Thoroughbred Breed Information


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 mares that these stallions were bred to were native racing mares, most likely Scottish Galloways.


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.

The thoroughbred can range anywhere from under 15hh to over 17hh but its most common height is just over 16hh.

Uses :
While the thoroughbred was originally bred to and is best known for racing they are also very popular in other events, particularly English events. It is not uncommon to see thoroughbreds competing in events such as dressage and show jumping. They can make excellent western mounts as well but it is less common. Thoroughbreds are however sometimes crossed with quarter horses to create a horse suitable for western speed events. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) allows TB crosses to be registered as Appendix Quarter Horses.


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