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racer extraordinaire

The Thoroughbred stands a little over 16 hands on average. The neck is somewhat longer and lighter than in other breeds. The withers are high and well defined, leading to an evenly curved back. The legs are clean and long with pronounced tendons and move smoothly in unison through one plane. Coat colors may be bay, dark bay, chestnut, black or gray, with roans being seen on rare occasion, and white markings on both face and legs are common

The Thoroughbred traces its ancestry back to three stallions -- the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian, and the Byerly Turk -- brought to England from the Mediterranean Middle East around the turn of the 17th century and bred to the stronger, but less precocious, native horse. The result was a breed that can carry weight with sustained speed over extended distances. High-spirited and excitable, the Thoroughbred has powerful lungs and strong legs. All of these qualities together make the Thoroughbred one of the most popular breeds in the world of horse racing. Many of the most famous race horses in history were Thoroughbreds -- Man o'War, who won 20 of 21 starts; Citation, a Triple Crown winner; Secretariat, another Triple Crown winner; and Seattle Slew, the first undefeated winner of the Triple Crown. Thoroughbreds are also bred for jumping and hunting; they also make excellent polo horses.

The Jockey Club


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  The Robinson Library > Agriculture > Animal Culture > Horses > Breeds, A-Z

This page was last updated on July 29, 2015.

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