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7 Fastest Horse Breeds Besides The Thoroughbred & Quarter Horse

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Do you think only thoroughbreds and quarter horses can ace the race? Think again! Discover 7 surprising horse breeds with impressive speed in our brand new pin. Explore the exciting realm of horse racing beyond the usual players.

Some horse breeds are faster than all the rest such as the thoroughbred and quarter horse. But there are other horse breeds that are also very fast. Just not as fast as the top two horse speed demons.

Keep reading to find out these other 7 speedy breeds, there are some you may not have thought of or known about. I have included a video for each so you can see the breed in action. Plus I give you a quick rundown on each of the breeds covering

  • Origin
  • Speed
  • Height range
  • Quick fun fact 
  • What I could find on the fastest horse of the breed.

Toward the end of the post, I answer some questions you may be wondering about fast horses and for your entertainment, I have included some videos of fast horses. Why? Because it’s fun to watch. Though it would be even more fun being the one galloping on the horse. 

Here are the world’s fastest horse breeds:


Horses, Wyoming, Mustangs, Wild Mustangs, Animals, West

The Spanish Mustang is fast because they have to be fast. Living in the wild they have to rely on their ability to flee from danger. Horses that aren’t able to run fast enough to escape predators tend to be the ones that get injured and killed. Although amazingly the herd tries to protect their weak horses. Typically the horses that do survive end up being the horses that are either faster or more clever.


Mustangs are a mixture of breeds that have been let loose in America such as some draft and quarter horse blood, however they first originated from Spanish or Iberian bloodlines when the Spanish explorers in the 16th century who brought horses to America.


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Mustangs have been known to get up to speeds around 30 miles an hour. I have seen articles saying that a Mustang horse has been recorded to have gone over 50 miles per hour and I have not seen such records.

Quick Fact

In the old west cowboys who caught, tamed and sold Mustangs were called “mustang runners.”

Fastest Mustang



Akhal-teke horse’s are beautifully sleek, slender and agile horses. They are said to have partially influenced the development of the thoroughbred which is known to be the fastest horse breed. Akhal-Tekes are hotblooded and very athletic, however they do tend to have long weaker backs. Like the thoroughbred they can be difficult to handle without regular work.

Akhal-teke excel in endurance races and show jumping. In 1935 a handful of Turkmen riders rode 2,500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days. For 3 days out of the 84 days they crossed desert without water and made it through.


There are several theories as to the origin of the Akhal-teke, but they are thought to be one of the oldest breeds of horses alive today. They come from Turkmenistan but also bred and developed in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. One theory is that the Akhal-teke is descended from the Turkoman breed and some believe it is the same breed.

Akhal-teke were given their name by Russian general Kuropatkin who started a Akhal-teke breeding farm because he took a liking to these horses after seeing them while fighting against the tribesmen. “Akhal-Tekes”, comes from the Teke Turkmen tribe that lived around the Akhal oasis (which is close to Geok Tepe). 


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The Akhal-teke like the Mustang are known to be able to run up to around 30 miles an hour. They are known for their incredible stamina and ability to cover far distances without food or water.

Quick Fact

Akhal-teke are an endangered horse breed with only around 6,600 world wide.

Fastest Akhal-Teke



Animal, Equine, Horse, Brown, Performance, Standardbred

Standardbreds are commonly used in harness racing. Their top speeds come from trotting or pacing. Pacing is different from trotting in the way the horse’s legs move. Like the trot the pace is also 2 beats but in a pace the legs move in pairs on the same sides. In the trot the legs move in diagonal pairs. 


Standardbreds originate from the United States. Breeds that influenced the creation of the Standardbred include

  • Narragansett Pacer 
  • Canadian Pacer
  • Thoroughbred
  • Norfolk Trotter
  • Hackney
  • Morgan

The Standardbred registry was started in the United States in 1879. It was called the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders. For a horse to become registered they had to be able to trot a mile in less than two minutes and 30 seconds. Nowadays Standardbreds tend trot much faster than that and the pace is even faster than the trot.


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Standardbred top speed tends to be just over 30 miles per hour. They often are able to trot a mile 1 minute and 60 seconds and pace a mile closer to 1 minute and 50 seconds.

Quick Fact

The Standardbred fast trotting and pacing ability is linked to a gene mutation in the spinal cord neurons which affect the horses locomotion or way of moving.

Fastest Standardbred

Two Standardbreds tied making the fastest time in the United States Trotting Association. 1 minute and 46.0 seconds pacing a mile. Always Be Miki and Lather Up.

French Trotter

French trotters are similar to Standardbreds. But they are finer looking than Standardbreds. They are very fast trotters and are even faster than standardbreds. They are used in harness racing as well as mounted trotting races in France. The French Trotter is an influential breed in the development of European harness racing horses.


The French Trotter developed in the 19 century in Normandy, France. Breeds that influenced the French Trotter include the Norman Stock Horse, Hackney, the Norfolk Trotter and the English Thoroughbred. There was also American Standardbred blood later added to increase the speed. French Trotters are sometimes called Norman Trotters.


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The record for top speed by a French trotter is faster than that of a standardbred. So it is quite possible French Trotters are faster than Standardbreds even against the pace, which is standardbred pacers are often faster than a standardbred trotter. French Trotters have gotten to speeds around 40 mph.

Quick Fact

French Trotters do not have the ability to pace like a Standardbred. They are solely trotters.

Fastest French Trotter

It was 1901, when a French Trotter named Képi broke the record for fastest trot of one mile in 1 minute 27 seconds.


Appaloosas were originally used for hunting and war by the Nez Perce Native Americans. They needed to be quick and agile. Their spotted coat made it easier to camouflage with the environment giving an advantage to the warriors who rode them. Today Appaloosas are versatile horses doing all sorts of equestrian sports including racing, similar to quarter horse racing.


