Advancing our Bloodline: The U.S. Remount Service

Advancing our Bloodline: The U.S. Remount Service

Many American Quarter Horses trace their pedigrees back to this military breeding program.

U.S. Cavalry crossing Devil’s River in Del Rio, Texas. Photograph courtesy of Phil Livingston.

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When there were not enough horses to mount the entire United States Cavalry after wartime in the late 1800s, the United States Remount Service was born. The U.S. government and breeders worked together from 1908 to 1948 to advance the bloodlines of the nation’s cavalry horse.

The program searched for horses that had athletic and mental ability, which led to a study of practical conformation and an understanding of bloodlines. 

Many American Quarter Horses are descended from the stallions used in this horse breeding program. Thoroughbreds were the main breed used as remount sires, along with Arabians, Morgans, Standardbreds and Saddlebreds. Countless well-known Quarter Horses can trace their ancestry back to one or more Thoroughbred remount stallions, including Refrigerator, Easy Jet, Two Eyed Jack, Peppy San Badger, and Clabber. 

During its peak years, the Remount Service placed 700 stallions on ranches and farms throughout the country. The military selected geldings produced by this program while the fillies were retained by producers and became the foundation broodmares for ranch herds, polo horses, and all-around horses.  

A number of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame members were breeders who stood remount stallions. These horsemen include Albert Mitchell, William Anson, Dan Casement, Jim Minnick, Clarence Scharbauer Jr., and Hank Weiscamp.

Visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo, Texas, to view this temporary exhibit.