Best Quarter Horse Crosses: Ultimate Breed Guide

Looking for the ultimate guide to the Best Quarter Horse Crosses? Look no further! In this post, we’ll dive into the top breeds that when crossed with a Quarter Horse, create an exceptional equine that excels in a variety of disciplines. From athleticism to temperament, we’ll explore the best Quarter Horse crosses that offer the perfect balance of strength and versatility. So, let’s get started!

Popular Quarter Horse Crosses

White quarter horse leaning over gate in the fall

The American Quarter Horse, often referred to as QH or Quarter Horse, is a versatile breed that lends itself well to crossing with other breeds to produce a range of hybrid horses with unique traits and characteristics. In this section, we will explore some of the most popular Quarter Horse crosses and discuss their features, strengths, and appeal.

Appendix Quarter Horse

The Appendix Quarter Horse is a cross between an American Quarter Horse and a Thoroughbred. This crossbreed is known to combine the speed and agility of Thoroughbred racing horses with the versatility and strength of the Quarter Horse. Horses registered as Appendix Quarter Horses often excel in various performance disciplines, such as racing, show jumping, and eventing.

Quarter Horse Paint

The Quarter Horse Paint is a unique cross between a Quarter Horse and a Paint Horse. Paint Horses, known for their bold and colorful coat patterns, strengthen the aesthetic appeal of the cross. Combining the top cutting and roping bloodlines of the QH breed with the Paint’s distinctive appearance produces a visually striking, athletic horse capable of excelling in various equestrian sports, including Western riding and reining.


The Quarab is a popular and versatile cross between a Quarter Horse and an Arabian horse. Its origins can be traced to the strong athleticism and endurance of the Arabian breed, and when crossed with the QH, results in a graceful, agile crossbreed with remarkable versatility. Quarabs often participate in various equestrian disciplines, such as endurance riding, dressage, and Western pleasure events.


The Azteca horse is a fascinating cross, originating in Mexico, that blends the Quarter Horse with an Andalusian breed. This mix results in an elegant, muscular horse with a strong presence and exceptional athleticism. Azteca horses have demonstrated prowess in a range of disciplines, including dressage, working cow horse events, and trail riding. Their calm temperament and trainability make them a popular choice for riders across numerous skill levels.


The Morab is a unique cross between the strong and versatile Quarter Horse and the graceful, athletic Morgan horse. This hybrid breed carries the best traits from both parent breeds, resulting in a sturdy, adaptable horse with a gentle temperament, suitable for various riding disciplines. Morabs can excel in fields like trail riding, Western pleasure, and English pleasure classes.

Quarter Ponies

Quarter Ponies originate from the crossbreeding of a Quarter Horse and a Welsh pony or other small pony breeds. This mix creates a smaller, more compact, athletic pony with an amiable demeanor, well-suited for small riders or children. Quarter Ponies combine the positive attributes of its parent breeds, making them perfect for participation in disciplines such as reining and barrel racing, as well as being a reliable partner for pleasure riding.

Breeding Considerations

Amazing Quarter Horse running free in meadow

Quarter Horse Mare and Stallion Selection

When breeding Quarter Horses, selecting the right mare and stallion is crucial for producing offspring with the desired traits. Among the most popular bloodlines for Quarter Horses are those developed for specific disciplines, like cutting, reining, and endurance racing. It is important to carefully analyze each horse’s pedigree, looking for traits and bloodlines compatible with your breeding goals.

One useful strategy is to consider the performance records of both the mare and stallion in their respective disciplines. For instance, a successful cutting sire may be an excellent match for a mare with proven cutting bloodlines. Additionally, check for any genetic flaws in the pedigree to avoid passing on undesirable traits.

Predicting Desired Traits

Breeding for desired traits, such as speed, endurance, and performance abilities, is not always straightforward. The combination of the mare and stallion’s genetics plays a significant role in determining the traits of their offspring. One approach to predicting desired traits is to examine successful crosses in specific disciplines, such as EquiStat Magic Cross statistics for cutting or reining horses.

