many respects, the standard-bred resembles its ancestor, the thoroughbred.
The term "Standard-bred" was first used in 1879 and refers
to the speed standard required for entry into the breed registry.
average 15.2 hands, smaller than the average thoroughbred, but have
longer bodies. The head is refined but is rather plain, and set
on a medium-sized neck that is proportional to its body.
quarters are muscular yet sleek. The clean hind legs are set well
back. Individual standard-breds tend to either trot or pace. Bay,
chestnut, brown and black are the predominant colors of standard-breds
and they weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds.
America, over 30 million people are attracted to standard-bred racing,
more commonly referred to as harness racing. The American standard-bred
is by far the fastest horse in harness, and the most popular trotting/pacing
racing is contested on two gaits, the trot and the pace. Trotters
move with a diagonal gait; the left front and right rear legs move
in unison, as to the right front and left rear.
on the other hand, move the legs on one side of their body in tandem:
left front and rear, and right front and rear. This action shows
why pacers are often called "sidewheelers." Pacers account
for about 80% of the performers in harness racing, and are aided
in maintaining their gait by plastic loops called hobbles, which
keep their legs moving in synchronization. Europe has more trotters,
while USA has more pacers.
harness racing is primarily centered in the Northeast and Midwest
United States. Virtually every major population center in these
areas boasts one or more major tracks. Several smaller towns also
host harness tracks. The sport is also popular in Florida, California,
and throughout Canada.
surprisingly, the sport's premier track, the Meadowlands, is located
within 15 minutes of New York City. The modern plant plays host
to the Hambletonian, the sport's premier race each August.
Brief History of the Standard-Bred
standard-bred horse was founded on Messenger, a thoroughbred that
was imported from England in 1788. He didn't race in harness. The
foundation sire was an in-bred descendent of Messenger named Hambletonian
10 who was foaled in 1849.
Messenger, Hambletonian 10 never raced in harness, either. His conformation
was what contributed most to his success as a sire of harness racers.
He was 15.3 1/4hh at the croup, and 15.1 1/3 hh at the withers.
This build gave the propulsive thrust to the hindquarters.
first standard-bred races were contested along roads, with men challenging
their friends to see who had the swifter steed. Often the streets
of major cities were cleared and races conducted. Hence, so many
American cities have a Race Street.