The average horse can run at about 30 miles per hour. Horses that are bred to run long distances have been recorded to run up to 40 miles per hour. Quarter horses bred for racing short distances have been reported to run as fast as 50 miles per hour. The highest race speed is recorded at 43.97 miles per hour by Winning Brew in Grantville, PA. on May 14, 2008.
A horse's gait is loosely classified into two categories: the natural gait and the ambling gait. The natural gait is the way a horse walks, trots, and runs naturally. The ambling gait involves some natural movement, but with some specific breeds, it refers to learned behavior resulting from a lot of training. Once trained, the rider can request certain types of ambling gaits from the horse.
The walk is a natural gait that averages about 4 miles per hour. It keeps to a 1-2-3-4 beat, and variations of this natural gait can be trained to become ambling gaits. The trot is a two-beat gait with a variety of speeds. The average speed of the trot is 8 mils per hour. The canter is a three-beat ambling gait and averages 10 to 17 miles per hour. Gallop is similar to the canter but can be natural or controlled. It averages 25 to 30 miles per hour.