What Are Appendix Horses Good For?

Appendix horses are a combination of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. If you have heard of an appendix horse before or seen them in action you can see they don’t look much different most of the time. Just like with dogs they will get some attributes some of the time than others some of the time as well.

So what are appendix horses good for then? They can actually be used in a wide range of areas from racing, jumping to barrel racing. Appendix horses will normally excel in areas that Quarter Horses or Thoroughbreds do as they have DNA from both. 

What Is An Appendix Horse?

An Appendix Horse is a cross between a Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. The goal with this cross-breeding was and is to have a horse with similar build to a Thoroughbred but the calmer nature of a Quarter Horse. It doesn’t always work out that way as with any kind of breeding you can only hope for the best. I have seen appendix horses that look more like a quarter and one’s that look just like a thoroughbred.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for both racing and roping for example. A lot of it boils down to the way they are trained and they can always be retrained. Our best barrel horse was an Appendix Horse and was bought from the race track then trained to barrel race. It was amazing to watch him move and how quick he was for his length.

The Appendix will most of the time be larger or at least taller than the traditional Quarter horse.

You can register the Appendix just like a regular Quarter Horse using “The American Quarter Horse Association” process. The only difference being you need approve from the thoroughbred sire before you can submit your application. Usually you have to send in photos to the Jockey Club with the application fee. The AQHA can also request DNA sampling however I have never had them do that personally. If your horse is going to be doing a lot of professional shows may be a good idea to do so anyway.

Appendix Horse Characteristics

The best characteristics of Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds are bred into the Appendix that is the whole point. These will of course vary for the obvious reason it isn’t an exact science.

  • will be between 15-17 hands
  • variety of colors including: black, bay, chestnut, dun, buckskin, sorrel and roan
  • even disposition not as flighty as thoroughbred and have a tendency to be easier kept
  • more social with other horses and people

Appendix Horse Barrel Racing

When most people think barrel racing they think quarter horse and that is true they are used far more then appendix. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything there is mainly a smaller percentage of appendix horses to quarter.

The funny thing is if you trace back most barrel racing quarter horses they will have some thoroughbred in them so they are technically mostly appendix horses. But that is to leave for another day.

We have personally used appendix horses for barrel racing and had great success but no more then your standard quarter horse. It still comes down to the proper training almost as much as the blood lines. But don’t let anybody fool you with their papers.

Related Questions

Can A Quarter Horse Beat A Thoroughbred?

There have been studies done between the Quarter Horse and Throughbred racing against one another and it is closer then you think. The quarter being much more stout and built will power through the race where throughbreds being longer will go through with a bit more elegance.

According to one Study at NCBI in their study they found that Quarter Horses had the highest speed overall for 402M. Where after that thorougbreds took over 1006M. This was just a video review study so that is why it only went to 402M which is standard for Quarter Horse races.

What Is The Difference Between A Quarter Horse And Thoroughbred?

There are actually many difference we will go through some of them. Thoroughbreds originated in England and Quarter Horses originally from spain.

Thoroughbreds are very lean and tall for long-distance races and Quarters are stocky and excellent sprinters.

What Is Grade Quarter Horse?

A Grade Quarter Horse is basically a horse without papers for some reason or another. Doesn’t mean it isn’t a good horse just that it hasn’t been registered. A lot of the times it is just the papers were lost or never transferred which can be an easier fix if you can track the owners back.

Other times it can be nearly impossible to get the horse registered because it was sold at an auction and nobody knows the original owner. Three are still steps you can take that include a DNA test but it still won’t be easy or cheap. But if you are racing in shows that require a registered horse it may be worth it.

A Grade horse will also sell for less so you can get a very nice horse at a bargain sometimes due to it not having papers.


There are many ways you can use an Appendix Horse that include racing, jumping, and barrel racing. But also remember they are great pleasure horses as well and can just be used for hobby like trail riding.

They are normally easier to take care of then a thoroughbred because of their calm dimeanor. It doesn’t always work out this way but don’t give up on a horse you just need to be consistent a lot of the time until they know who is boss.

If you are in the market for one of these horses make sure to check your local auctions and actually a great place to find horses is on the facebook marketplace surprisingly. You can search all over the U.S. for one. Take your time with your research and pick the right horse. Make sure you get recent videos and the family history if you can. Buying local is always the best option but it can be worth it to travel to get the best horse that will fit your personality.



I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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