I’ve always had a sort of horsey travel bucket list of destinations I wanted to go to solely for their horse factor. Since I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a bit in my life and consider myself a bit of an adventurer, I’ve actually got to cross a lot of those destinations off my list.

Kentucky for all this horse.

Cigar at the Kentucky Horse Park
Cigar at the Kentucky Horse Park

Vienna for classical dressage.

Morning exercises... I snuck in a photo before I was yelled at
Morning exercises… I snuck in a photo before I was yelled at

Wellington for Hunter/jumper land.

International Ring at PBIEC
International Ring at PBIEC

You know what isn’t covered in that list above? Quarter Horses. Despite my complete and utter inability to actually purchase a Quarter Horse this year, I still love them above all else. When a road trip with a friend brought me somewhat close to Amarillo, I begged her to let me take a pit stop to check a destination off my horse travel list – the American Quarter Horse museum.

Amarillo is an interesting place. It is way more Texan than Austin or any other place in Texas I’ve visited, and the air has a distinct odor of cow shit to it. Before heading to the museum, we stopped for lunch at a place more cowy and more Texan than you can possibly imagine.

Moo.
Moo.
You can't imagine how cheesy this place is
You can’t imagine how cheesy this place is
Seemed right. Sorry cow.
Seemed right. Sorry cow.

After a most Texas lunch and walking around to the different Pokestops (gotta catch them all) around the restaurant grounds, we headed to the Quarter Horse museum. My inner twelve year old girl was pretty tickled to see a green highway exit signs for “Quarter Horse Blvd” and I pulled into the museum which is right on the side of the highway.

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Honestly, my favorite part of the museum is the outside which is surrounded by bronze statues of famous Quarter Horses. There was a cutting horse…

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Another working cow horse.

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A halter horse (that looked like a horse instead of a cow, so bonus!).

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Two race horses.

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A really neat mural that changed images depending on your perspective.

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And my favorite famous Quarter Horse, Rugged Lark.

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Once inside, you’re greeted with… prepare yourself because this is a shocker… another statue of a Quarter Horse.

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The museum is divided into sections which are all connected by the “great hall”. Looking down this hall, my main thought was, Oh yeah… this association has a LOT of money in it. It’s decidedly intimidating and impressive at the same time.

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The walls are lined with AQHA hall of fame horses and members from over the years. I was able to find Elvis’ great great great grandaddy pretty easily.

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Part of the floor is a pretty neat chart of all the founding pedigrees of Quarter Horses. This is so far back that I didn’t recognize any of the names, but I’m no pedigree expert.

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The end of the hallway is towered by a giant AQHA medallion. It’s the iconic version of the Quarter Horse you’ll see on registration papers and in show trophies. I loved this, and wanted a version for my living room. 🙂

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In one room on the hallway was a tiny theater that ran a Quarter Horse film on loop. We didn’t stay for the movie, but I loved the paintings in this room.

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They were all oil originals of famous Quarter Horses doing their thing. The paintings were done in a style that is very 60’s and something you don’t see often these days. They reminded me of illustrations from Marguerite Henry novels.

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Another section of the museum is devoted to kids education about Quarter Horses slash horses in general. This was super cheesy, and I didn’t take many pictures. At one point they had an animatronic talking horse and vet going over things like prepurchase exams and vaccinations. Since the talking horse didn’t say, “Quarter Horses often majorly fail vet checks because they’re aggressively shown and injected as two year olds!” I decided this section of the museum was pretty bogus.

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The entire upstairs of the museum is a timeline of Quarter Horses. This was pretty interesting with a lot of historic items that you don’t typically see. There were lots of trophies I would have like to won…

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And a lot more racing artifacts than I would have originally thought.

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This isn’t the world’s grandest museum or the best horse destination I’ve been to, but I was happy to check something off the horse travel bucket list. Plus it broke up a really long drive to New Mexico, but that destination is the story for another blog post.

22 COMMENTS

  1. What a cool museum! How can you not love Rugged Lark? He was just such a special horse. Also, love the Dash for Cash statue – my old children’s hunter was one of his grandbabies 🙂

  2. I have ALWAYS wanted to eat at that corny restaurant!! We drive through Amarillo on our way to various places (Colorado, New Mexico, and…Lubbock), but it’s never a convenient halfway point to stop. The museum looks pretty cool, though, so maybe next time I’ll just have to go!

  3. London has a lot of great horsey attractions, the Royal Mews and changing of the horse guards.

    I also dragged my mom to the Spanish Riding School and behind the scenes tour in Vienna. We also stumbled across the royal horse fountain/baths while in Salzburg, Austria.

    I would also recommend the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas to anyone with a horse related bucket list.

      • Go to pony penning!!!!!! My mom and I did that last year and it is such a hoot!!!!! Though make sure you sit on your hands during the auction- I wanted some of those babies soooooo bad!!!! Dreams of a Chincoteague eventing pony were mighty high that weekend hehehehe

  4. #ijustlovehorses i especially liked the vet exhibit where the “vet” talked about the prepurchase exam and the horse talked back and said he didn’t need one.

  5. Very cool! That looks like a good time. BTW, I love that song – the title for your blog post. I am now singing it at work 🙂

  6. Wow, a lot of money is right! Cool museum.

    Also, your post made me lol – that restaurant is still the butt of many jokes around here. My husband in his younger years ate that 72 oz steak on a bet and was still hungry after….and I’m still torn between laughing about his shameful request for dessert and being disgusted he ate that much of a cow in one sitting lol

  7. I’m probably showing how little I know about the QH world with this question, but is that 2nd racing horse’s name really “Refrigerator?” Also, Joseph and I saw that restaurant on Man v Food just a few weeks ago. So cheesy! Sounds like you guys had a fun trip, and I hope it was at least a little soul-restoring to drive through the desert in search of horses.

  8. Sounds like a fun place to visit if for no other reason than – Why Not? Pretty cool and sounds like you had fun. WIN!

  9. I used to show Quarter Horses and I have like 8 bronzes I won like those in the trophy case. My horsey self can’t part with them, but my hunter self is kind of embarrassed to show them off! I just need to make a place for them in my barn or tack room and call it a day. I’m glad you enjoyed the museum!

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