Foundation Quarter Horse Bloodlines

If you’ve ever wondered what a true “foundation” Quarter Horse is, here is your answer.

If you’ve ever wondered what a true “foundation” Quarter Horse is, here is your answer.

Ask an ExpertQuestion:

Having just lost my Quarter Horse best friend, I have started considering what I am looking for in a new horse. I’m told he was “foundation” bred: Poco and Doc. What exactly does that mean, and what should I look for in another “foundation” bred horse?

— Joan Onders

For an answer, we consulted AQHA Senior Director of Marketing and Publications, Jim Bret Campbell.


If you ask 100 different people what constitutes a “foundation” Quarter Horse, you’d probably get 100 different answers. For many of those folks, the “foundation” term is used for horses that have a smaller percentage of Thoroughbred bloodlines than some racing and performance bloodlines. There are a number of foundation Quarter Horse registries that will register American Quarter Horses only if they have a minimal percentage of Thoroughbred influence.

However, in many ways, the foundation term refers to the many thousands of American Quarter Horses that trace their pedigrees to the early foundation sires that contributed in so many ways to the success of the American Quarter Horse.

Additionally, in many people’s eyes, foundation horses are those that have the versatility, conformation and willingness that represents the “foundation” of the American Quarter Horse. They are horses that are versatile enough, athletic enough and kind enough to take on any challenge or job. For many people, that means a horse that’s 14.3-15.1 hands tall, weighs 1,100 pounds and is athletic, yet gentle.

The bottom line when you’re searching for a new horse is to find the right horse for you. AQHA has several options available to assist you in your search. You can find horses for sale through AQHA’s website by clicking on the “Classifieds” tab. You can also find horses for sale in The American Quarter Horse Journal. To find a foundation-bred horse, you might want to check out the Ranching Heritage Breeders list located at . Those breeders are a great resource for looking for a foundation-bred, well-broke ranch horse in your area. And as you look for that perfect horse, you can use your AQHA membership to research the pedigrees of your prospects to determine their bloodlines and performance records.

Good luck on your search!

— AQHA Senior Director of Marketing and Publications Jim Bret Campbell

2 thoughts on “Foundation Quarter Horse Bloodlines”

  1. One of the greatest attributes of the foundation genetics is their mind. These horses have been working horses for generations. A horse without a good mind isn’t worth much in our opinion. We like the foundation bred horses.

  2. Having had foundation line horses like king, skipper w, joe bailey, joe reed and the likes of those lines. I prefer them to anything because they always had such good minds. These were an important part of my life. Horseless now those that I have lost in death are still alive in my memory and in the pictures. I have said for a long time that they just don’t breed that kind of horse anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *