The Performance Horse
From the beginning, it seems that the horse is designed with a large frame, strong back and sturdy legs in order to carry the weight of a man. The horse provided mobility to a man. The horse provided mobility to a man for emmigration. The horse provided a tool for warfare and was not replaced until the mechanization of the 20th Century. The last large scale military mission on horses was a disaster as the Germans advanced upon Moscow in 1941.
In America, the performance horse was bred for racing as the colonists cross bred the native Spanish breeds brought to America by Cortez with the finest of English thoroughbreds. The result; the American Quarter Horse, known for it's speed in the quarter-mile and as having an inherent cow sense.
The American Quarter Horse teamed up with the cowboy and the large cattle ranches of the American West, that led to the development of a particularly American horse sport. The word 'Rodeo,' is Spanish for the word 'round up,' and became the early competitive roping and riding events. 'Buffalo Bill's,' Wild West Shows became popular during the 1890's as horses helped to play out theatrical re-enactments of old west events. As the movie became the new entertainment form after 1910, the Wild West Shows faded, but the competitive rodeo took off. The rodeo became the competitive sport for cowboys from different ranches to test their skills.
Today the performance horse competes in reined cow horse, cutting, reining, hunter, western pleasure and other highly specialized categories. Polo ponies, racehorses, and carriage horses all compete in a wide variety of competitive activities.
The horse is a cultural icon around the world. The performance horse thrills audiences with its strength, endurance, agility, and athleticism.