The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word "thoroughbred" is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered a hotblooded horse, known for their agility, speed and spirit.
The head should be correctly proportioned to the rest of the body, displaying a good flat forehead and wide-set intelligent eyes. Carried relatively low, the head should sit well on a neck which is somewhat longer and lighter than in other breeds.
Good quality Thoroughbreds have high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, and long legs.
Average life span of a Thoroughbred horse is somewhere between 25 to 35 years, depending on the health care provided.
Being a hot-blooded horse, the Thoroughbred is courageous and alert. Sometimes nervous, these horses are spirited and excitable. As true racing machines, the Thoroughbred is fast and athletic.
All modern Thoroughbreds trace back to three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerley Turk (1680s), the Darley Arabian (1704), and the Godolphin Arabian (1729). Other stallions of oriental breeding were less influential, but still made noteworthy contributions to the breed. These included the Alcock Arabian, D'Arcy's White Turk, Leedes Arabian, and Curwen's Bay Barb. Another was the Brownlow Turk, who, among other attributes, is thought to be largely responsible for the gray coat color in Thoroughbreds.
The descendants of these sires were bred and crossbred to create a horse that was very fast, yet strong. Almost all of the selective breeding was for one purpose, to produce the fastest horse on the track. It has a wide girth for a large lung capacity, and strong legs for hard running. The shoulder is long and sloped to allow a greater stride. The hind leg is long so that it can gain greater ground quickly. Everything about the breed suggests speed.
The horses were shipped to America almost with the first settlers. Governor Samuel Ogle established racing competitions in Annapolis in 1745. Colonel Sanders D. Bruce started a studbook in the late 1800’s. Soon after the Jockey Club took over the responsibility and continues to do it today.
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