Ride Around the World Horse: The Thoroughbred of England
In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week.
Environment: Cool temperate
Origin: 17th-18th century
Colors: All solid
The Thoroughbred is the fastest and most valuable of the world's horses and supports a huge, multinational breeding and racing industry. The Thoroughbred is also the essential element in the production of competition horses, and the principal means of improving many other breeds.
Breeding: The breed evolved in England in the 17th and 18th centuries when native "running horses" were crossed with oriental stallions. The foundation horses were the Byerley Turk (1689), the Darley Arabian (1704), and the Godolphin Arabian (1728). They produced the four principal Thoroughbred lines: Herod, Eclipse, Matchem, and Highflyer, who was Herod's son.
Characteristics: A horse of great quality, the Thoroughbred has near-perfect proportions, which are long in comparison with those of more heavily built breeds. It has great athletic ability, and physical and mental stamina. Thoroughbreds are courageous in the extreme, but they are highly strung and sometimes have difficult temperaments.
Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Thoroughbred.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 152–153.