//Standardbred Horse Breed
Caballo Standardbred

Standardbred Horse Breed

The horse is one of the largest and strongest mammals on planet earth. As for its characteristics, it dazzles with its elegance. Now, of this species there are many breeds of horses, where they differ by their physical characteristics, size, color, fur among others. For this reason in this article we will talk about Standardbred horses

The Standardbred is an American equine breed known for its ability to compete with harnesses, where members of the breed compete on a trot or at pace. Developed in North America, the Standardbred is recognized worldwide, and the breed can trace its bloodlines back to eighteenth-century England. They are solid horses, well-built and with good disposition. In addition to harness racing, the Standardbred is used for a variety of equestrian activities, including equestrian shows and walks, at some specific sites in the United States.

Caballo Standardbred
Caballo Standardbred

History of the Standardbred breed

In 1879 was when these horses were named Standardbred, referring to the great speed they require to be named under this prestigious name, since this breed is characterized by being the fastest in harness racing, because it can travel 1.6 km in a time below two minutes, enjoying such a record the horse named Star Pointer.

However, its lineage dates to a couple of centuries before, still without bearing the name of the Standardbred breed, Since the 17th century trotter races began to be performed. This led to the development and breeding of a breed of horses specialized in this type of competition.

Already in the mid-18th century began to perform this type of competition officially. At this time several horse breeds were already being gathered to contribute to the characteristics required for the future standardbred breed. Some of the breeds that were used to create the ideal horse for trotting were the following:

  • Canadian Pacer (Canadian).
  • Narragansett Pacer breed (American).
  • Morgan horse breed (American).
  • English Thoroughbred (English).
  • Hackney (English).
  • Breed Norfolk Trotter (English).

It is considered that the precursor of the Standarbred breed was the English thoroughbred named Messenger. This stallion born in England was imported to the United States in 1787. His offspring were mostly engaged in horse racing. Messenger’s great-grandson is considered to be the founder of the Standarbred breed, called Rysdyk’s Hambletonian. Hambletonian was born in Orange County, New York in May 1849. All The Standarbred descend from Hambletonian, which had more than 1,300 direct descendants.

Hambletonian 10 - An example of the Standarbred breed
Hambletonian 10 – An example of the Standarbred breed

The descendants of Hambletonian 10

Rysdyk’s Hambletonian was also known as Hambletonian 10 for its registration number. He made his debut at the age of 6, quickly becoming a sensation in trotter racing, also known as harness racing. This made him gain fame and become a stallion of the most demanded.

One of the horses that had great influence on the offspring of Hambletonian 10 was American Star. This horse had a number of very relevant mares that were crossed with Habletonian. These mares that interbred with Habletonian strongly marked the development of the breed and defined its bright future.

Thanks to this, between the years 1851 and 1875 it spawned at least 1,335 registered offspring. But mainly the lines of descent through 4 descendants represent almost the entirety of the Standarbred breed. The children that represent the origin of almost the entire Standarbred breed are:

  • Electioneer
  • Dictator
  • Happy Medium
  • George Wilkes

Hambletonian marked the beginning of the Standarbred breed. He died at the age of 27, on March 27, ’76. He was buried next to his owner in Orange County, New York. In this place there is currently a monument dedicated to the horse where horse fans pay their respects.

Danpatch an example of the breed
Danpatch an example of the breed

The popularity of Standardbred and name registration

Standardbreds are very popular in the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe and Australia, bred especially for trotter racing, having the main large-scale hatcheries in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The Standardbred breed registry was created in the United States in 1879 by the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders.The name arose because of the “standard” required for breeding cattle, to be able to jog or advance a mile within a certain time limit.

Specifically, it is considered that a Standard should be able to run a mile in less than two and a half minutes. Thanks to this strict selection it was possible to improve the breed and currently the horses of this breed are much faster than the standards originally defined. Many of these make this journey in less than two minutes.

Standarbred Horse as transport in an Amish community
Standarbred Horse as transport in an Amish community

Physical characteristics of the Standardbred horse:

  • Body and neck quite long.
  • Very wide trunk at the height of the strap, and very developed chest.
  • Raised rump, the hindquarters are powerful in order to give a greater thrust to your march, the structure of the hind legs and hocks is perfectly correct, which makes you perform well in your tasks.
  • The helmets are excellent, which allows them to gallop well at a high speed without getting hurt, and this is because these limbs are ironclad.
  • The head is flattened, it is robust, somewhat rudimentary, and rough.
  • Cape: black, saffron and chestnut.
  • Elevation: between 157 and 163 centimeters.

Standardbred as a racing harness

  • Standardbreds are known for their skill in harness racing. Being the fastest trotter horses in the world.
  • In Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, races are held for both trotters. As well as, as for pacemakers, in continental Europe, all harness races are performed between trotters.
  • In addition, the most important races for North American trotters include the Peter Haughton Memorial for two-year-olds and the Kentucky Futurity for three-year-olds.

Other uses of the breed:

  • They are used in horse shows and for the pleasure of horse riding.
  • The breed is quite good at jumping, which makes them suitable for hunting horse disciplines. In addition, the breed is also seen in training, and their excellent temperaments make them good trails.

Standardbred horse, the legacy of American trotter horses

The development of this breed of horses has been a long, but fruitful process. We are facing what is considered the best breed of trotter horses in the world. Gustavo Mirabal Castro wants to make known the contribution of horses to the modern world. Therefore, if you want to know more, visit our websites or our social networks. We are waiting for you.