Quarter Horses as Endurance Horses? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 05-01-2012, 10:03 AM
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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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post #12 of 19 Old 05-01-2012, 10:05 AM
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the lighter ones(avoid halter breeding) and alot of old school, ranch bred horses do well. Any thing heavily muscled is at a disadvantage
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post #13 of 19 Old 05-01-2012, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #14 of 19 Old 05-01-2012, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe4d View Post
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 dont 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.
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post #15 of 19 Old 05-01-2012, 01:38 PM
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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 dont think I would shop for one as my next endurance horse.
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post #16 of 19 Old 05-01-2012, 06:50 PM
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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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post #17 of 19 Old 06-24-2016, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe4d View Post
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.
QH's are built for sprinting, quick maneuvers and power moves, hence the whole "quarter" part of their name. As in quarter mile. They fell out of favor when the race tracks were lengthened.
They tend to be built like wrestlers, lots of big bulky muscles which as you stated dont lend themselves to cooling.
However AQHA keeps allowing more and more Thoroughbred stock to dilute the breed, so while in general the classic QH isnt suited there are individuals that may do well. While any healthy horse in moderate condition can do an LD, its a whole different ball game at the actual endurance lengths. I think I only saw 1 QH listed in the year end standings at AERC. If you have a QH and want to do the rides get him in shape and go do them. If you are shopping for a horse specifically to do endurance there are better choices.
True that but quarter horses come in different shapes and sizes they aren't all muscly and buff some are skinny tall and flighty...
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post #18 of 19 Old 06-24-2016, 11:13 AM
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This article is in reference to humans, but goes into the way different kinds of muscle fibers draw energy (aerobic vs. anaerobic). As already mentioned QH vs Arabs generally have a higher percentage of fast twitch muscles, bred for quick short term movements. Some improvement in stamina can be had with training, including conditioning of the recovery (clearing of lactic acid out of the muscle) of the anaerobic systems, but except in rare cases they will never have the potential of a natural slow twitch muscle horse.


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post #19 of 19 Old 06-24-2016, 03:32 PM
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QHs are seen more in Limited Distance and Competitive Trail Rides then in the Endurance Races, where yes, Arab and Arab crosses do dominate. Almost any sound horse over the age of 5 can do LDs which avg 15-25 miles and in LD rides you see a large amount of diversity in horses, with honestly, gaited horses becoming very popular. I've seen a few QHs and QH crosses at LDs, and yes, most are more TB type or Appendix QHs but I've seen some more ranch types so it just depends upon the horse and how much they enjoy going down the road.

We always say "Start with the horse and tack that is currently in your barn" when starting in LDs and Endurance, you will figure out if you and/or your horse actually enjoys what they do.
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