August 23, 2008 | | Comments 0

Thoroughbred Horses

Thoroughbred Horses

Thoroughbred Horses

Thoroughbred Horses: A Source of English Pride

Thoroughbred horses are among the most popular horses in the world. One can’t afford not to mention them when the topic of horse breeding and horse racing comes up. They are indeed prime examples of ideal purebred racers.

Thoroughbred History

For a centuries old breed, the Thoroughbred doesn’t have a very complicated history. It is probably because of their elevated status in the hearts of Englishmen and racers around the world that the story of their origins cannot easily be forgotten. Although all horse breed stories begin with their foundation sires, the story of the Thoroughbred correctly begins with the story of a people.

As early as the 12th century, Englishmen have been known to be fond of racing horses. Even with just native stock available and rough roads to race on, the preoccupation with racing has never waned. It is said that this form of recreation was popular among both the common people and the nobility. It was the royalty however who eventually paved the way for the breeding of better horses for racing. It was with royal patronage that the first efforts at breeding racehorses began in the 1600s and continued to the next century.

Three foundation stallions are credited for being the ancestors of modern English Thoroughbreds. These horses were of Arabian blood and carried the names of its owners Lord Francis Godolphin, Thomas Darley and Captain Robert Byerly. These horses were paired with local mares to produce the celebrated Thoroughbred. Unlike other breeds, the development, spread and international recognition of this breed proceeded at a swift pace. Horse racing became an official part of English culture by the 1700s and in the same century, the Thoroughbred stud book was opened and the breed was also exported to America. The stud book for the breed in the U.S. was opened a century or so later.

Since the introduction of the Thoroughbred to the rest of the world, it has come to influence several breeds. In America alone, breeds with Thoroughbred influence include the Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Standardbred breeds.

Horse Traits

The Thoroughbred conformation clearly reflects the influence of the Arabian breed through its lean and refined profile. At the same time though, the breed also exhibits more muscle and strength compared to other warmblood breeds. An ideal Thoroughbred has a long neck, short back, sloping shoulders, deep chest and long legs. Lean muscles are apparent in the entirety of the body. Most Thoroughbred stand at more or less 16 hands and come in solid colors of black, bay, chestnut, palomino, gray and roan with minor white markings allowed. As warmblooded horses, these horses are also typically brave, athletic and spirited. A true Thoroughbred is a combination of speed, agility and power.

From the very beginning, Thoroughbreds were meant for racing. These days though, the breed has also been found to perform well in jumping and dressage. Of course, there are some horse owners who simply wish to own this breed just for the pleasure and distinction of owning one.

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