Quarab Horse: History, Characteristics and Versatility

“The Quarab breed, a majestic product of the United States’ equine heritage, stands as a testament to the successful crossbreeding of Arabian horses with American Quarter and Paint horses. Over the years, this breed has carved out a niche for itself, leading to the creation of a specialized breed registry.

Exhibiting a rich tapestry of traits inherited from its diverse ancestry, each Quarab horse presents a unique physical profile. Those with a stronger Arabian influence typically showcase elongated necks and barrel shapes, and maintain level croups, whereas their counterparts with a more pronounced stock horse lineage display a muscular physique, especially in the legs, and have distinctly rounded croups.”


The Quarab horse breed was developed during the 1960s in the United States as an extraordinary combination of Arabian, American Quarter Horse and Paint Horse lineages, making a notable chapter in equine history. Key developments and organizational efforts helped advance this breed’s advancement:

Emergence and Popularity:

In the 1960s, Quarab first made an appearance as an individual breed. Almost immediately its popularity skyrocketed and led to the formation of breed-specific associations.

The Formation of IQHA:

In 1999, due to Quarabs’ increasing prominence and with breed standards becoming more important worldwide, the International Quarab Horse Association was formed and has played an essential role in maintaining breed standards while spreading global recognition of this breed.

Studbook Establishment:

The introduction of a Studbook by the IQHA in 2000 was an essential step toward safeguarding Quarabs, their lineage and breeding details as well as maintaining purity and continuity for this breed.

Historical Crossbreeding:

American Paint and Quarter Horse history is full of examples of crossbreeding between Arabian horses and American Paints or Quarter Horses, most notably between cotton Girl (a Quarter Horse mare) and Indraff, an Arabian stallion, both dating back to the 1950s.

Their offspring including Indy Sue who went on to contribute significantly to Quarab lineage breeding successes achieved significant success over time.

Recognition and Awards:

The progeny of these crossbreds, especially “Indy Sue”, were honored for their breeding excellence by earning recognition from American Quarter Horse Association with a “Performance Register of Merit”.

Sabino Arabian Stallions:

In the 1980s, inspection of Sabino Arabian stallions marked another noteworthy event in Quarab’s history, prior to the closure of American Paint Horse Association studbooks.

United Quarab Registry (UQR):

Established in 1984, the United Quarab Registry initially focused on the registration of Quarter and Arabian crossbred horses. Later on in 1989, however, they introduced the Painted Quarab Index which accommodates horses with tobiano and overo patterns from American Paint Horse crosses.

Transition and Challenges:

The UQR was initially privately owned; however, after ownership changes it experienced operational challenges that eventually caused its closure.

Global Expansion:

The IQHA went beyond its foundational role by expanding globally with member groups established in countries such as Netherlands and Germany, reflecting its breed’s global appeal.

Registration Standards:

The IQHA maintains stringent registration criteria. Quarabs must come from parents registered with either American Paint Horse Association, Arabian Horse Association or American Quarter Horse Association with at least 1/8th bloodline from either Quarter or Paint parent or Arabian parent.

These milestones not only honor the Quarab’s impressive history but also demonstrate its evolution through breeders’ and associations’ efforts in protecting and promoting it. Today, it stands as an emblem of successful crossbreeding that represents its heritage with pride.

Breed Characteristics:

The Quarab horse breed showcases an intriguing mixture of traits inherited from its Arabian and Quarter Horse/Paint (Quarter Horse or Paint) ancestry, creating a range of characteristics in each individual horse depending on the proportion of Arabian blood within his/her bloodline. This allows each one to possess its own set of distinctive features that depend on his or her proportion of Arabian blood to Quarter Horse bloodline.

Arabian Influences:

Quarabs with higher amounts of Arabian blood tend to exhibit the elegant, long necks and barrels common among Arabian horses, as well as level croups characteristic of this breed, giving these horses their distinct grace and poise.

Stock Horse Traits:

Quarabs showing more stock horse influence tend to have more robust builds, with muscular legs essential for agility and power required in stock horse activities and more rounded croups compared to their Arabian counterparts.

Height Range:

The Quarab breed boasts an impressive height range, typically standing from 14-16 hands (56 to 64 inches, or 142 to 163 cm). This diversity allows them to adapt easily into multiple equestrian roles.

Color Diversity:

The International Quarab Horse Association embraces an extensive palette of colors and patterns in this breed, which are reflective of their diverse heritage. They do however prohibit leopard complex spotting due to specific breed standards.

Breed Categories:

Quarabs can be divided into three distinct breed categories, known as Straight/Foundation, Stock, and Pleasure.

Straight/Foundation Quarabs combine features from Arabian and stock horse traits for optimal balance; Stock-type Quarabs lean more towards Quarter or Paint horse characteristics which makes them suitable for ranch work and Western disciplines; Pleasure-type Quarabs feature more of an Arabian influence making them perfect for endurance riding due to their stamina and agility.

Equestrian Versatility:

Quarabs are well known for their versatility when it comes to equestrian sports. From Western disciplines such as reining and roping to English disciplines like dressage, these versatile horses excel at every discipline offered – driving endurance racing as well as general pleasure riding are among their many talents.

The Quarab breed, with its blend of Arabian elegance and stock horse strength, provides an adaptable equine solution suitable for many forms of equestrian activity, making it highly valued within the horse community.


Quarabs combine the best qualities from both breeds. Their Arabian lineage gives them intelligence while their Quarter Horse roots bring calmness. Together these characteristics make this breed exceptionally trainable and adaptable; making them suitable for riders of all skill levels.

Versatility in Use:

Quarabs are highly versatile performers, excelling in various equestrian disciplines. Thanks to their Quarter Horse heritage and Arabian genetics, Quarabs have proven particularly adept at reining and cutting events; additionally, endurance riding events benefit greatly from this horse. Quarabs also often make an appearance at show jumping events as well as dressage shows and pleasure rides.

Health and Lifespan:

Quarabs tend to be healthy and long-lived dogs, typically living 25-30 years. While both parent breeds provide genetic hardiness for raising healthy offspring, special attention should be taken if either of them could pass down genetic conditions that affect hooves or joints that could impact on health in later life.

Popularity and Recognition:

The Quarab Horse has earned recognition from multiple equestrian organizations, such as the International Quarab Horse Association (IQHA). This association strives to uphold the breed’s standards while highlighting its distinctive features. While less known than some of its parent breeds, its appeal among horse enthusiasts lies in its beauty, versatility, and gentle nature.