How to Calculate Foundation Quarter Horse: Detailed Guide

Are you interested in learning how to calculate Foundation Quarter Horse? Look no further! In this post, we’ll provide a detailed guide on how to calculate the foundation percentage of your Quarter Horse. From understanding the history of the breed to analyzing pedigrees, we’ll provide valuable insights that will help you determine the foundation percentage of your horse. So, let’s get started and learn how to calculate Foundation Quarter Horse like a pro!

Foundation Quarter Horse

Quarter Horse in a farm on a clear blue sky day


The Foundation Quarter Horse is a subtype of the American Quarter Horse breed, originating from horses that were registered in 1940 or earlier. These early Quarter Horses were primarily used for ranch work, cattle herding, and racing short distances. The foundation bloodlines can be traced back to Thoroughbred and other specific breeds, such as the colonial Spanish Horse. The NFQHA focuses on preserving and promoting the original bloodlines of the American Quarter Horse to maintain the characteristics that made them unique and valuable for various tasks.


Foundation Quarter Horses possess several distinctive features and qualities that separate them from other American Quarter Horse subtypes. Some common traits associated with these horses include their rugged build, compact size, strong hindquarters, and versatility in a variety of different tasks. Foundation Quarter Horses are generally known for their speed, agility, intelligence, and work ethic.

Calculating Foundation Quarter Horse Percentage

To determine the percentage of foundation blood in a horse’s pedigree, it is essential to trace its lineage back to horses foaled in 1940 or earlier, which are considered 100% foundation, or to a Thoroughbred, indicating 0% foundation. Gradually work backward through the horse’s pedigree, identifying and documenting the amount of Thoroughbred blood present at each generation. The overall foundation percentage is then calculated by determining the proportion of original Quarter Horse blood in relation to the total bloodline, excluding any Thoroughbred influences. The FQHA provides guidelines on how to perform these calculations.

Importance of Foundation Quarter Horses in Breeding Programs

Preserving the foundation bloodlines and characteristics is essential for maintaining the qualities that make the American Quarter Horse an exceptional working and performance breed. Horse owners and breeders frequently analyze their horse’s foundation percentage to determine the most suitable breeding programs and partnerships to enhance the desired characteristics in future generations. By concentrating on breeding practices that emphasize foundation bloodlines, enthusiasts can help ensure the continuation of the original Quarter Horse’s authentic traits and versatility in performance.

Foundation Quarter Horse Associations


The Foundation Quarter Horse Association (FQHA) focuses on preserving and promoting the bloodlines of the original American ranch horse. This organization is founded upon the belief that horses with a minimum of 85% Foundation Quarter Horse blood are of historical and cultural significance. To determine if a horse is eligible for FQHA registration, a foundation percentage calculation is required.

Calculating the foundation percentage involves adding up the individual percentage of Foundation Quarter Horse blood from each ancestor within the horse’s pedigree. For instance, if a horse’s sire has a 50% foundation blood and its dam has a 75% foundation blood, the total percentage would be 125%. To determine the horse’s individual foundation percentage, the total is divided by the number of contributing ancestors (in this case, 2), resulting in a foundation percentage of 62.5%.


The National Foundation Quarter Horse Association (NFQHA) is another organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Foundation Quarter Horses. Their methodology for calculating the percentage of Quarter Horse blood is similar to that of the FQHA. They too use a research-based approach to provide accurate percentage calculations based on a horse’s pedigree. However, the NFQHA has raised their qualifying percentage from 80% to 85%, effective January 1, 2018.

Both organizations, FQHA and NFQHA, are committed to maintaining the integrity of Foundation Quarter Horse bloodlines and providing resources to individuals interested in the history and genetics of these horses. By adhering to strict registration standards and focusing on the preservation of these breeds, these associations aim to ensure the continuity and legacy of Foundation Quarter Horses.

