The thoroughbred is one of the most consistently bred domesticated species in the world. The Celts had famously quick horses even in the classical roman times. The English descendants of these, the Galloway horses were the foundation of the racehorse breeding which started in the 14th century.
Later as the horseracing became more common there was a need for even quicker horses. The horses imported from the East had the greatest impact. Usually three ancestor stallions are mentioned, which founded genealogical lines and played a significant role in the breed:
- Darley Arabian (1702),
- Byerley Turk (1680),
- Godolphin Barb (Arabian) (1724).
And there is fourth famous stallion, which is always forgotten: Curwen’s Bay Barb.
The breeders crossbred the strong native galloway mares, creating a breed that, after a tough, competitive trial, became a breeder of other breeds used for the army, agriculture and transport. Each of the ancestors had a successful offspring a few generations later, through which the effect was prevalent in the breed. Since then, several studies have been carried out on their genetic share in the American and European thoroughbred.
Besides the stallions, there were also some particularly valuable imported mares with eastern blood. The 40 royal mares can be emphasized, including a horse from the Carpathian Basin (Bejgrad Turk). In genealogical terms, 48 of these female lines still exist today. So these imported horses from the East were the founding of the world’s quickest horse breed, the thoroughbred.
The first studbook was published in 1793 in England, and its continually published volumes are the bases of the pedigrees of the thoroughbred. The history of the Hungarian horseracing started in the 1810s, when Count István Széchenyi saw the possibility of modernizing the country and rasing the nation in horseracing. In 1821 he created the first racing rules according to the English formula. In 1822 he asked for authorization from the emperor for organizing horseraces, and in 1826 he got the approval for Bratislava. The first Hungarian raceday was held on the 6th of June, 1827, at the plain near the Üllői út. Count Tamás Nádasdy started the registration of the thoroughbred pedigrees in Hungary, which was completed as the first Hungarian Stud Book in 1832.
The speed, stamina and elegance makes the thoroughbred suited not just for races but also for other disciplines. In addition to refining other breeds, they can be found in eventing, show jumping or occasionally in dressage competitions. The versatility is shown by the fact that these horses are used as workhorses (police horses) or even for fun (polo or hobby riding).
The thorougbred is on average 162 cm (mares) or 167 cm (stallions) high and weights about 500 kg. There is no required appearance, but it is desirable to have the body that is the ideal design for racing. Such are the lightweight, noble, dry head, lively eyes and wide-fit movable ears. The long and slightly low-set neck, which connects to well-defined withers. Short, tight, well-muscled, straight back and loin, long shoulder, deep chest and wide breast. Straight and muscular croup.
The breed is subject to strict judgment of the correct development of the limbs. Dry joints, short, sometimes poorly fitted cannons, small, hard hoofs. The build-up of its body makes this breed able to achieve even 70 km/h speed. Its hind legs work as a bounce as they compress and stretch out during gallop. This movement drives the body of the animal while the front legs pull the horse forward. The head and neck help to make the running smooth and rhythmic. The neck moves together with the front legs, and lengthen the curve of flying and also the time which the horse spends in the air, and so speeds up the movement.