Horse races have been a part of sports and entertainment for a very long time. Ever since the Greco-Roman rule, equestrian games have been a part of the mainstream culture. Earlier, only kings, emperors and lords could be a part of these races. Right now, thanks to modern technology, even commoners like us can enjoy thrilling horse races.
Certain breeds are famous for their power, speed, and endurance. These breeds are ubiquitous to every formal horse racing event. A brief history of the Breeders Cup past performances reveals that Thoroughbreds, Arabian horses and American Quarter Horses are the best performers on the tracks.
Here is a brief comparison of the best racing horse breeds of the USA
Thoroughbreds find a place in dressage, endurance racing, jumping, general riding, mounted athletics and standard racing. They have a defined head, a long neck with sloping shoulders. They have a broad body with muscular hindquarters. Their beautiful long legs are recognizable from quite a distance. They weigh close to a 1000 pounds, and their life expectancy is about 30 years (roughly). They usually come in a variety of colors. We have traditionally seen about ten variants on the race course till date. This hot blood breed is a direct descendant of Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk, and Godolphin Arabian.
American Quarter Horse
This warmblood breed is common in dressage, hunting, general riding, jumping, racing, mounted athletics, rodeo, and work. They are somewhat small compared to the other two. They have a muscular build with well-defined muscles around their shoulders and their hindquarters. Their broad shoulders with a deep chest set them apart from the other breeds on the race tracks. Their strong legs have flat knees. They weight around 1075 pounds and have a life expectancy of about 25 years at an average. Since they have a varied ancestry, you can find them in a milieu of colors including dun and gray. You can see their first mention in the equestrian history in the 17th century. They carry genes from different breeds including the Thoroughbred, Iberian, Arabian, Barb, Standardbred and Morgan.
The Standardbred is one of the most famous horses in the American racing scene. They are typical participants in dressage, endurance racing, hunting, jumping, riding and mounted athletics. They have powerful square shoulders and hind legs. They have a long body with a defined wither and a slightly arched neck. The modern Standardbred weighs around 950 pounds only, which is considerably lighter than the other two. They have naturally tough hooves that help them move swiftly and smoothly. The American Standardbred Association only recognizes six colors. You can trace their ancestry to the Canadian Pacer, Narragansett Pacer, Norfolk Trotter, Morgan, Thoroughbreds and Hackney breeds.
These breeds define the current racing scene in the USA and abroad. Their classic strong shoulders, sturdy legs, and long bodies make them winning candidates for all kinds of racing events. To understand equestrian sports and be a part of the thrill, you must understand the defining features of each breed.