Characteristic and Uses of the Standardbred Horse
From Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org
Standardbred harness racing horses are so called because in the early years of
the Trotting Registry, the standardbred stud book established in the United
States in 1879 by the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders, only
horses who could race a mile in a standard time or better, or whose get could
race a mile in standard time or better, were entered in the book.
Standardbred Horse History
The first harness racers on North America were the Narragansett Pacer and the
Canadian Pacer. Crosses between English Thoroughbreds and other breeds,
including the Norfolk Trotter, the Hackney, the Morgan and the Canadian Pacer
produced a horse that was the predecessor to the Standardbred.
In the 17th century, the first trotting races were held in the Americas,
usually in fields on ridden horses. However, by the mid-18th century, trotting
races were held on official courses, with the horses in harness. Breeders
selected bloodlines that would produce the fastest horses, with one of the
most notable sires being the gray English Thoroughbred Messenger, who was
exported to the United States in 1788. He produced both runners and trotters,
and the trotters possessed great speed and heart. His descendant, the
legendary Hambletonian 10, was born in 1849. He was sold, his owners thinking
he was worthless, but later became one of the most prolific sires of
Standardbreds, today with nearly every trotter or pacer tracing its lineage
back to him.
The name "Standardbred" was first used in 1879, due to the fact that, in order
to be registered, every Standardbred had to be able to trot or pace a mile
within the standard 2 minute, 30 second time. Today, many Standardbreds race
much faster than this original standard, with several running the mile within
1 minute, 50 seconds.
The stud book was formed in 1939, with the formation of the United States
Trotting Horse Association.
Standardbred Horse Breed Characteristics
Standardbreds have shorter legs than the American thoroughbred race horses and
longer bodies. They also are of more placid dispositions, as suits horses
whose races involve more strategy and more re-acceleration than do
thoroughbred races. Standardbreds are very people-oriented, easy-to-train
They are generally a bit stockier than their Thoroughbred cousins, but have
refined legs and powerful shoulders and hindquarters. The breed is built very
square, not as refined as the Thoroughbred, but are very sound and sturdy.
Standardbreds have a wide range of heighth: from 14.1-17hh, and generally come
in bay or brown, although other colors are seen.
Uses of the Standardbred Horse
Standardbreds are known for their skill in harness racing, being the fastest
trotting horse in the world. In continental Europe all harness races are
conducted between trotters. A trotter's forelegs move in unison with the
opposite hind legs -- when the right foreleg moves forward so does the left
hind leg, and vice versa. In Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United
Kingdom, and the United States, races are also held for pacers. Pacers'
forelegs move in unison with the hind legs on the same side.
Because of their skill, Standardbreds are often used to upgrade other breeds
of harness racers around the world. However, many are finding careers off the
track. The Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization, founded in the US in the
1980s, helps promote the breed for other disciplines.
The breed has all the usual gaits, and pacers can be retrained to trot. The
breed is quite good at jumping, making them suitable for the hunters, jumpers,
or eventing. The breed is also
seen in dressage, and their excellent temperaments make them good trail or
Perfectly Adorable Plush Stuffed Horses