History and Mission

Celebrating and preserving the history of the American Quarter Horse.


In March of 1940, a group of influential ranchers gathered one night around the dining room table of one of the wealthiest and largest ranch owners in the country with one goal – save the short, stocky, good-minded horses that ranchers and cattlemen, like themselves, preferred. At the time, these horses were commonly referred to as Steeldust horses, after a fabled horse that could drive Longhorns through any weather or terrain and run the quarter mile faster than any other breed.

In every point of the conversation, it was clear these horses had already made a significant impact on history - they had been companions in war, work partners on the ranch and wild frontier, and athletes on the race track in early colonial settlements. That night marked the birth of the American Quarter Horse Association and its mission to preserve and improve the bloodlines of the Steeldust horse, known today as the American Quarter Horse.

One of the key people gathered around the dinner table that fateful night, Bob Denhardt, a professor, would later remark, “We were trying to preserve a nearly extinct line . . . We misjudged what the future would hold for the American Quarter Horse.”

It’s hard to imagine any of those gathered that night had any idea of the impact the American Quarter Horse would come to make on the world. Since that historic day the American Quarter Horse has blossomed into a legendary figure involved in some of the most defining moments in history. Today, that history fills the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

From the moment you approach the larger-than-life bronzes and the Wall of Honor Plaza, you'll know immediately you are about to experience a piece of history like never before.

Mission & Goals

The mission of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum is to preserve and interpret the history and modern uses of the American Quarter Horse and cultivate future enthusiasts. The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum houses the living history of the American Quarter Horse. The Hall of Fame showcases the people and horses who shaped and changed the breed and the American Quarter Horse Association.

These people and horses have earned their places as legends. Learn more about each inductee. Additional goals of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum:

  • Educate regional school children about the many roles of the American Quarter Horse and its history throughout the world.
  • Encourage children to get excited about American Quarter Horses by touching tack, seeing chuck wagon items, exploring what horses eat, and even petting a real American Quarter Horse.
  • Expose young people to careers in the equine industry.
  • Display artwork, permanent and traveling, that depicts the great American western lifestyle and helps visitors learn about and appreciate the world's most popular horse breed - the American Quarter Horse.
  • Honor the horse and human legends of our industry with their stories and artifacts