Appaloosa horses originate from the Palouse country surrounded by the Palouse river in Idaho. Their name derives from the river Palouse. It is believed that Spanish explorers brought over spotted Neapolitan horses to North America in the seventeenth century. These spotted colorful horses were bred by the Nez- Perce Native Americans. They were known as Palouse horses and then it became a Palouse horse and then eventually Appaloosa. Present-day Appaloosa’s are a result of crossing Palouse horses with Quarter horses.


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Appaloosa’s have gone up to 40 mph and some over that. Are they as fast as a thoroughbred or quarter horse. There have been no records of an Appaloosa going faster than a thoroughbred or quarter horse but it is close.

Quick Fact

Horses of similar appearance to the Appaloosa have been seen in ancient Chinese art as well as prehistoric cave paintings.

Fastest Appaloosa

According to the Appaloosa Horse Club (the international breed registry for Appaloosa horses) Major Tom as a 2 year old beat the record for fastest horse in the 350 yard race. He ran 350 yards in 17.40 seconds.


Horse, Gallop, Mold, Thoroughbred Arabian, Sleipnir

Arabians are a breed that has been admired for centuries. These horses are spirited, fast, agile and have amazing stamina. There are Arabian horse races today, including speed races and endurance races. Arabians are commonly seen in endurance racing around the world. Arabians influenced the development of 


The Arabian originates in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Egypt. The Arabian breed has been recorded as far back as 2000 years but some believe the Arabian has been around as far back as 5000 years. It is debated whether Barb horses are an ancestor of the Arabian or Arabians influenced Barb horses. Arabian’s, Barbs, and Turkmene horses all developed in the same general area of the world. Most hotblooded horses can be traced back to these three breeds.


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Arabians are fast horses but not the fastest on this list. They can get to speeds of 30 mph and sometimes over that.

Quick Fact

Arabians have been bred with other breeds to help develop and refine different horse breeds, such as the Thoroughbred, the Olov Trotter, the Percheron, the Morgan, the Standardbred, the American Saddlebred and more. 

Fastest Arabian In Endurance Race

Jayhal Shazal completed a 100 miles race in 5 hours 45 minutes and 44 seconds on March 20,2010. His average speed was 17mph and in the last stretch the average was 22mph.


Horse, Mare, Animal, Halter, Equine, Bay, Paint, Pinto

Paints tend to have smooth gaits and rapid acceleration. It’s no wonder Paints can be fast and agile because most are predominantly Quarter Horses with the white markings and some part Thoroughbred. In order for a horse to be registered in the American Paint Horse Association they must have appropriate markings and be bred from a Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and or Paint Horse Stock.


They originated from the United States and stem off from the Quarter Horse breed. The Paint horses were considered a failure of Quarter Horse breeding. The American Paint Horse Association was started in 1965.


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Paint horses are almost as fast as Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses but not quite. They can get to over 40 mph.

Quick Fact

The Paint has two main types of markings called Overo or Tobiano. These two patterns describe the general location of the white markings but not the amount of white. Piebald refers to the colors black and white. Skewbald is a horse with white and any other color rather than black.

Fastest American Paint

Paint horse Got Country Grip ran 350m in an incredible 17.23 seconds which is faster than the fastest Appaloosa Major Tom.

Related Questions About The Fastest Horse Breeds

Rodeo, Barrel Racing, Horse

What Is The Average Speed For A Horse?

On average a horse is able to run at speeds up to 25-30 miles an hour. While the breeds listed here are very agile, quick on their feet and often can reach over 30 miles per hour.

What Are The Fastest Horse Breeds?

Rank 1: Quarter Horse
Rank 2: Thoroughbred
Rank 3: French Trotter

There was a study done testing the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Arabian breeds running against each other to see which breed came out fastest. Quarter horses averaged faster than thoroughbreds and both outran the Arabian by a decent amount.
I am ranking the French Trotter 3rd because they have the ability to trot extremely fast. The fastest record for a French Trotter, trotting a mile is faster than the record for a standardbred trotting a mile or even pacing.
It has been said a French Trotter can trot up to the speed of a Thoroughbreds gallop. That is why French Trotter is number 3.

Who Is The Fastest Horse In History?

There is no easy answer to this question. There are so many different types and lengths of races. There are horses that break racing records for each of these different races.
It is my opinion that Secretariat was one of the fastest and most impressive. Not only did he win the Triple Crown but he set a time record for each of the three races that no horse has yet been able to beat. The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes are the names of the races in the Triple Crown.

Here is a video of Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes in 1973.

Videos Of Horses Galloping

These videos are just for fun if your in the mood to watch some cool galloping videos since we are on the topic of fast horses. 🙂 Make sure you put the video quality at the highest for best experience.

Cinematic horse galloping indie type video.

Sweet video of a horse racing a car.

Really good slow motion footage of galloping horse bareback.

Get past the beginning to see some amazing footage galloping on track with Go-pro type camera and flying drone camera.

Really cute race with kids and Shetland ponies!

My favorite part is when she pats her horse mid full gallop.

I hope you enjoyed this post, discovered a new breed, learned more about a breed you didn’t know much about or just had fun watching videos of horses running!

If you liked this post please share it, because it helps keep this blog alive. Thanks!

Cheers, Kacey

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Kacey Cleary Administrator
Kacey has been an equestrian since 1998. She was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses. Kacey received an A.S. in Equine Industries from UMass Amherst, where she rode on the dressage team. She was certified with the ARIA and is licensed to teach riding in MA. She has been a barn manager and has run her own horse farm.
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