Thoroughbred History Essay Research Paper Abstract

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Thoroughbred History Essay, Research Paper Abstract Selective breeding of English ponies with the Arabian, Turk and Barb stallions produced the modern Thoroughbreds, known for their high speed and stamina. The Thoroughbred horse can run faster than any other animal in the world, for any reasonable distance. The near optimal levels are established firstly by outcrossing the English ponies, with the three specified classes, to obtain the most desirable traits. Once the characteristics that produce a top line Thoroughbred have been established, they can be maintained, or raised to a new plateau, through the practices of nicking and linebreeding and the concept of additive genes. The History of Thoroughbreds The Thoroughbred was first established through the selective breeding of

English ponies with the Arabian, Turk and Barb stallions during the 16th century. The first three know stallions that were bred to the developing breed were the Godophin Barb (1689), the Darley Arabian (1706), and the Byerly Turk (1724). Perhaps the most important three Thoroughbreds who contributed a high proportion of their genes to the modern American Thoroughbreds of today were: Matchum (1748), the grandson of Godophin Barb, Herold (1758), the great grandson of Darley Arabian, and Eclipse (1764), the great, great grandson of Byerly Turk. Matchum passed on approximately 5-6 percent of his genes, Herold contributed 17-18 percent and Eclipse passed on about 11-12 percent. The developing Thoroughbreds were bred with the three specific types of stallions to increase the

probability of the traits influencing speed and stamina. Some promiscuous mating of the Thoroughbreds also occurred with the horses of Germany, Normandy, Flanders and Spain, establishing more desirable traits in their offspring. (Jones, 1982) Phenotypes In order to understand the features of Thoroughbreds which highly contributed to their amazing speed and stamina, a description of their early ancestors is necessary. The English ponies are of very short nature, consisting of very short legs and small bodies. Their deficiency in size is most likely due to natural selection in the severe environment of early Northern and Western Europe. Size, speed, stamina and form were improved upon by the introduction of Oriental blood, that of the Barb, Turk and Arabian (Sanders 1893). The Barb

horses are tall, speedy and possess long legs and short, light bodies. The Turks consist of heavier bodies and shorter legs for fair endurance. The Arabians, of great endurance, display beauty of form and grace of motion. Some of the heavier horses from Normandy, Flanders and Germany may have played a role in the early breeding of the English ponies in an effort to increase their size (Sanders 1893). It is also possible that the Andalusians contributed their height somewhat down the line. (Jones, 1982) Linebreeding improved upon other characteristics important for Thoroughbred speed and stamina. Larger lung capacity and larger nose and throat air passages are important for the intake of vast amounts of oxygen and expulsion of great quantities of carbon dioxide. A large heart and

a high concentration of hemoglobin in red blood cells is also important for sending the hard working leg muscles the oxygen needed for cellular respiration. Another important trait is the strength of tendons, ligaments and bone structures. This decreases the amount of injuries and therefore increases the career expectancy. (Jones, 1982) Inheritance Factors and Genetic Concepts Before domestication, speed and stamina was naturally selected. For example, the main “defense mechanism” used by horses to preserve their gene line was to simply outrun their competitors. Thus the slower horses were bred out. The switch from natural selection to selective breeding changed the modes of inheritance, yet kept the same desirable characteristics for speed and stamina. Four significant