More than 300 horse breeds are trained and bred for various purposes across different fields, such as therapy, entertainment, sports, warfare, and agriculture. However, a few horses run faster at either long or short distances, given the wide variety of horses. Here are the fastest horses in the world and the fastest horse breeds in different categories.
Horses with the Fastest Speed
A Thoroughbred horse named “Winning Brew” holds the Guinness World Record for the highest horse race speed at 70.76 kilometers per hour over two furlongs. Trained by Vitale Francis, Winning Brew made this record at the Penn National Race Course on May 14th, 2008. The two-year-old horse covered a quarter-mile (two furlongs, 402 meters) in 20.57 seconds.
A three-year-old horse, Hawkster, won a record for one and a half miles (2,414 meters) at a speed of 60.86 kilometers per hour in Santa Anita Park, California, the United States on 14th October 1989. He achieved this record in two minutes and 22.8 seconds.
Holding the fastest speed for a racehorse record at 70.76 km per hour and being the quickest horse breed in the world, the Thoroughbreds dominate in horse racing.
Commonly referred to as “hot-blooded,” they have an energetic and highly competitive temperament. Their tall and slim stature makes them agile, powerful, and quick, and their beauty makes them attractive and fun to watch. The breed’s athleticism is evident in several disciplines, such as dressage, jumping, and barrel racing.
They originate from a mix of the fastest Darley Arabian, Godolphin Barb, and Turkoman horse breeds. It took more than 300 years of combination with different breeds for the Thoroughbred to become the fastest horse breed in the world.
Arabian Horse Breeds
Arabian horses are one of the most ancient horse breeds. They’re popularly known for their ability to endure, as they run long distances in record time. They can conserve their energy, making it easier to run for longer. This may likely be a result of the adaptation they built in deserts several years ago.
Arabian horses are even-tempered, friendly, and intelligent. Many believe these attributes are due to their close relationship with their owners whom they shared water, food, and tents with due to scarcity many years ago. Arabians are so solid that they are used to develop other breeds. Despite their small stature, they are very agile and have great stamina.
American Quarter Horses
Quarter horses are famous for their adaptability, versatility, and, mostly, their sprinting abilities. They are named Quarter Horses because they are the fastest horses in short distance races (about 55 miles per hour speed within a quarter-mile distance). Although they can’t compete with Thoroughbred horses at long distances, they are faster horses in short races.
Their versatility and speed are as a result of their being bred from Spanish and English horses. They are muscular, compact, cool-headed, and can quickly adapt to situations and people. They are used in every Western event and suitable for ranch work. They also perform excellently at dressage and show jumping competitions.
Appaloosa Horse Breeds
Besides being famous for its flashy coat, the Appaloosa breed has an astonishing sprint speed. Originating from the Spanish breed developed in North America by the Nez Perces, they became popular not just because of the spots on their body, but because they are excellent for hunting.
The breed is admired for its endurance, strength, durability, and speed, making it a great combination of the previously mentioned breeds. They have a compact and small stature, making them suitable for children. They are great for long-distance trailing riding, and they compete in several English and Western sports.
Sometime in the 1800s, when there was a war and the Nez Perce lost their lands, the Appaloosa horse breed became extinct. While coercing the Nez Perce to give up their land, the captors slaughtered most of the Appaloosas. Luckily, the breed was revived in the early nineteenth century when people gradually became attracted to these fantastic and unique horses.
Akhal-Teke Horse Breeds
From a distance, you can easily recognize this breed through its unique metallic coat. Just like the Arabian breed, they have a small, refined stature, and they perform excellently in long-distance competitions, as well as dressage and show jumping events. Although they have a delicate appearance, the Akhal-Teke horses have extraordinary endurance.
Standardbred horses have a different speed of their own, though they aren’t as popular as a few other breeds. They outrun all other breeds at harness racing. The breed has bloodlines that go back to the eighteenth century in New England, from many different pacing and trotting breeds, such as Canadian Pacer, Morgan, and so on. They are swift and lovely to watch.
Like the Thoroughbred breed, they have strong hindquarters and shoulders that enhance their speed and power. They are very friendly, which makes them suitable for beginner riders. The Standardbred horse is also great at barrel racing and all other events. This is partly because of their disposition and eagerness to learn. Standardbred horses, like the Arabian, have a small stature, weighing between 800 and 1,000 pounds and standing at about 14 to 15 hands tall.
Andalusian Horse Breeds
Also referred to as Pure Spanish Horse, the Andalusian breed is popular at shows for spinning on its haunch, with tail and mane in the air. It is easy to learn such complicated maneuvers because of their extended and elevated movement, which is the greatest strength of the breed.
However, this breed is not short on speed. They have athleticism and stamina, which gives them an edge over other breeds in long-distance, dressage, and show jumping events. The Andalusian horse breed has a long and broad neck, a broad chest, and well-defined withers.
American Miniature Horses
Most people do not consider a Miniature horse to be as fast as the Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred breed, but it can outrun any breed of its size. The refined Miniature horses are the fastest, while the other kind of Miniature horses are called the draft type because people use them mostly for work.