When choosing a mare and stallion for breeding, considering the following factors may help with predicting the desired traits in their offspring:

  • Pedigree and bloodlines: Look for common traits in successful horses within the chosen discipline and identify patterns in their pedigrees.
  • Performance records: Consider the mare’s and stallion’s individual accomplishments and strengths to determine their potential contribution to the desired traits.
  • Genetic diversity: Although some inbreeding can be beneficial in certain cases, maintaining genetic diversity is important for the overall health of the offspring. It is worth noting that the genetic makeup of the American Quarter Horse is generally diverse, while subgroups within specific disciplines might be more limited in variation.
  • Compatibility: Ensure that the mare and stallion are physically compatible and have complementary strengths and weaknesses.

While predicting desired traits in offspring is not an exact science, focusing on these considerations can increase the likelihood of producing a successful Quarter Horse suited for the intended discipline. Remember, it is crucial to make informed decisions and consult knowledgeable resources, such as experienced breeders or veterinary professionals, when planning a breeding program.

Performance and Disciplines

The world of Quarter Horse crosses offers various disciplines in which these talented horses excel. When searching for the perfect cross, it is essential to consider the discipline in which the horse will compete. The following sections discuss some of the main disciplines where Quarter Horse crosses shine.


In the discipline of dressage, certain Quarter Horse bloodlines exhibit the finesse, precision, and balance necessary for success. A popular cross in this field is the Appendix Quarter Horse, which combines the athleticism of the Thoroughbred with the inherent versatility of the American Quarter Horse. These horses display grace and agility while performing precise, intricate movements.


Reining is another discipline where Quarter Horse crosses excel. Known for their incredible athleticism and precise movements, these horses display unmatched control and responsiveness. Prominent bloodlines like Top Quarter Horse bloodlines contribute significantly to reining performance, as they are bred for their agility, responsiveness, and mental toughness.


When it comes to endurance riding, Quarter Horse crosses exhibit their stamina, strength, and determination over long distances. Cross-country events often feature these versatile horses showcasing their ability to maintain a consistent pace and handle various terrains.


Roping, a classic rodeo event, calls for agile, fast, and responsive horses that can easily track cattle and respond to the subtle cues of their riders. With their strong heritage in ranch work, Quarter Horse crosses possess the innate ability to excel in this discipline. Bloodlines like Top Quarter Horse bloodlines have a proven track record in roping events, demonstrating their accuracy, speed, and maneuverability.

In conclusion, selecting the best Quarter Horse cross depends on the specific discipline in which the horse will compete. Consider factors such as bloodlines, performance history, and temperament to find the perfect fit for each rider and event.

Conformation And Physical Characteristics

Quarter horse running in agricultural field

Size And Proportion

When it comes to the conformation of Quarter Horse crosses, a well-balanced and proportioned body is essential for optimal health and athleticism. The ideal size and proportion for such horses often include a neck that is approximately one and a half times the length of the head, and a high point of attachment for the neck to the body, providing ample chest space source.

Leg angles should be considered carefully as well, with shoulder and pastern angles ideally ranging between 40 and 55 degrees. This allows for proper balance and movement when a horse performs various tasks, ensuring optimal functionality and longevity source.

When it comes to conformation, the key is to select a mating partner that complements the traits of one horse with the strengths of the other. For instance, if one horse possesses a long back, it would be ideal to choose a partner with a shorter back, resulting in a more balanced and structurally sound offspring.

Coat Patterns

With Quarter Horse crosses, coat patterns can significantly vary depending on the genetic makeup of both parents. Although the coat’s aesthetics might be of secondary importance compared to physical traits, it can still be an important consideration for breeders or horse enthusiasts.

Moreover, it is essential to focus on the horse’s overall conformation and physical characteristics while ensuring that the offspring will carry the desired traits for their intended purpose, whether in competition or leisure.

In conclusion, a well-balanced conformation, appropriate size and proportion, along with unique coat patterns, contribute to the ideal Quarter Horse cross. Selecting a suitable partner with complementary traits will result in a more versatile and capable horse capable of performing various tasks and activities, maintaining good health and longevity.

