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How Fast Can a Horse Run? Fastest Records + Average Speeds

Dean Eby

July 4, 2021

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest horse in the world was clocked at 43.97 mph. However, this speed was calculated over a ¼ mile to obtain an average speed. There are unofficial records of Chickasaw Indian Thoroughbred horses reaching speeds of 55 mph.

There are many different breeds of horses, and they all have different running speeds. Some aren’t actually made to run very fast, so they can’t run nearly as fast as you think. Others are extremely fast.

Some breeds can also preform extra gaits, which can change their speed substantially.

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What Are the Speeds of Different Gaits?

horse running_RebeccasPictures_ Pixabay
Image Credit: RebeccasPictures, Pixabay

There are four main horse gaits. The fourth fastest one is the a four-beat walk. The next one up is the two-beat trot, which is similar to a job. The three-beat canter is the second fastest speed, while the gallop is the fastest.

Both the trot and the canter have a speed of about 8.1 to 17 mph. Different horses travel these gaits at different speeds. A horse galloping can run anywhere from 25 to 30 mph. However, this can vary a lot, depending on the breed and training of the horse. Some horses simply run faster than others.

What’s the Fastest Horse Breed?

American Quarter horse_jacotakepics, Shutterstock
Image Credit: jacotakepics, Shutterstock

This depends on how far you’re wanting the horse to run. The American Quarter Horse is one of the fastest in shorter distances. Their top speed is around 55 miles per hour.

For longer distances, the Thoroughbred Horse usually wins at long distances, though. They usually gallop at about 44 mph. But they can run for a longer period at this speed. They have a higher stamina.

The Arabian comes in next, running at around 34-40 mph. They are more designed for short distances at all. Appaloosas run at around 30-41 mph and can run at all ranges.

The Akhal-Teke, Standardbred, and Mustang can all run around 30-49 mph.

What is the Fastest Speed a Horse has Run?

The fastest a horse has ever run was 55 mph. This speed was set by an American Quarter Horse, while makes it the fastest horse breed in the world.


Featured Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.