Calculating Foundation Quarter Horse Percentage

Brown Quarter pedigree horse

Basic Calculation

Calculating the foundation quarter horse percentage is crucial for understanding a horse’s pedigree and its eligibility for registration in certain organizations. To determine this percentage, you need to examine the horse’s lineage and identify the sire, dam, and the mare’s contribution to the horse’s genetic makeup. To calculate the Foundation Quarter Horse percentage, you need to consider the horse’s pedigree, counting the percentage of quarter horse blood in each generation. This calculation is essential for registering horses with organizations such as the Foundation Quarter Horse Association (FQHA) or the National Foundation Quarter Horse Association (NFQHA).

For example, starting with an AQHA registration number, you may find that most horses within the first 5,000 registrations are considered 100% Foundation, while some specific horses are only 50% Foundation. The calculated percentage will help determine if your horse qualifies for Foundation status. As per NFQHA, horses (without NFQHA sire and dam) must carry at least 85% Quarter Horse blood to qualify as a Foundation Quarter Horse.

Copyright and Software

Foundation Quarter Horse percentage calculations can require sophisticated computers and specialized software solutions. Such tools use accurate data and an extensive research project to analyze horses and their pedigrees. However, it’s essential to note that copyrighted materials, including fact sheets, certificates, and pedigree charts, should not be used without proper permissions. When using such copyrighted material for calculating Foundation Quarter Horse percentages, it is crucial to give credit to the relevant parties involved.

Calculating the percentage of Quarter Horse blood and the related TB percentage can be complex, and accuracy is vital to ensure proper registration of horses. There is software available for calculating accurate Foundation Quarter Horse percentages, helping horse owners and breeders comply with requirements of organizations like FQHA and NFQHA. These tools ease the process without compromising accuracy or infringing on copyrighted materials.

In conclusion, calculating Foundation Quarter Horse percentage is essential for registered horses and their eligibility for specific registries. By understanding the basic calculation, respecting copyright concerns, and utilizing available software, horse owners and breeders can determine their horse’s foundation status with confidence and accuracy.

Bloodlines and Pedigrees

Close up shinning golden palomino horse

When it comes to understanding the lineage and heritage of Foundation Quarter Horses, delving into their bloodlines and pedigrees is essential. This section will walk you through notable foundation sires, important horses in this breed’s history, and how to calculate a horse’s Foundation Quarter Horse percentage.

Foundation Sires

The history of the Foundation Quarter Horse begins with notable foundation sires who have contributed significantly to the breed over generations. Some of the most recognized names include:

  • King P-234
  • Driftwood
  • Bert
  • Poco Bueno
  • Oklahoma Star
  • Joe Hancock
  • Little Joe
  • Joe Moore
  • Old Sorrel

These horses are crucial to the foundation bloodlines, and their descendants carry their characteristics and physical traits.

Notable Horses

Among the foundation sires, certain Quarter Horses stand out for their contributions and influence on the breed. For example, King P-234 was foaled in 1932 and is considered King Fritz’s grandsire on the top side. His contributions to the lineage are evident in the many horses that carry his blood.

Similarly, influential horses like Poco Bueno, Driftwood, and Joe Hancock are of great importance in the development of the Foundation Quarter Horse breed. Each of them has played a significant role in shaping the overall characteristics of the breed.

Calculating Foundation Quarter Horse Percentage

To calculate a horse’s Foundation Quarter Horse percentage, the bloodlines need to be traced back through its pedigree. This involves moving backwards in the horse’s lineage until you arrive at a registered American Quarter Horse foaled in 1940 or prior, which would be considered 100% foundation, or a Thoroughbred, which would be 0% foundation.

As of February 1, 2017, the NFQHA implemented a new rule stating that horses without both an NFQHA sire and dam must possess at least 85% Quarter Horse blood to be classified as a Foundation Quarter Horse. This update was prompted by the fact that Thoroughbred bloodlines typically become diluted after the 11th generation and also takes into account the many generations that have been added since 1940, with a new generation emerging approximately every four years.

