American Quarter Pony

American Quarter Pony
  • HEIGHT: 11.2–14.2 hands
  • PLACE OF ORIGIN: The first Quarter Pony Association started in Iowa, but the breed has long been found across the United States.
  • SPECIAL QUALITIES: Extremely athletic, heavily muscled, stock-type animals
  • BEST SUITED FOR: Western competition and ranch work

In the early 1960s, Iowa horseman Harold Wymore purchased two sorrel pony geldings at a local sale. He knew nothing of their pedigrees, but as he worked them on his farm, he found them to be willing and versatile; when a neighbor’s son showed them, they did well. But as time passed, Wymore became frustrated at the lack of shows that accepted unregistered animals, so in 1964 he started his own organization, the American Quarter Pony Association, which registered small stock-type horses and ponies of unknown ancestry.

The association established an awards system for members who were interested in showing. Registration requirements called for a height of 11.2 up to but not including 14.2 hands. Gaited animals were not accepted, nor were albino, Appaloosa, or Paint-colored animals. Crossbreds or ponies from other registries were welcome (and still are) as long as they met the American Quarter Pony Association (AQPA) requirements. Today the AQPA registers ponies in every state in the United States and in all Canadian provinces, as well as in several foreign countries.


According to the International Quarter Pony Association/Quarter Pony Association (IQPA/QPA), which became one organization in February 2005:

• The QPA is the membership part of the organization. The IQPA is the registry.

• There are about 3,000 registered Quarter Ponies (estimated total from all Quarter Pony organizations).

• Each year new registrations for adult animals outnumber those for foals. Owners often wait to register animals until they are old enough to show under saddle.

The International Quarter Pony Association (IQPA) was founded in the 1970s. This organization does accept colored horses, including Appaloosas, pintos, cremellos, and albinos. Known Quarter Horse bloodlines are encouraged but not required. The IQPA accepts crosses to Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, and Pony of the Americas, but does not accept crosses to gaited breeds. The IQPA now divides ponies into “solid,” “paint,” and “Appaloosa,” depending on characteristics. The IQPA promotes a correct, well-balanced, sound pony with Quarter Horse conformation and enough body, speed, and eye appeal to compete with other pony breeds as well as horse breeds. Over the years, several other Quarter Pony organizations have come into and gone out of business. Several of the remaining ones joined together in 2005, and others are expected to join at a later date.

Breed Characteristics

Quarter Ponies are known for their calm, even disposition, as well as for their compact size. The Quarter Pony is collected in action and turns or stops with noticeable ease and balance, with the hocks always well underneath the body. Although Quarter Ponies meet pony height standards, they are inclined to be substantial animals, the larger ones easily able to carry adults. They are widely used as Western contest ponies, as working ranch horses, and for bulldogging, roping, and steer wrestling. They make excellent trail and family mounts, and have found their way into pony clubs, eventing, pleasure driving, and many other arenas.

Quarter Ponies are known for their quickness and agility and are popular mounts for Western competitions such as bulldogging, roping, and team penning.


Most Quarter Ponies average around 13.2 hands and weigh between 800 and 900 pounds. Some breeders, however, are beginning to raise animals that are about 14 hands and may weigh as much as 1,100 pounds. These heavily muscled animals are popular with adults who compete in events such as bulldogging and steer wrestling.

A Quarter Pony should have a short, broad head with wide-set eyes, small ears, and a firm mouth. The head should join the neck at a nearly 45-degree angle. The neck should be of medium length and slightly arched, blending smoothly into long, sloping shoulders. The pony should have medium-high, prominent withers; a deep, broad chest; and a short, powerful back. The hindquarters should be full through the thighs, stifle, and gaskin down to the hocks.

Larger Quarter Ponies can easily carry adults and are ideal for Western events and ranch work.

The heavily muscled forearms should taper to the knees whether viewed from the front or from the side. The hind legs should be muscled inside and out. A Quarter Pony should have smooth joints, short cannons, and sound feet.


The AQPA accepts all solid body colors but does not permit albino, Appaloosa, pinto, or pintaloosa coloring. White on the face and lower legs is allowed. The IQPA permits all colors and color patterns.

The original association registered only solid-colored ponies, but the International Quarter Pony Association accepts all color patterns as well as solid colors.

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