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 www.jockeyclub.com
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