smaller muscle cells, a smoother look, and the muscles use far less energy for their contractions...needless to say meaning more endurance.

Just for reference, Thoroughbreds fall right between the two and have about a 50-50 ration of slow to fast twitch muscle.

With this in mind, the "average" Quarterhorse will be a much stronger horse than an Arab, but not even be in the same league when it comes to endurance. There is always variance within a breed of course - you will see some Arabs that suck at endurance, and a few Quarterhorses that are fair at endurance. But all other things being equal, and with good training and conditioning, Quarterhorse are not generally competitive in endurance. However, if you aren't interested in "placing", but just out to have fun, any horse can be used for endurance...you just have to be really careful and monitor their vitals regularly because they aren't conformed for endurance and it can be easy to push them too far...mules will sit down when they have gone far enough - horses generally won't...
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