In 2003, Maryland also appointed the Thoroughbred its State Horse.

Young thoroughbreds are raced at an early age before their bones have fully developed and leg problems and injuries often arise. Although they were once bred not for their looks but purely and simply for their speed, good conformation has an impact on speed and hardiness. The shoulder is big and muscular and the withers tend to be high.

The Thoroughbred

The term ‘Thoroughbred’ has several different meanings. It seems generally agreed that, of these three, only the Darley Arabian was a true Arab, The Byerley was almost certainly a Turkmene type and the Godolphin a Barb.

The Godolphin Arabian was foaled in Yemen before going to Syrian then Tunis. The 2nd Earl of Godophin acquired the stallion. These adoption agencies endeavour to match a horse with a new owner. Thoroughbreds are most often associated with the horse-racing industry although they are also used in many other equestrian disciplines.

The ribcage is deep and rounded and the chest wide with plenty of room for heart and lungs. There are strict criteria to be met and often an adoption fee is required.

Once past racing, a thoroughbred can face an uncertain future. He was purchased by Thomas Darley in Aleppo, Syria in 1704, shipped to Yorkshire, England and bred to selected racing mares. One of his get was Flying Childers, arguably the first really great race-horse. Some strains are particularly nervy and highly strung but have been kept on because of their speed. To excel at another discipline, he needs re-training and re-educating so although they may be quite cheap to acquire, an ex-racehorse is not the best mount for an inexperienced rider.

The overall impression is one of elegance, toughness and quality. Matchem was also noted for his impeccable temperament, a vast improvement on the highly strung, nervous individuals of the day.

The main period of expansion was probably when the 1800s when the thoroughbred found its way to Australia, Europe, Japan and South America. Some thoroughbreds have suspect feet with poor horn, low heels and flat soles.

Between 1660 and 1750, around 200 horses were imported into England from the Orient. Eclipse was never beaten in a race and 90% of all registered thoroughbreds trace back to him.

Thoroughbreds generally need more sensitive, skilled handling. He has been trained to gallop at top speed virtually every time he is saddled and to pass all others if he can. It was gifted to the French king and later was taken to England. Eclipse was another to have Darley Arabian blooc. Some thoroughbreds are produced purely for disciplines other than racing while some find their way to show-jumping or eventing careers when their racing careers are over. Three of these are recognized as being the foundation sires of the thoroughbred world. In the horse world, it is also used by people to describe a purebred of a breed. The three are the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian. Initially horse-racing was the pastime of the aristocracy and gentry but its popularity, and the lure of gambling, has seen racing and breeding of the thoroughbred spread to every corner of the globe.

The Darley Arabian is considered the most important of the three. In the extremes of horse disciplines such as eventing, hunting and show-jumping, professional riders look for at least some thoroughbred blood to provide courage and speed. Those that are too small for the race-track find a home on the polo field providing their temperament is not too fiery.. Some are only suitable as companion animals.

Thoroughbreds average around 16 hands. Thoroughbreds need more protection from the elements than ‘native’ or cross breeds and they usually require supplementary feeding year round.

The thoroughbred has been used to ‘improve’ many breeds.Breeds such as the Hanoverian, Trakenher, Holsteiner and Irish Draught  have at least some Thoroughbred blood, thus providing speed, courage and beauty. He will often need supplementary feeding and rugging through cold weather. However the thoroughbred is also a distinct breed in its own right. One of his progeny was Matchem, a race-horse par excellence.

The oriental influence is seen, not only in the refinement and speed of the breed, but also in the fine coat which thickens and lengthens only slightly in the winter. They are highly intelligent, quick and eager to please. There are now literally millions of thoroughbreds and they are spread all over the globe.

The head is straight, lean and elegant with large eyes and finely chiseled ears. Most warmblood breeds such as the Swiss and Dutch Warmbloods have a large percentage of Thoroughbred blood.

The breed had its origins in England back in the early 1700s and selective breeding is still going on, resulting in faster and faster times on the race-track.

Thoroughbreds were imported into the United States from the 1730s. They are typically more highly strung and temperamental than most other breeds. Animals with suspect conformation are more likely to ‘break down’ if their action is faulty or their legs insubstantial.

Today, all thoroughbreds in the General Stud Book, which was established in 1791, trace back to these three foundation sires.

Other oriental horses, especially Arabs, figured in the early development. The racing industry is huge in America. Others are laid back and lovable. The nostrils are open and capable of flaring allowing maximum airflow when racing at speed.

The most rapid development in improvement of performance took place during the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. If someone says of his dog ‘It’s a thoroughbred’ he is saying that it is a purebred saluki or whippet or whatever. One of his most illustrious sons was Herod, who became an important name in the pedigrees of many of the early thoroughbreds.

The thoroughbred has a quality and athleticism that has become the benchmark for a perfect equine.

There are now a number of rescue organizations that take in ex-racehorses and try to find good homes for them. The thoroughbred has a streamlined body with long, slender legs and strong, muscular hindquarters. The stallion was shipped to England and bred to native mares. When crossed with native British horses and ponies, the progeny were larger with a longer stride, more scope and more speed.

The Byerley Turk gets his name from Captain Robert Byerley who captured the stallion from the Turks. Eclipse was never beaten in a race and 90% of all registered thirst really great race-horse. InKentucky, the Thoroughbred was designated the ‘Official State Horse’ in 1996. There is good length from the hip to the stifle. The hooves are tough. Eclipse was another to have Darley Arabian blood

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