Have You Ever Wondered: How Fast Can A Horse Run?

Chong Lhungdim
Aug 31, 2023 By Chong Lhungdim
Originally Published on Oct 29, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Bay Arabian stallion running in field

Do you know the running speed of horses?

In the past, horses were used for transportation purposes. Apart from their running speed, they have a great amount of energy and strength that helped their rider reach far distance destinations easily.

You must understand that horses are not the fastest animal in the world and they have an average speed at a pace of around 25-30 mph (40-48 kph) when they are running normally or with a rider. However, their speed depends on the type of breed they belong to.

An American quarter horse is the fastest among the horse species with a top speed of 55 mph (88.52 kph). The top speed of horses, however, cannot match the speed of some of the other fastest animals, such as a cheetah, the fastest animal on earth, that has a running speed of 70 mph (112.65 kph).

However, horse are still some of the fastest land animals in nature.

A horse cannot be outrun by humans. They have also been used by warriors and armies during war due to their strength and ability to carry their rider safely.

A horse is incapable of running 60 mph (96.56 kph) as their maximum speed is 55 mph (88.52 kph). The quickest quarter mile covered by a quarter horse is about 20.68 mph (33.28 kph).

Their speed peaks when they turn four and a half years, however, it decreases to an average speed of 25-30 mph (40-48 kph) when they turn 10 years old. People who are considering getting a horse must keep themselves informed about the different breeds and their running speed.

But this depends on your purpose of getting a horse.

A breed of fast horses might come with a hefty price since they are highly valued, which is why buyers always ensure that a horse can run fast. How fast can their horse keep up is also another thing that buyers look out for.

If you want to check out similar content, you can also visit these horse facts and how fast can a hippo run.

How fast can a horse run a mile?

A horse can run at an average speed of 30 mph (38.28 kph) roughly at a gallop, which means it has the ability to complete 2 mi (3.22 km) distance easily within eight minutes or less.

In this case, they can cover 1 mi (1.6 km) in around two to three minutes if they run at a speed of 30 mph (38.28 kph).

Horse racing records shows that the fastest speed covered by one of the fastest horse species, known as the quarter horse, in a sprint race was a top speed of 55 mph (88.52 kph). This horse racing record is shows that most horses can cover a distance of a a mile within minutes.

Due to their great speeds, many people were seen riding horses for traveling, before cars were introduced.

As per recorded, the winning brew, which is a thoroughbred, is known to hold the record for being the fastest race horse by completing two furlongs with a speed of 43.97 mph (70.76 kph) in just 20:57 minutes.

This was in 2008, and the winning brew has held onto this record ever since. Also, the Kentucky Derby race recorded a legendary secretariat (horse), aged three, covering a quarter mile at a speed of 38 mph (61.15 kph) in 1973.

It was considered to be one of the youngest and fastest horse in the following years by the Kentucky Derby.

Running 1 mi (1.6 km) is a piece of cake for horses, while some humans may find this tricky. Race horse breeds are well-trained to run tracks for racing, and they could cover 1 mi (1.6 km) in just two minutes.

The world record holder, an American quarter horse, can cover 1 mi (1.6 km) in less than two minutes.

How fast can a mustang horse run in mph?

Today, scientists breed the fastest horses they can find to produce the fastest horses genetically, with a great speed for racehorse purposes. However, genetically modified techniques also emerged during the 1600s, where English and Spanish horses were bred to create a record breaking horse breed with great speed, known as the quarter horse.

The quarter breed has been quite fast and strong, with the ability to cover a great distance quickly. One of the horses that can cover a great distance with a fast speed is the Mustang horse.

The Mustang horse breed has a top speed gallop, recorded to be around 55 mph (88 kph). They can easily beat their opponent on a short sprint race with this speed of 55 mph (88 kph).

This horse can run quickly and could cover great distances within a matter of few minutes. However, in general, their galloping speed, at an average if 30-40 mph (48.28-64.27 kph), is comparable to mid-size breeds of horse. Mustangs have also been used as racehorse for long distances due to their great speeds.

How fast can a horse run at full speed?

Horses have been quite useful for humans since the beginning. They have been used for many purposes such as transportation and riding long distances.

They are friendly, easy and comfortable to ride, and loyal to their owners. The world record for a horse gallop at a sprint distance is 55 mph (88 kph), which can easily beat its opponents in a short time. However, other normal horses gallop at an average of 25-30 mph (40-48 kph).

At full speed, horses can cover 2 mi (3.22 km) within several minutes. But this totally depends on the breed they belong to.

They can only run at full speed for a short time, since they get tired and can get dizzy if they have not been fed properly before running. Therefore, if you own a pet horse, make sure to give them proper care and diet so that they do not get dizzy when they run.

How fast can a horse run in a marathon?

As per records, the fastest marathon ran by a horse is one hour and 20 minutes. There has also been a marathon race between a man and a horse. A horse keeps winning since the speed of a human is way slower than a horse.

A horse can maintain a speed between 30-40 mph (48-64.37 kph) during a marathon race. However, most of the time, the running speed of a horse depends on the distance of the track.

A horse can run efficiently by making movements like trotting, walking, galloping, backing, and cantering. All of these movements helps them in winning many races. Horses can outrun not only humans, but they can also beat other animals like bears in a race.

However, a cheetah can easily beat a horse at their top speed if they were made to race. Horses may run the same speed at 10 years old as well, but they get slower with age.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Have you ever wondered: how fast can a horse run?

then why not take a look at Do you know all the animals with shells? What are shells made of?, or How do you know when a watermelon is ripe? Tips to pick ripe watermelon.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Chong Lhungdim

Bachelor's degree specializing in Economics, Master's degree specializing in Public Policy

Chong Lhungdim picture

Chong LhungdimBachelor's degree specializing in Economics, Master's degree specializing in Public Policy

With extensive knowledge in economics, public policy, and finance, Chong is a highly qualified professional with a Bachelor's degree in Economics St Andrew's College of Arts, Science and Commerce and a Postgraduate degree in Public Policy from the University of Mumbai. Her enthusiasm for research and content writing has led her to develop expertise in various fields of economic and public policy analysis. Chong has experience in research, data analysis, and producing high-quality content.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

Read full bio >