OKLAHOMA CITY – It has taken 115 years for Oklahoma to celebrate one of the state’s most valuable assets.

The American Quarter Horse was named on Wednesday as Oklahoma’s official state horse.  

State senator Blake “Cowboy” Stephens authored the bill.

“This (legislation) is very important to me,” Stephens said. “The day was surreal.”

Stephens saddled up his own horse and encouraged Gov. Kevin Stitt to ride horseback with him from the Governor’s Mansion to the state Capitol for the bill signing ceremony.  

“I rode Concho, my quarter horse and the governor rode another of my quarter horses, Redman,” Stephens said.

Stephens, a third-generation cowboy, said he and Redman have a long career together.

State senator Blake “Cowboy” Stephens and Concho.

The quarter horse joins the state flower, state fruit, state tree and state bird.

“We are a western way of life,” Stephens said referring to Oklahomans.  “The quarter horse goes deep into our state’s roots and is a reflection of Oklahoma.”

The quarter horse is one of the oldest breeds in America, he said. It is a descendant of the Colonial Spanish Mustang.

Oklahoma has more registered quarter horses per capita than anywhere else in the world, he said.

“The world,” Stephens said.

“There is no better way to honor our heritage while looking toward the future than establishing the Quarter Horse as our state’s horse.”  

Quarter horse racing brings in $491 million to the state coffers in revenue, he said.

Known as the horse show capital of the world, Oklahoma is host to more than a dozen national and world championship horse shows each year.  The American quarter horse show in Oklahoma City has an annual economic impact of $50 million, Stephens said.

“Fort Worth (city leaders) have been fighting for 20 years to get the show moved to Texas,” Stephens said.  “It’s that big.”

Agricultural is Oklahoma’s shining star and the quarter horse is the crown jewel, he said.