The thoroughbred is a
tall, elegant, sleek and slender breed. Thoroughbreds have long
slim necks, and high withers. Their long legs combined with their
short backs, long undersides and strong, thick, compact muscles
(especially in the hind quarters) make them ideal for their primary
sport, long distance horse racing.
All Thoroughbreds trace
back to three foundation sires who were brought to England from
the Mediterranean Middle East during the 17th cenury. These sires,
all Arabians, were known as: the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian
and the Byerly Turk after their owners Thomas Darley, Lord Godolphin
and Captain Robert Byerly. The Byerly Turk was captured by Captain
Byerly from the Turks and was the first of the stallions to reach
Britain. His most well known foal, Herod, was born in 1758, and
was owned by Duke of Cumberland, the third son of King George II.
While Herod was not a particularly great race horse himself he contributed
to the thoroughbred breed as an excellent sire. The Darley Arabian
was the next to arrive in Britain. He was foaled in 1700 and purchased
as a four year old by Thomas Darley in Syria. The Darely Arabain
was transported to Yorkshire England where he was bred to many mares.
The most notable being a mare named Betty Leeds. It was from this
mare that two very exceptional colts were born. Their names were,
Flying Childers and Bartlet's Childers. Through these colts came
the great horse Eclipse, who was the great, great grandson of the
Darely Arabian. Last, but certainly not least was the Godolphin
Arabain. He was born in Yemen and given to the king of france as
a gift after having been shipped to Syria and Tunis. The second
earl of Godolphin came into possession of the horse and bred him
to several mares, the most notable being a mare named Roxana. Through
Roxana the Goddolphin Arabian sired Lath the greatest race horse
in England since Flying Childers, and Cade, who would sire Matchem
and it was Matchem who kept the Godolphin Arabian's bloodline alive.
The Jocky Club, the registry for the Thoroughbred breed, has reasonable registration rules regarding color: anything goes. All colors are accepted, however the most common colors in the breed are bay, chestnut, black, brown, and gray. Cream dilutes (palomino, buckskin, cremello, etc.) do exist, but are more rare. Pinto color genes do exist in the breed as well.
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