History Overview

Learn the history of the American Quarter Horse - the world's most popular breed of horse

The sorrel Quarter Horse is an ideal for the breed. Greek mythology records the epic exploits of a wonderful winged horse named Pegasus. The stories of early Texas cow country speak of another legendary horse. He was called Steel Dust, and like Pegasus, he could fly, but without ever leaving the ground.

Foaled in Kentucky,a descendant of the great Sir Archy, Steel Dust came to Texas as a yearling in 1844. His progeny and his legend spread as cowboys drove Longhorns up the trails from Texas and opened the Great Plains to ranching. The name Steel Dust came to identify an entire breed of horse; they were called “Steeldusts,” the cowboy’s favorite kind. They were heavy-muscled horses, marked with small ears, a big jaw, remarkable intelligence and lightning speed up to a quarter of a mile. Steel Dust was an American Quarter Horse. He and his kind would achieve fame in proportions every bit as magnificent as that of the mythical Pegasus.

But the story of the Quarter Horse begins long before Texans started tying their ropes and hard and fast to the saddle horn. read more

Learn the history of the American Quarter Horse in Canada 

American Quarter Horses were brought across the border into Canada at different times. CQHA invites each AQHA provincial/regional Affiliate to help us fill in the blanks for this page (scroll down) regarding the historic importation of Quarter Horses in their individual areas.

canada map colour


Alberta: click here for Alberta history webpage

British Columbia:

Manitoba: "To the best of my recollection, the first registered Quarter Horse was brought into Manitoba by Lloyd Willis of Sidney, who imported the stallion Lap N Tap AQHA #P44715 (previously owned by Homer Jensen of Climax, SK)". Excerpted from a conversation with Glen Brown, first President of the Manitoba Quarter Horse Association.

New Brunswick:


North West Territories:

Nova Scotia:



Prince Edward Island:



Bill n Don Wilkerson
(L to R: Don Wilkinson and Bill Holliday, both of Goodwater, SK and both valued former directors of CQHA)

"Don Wilkinson of Goodwater, SK)is responsible for introducing the Quarter Horse breed into the province. He sat on the first board of the Canadian Quarter Horse Association, at a time when the breed was not recognized in Canada. Wilkinson imported the first registered Quarter Horse stallion when he brought Canada Don Juan, P35234 (#7 in the CQHA Stud Book #1) from New Mexico in 1950. Juan's descendants are now scattered across North America. He also raised and sold colts from several mares of his own as well as having Don Juan standing at stud. In 1958, Wilkinson brought Peek View from Colorado to sire colts and for a show and working horse." excerpted from an article by Jean Fahlman, published in Western People, September 13, 1984.

Footnote: Don Wilkinson was a director on the inaugural CQHA Board of Directors (listed in the CQHA Stud Book #1) which met on December 12, 1956 in Moose Jaw, SK,