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Choosing a Thoroughbred

By: PetPlace Staff

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The thoroughbred is well known for being the world's supreme racehorse. Originating in England, the breed has a long and illustrious history. No other horse breed can run as far and as fast as the thoroughbred.

History and Origin

Centuries ago, horses from Spain, Turkey, Italy and Africa were imported into England and bred with native stock in an attempt to develop the best racing horse around. It is thought that in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the Barb, Barbary, Arabian, Hobby and Galloway horses were used as foundation stock for the modern thoroughbred.

Many people agree that there are three founding fathers of the thoroughbred breed. Each stallion is the founder of one of the three principal lines of the modern thoroughbred.

  • In 1680, the Byerley Turk was captured at Buda and imported to England. This stallion was bred to native English stock and his great great grandson was named Herod. This became the development of the Herod line.

  • In 1700, the Darley Arabian foaled and was imported from the Syrian port of Aleppo to England. This stallion eventually founded the Eclipse line.

  • In 1724, the Godolphin Arabian foaled in Yemen. This horse was eventually acquired by Lord Godolphin and founded the Matchem line.

    Over time, the three basics types of thoroughbred were developed. The sprinter is tall with a long body and is very fast. The stayer is a smaller horse with a shorter body. This type is known for stamina. The third type is the middle distance horse. This type has well sloped shoulders, a shorter back and sloping croup. This type excels in cross-country events.

    A General Stud Book was first developed in 1808 and a horse is classified as thoroughbred if both parents are entered in the book.

    Appearance

    The thoroughbred has a small yet elegant head with a high chest. The profile is straight and the neck long with well-sloped shoulders. The back is also long and prominent at the withers. Overall, the thoroughbred has the appearance of the ultimate racing machine.

    The thoroughbred averages 16 hands in height. A variety of solid colors are possible, some with white markings.

    Abilities and Personality

    The thoroughbred is a handsome, alert and spirited horse. They seem to have boundless courage and immense stamina. The breed is known for endurance, agility and a big heart.

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