The History of the American Quarter Horse in the UK

In 1974, with a few Quarter Horses being imported into the UK, a group of enthusiasts set up the British Quarter Horse Association

In 1964 His Royal Highness Prince Philip attended a ‘Cutting’ demonstration on the Douglas Lake Ranch in British Columbia. Following that the Canadian Cutting Horse Association accepted his invitation to demonstrate the sport at the Royal Windsor and other Horse and Agricultural Shows in 1964. At the end of this tour the members of the Association gave Prince Philip and young Quarter Horse mare called MAX CHARGE and she was the first pure bred member of the breed to settle in this country.

In his letter published in the first Stud Book of QH’s in this country he states; –

“Back in 1964 no one dreamed that the breeding of the Quarter Horses would become popular in this country but here is the proof. Some 300 already appear in this first edition of the Stud Book and certainly many more to come.

“It is not possible to improve a breed without a Stud Book and I know that everyone interested in the breeding of horses must be most grateful to the compilers and editors of the Quarter Horse Stud Book for all their hard and patient work”.

Incidentally Max Charge was used to play polo* in this country before going to stud. She was leased from Prince Philip by Mrs. J.D. Fox who also imported the first pure bred QH Stallion HOLLYWOOD COTTON, no. 1/1 in BQHA Stud Book printed in 1980. His picture is the Frontispiece of the Stud Book.

(* Lord Patrick Beresford used Max Charge to play polo, and some years ago I asked him whether she was good or not at the game, and he replied that she was very clever and soon caught on what the game was about and, if you were not aware of her characteristics she would play on her own!)

The Association was named the BRITISH QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION.

The first Officers and Committee of the Association were:
Chair: M.Keeble; Vice Chair: C.E.Ivory: Secretary/Treasurer: Mrs. S. Neeld: Registration secretary Miss G.L. Fox.

In 1979 a committee was formed consisting of : Mr. D.H. Deptford, Miss G.L. Fox, Mr. J.W. Frith, Mrs. M.L. Harley, Mr. C.E. Ivory, Mrs. P.M. Leigh, Mrs. S.A. Mardon, Mrs J. Richardson, Mr. C.I. Wood with Mrs. E.G. O’Beirne-Ranelagh as Registration Secretary.

In 1997 the name was changed to the American Quarter Horse Association UK and become the only official affiliate of the AQHA in the USA.

The breed is now firmly established in Britain

Numbers of Quarter Horses here in the UK, whilst only a minute fraction of the worldwide total, are increasing swiftly and have more than doubled over the last ten years from less than 1000 in 1996 to well over 3000 in 2010. A healthy UK breeding situation has now overtaken imports as the main driver of numbers and along with a growing appreciation of the Breed and its versatility ongoing growth of numbers is assured.

The versatile horse

Many people have a quarter horse as their family horse, but the Quarter Horse also excels in competitive riding and is involved in a wide spectrum of equestrian sport ranging from Pleasure and Trail through Trec and Barrel Racing to the FEI western discipline of Reining. The Quarter Horse is the leading horse both nationally and on the world stage in FEI competitions and the World Equestrian Games at reining. There is a move to ensure that Reining becomes an Olympic discipline.

A big past, a big present and a big future

Enthusiasts of the Quarter Horse over the whole spectrum of activity come together, in Britain, as the American Quarter Horse Association UK. All are immensely proud of the rich heritage, versatility and outstanding prowess of the Breed — the American Quarter Horse – a big past, a big present and a big future