Health Characteristics of the Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse or just Quarter Horse is one of the most popular breeds of horses in the United States. Quarter Horses generally live up to 25 to 35 years and can live even longer under the right conditions. If you properly groom and care for your Quarter Horse when it’s young, they can live far beyond their average lifespan into their late 30s and even their 40s.
Generally, when it comes to lifespan, you want to take in factors like size, diet and nutrition, grooming, and exercise. Smaller horses tend to live longer, and feeding them hay from 1.5-3% of their body weight is key to a healthy horse. You want to ensure they get plenty of exercises and that they have proper hygiene to prevent diseases.
As for the health characteristics of the Quarter Horse, due to their larger than average size, they can be more susceptible to genetic diseases than other horse breeds. These genetic diseases are passed down from one or both parents and can range from easily treated to very severe, even leading to death.
An example of a genetic disease that is common with Quarter Horses is Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis, which is a condition with a dominant gene, so if only one parent has it, then it can be passed to the foal. You must manage your Quarter Horses nutrition carefully to prevent signs of HYPP. Quarter horses can also inherit Malignant Hyperthermia, which causes a breakdown of their muscle tissue, among other symptoms.
Quarter Horses are also susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries during activities like races, and most of these can be fatal.
Keep an eye on the health characteristics of the quarter horse you are breeding, as well as their family tree to know what you are dealing with concerning genetic diseases.