In order to better understand and trace the bloodlines of Foundation Quarter Horses, Dr. Darrell Sprott designed the Bloodlines Chart in 1946. This chart utilizes information found in early AQHA stud books to help breeders and enthusiasts track the lineage of their horses.

With this information, you can now better understand the significance of bloodlines and pedigrees in Foundation Quarter Horses, and the importance of tracing their lineage to calculate their Foundation Quarter Horse percentage. The knowledge of these influential sires and notable horses will guide you in further appreciation of this admired breed.

Registration Process

Beautiful brown quarter stallion in motion on the meadow


In order to register a Foundation Quarter Horse, the horse must have a specific percentage of Foundation Quarter Horse blood. The Foundation Quarter Horse Association (FQHA) states that only horses with 85% and above Foundation Quarter Horse blood are eligible for registration. A foundation percentage calculation is required to determine if the horse meets the eligibility criterions. This calculation will consider the horse’s pedigree and the percentage of Foundation Quarter Horse blood present in the horse.


When comparing the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the National Foundation Quarter Horse Association (NFQHA), there are some important differences in their registration processes and requirements.

The AQHA Registration process involves filling out a registration application, which also includes the horse’s coat color and other relevant data. Depending on the age of the horse, parentage verification may be required through a DNA test kit. The registration fees are based on the foaling date and the date the application is received.

On the other hand, the NFQHA focuses on registering horses with a foundation blood percentage of 75% or more. According to the FQHR Horse Registration Application, the fee for registration is $15.00 per horse, and a separate fee of $15.00 is charged for the foundation percentage calculation if requested. In addition to the application and fees, the horse’s markings are required for a complete submission.

In summary, the registration processes for AQHA and NFQHA differ in regards to the requirements and emphasis on foundation blood percentage. Both organizations offer valuable resources and support for individuals interested in registering and owning a quality American Quarter Horse.

Physical Attributes


Foundation Quarter Horses express a variety of coat colors that add beauty to their appearance. These colors include black, sorrel, bay, dun, chestnut, and buckskin. Some horses may even exhibit unique markings, such as the “Oklahoma Star”. Despite the variety of colors and markings, the primary focus remains on their physical attributes and performance abilities.


When looking at the conformation of a Foundation Quarter Horse, several important physical features should be considered. These features make these horses versatile and strong, while enabling them to excel in various disciplines.


The head of a Foundation Quarter Horse has a refined appearance. Their eyes are wide-set with an honest expression, showcasing their reliable nature. The ears are small and well-shaped, indicating attentiveness and alertness.

Jaw and Chest

A strong jaw is characteristic of these horses, contributing to their overall robust build. Their wide chest provides ample room for powerful lungs and a large heart, necessary for their impressive stamina and speed on short distances.

Hindquarters and Croup

The hindquarters of a Foundation Quarter Horse are quite muscular and well-developed. This strength allows for quick acceleration and agile movements. The croup, or the area between the tail and the back, has a gentle slope, contributing to both their speed and maneuverability.

Back and Loin

The back of these horses is short and strong, supporting their compact build. This feature allows them to easily carry weight and maintain balance during strenuous activities. The loin, or the area between the ribs and the pelvis, is short and well-muscled, further stable and powerful movement.

Legs and Feet

The legs of a Foundation Quarter Horse are strong and sturdy, with well-defined tendons and joints. They possess a wide foot, enabling them to quickly adapt to various terrains and conditions.

In summary, the physical attributes of a Foundation Quarter Horse speak to their versatility, strength, and agility. By understanding their conformation and unique features, it becomes apparent why these horses have been valued for their exceptional performance abilities throughout the years.


Quarter Horse with a cute colt

When looking at Foundation Quarter Horses and their performance capabilities, it is essential to understand the specific disciplines in which they excel. This breed is known for its exceptional abilities in racing and roping.


