Today’s Horse Facts: The Standardbred

I think you’ll find these horse facts about the Standardbred very interesting.

In the early colonial times, horse racing was the event of the week. One unique race evolved called trotting or harness racing. In this race, the horses never gallop. If they do, they are disqualified. Another interesting fact is that the horse pulls a little cart called a sulky with the jockey sitting on the sulky right behind the horse’s tail.

This very different kind of horse racing developed in Orange County, NY, when horse lovers in that area discovered if they bred their mares to a stallion named Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, all the foals wanted to do was trot instead of run! What was fascinating about this turn of events is that Hambletonian was a descendant of a fast running Arabian; yet, all of his foals developed this unique trot instead of a gallop.

After Hambletonian died, all his horse-trotting admirers formed a club in which the only horses that were allowed to join had to trot in the race, not run. But they also had to trot around the track in two minutes and a half or better time before being inducted into the club. Thus, the horses were called Standardbreds because each horse had been bred to a standard of speed.

Since then, Standardbred races or harness racing has become popular. You can see them racing at most state fairs across the country besides at regular horse racing tracks. When you watch a harness race, watch the legs of the horses and decide if its a trotting or pacing race. Trotters will have their diagonal legs in synchronization while pacers will have their two legs on one side of their bodies moving together.

Whatever the kind of harness racing it is, it will be exciting. Get your seat along the sidelines, get your bag of popcorn, and get ready to scream your head off as the horses go flying by.

Marsha Hubler
(Writing Blog)
Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books


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