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The English Thoroughbred is the quintessential horse breed for those who seek a combination of strength, athleticism, and grace. It is highly prized among equestrians worldwide for its unique characteristics.
Origin and history of breeding English Thoroughbred horses
Horse racing has undoubtedly taken place in many countries since ancient times. The Greeks and Romans enjoyed exciting and dangerous chariot races, and winning charioteers and their horses had a fan following just as rock stars and football teams do today! However, the ultimate racehorse emerged in Britain in the eighteenth century, and the reason for this is complex and fascinating. Although described as English Thoroughbreds, several types and breeds of horse contributed to their creation. Many people have heard of the three founding fathers of “Oriental” type (that is, Arabian, Turkoman and Barb), who are held to be the originators of the Thoroughbred. These three are the Byerley Turk, the Godolphin Arabian (or Barb) and the Darley Arabian. In fact, many imported sires contributed to the Thoroughbred. However, far fewer people know of the other horses, some of them pony-sized, who contributed in early times. These were the Galloways of Scotland and the somewhat larger Hobbies of Ireland, both of which were extremely fast riding and racing horses, and very well-known from late medieval times onward. DNA has now shown that the speed gene came from these types of British and Irish horse. Formal racing for prizes, particularly of bells made from silver and gold, was established at places like Chester and Carlisle in the sixteenth century, long before the arrival of horses of Oriental type. From the late seventeenth century onwards, hundreds of horses of “Oriental” type were imported into Britain and they too contributed to the development of the Thoroughbred. Rulers such as Charles II were keen racegoers and even took part in races themselves. While Newmarket became the centre for racing in England, there were numerous other racecourses throughout the country and racing became a popular sport for all classes.
English Thoroughbred horses in equestrianism
From Eclipse and Hyperion to Red Rum and Desert Orchid, the sight of Thoroughbreds demonstrating their power and speed on the green turf of a racecourse is still an essential part of English culture. Thoroughbreds are one of the main contributors to modern international warmblood sports horses.
Use and characteristics of the English Thoroughbred
Although English Thoroughbreds mostly require special care and management, this is well repaid by their performance and spirit. Standing between 15 hands (60 inches/152 cm) and 17 (68 inches/173 cm) hands high, these tall, deep-barrelled horses require confident handling. For this reason, it is generally experienced equestrians who buy an English Thoroughbred. Racing Thoroughbreds tend to be of two types: flat racers and steeplechasers. Flat racers are bred for speed over limited distances, while steeplechasers are larger, stronger and also slower, as they jump obstacles while they are racing over longer courses. When vendors sell an English Thoroughbred for racing, they are often described by category, as either sprinters, stayers, or middle-distance horses. Thoroughbreds and their crosses with other breeds make successful eventers, show jumpers and dressage horses.
Interior of English Thoroughbred horses
The English Thoroughbred has a highly prized character, combining strength, courage and an eagerness to please. These animals are exceptionally intelligent and quick learners, which make them ideal for breeding or competition. Their physical appearance is also noteworthy, they have slender legs and deep chests, providing them with an athletic frame that allows for incredible speed across different terrains. They exhibit great stamina and power in their movements too. This makes them popular with racing enthusiasts around the world. The breed has a particular fondness towards humans as well; it is known to be very friendly and trusting towards its owners. The English Thoroughbred possesses a unique blend of elegance and agility that truly sets it apart from other horses. This combination of beauty, grace and intelligence make these horses some of the most sought-after equine companions in the world.
Exterior of English Thoroughbred horses
The English Thoroughbred is easily recognizable by its signature white markings along with its bold facial features, beautiful mane and unique color patterns. These horses often come in shades ranging from bay to dark brown with dark tails, and manes. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they also have an impressive speed that draws admiration from equestrians worldwide. This breed is considered the ultimate athlete among horses. They have a muscular physique that enables powerful movements and great agility. The English Thoroughbred is sure to turn heads wherever it goes; whether it's racing on flat tracks or galloping across open pastures!
History of English Thoroughbred horses
The English Thoroughbred has a long and impressive history, dating back to the 1600s. This breed was developed through strategic selective breeding in England. Initially, Arabians were crossed with native English horses to create the foundation of the breed we know today. Over time, other influences such as Neapolitan and Barb horses have been introduced to improve speed and agility. All English Thoroughbreds can be traced back to a single sire, known as the ‘Godolphin Arabian’. He is credited for having an incredible impact on the breed's lineage, his descendants account for about 95% of all modern thoroughbreds! The English Thoroughbred holds a special place in equestrian culture. These intelligent creatures have earned their spot at racetracks, show rings, and prestigious competitions all around the world.
With a unique blend of athleticism and grace that comes from centuries of selective breeding, it’s easy to see why the English Thoroughbred is one of the most revered breeds among equestrians everywhere. Their combination of beauty, power and intelligence makes them ideal candidates for any discipline or purpose desired by their owners.