English Thoroughbred Horse
Few breeds, (besides perhaps the Arabian & the Andalusian) have traveled as far & as wide as the English (or British) Thoroughbred animals have. While racing horses has been a sport for as long as we have been on their back, the British took horse racing to another level entirely.
The Thoroughbred breed comes from three famous foundation sires that were imported into the UK early in the 18th century, The Darley Arabian, Byerley Turk & Godolphin Barb. These were crossed with mares whose blood came from imported Iberian Andalusians, African Barbs, and Turkish animals.
The exact bloodlines of the foundation sires is shrouded in mystery and hotly contested. It has always been believed that the two Arabians imported were of meticulously pure lines. However, pure Arabian horses were difficult to obtain due to political reasons & because good animals were only sold when necessary. Chances are the three foundation studs had bits of other genetic material in their makeup. The Godolphin Barb came directly from Morocco and was at first only used as a teaser and even after his value as a stud was proven, was not bred into the line as often as the Arabians.
Over the centuries different breeds have contributed bits & pieces to the lineage of modern day Thoroughbreds and some say that without new blood the breed tends to degenerate.
Three Basic Types
Sprinter – Tall with a long body & very fast.
Stayer – Smaller with a shorter body and more staying power.
Middle Distance – Well-sloped shoulder & shorter back, well suited for cross country events.
Average height 15 – 17 hands
Head is small & elegant with a straight profile
Ears are well-proportioned & active
Eyes are large & lively
Neck is usually long & may be slightly arched
Back is long
Tail is set high
Chest is high & wide
Legs are long with wide, clean joints
Hooves are small
Full of energy but kind
Willing and quick learning
Eventing & competition horse
Improving other breeds