The origins of the Quarter Horse can be traced to Colonial America. The short horses echoed a pioneer experience, and were quick, tough, and hardy – traits necessary and suited to life on a wilderness frontier.
These heavily muscled, compact horses could run a short distance over a straightaway faster than any other horse, and the fastest were called Celebrated American Quarter Running Horses by English colonists in the 1600s. In 1940, a registry was formed to preserve the breed which officially became the American Quarter Horse.
The recognized colors of American Quarter Horses, including the most prominent color of sorrel (brownish red), are bay, black, brown, buckskin, chestnut, dun, red dun, gray, grullo, palomino, red roan, blue roan, bay roan, perlino, and cremello.