Influential Bloodlines

Beautiful Quarter horse portrait on a sunny day

Doc Bar

Doc Bar is a highly sought-after bloodline in the Quarter Horse breed, known for their exceptional athleticism and responsiveness. Originating from a stallion named Doc Bar, this bloodline excels in various disciplines, particularly reining and cutting. Doc Bar was bred to produce champion reining horses due to his innate physical abilities and cooperative nature. The Doc Bar bloodline is revered for its work ethic, outstanding performance, and versatile nature, making it a popular choice for breeders and those seeking top performers in the show ring.

Doc Bar’s pedigree highlights his extraordinary lineage, with his sire Lightning Bar and dam Dandy Doll both well-known horses in their own right. The Doc Bar bloodline has produced various winners and champions, demonstrating its consistent compatibility with other successful lines in the Quarter Horse breed.


Driftwood is another noteworthy bloodline in the Quarter Horse breed, renowned for its ranch work capabilities and remarkable athleticism. The Driftwood bloodline originated from a stallion by the same name, who was known for his speed, endurance, and ability to adapt to various disciplines. Driftwood was a versatile performer, excelling in rodeo events such as calf roping, team roping, and steer stopping.

The pedigree of Driftwood is a testament to his quality, with his sire Speedy Go being an accomplished racehorse and his dam Tontoley being a proven producer of champion horses. Driftwood’s progeny have carried on his impressive qualities, and his bloodline is now highly sought-after by breeders who are looking to produce horses with incredible ranch and performance traits.

In addition to their exceptional abilities in specific areas, both the Doc Bar and Driftwood bloodlines have played a significant role in shaping the modern Quarter Horse breed. These influential bloodlines continue to impact the world of equestrian sports, and their legacy is preserved through the many champions they continue to produce.

Draft Crosses With Quarter Horses

Draft crosses with quarter horses produce powerful, versatile, and exceptional equine athletes. In this section, we will discuss four popular draft and quarter horse crosses: Percheron Quarter Horse, Belgian Quarter Horse, Clydesdale Quarter Horse, and Shire Quarter Horse.

Percheron Quarter Horse

The Percheron Quarter Horse cross is a result of breeding a Percheron draft horse with an American Quarter Horse. This combination creates a well-muscled, strong, and versatile horse that can excel in various disciplines. Generally, these horses are known for their calm temperament and excellent work ethic. Percheron Quarter Horses usually have a large build, maturing at around 15.1 to 16.1 hands and weighing 1300-1400 pounds when mature, as stated by Wolfe Ranch Horses.

Belgian Quarter Horse

The Belgian Quarter Horse cross is a mix between a Belgian draft and an American Quarter Horse. This combination results in a strong, powerful, and adaptable horse that is well-suited for a wide range of disciplines, including ranch work, trail riding, and even driving. The Belgian Quarter Horse commonly possesses a calm and gentle demeanor, appealing to riders of various skill levels. These horses typically have a solid and imposing stature, contributing to their overall strength and reliability.

Clydesdale Quarter Horse

By crossing a Clydesdale draft horse with an American Quarter Horse, you get the Clydesdale Quarter Horse, characterized by its impressive size, strength, and gentle nature. This crossbreed is perfect for those seeking a horse that can perform well in heavy work or various riding disciplines. Generally, Clydesdale Quarter Horses have a strong, well-muscled build with a steady and willing temperament, making them ideal for experienced and novice riders alike.

Shire Quarter Horse

The Shire Quarter Horse cross emerges from breeding a Shire draft horse and an American Quarter Horse. By combining the traits of these two breeds, the Shire Quarter Horse possesses a striking build and substantial strength. These horses are known for their adaptability across a variety of disciplines, such as trail riding, ranch work, or even driving. The Shire Quarter Horse is also praised for its calm and friendly disposition, suitable for riders of all levels.

In conclusion, crossing draft horses–Percheron, Belgian, Clydesdale, or Shire– with the popular American Quarter Horse produces magnificent and powerful breeds, with their outstanding physical attributes, gentle temperaments, and adaptability making them remarkable equine partners.

