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The Standardbred: A Horse Built for Speed
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The Standardbred: A Horse Built for Speed

Imagine a time in America, when roads were just being built. A horse pulling a carriage became easier, and in some cases, more exciting. No longer did people have to trek through rugged terrain. Those days were long gone. Now there were smooth roads ahead.

This new and exciting time brought on an unexpected sport to the scene: harness racing. A driver and his trusty horse were now a team. They could come alongside another horse and driver and race. I can see them now. I imagine them being much like modern day racers. Each gentleman tipping his hat to the other then off they went!

It was from these friendly competitions that not only brought forth a new sport, but also the forefathers of a new breed. This breed would become the Standardbred. The Standardbred got its unique movement from a stallion named Rysdyk's Hambletonian. The farmers of Orange County, New York, realized that mares bred to this stallion brought forth offspring that were natural built trotters. No, they were not noted for their speed at a gallop; but their speed at a trot. Their trot was like no other. It had a very distinct movement. They are noted for their opposite feet striking together.

The Standardbred got his name because each horse had been bred to a specific standard of speed. If a horse could trot a mile in under two and a half minutes or less, he could be registered as a Standardbred. Any later, he could not be registered. 

These horses share ancestry from the Darley Arabian. And if you look closely, you will see some of his traits. They may have the very distinct gait that is only known to them, but they carry their head and their tail similar to that of an Arabian. High and spirited. Though spirited they are considered to never get rusty when not ridden for a while. They are the same. Whether it has been a day, a week, or even a year since they were ridden. 

On the track or off the track, the Standardbred is sure to please. And that may be the best standard of all.

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