How fast can a horse run?

How fast can a horse run?

Horses are truly magnificent creatures. They are graceful, caring, intelligent, powerful, loyal and incredibly fast. The speed at which a horse can run can be somewhat disconcerting, as it almost seems to fly across the ground at breakneck speed. But how fast can a horse run? The speed of a horse depends on its breed, its environment and the ground it is on.

We've broken down some of the key information that can help you determine a horse's speed. In addition, we've included some interesting facts about horses as well as a little history around the records currently held by the fastest horses in the world.

The fastest horse breeds

Generally speaking, racehorses and thoroughbreds are the fastest, due to the careful breeding process of these horses. The average speed of each breed of horse varies greatly, which is why only certain breeds compete in horse racing. Here we have listed the three fastest horse breeds.

1. Quarter Horse

Quarter Horses have been recorded running as fast as 1.5 km. 55mph. Quarter Horses are a popular racehorse, with Quarter Horses racing going back over 200 years with the establishment of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).

The Quarter Horse got its name from the distances they ran, usually the quarter mile. However, there are eleven different recognized distances for Quarter Horse racing, ranging from 220 yards to 870 yards.

2. Thoroughbred

A Thoroughbred named Winnie Brew managed to break the world record for the fastest Thoroughbred in 2008 when he ran at Penn National Race Course and was timed running. 43.97 mph! Knowing that the average speed of a Kentucky Derby winner is 37 miles per hour.

Thoroughbreds have better stamina than quarter horses, which makes them an ideal breed to run long distances, so they are used as racehorses in longer races.

3. American Paint Horse

An American Paint Horse has been recorded running 41.5mph! This is not surprising, however, as the American Paint Horse had Quarter Horses mixed into the pedigree, which gives them the speed and stamina of the Quarter Horse and the Pinto.

Paints were developed in America by horses brought to the United States by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. Finally, the American Paint Horse Association was founded in 1962.

4. Arabian horse

Arabian horses are slender, lean and powerful, and are known more for their great stamina than for their speed. However, the fastest Arabian horses are known for their ability to run. 40mph makes them faster than a Kentucky Derby winner.

5. Standardbred

Standardbred horses are fast trotters, as opposed to fast gallopers. They have a lot of stamina and are built with good trotting speed, which makes them ideal for long distance travel. The fastest Standardbred horse was able to run at a speed of 33.9mph. It is slower than the other breeds on our list, but it is still fast.


The average top speed of horses according to their gait

Horses have different movements when they move, called gaits. Many people wonder how fast horses walk, and knowing the different gaits helps you get an idea of the levels at which a horse's speed increases.


The equivalent of walking in horses is the same as in humans, and the average walking speed for all breeds is around 10 km/h. 4.3mph (7kph).


The trot is a gait that can be compared to a light jog in humans and tends to be around the average speed of a horse. 8.1mph (13kph).

Cantering / Loping

The canter, also known as the lope or three-beat gait, is slightly faster still, and closer to the jogging/running speed of a human. The speed of the galloping horse is usually around 10-17mph (16-27kph).


A horse's gallop is the human equivalent of a fast run, but unlike humans, horses can run at incredible speeds, with an average gallop of about 25-3omph (40-48mph).

Fastest mile races ever recorded

When it comes to knowing the fastest one-mile horse races, it's important to know that horse race times are calculated based on the surface on which they run. Different ground surfaces present different challenges due to their texture and density. There are two records for a mile run by a horse, one on grass and one on dirt.

Fastest horse on dirt for a mile

The fastest mile ever run by a horse on dirt is 1 minute 32 seconds. This ultra-fast mile was run in 1968 at Arlington Park. The horse that accomplished this magnificent feat was a thoroughbred named Dr. Fager when he won the Washington Park Handicap.

This record has been held for over 50 years, and the only horse to come close is a horse named Najran. Najran managed to match the original record but could not break it. It should be noted that Najran weighed 21 pounds less than Dr. Fager. Less weight means less to carry and therefore, technically, Mijran should have been faster. However, at equal weight, Dr. Fager is still the faster of the two.

Fastest horse on grass for 1 mile

Although it is generally said that horses run fastest on dirt, the record for the fastest mile ever run by a horse was set on grass. The record time for a one-mile turf race is 1 minute 31 seconds and was set by Mandurah. Mandurah ran a handicap race at Monmouth Park on June 6, 2010, breaking Dr. Fager's record on an unconventional surface.


How far can a horse run? 6 facts to know

Horses are amazing animals that have been bred and evolved by human hands for centuries.

Along with dogs, horses are the closest thing humans have to "man's best friend" and are built to work well with us to achieve goals and for company.

How far can a horse run?

Horses can run at a fast pace (gallop) without stopping for about 2 miles until fatigue sets in. At a slower pace, horses can run up to 32km in a day at a walk or trot. The average gallop without stopping is between 2 and 8 km if the pace is not too fast.

It is not advisable to push your horse fast and long for a long distance or time, and you will want to make sure you have properly trained and developed your horse's strength to accomplish longer distances of travel and speed. 

1. How many kilometers can a horse ride?

Riding a horse in a race is one of the most exciting sensations in the world!

In a race or gallop, horses can run about two to three kilometers without stopping. However, horses that are trained for long distance running and endurance can go a little longer.

It is not advisable to run your horse longer than he can stand, as this could lead to negative health effects or long-term injuries.

