Horses are magnificent creatures known for their strength, beauty, and speed. Throughout history, various horse breeds have emerged as exceptional contenders in the pursuit of speed.
From iconic racecourses to vast open fields, these horses continue to captivate hearts and minds, reminding us of the incredible feats they are capable of achieving in the pursuit of pure speed.
In this article, we will cover the top nine fastest horse breeds in the world, taking into account their top speed, stamina, and endurance over long distances. Many of the horses on this list are “hot-blooded,” meaning they combine excellent speed and agility with a bold and spirited temperament.
Top 9 Fastest Horses
Thoroughbred horses are some of the fastest and most versatile horses in the world. They are largely considered to be the fastest horse breed in the world over longer distances, topping out at speeds of around 40 to 45 miles per hour.
Thoroughbreds were developed in the 17th and 18th centuries by crossbreeding local English mares with imported Arabian, Barbs, and Turkoman stallions. The horse was then exported throughout the rest of the world, providing a basis for numerous other breeds.
Thoroughbreds include the fastest horse in history, at least on the racing circuit. In 2008, a two-year-old filly by the name of Winning Brew set the Guinness World Record for the highest horse speed in the world, with a record of 43.97 miles per hour.
While Thoroughbreds are the fastest horse breed when gauged over a long distance, Quarter Horses are faster over short distances.
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name is derived from its ability to outrun other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less, with some horses clocked at speeds up to 55 mph.
The breed originated in the southwestern United States in the 1600s, with the principle development of the Quarter Horse occurring in this region. The compact body of the American Quarter Horse is well-suited for the intricate and quick maneuvers required in western riding events such as reining, cutting, working cow horse, barrel racing, and calf roping, especially those involving live cattle.
The breed is also used in English disciplines, driving, show jumping, dressage, hunting, and many other equestrian activities.
While Quarter Horses are the fastest breed over short distances, Thoroughbreds are faster over longer distances.
Arabian horses are one of the oldest and most recognizable horse breeds in the world, known for their speed and endurance. They are also highly spirited, quick to learn, and eager to please, making them a popular choice for breeders.
Arabians tend to be smaller in size than Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses, with a more petite bone structure. The fastest recorded time of an Arabian horse is approximately 40 miles per hour, although some sources claim that they can reach speeds of up to 65 miles per hour in short bursts.
Arabian horses are also known for their ability to form strong bonds with humans. While they may not be the fastest breed over long distances, they are still considered to be one of the fastest horse breeds in the world.
The Appaloosa is a horse breed that is among the fastest in the world. Originally developed by the Nez Perce people of the Pacific Northwest from a stock of horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the early 16th century, the Appaloosa is known for its speed, agility, and versatility.
The breed can reach speeds of up to 43 miles per hour, making it a formidable contender in races. While the Appaloosa may be better known for its spotted coat pattern, it is highly valued for its speed and agility, particularly in endurance and flat races.
Appaloosas are also known for their loyalty, friendliness, and intelligence, making them a popular choice for breeders and horse enthusiasts alike.
The average Mustang can gallop at speeds of around 25 to 30 miles per hour. However, some sources claim that a Mustang has been recorded reaching 55 miles per hour over a short distance.
Mustangs are known for their versatility and hardiness, excelling at all kinds of challenging tasks such as dressage, riding, ranch work, and racing. They are also amazing endurance horses and can compete with other breeds in long-distance races.
Mustangs are often used as agility horses and are known for their friendly and loyal temperament.
Standardbred horses are a breed that is known for its speed and stamina in harness racing. They are descended from Thoroughbred racehorses and have a similar lean build, but with shorter legs and heavier bones.
In the 1800s, breeders selected horses that could trot or pace a mile within the “standard” time of 2 minutes to develop the breed. Today, many Standardbreds are faster than this original standard, with several pacing the mile within 1 minute and 50 seconds, and trotters only a few seconds slower than that.
The average speed of a Standardbred horse is about 30 miles per hour, although they can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
In a harness race against the clock, the Standardbred racehorse Lee Axworthy trotted a mile in one minute and 58 seconds, for an average speed of 30.3 miles per hour. Recently, a Standardbred horse from Cambridge set a new world record for the fastest mile ever.
The Akhal-Teke is a rare breed of horse that is known for its speed and endurance. Nicknamed the “Golden Horse” because of its distinct metallic coat, the Akhal-Teke originated in Turkmenistan and is one of the oldest horse breeds in existence.
The breed is built for stamina, with long, hollow legs and a straight back, and can hit a top speed of around 35 miles per hour. Akhal-Tekes are often seen in dressage, show jumping, and endurance riding competitions. They are also known for their intelligence, fiery temperament, and loyalty to their owners.
While the Akhal-Teke may not be the fastest horse breed in the world, it is still considered to be one of the fastest and rarest breeds, with a global population of fewer than 6,000 horses.
The Andalusian horse is a breed that is known for its beauty, elegance, and athleticism. They have a long, flowing mane and tail, and are compact and graceful in their movements.
While the Andalusian is not the fastest horse breed in the world, it is still relatively fast, with a top speed of around 45 miles per hour. The breed is highly versatile and can adapt to a wide range of activities, including dressage, trail riding, driving, and pleasure classes.
Andalusians are also known for their intelligence, forward movement, and ability to learn difficult moves easily and quickly. While they are best suited for intermediate riders, they are highly agreeable and make excellent riding companions.
American Paint Horse
The American Paint Horse is a breed that is known for its speed and agility, making it a popular choice for cowboys and cattle ranchers in the American West. According to some sources, the American Paint Horse can reach speeds of up to 55-60 miles per hour, which is faster than many other horse breeds.
However, it is important to note that other sources do not list the American Paint Horse as one of the fastest horse breeds in the world. The breed is a combination of the American Quarter Horse and the Thoroughbred, which are both known for their speed and athleticism.
American Paint Horses are often used in a wide range of equestrian activities, including barrel racing, cutting, reining, and pleasure riding. They are also known for their unique coat patterns, which can come in a variety of colors and patterns.
1. What is the fastest horse breed in the world?
The Thoroughbred is largely considered to be the fastest horse breed in the world over longer distances, topping out at speeds of around 40 to 45 miles per hour.
2. Which horse breed is the fastest over short distances?
The American Quarter Horse is perhaps the fastest horse in the world over short distances, able to reach 50 miles per hour.
3. What is the average speed of a Mustang horse?
The average speed of a Mustang horse is about 25 to 30 miles per hour, although some sources claim that they can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour over short distances.
4. What is the top speed of an Andalusian horse?
The Andalusian horse can reach a top speed of around 45 miles per hour.
5. How fast can an Akhal-Teke horse run?
The Akhal-Teke breed is the fastest horse breed and can hit a top speed of around 35 miles per hour.
6. What is the unique feature of the American Paint Horse?
The American Paint Horse is known for its unique coat patterns, which can come in a variety of colors and patterns.
7. Are all fast horse breeds suitable for racing?
While many fast horse breeds are used for racing, not all of them are suitable for this activity. Some breeds are better suited for other equestrian activities, such as dressage, show jumping, or endurance riding.
8. What is the temperament of hot-blooded horse breeds?
Hot-blooded horse breeds are known for their bold and spirited temperament, which can make them challenging to train and handle. However, they are also highly intelligent and eager to please, making them excellent riding companions for experienced riders.