Warmblood and Iberian Crosses

A strong Quarter horse is standing in a corn field

American Quarter Horse Dutch Warmblood

The American Quarter Horse Dutch Warmblood cross combines the agility and athleticism of the American Quarter Horse with the elegance and power of the Dutch Warmblood. This cross is particularly popular in the equestrian disciplines of dressage, show jumping, and eventing.

The American Quarter Horse is known for its speed, versatility, and good temperament, making it a popular breed for a variety of equestrian disciplines. On the other hand, the Dutch Warmblood is a European warmblood breed characterized by its strength, endurance, and excellent movement, making it a natural choice for higher level dressage competition.

The resulting offspring of this cross often exhibit a combination of characteristics from both breeds, with a strong, well-built physique, an eager-to-please nature, and impressive athletic ability. This combination makes them popular among amateur and professional riders alike.

Andalusian Quarter Horse

The Andalusian Quarter Horse cross is another popular and appealing mix that brings together the unique features of the Andalusian and the American Quarter Horse. The Andalusian is a Spanish horse breed known for its grace, beauty, and agility, as well as its versatility in various equestrian disciplines.

When crossed with the American Quarter Horse, the result is a horse with a beautiful appearance, strong work ethic, and natural athleticism. This mix is particularly well-suited for dressage, working equitation, and other performance-related events.

The Andalusian Quarter Horse cross generally possesses the following traits:

  • A well-proportioned and muscular build
  • A striking, elegant appearance
  • Excellent movement, often with natural elevation and suspension
  • A trainable and cooperative temperament

By crossing the Andalusian and the American Quarter Horse, breeders can offer riders the best of both worlds: a performance horse with a beautiful appearance, a strong work ethic, and natural athleticism. As a result, these horses are sought after by riders looking for a versatile and capable mount for various equestrian disciplines.

In conclusion, the Warmblood and Iberian crosses involving the American Quarter Horse provide exceptional opportunities for riders in various equestrian sports. The unique characteristics of each crossbreed allow equestrians to find a perfect match for their specific needs and performance goals.

Gaited Crosses

A dark brown Quarter horse moving on green grass

American Saddlebred Quarter Horse

The American Saddlebred Quarter Horse cross is a mix between the American Saddlebred and the Quarter Horse. This combination accomplishes a balance of grace, athleticism, and smoothness. American Saddlebreds are known for their flashy appearance, smooth gaits, and versatility, while Quarter Horses bring their strong, compact build and a natural aptitude for various western riding disciplines to the mix.

This cross produces horses with the following qualities:

  • A smooth gait for riding, thanks to the American Saddlebred’s natural ability for racking and slow gait
  • Stoutness and speed from the Quarter Horse’s genetic lineage
  • Suitable for a variety of disciplines, including dressage, jumping, and western riding

Gypsy Vanner Quarter Horse

The Gypsy Vanner Quarter Horse cross is an exciting combination of the graceful, strong Gypsy Vanner and the versatile, sturdy Quarter Horse. This cross produces horses that are not only visually stunning but also possess qualities useful for various equestrian disciplines.

Some of the attributes that this cross brings are:

  • Aesthetically pleasing appearance, featuring the Gypsy Vanner’s flowing mane and tail, and the well-built frame of the Quarter Horse
  • Gentle and cooperative personality, making them suitable as family companions and trail riding partners
  • Capacity for excelling in western riding, as well as dressage and other disciplines

National Show Horse Quarter Horse

Combining the elegant National Show Horse with the reliable and strong Quarter Horse creates a unique crossbreed – the National Show Horse Quarter Horse. This blend of characteristics results in a horse that has the potential to excel in a variety of riding disciplines and make for an enjoyable riding partner.

Some benefits of this crossbreed include:

  • The National Show Horse’s grace and presence, coupled with the Quarter Horse’s speed and compact build
  • An engaging and trainable temperament, suitable for riders of varying skill levels
  • Multifaceted capabilities, allowing them to participate in disciplines such as jumping, dressage, and barrel racing

In conclusion, these gaited crossbreeds between Quarter Horses and breeds like the American Saddlebred, Gypsy Vanner, and National Show Horse provide equestrians with unique horses that inherit desirable traits from both parent breeds.