If you are looking to make a short trip in a hurry, cantering is an excellent option. However, for long distance trips and camping trips, try keeping your horses at a trot or canter.

How many miles in a day?

A horse can travel up to 20 miles in a day at a slow pace, such as a trot, walk or canter.

This is ideal for people who travel long distances but have a lot of time on their hands. Most campers and long-distance riders will opt for slower paces to keep their horses going for long distances.

In addition, well hydrated and well rested horses can go even further than that with proper breeding and training.

However, if you're going away for a long weekend or a week-long trip, consider reducing the distances to less than 30 kilometers at a time.

This will maximize your total distance achieved on your trip while keeping your horse in good shape.

2. How long can a horse run?

There are many horse owners who take their animals on long camping trips, getting in touch with nature and bonding with their companions.

If you are looking to travel for several hours, consider keeping your horse at a slow pace throughout the trip.

At a trot or canter, horses can travel about 13 km / h and can continue for an average of five hours per day, depending on their breed, build, training and nutrition.

A healthy horse can gallop up to seven hours at a time, but should never be pushed to do so regularly or daily.

At a gallop, a horse can go two kilometers without having to rest or stop.

3. How far can a horse run in one hour?

In theory, when horses are running or galloping at 40 kilometers per hour, a horse can run 48 kilometers in one hour.

However, you should never force your horse to maintain a running pace for a full hour, as this could seriously harm him.

As mentioned earlier, a horse will be tired or need to rest after three kilometers at full gallop, in which case you should slow down and allow him to rest and catch his breath.

Instead, trotting or cantering is a better option for riding for long periods.

A horse can trot or canter for an hour and travel 12 kilometers without putting too much strain on his body, but he should still have breaks to walk and catch his breath if needed.

Again, if you're looking to go on long trips, it's better to take it slow than to rush your animal and physically tire it out.

how fast can a horse run with a rider

4. How many miles can a horse run without resting or stopping?

If you are in a big hurry, or maybe your horse has been spooked and starts running, you are still looking at that two mile distance for most breeds.

Horses that are bred to run very long and fast will probably take you up to five miles without stopping, but once they reach that point, they will most likely need a lot of rest and to be examined by a health professional.

Vets are usually on standby for races that require horses to travel very long distances in a short time.

One of the most famous races that do this is the Tevis Cup Race in the United States, which requires horses to travel 100 miles in 24 hours. This is not all at once and will often take about 11 to 15 hours, even for the winners.

In fact, at 100 miles in 15 hours, your horse is probably only traveling 9 miles per hour the entire time. That would be at a trot or canter, not a full gallop.

These horses that compete in the Tevis Cup Race are bred and trained for years in advance, so any regular trail horse should never have to try to compete in this race.

It should be noted that many horses do not finish the Tevis Cup Race, and even more may require a veterinary examination. 

5. What is the longest distance a horse can travel?

Horses were bred and built to be long-distance carriers of humans and stock, either by pulling carts or through saddlebags that humans carried with them.

For this reason, we expect them to be long-distance travel companions.

The longest you should really ride a horse at a slower pace (walk, trot, canter) can be about 32km in a day at a time.

Well cared for horses can travel for very long periods of time with time to rest, walk or hydrate and even feed.

This means that if you are looking to camp or go on very long rides, you can cover a lot of ground over a weekend or even a long week of travel.

Just make sure you and your horse are well prepared to undertake the trip and are able to protect yourself from potential hazards, such as dehydration, fatigue or injury.

6. How long can a horse run at top speed?

The average top speed of a horse is about 48 km per hour, but some horses have been known to reach 70 and even 80 km per hour!

These horses are usually very strong, well bred and are professionally trained to run or win endurance stretches like the Tevis Cup Race.

However, at top speed, your horse will only be able to run for about 5 to 8 minutes. At 5 minutes and 48 kilometers per hour, your horse could run for 2 miles without stopping.

This is actually a very good distance in a very short time and is remarkable for such a large animal!


Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can a horse run with a rider?

With a rider on its back, a horse can only run at a speed of 30 mph. Horses can run at an average speed of 30 mph when carrying a rider, and American Quarter Horses can reach speeds of 45–55 mph.

how fast can a quarter horse run?

There are records of quarter horses sprinting a mile quickly. 55mph. With the founding of the American Quarter Horse Association, Quarter Horse racing has a history dating back more than 200 years (AQHA).

What is the fastest speed ever achieved by a horse?

The fastest horse in the world was able to run at a top speed of 88.5 km/h.

How fast can a horse run 1 mile?

Two races took place on different grounds and because of these differences, they are considered speed records. The fastest race on dirt was 1 minute 32 seconds (39.1 mph), and the fastest race on grass was 1 minute 31 seconds (39.5 mph).

What is the fastest 1-mile, 70-yard race for a horse?

The record for the fastest 1-mile, 70-yard run for a horse was set in 1 minute 37 seconds (or 1:37.90 to be exact). This record was set by two racehorses named With Probability and Schedule. Schedule set the initial benchmark in 2004, followed by With Probability, which was able to achieve the same time in 2005.

Can a horse pass a car?

That would depend on the speed of the car! Horses typically gallop at about 25-30 mph, which means they could probably pass a car traveling in an urban area and within the speed limit. But a horse would certainly not be able to pass a car on the AutoRoute.

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