The Quarter Horse is named for its legendary speed when sprinting at distances of a quarter of a mile or less. This famous burst of speed is one of the reasons they are popular choices for competitive events such as barrel racing, team roping, or steer wrestling. Their speed is also a factor in making them a popular choice for use as ranch horses.
In addition to speed, Quarter Horses are also famed for their “cow sense.” A horse with cow sense has the innate ability to “read” a cow (or bull, etc.). This uncanny ability to understand what a cow is thinking, and what it is liable to do next, makes Quarter Horses excel at ranch work, and also in competitive sports such as cutting and sorting.