Every horse lover has heard the horse facts about one of the most famous horses that ever lived: Man O’ War, whose groom called him “the mostest horse that ever was.”
But what kind of horse was Man O’ War?
He was a Thoroughbred, one of the fastest race horses that ever pounded the track.
So, what’s a Thoroughbred?
The Thoroughbred breed originated hundreds of years ago when sturdy Arabian stallions were taken to England and bred with plain grade horses who had paced, or trotted, with both right legs forward and the left legs backward at the same time. The result? A horse with tremendous endurance that became the fastest galloper in the world.
In the late 1700s, the Thoroughbred made its way to the new American colonies. Used for various purposes, it became known primarily as a “race” horse over the next two centuries.
And what about Man O’ War? He made his debut in 1919, started winning races, and never looked back. He only ran two short years but won 20 of 21 races and was awarded every trophy known to the racing world. He was a rather large horse, standing at 16.2 hands and could win races by carrying jockeys that weighed as much as 30 pounds above the norm.
In retirement, he sired 64 stakes winners and other champions. In 1947, at the age of 30, he died of an apparent heart attack only a short time after his longtime groom and bonded friend, Will Harbut, died.
In 1957, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
If you’d like to ride at lightning speed around a mile-long oval track in about two minutes, then get yourself a Thoroughbred and a saddle with very short stirrups!