Uncommon Quarter Horse Crosses

Desert Norman Quarter Horse

The Desert Norman Quarter Horse is a unique and relatively rare crossbreed that combines the hardiness and endurance of the Desert Norman breed with the athleticism and versatility of the American Quarter Horse. This crossbreed is well-suited for various equestrian disciplines, including endurance riding, trail riding, and gymkhana events. Characteristics of the Desert Norman Quarter Horse include a sturdy build, strong hindquarters, and a calm, intelligent temperament. This cross is known for being especially well-mannered and easy to handle, making it a popular choice for amateur riders and experienced equestrians alike.

Friesian Sport Horse

Another fascinating crossbreed to consider is the Friesian Sport Horse, which combines the elegant and powerful Friesian breed with the American Quarter Horse. This cross produces a stunning horse with a striking appearance and exceptional athletic abilities. The Friesian Sport Horse typically stands between 15.2 and 16.2 hands high and has a muscular, well-proportioned build with a long, flowing mane and tail. Notable for their grace and agility, Friesian Sport Horses excel in dressage, show jumping, and eventing. They also display a friendly, trainable disposition, making them suitable for riders of various skill levels.

Arabian Performance Horse

The Arabian Performance Horse is a cross between the athletic American Quarter Horse and the spirited Arabian breed. This mix creates a versatile, agile, and intelligent horse with excellent endurance and impressive speed. Arabian Performance Horses usually stand between 14.3 and 15.3 hands high and have a well-balanced, compact build with a distinctive, refined head and high tail carriage. Their beauty and athleticism make them well-suited for a variety of equestrian activities, including endurance racing, western pleasure, and halter competitions.

This breed is also known for their adaptability, making them reliable partners for trail riding or working cattle. The Arabian Performance Horse’s temperament is generally friendly, loyal, and trainable, and they tend to form strong bonds with their riders. With their unique blend of traits inherited from both the Arabian and Quarter Horse breeds, the Arabian Performance Horse stands out as an exceptional equestrian companion.

Best Quarter Horse Crosses

Two brown quarter horses running with white flowers in background

Quarter Horse crosses have been gaining popularity in the equestrian world due to their versatility and diverse range of abilities. There are many popular Quarter Horse crosses that offer a unique combination of traits from well-known breeds, resulting in horses that excel in various disciplines.

One such example is an Appendix horse, which is a first-generation cross between a registered Quarter Horse and a registered Thoroughbred. These athletic horses inherit the best qualities of both breeds, making them highly suitable for various sports such as racing, jumping, and dressage.

Another popular Quarter Horse cross is the combination of a ranch or cutter-bred Quarter Horse with an Arabian horse. This cross creates a versatile horse with the endurance, speed, and agility of an Arabian, while maintaining the calm temperament and working abilities attributed to the Quarter Horse breed. Such crosses are perfect for activities such as cutting, reining, and endurance riding.

When crossing a Quarter Horse with a draft breed, like that of the AQHA/Draft crosses, you can expect a larger horse with impressive bone and foot structure. These horses inherit the draft breed’s gentle disposition and often display remarkable athleticism associated with their Quarter Horse heritage. They make great choices for recreational riding or as all-around workhorses.

It is essential to understand that, although these crosses have attractive qualities, potential breeders should always consider improvement when adding new horses to the world. Breeding with conscientiousness ensures that the resulting offspring have the best chance to succeed in their disciplines, while maintaining a strong, healthy foundation.


In conclusion, there are various appealing Quarter Horse crosses that can give the equestrian community a multitude of options to suit different needs or preferences. Appendix, Quarter Horse-Arabian, and AQHA/Draft crosses each present unique advantages, making them popular choices among riders and breeders. With responsible breeding, we can continue to enjoy these versatile combinations and their excellent capabilities in a wide array of equine disciplines.