Standardbred Horses
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About Standardbred HorsesAbout Standardbred Horses



Standardbred horses are an American horse breed best known harness racing, where members of the breed compete at either a trot or pace. They are robust, rugged, loyal, sensible, level-headed, willing, and capable of doing any job asked. Standardbred horses have a reputation for being 'bombproof' and many adoptions off the racetrack find homes as stellar trail horses for families. Standardbred horses have also been used as police horses for their dependability and stoicism. Standardbreds adapt easily to any riding discipline and show intelligence and willingness. Therefore, you will find them more and more as outstanding horses in many riding styles and all types of competition.



In the 17th century, the first trotting races were held in the Americas, usually in fields on horses under saddle. However, by the mid-18th century, trotting races were held on official courses, with the horses in harness. Breeds that have contributed foundation stock to the Standardbred breed included the Narragansett Pacer, Canadian Pacer, Thoroughbred, Norfolk Trotter, Hackney, and Morgan.

 



The foundation bloodlines of the Standardbred trace to a Thoroughbred foaled in England in 1780 named Messenger. He was a gray stallion imported to the United States in 1788. He sired a number of flat racing horses, but was best known for his great-grandson, Hambletonian 10, also known as Rysdyk's Hambletonian, foaled in 1849 and considered the foundation sire of the breed and from whom all Standardbreds descend. Hambletonian 10 was out of a dam with Norfolk Trotter breeding, and the mare and foal were purchased by William Rysdyk, a farm hand from New York state, who successfully raced the colt as a three-year-old against other horses. The horse went on to sire 1,331 offspring, 40 of whom trotted a mile in under 2 minutes 30 seconds.



Standardbreds tend to be more muscled and longer bodied than the Thoroughbred. They also are of more placid dispositions, as suits horses whose races involve more strategy and more changes of speed than do Thoroughbred races. Standardbreds are considered people-oriented, easy-to-train horses.



 

Standardbred Horses are generally a bit heavier in build than Thoroughbreds, but have refined, solid legs and powerful shoulders and hindquarters. Standardbreds have a wide range of heights, from 14 to 17 hands (56 to 68 inches, 142 to 173 cm), although most are between 15 and 16 hands (60 and 64 inches, 152 and 163 cm). They are most often bay, brown or black, although other colors such as chestnut are seen. Gray and roan are also found.



 

Standardbred horses typically weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds (360 and 450 kg). Their heads are refined and straight with broad foreheads, large nostrils, and shallow mouths. The typical Standardbred body is long, with the withers being well defined, with strong shoulders and the muscles being long and heavy, which helps with the long strides. The neck of the Standardbred is muscular and should be slightly arched, with a length of medium to long. Their legs are muscular and solid, with generally very tough and durable hooves.



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