Thoroughbred Horse Breed History
From Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org
History of the Thoroughbred Horse
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed developed in 18th century England when
English mares were bred with imported
Arabian stallions to create a distance
racer. As "thoroughbred" is an adjective that describes being fully-blooded
descendants of a particular breed, some consider the proper name of this
particular breed to be English Running Horse, as horses of different breeds
can be said to be "thoroughbred" members of those breeds. It is more common,
however, to use "thoroughbred" to designate horses registered by the Jockey
Club of a given country, and "purebred" to refer to registered horses of any
breed, as in "purebred" Morgan, "purebred" Arabian, and "purebred"
All modern thoroughbreds descend from three stallions imported to England from
the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Darley Arabian,
the Godolphin Arabian, also known as the Goldophin Barb, and the Byerly Turk,
together with around 35 mares. (The first part of these stallions' names
refers to the stallion's British owner, the second part is an indicator of the
American Thoroughbred Horses
The first thoroughbred horse in the American Colonies was Bulle Rock, imported
by Samuel Gist of Hanover County, Virginia, in 1730, to sire improved foals.
Col. As a brood mare, Benjamin Tasker, Jr.'s "Selima," foaled at Earl
Godolphin's stud April 30, 1745 and shipped to Maryland in 1750, dominated the
18th century bloodlines as her descendent, "Lexington," dominated the
bloodlines of the 19th century. Though Maryland and Virginia were the centers
of Colonial thoroughbred breeding, the term "thoroughbred" was first used in
the United States in an advertisement in a Kentucky gazette to describe a New
Jersey stallion called Pilgarlick.
In the United Kingdom, the registry for these horses is maintained by The
Jockey Club. A different organization with the same name maintains the
registry in the United States. There are official Jockey Club registries in
many different countries. The first thoroughbred registry record, or "stud
book," was the creation of a single man in England in the 18th century, and is
believed to be the first invention of its kind.
Uses for Thoroughbred Horses
Although the thoroughbred is primarily bred for
racing, the breed is also used
for show jumping and combined training due to its athleticism, and many
retired race horses become fine family riding horses, endurance horses,
dressage horses, and youth show horses.
The typical thoroughbred stands 16 hands (64 inches/1.63 m) high, and is bay,
brown, chestnut, black or gray/roan in color. The face and lower legs may be
marked with white, but white will generally not appear on the body (although
certain color genes, usually found in chestnuts, result in white hairs and
white patches in the coat--the study of color genetics in horses is an
in-depth one). A handful of non-albino Thoroughbreds have been born with white
coats. For many years, The Jockey Club (USA) would not register a Thoroughbred
as white; most such horses were registered as grays. However, The Jockey Club
now recognizes white as a legitimate, though exceedingly rare, color.
Thoroughbred Race Horses
The thoroughbred is bred primarily for racing under saddle at the gallop.
There is variation in size and individual conformation (the structure and
appearance of the horse), and buyers of potential race horses select them
based on this conformation, their "page" (their pedigree and race record of
individuals in that pedigree as printed in an auction catalog), and their
overall health and soundness of wind and limb. Buyers of sprinters (horses who
will race shorter distances--up to a mile) generally select a more muscular
horse; those interested in training for the "classic" distances of over a mile
generally select a rangier, longer legged horse. Some families of
thoroughbreds are known primarily as sprinters or as distance runners,
primarily as horses who prefer to race on dirt tracks, or primarily as horses
who prefer turf tracks, such as those found in Europe. Buyers generally select
for larger individuals (Man O' War, Secretariat, Dr. Fager, and Forego were
famous, big horses), but a substantial number of famous race horses have been
small (War Admiral, Round Table,
Seabiscuit, Northern Dancer, and more
recently, Dalakhani and Smarty Jones, were famous, smaller horses).
Citation, the first Thoroughbred to earn $1 million over the course of his
racing career; Secretariat, set a world record by winning the Belmont Stakes
with a 31-length victory; and Seattle Slew, the first undefeated Triple Crown
Thoroughbred Race Horses
Many experts who purchase thoroughbreds attempt to assess a young horse's
potential by observing its overall structural balance, the athleticism and
willingness of its walk, the perceived intelligence of its outlook, and the
correct conformation of its legs. Buyers of more expensive horses often hire
veterinary experts to examine and report on the condition of the horse's
breathing apparatus, soundness of bone structure, and size of heart.
Thoroughbreds born in the Northern Hemisphere all become technically a year
older on January 1; those born in the Southern Hemisphere, on July 1. These
artificial dates have been set to enable the standardization of races for
horses in certain age groups.
Approximately 35,000 thoroughbred foals are registered each year in the U.S.
The largest number of foals are born in Kentucky, Florida, and California. The
thoroughbred industry is a huge agri-business. It supports tens of thousands
of jobs in each of these states, from jockeys, trainers, starters, grooms, and
kitchen employees at the race track, to farm employees assisting with the
birth of foals, the grooming of yearlings, or the growing and preparation of
feed, to veterinarians who understand and treat horses, to drivers of horse
vans who transport horses across country, to employees of auction houses that
specialize in the sale of horses, to employees of companies who develop
products to improve the lives of horses and people who work with them.
Wagering on races provides purses to the winners and taxes to the state.
The Thoroughbred Horse is the State Horse of Maryland.
Perfectly Majestic Plush Stuffed Thoroughbred Horses