Foundation Quarter Horses have a long-standing history in racing events. Their origins date back to the crosses of Spanish and English horse breeds which resulted in muscular work horses. Known for their incredible speed over short distances, these horses often engaged in match racing over a quarter of a mile, thus earning the nickname “Quarter Horse” source.

Due to their compact and powerful build, Foundation Quarter Horses possess an innate ability to accelerate quickly, making them highly competitive in sprint races. Their agility and speed are well-suited for fast starts and tight turns. In racing events, these horses often compete in distances up to 870 yards, showcasing their impressive speed and stamina.


In addition to racing, Foundation Quarter Horses excel in roping events, a popular discipline within the world of western riding. Roping requires a horse to work closely with its rider, displaying exceptional athleticism, speed, and coordination.

There are two main categories of roping: calf roping and team roping. In calf roping, the horse needs to rapidly pursue a calf and stop on a dime, giving the rider an opportunity to lasso and secure the calf. Team roping, on the other hand, involves two riders working in tandem with their horses to efficiently rope a steer by its head and hind legs.

Foundation Quarter Horses are highly suitable for roping events due to their quick responsiveness, powerful hindquarters, and natural cow sense. Their ability to anticipate and react to the movements of cattle make them indispensable partners in both recreational and competitive roping activities.

In conclusion, Foundation Quarter Horses demonstrate unmatched performance abilities in racing and roping events. Their history, physical attributes, and natural instincts contribute to their success in these disciplines. This breed continues to be highly sought after by equestrians for their versatility, athleticism, and unwavering partnership.

How to Calculate Foundation Quarter Horse Percentage

Quarter horse Pair in Meadow

Calculating the Foundation Quarter Horse percentage involves an assessment of a horse’s pedigree to determine the amount of Thoroughbred blood present. This calculation is of particular importance to breeders and enthusiasts because it helps to identify horses with strong Foundation Quarter Horse bloodlines. These horses often exhibit desirable traits such as durability, agility, and stamina.

The primary method for calculating the Foundation Quarter Horse percentage is based on the amount of Thoroughbred blood in the horse’s pedigree. To perform this calculation, it’s essential to evaluate the ancestry of the horse in question. This information can typically be found through pedigree databases, such as All Breed Pedigree.

Once the pedigree information is gathered, it’s necessary to identify any Thoroughbred ancestors in the lineage. Given that the American Quarter Horse breed was originally developed by crossing Thoroughbred horses with various other breeds, the prominence of Thoroughbred bloodlines in a horse’s pedigree has a direct impact on the percentage of Foundation Quarter Horse blood.

To begin the calculation, start by assigning each Thoroughbred ancestor in the pedigree a specific percentage value based on their position in the lineage. For example, a horse’s parents will contribute 50% each to their pedigree, while grandparents will contribute 25% each. Continue this process, calculating the percentage contributions from each generation.

Next, sum the percentage values of all the Thoroughbred ancestors in the horse’s pedigree. This will yield the total percentage of Thoroughbred blood present in the lineage. Finally, subtract this value from 100% to determine the Foundation Quarter Horse percentage.

For example:

  • If a horse’s pedigree contains 20% Thoroughbred blood, its Foundation Quarter Horse percentage would be 80% (100% – 20%).

It’s crucial to note that as the purpose of this calculation is to identify Foundation Quarter Horses, a higher percentage indicates a stronger connection to the original breed characteristics. Therefore, breeders and enthusiasts may actively seek horses with a high Foundation Quarter Horse percentage to preserve and promote the breed’s classic traits.


In summary, calculating the Foundation Quarter Horse percentage is a vital process for breeders and enthusiasts, using the horse’s pedigree data to determine the amount of Thoroughbred blood in the lineage. Through identifying and preserving horses with a high percentage of Foundation Quarter Horse blood, it’s possible to maintain the integrity and unique qualities that have made this breed so distinct and valuable over time. By following the method of calculating percentage values based on the presence of Thoroughbred ancestors in a horse’s lineage, it becomes easier to determine the ideal breeding matches and ensure the continued success of the breed.