So when did horse racing competition first occur? The answer to this question will never be known, at least for us mere mortals. But I'm sure we'd all agree that it would have happened a long, long time ago.
Now, this extremely popular sport, in all its many forms and aptly described as the "sport of kings" is a multibillion dollar business happening on an international scale.
Dominating the sport, is of course the sleek Thoroughbred, which was designed specifically for the job with its long neck, deep well muscled shoulders, high well defined withers, long thigh bones and strong muscular hindquarters.
The Thoroughbred was built for speed and glory and the product of a very calculated and selective breeding program which began about 1700. The foundation stock of all Thoroughbreds, originated from just three Arabian stallions imported to England from Turkey and Syria in the Middle East.
These stallions were crossed with only a few dozen original mares.
In almost every country, Thoroughbreds that are registered in the stud registers, must be able to prove an uninterrupted line of descent in the General Stud Book, which was first published in England in 1793.
The quality of the horses selected for breeding from then on, was always determined by their racing performance.
The following video is of some very nasty accidents that can happen in this very competitive sport.
Apart from a few rare exceptions, every horse must have attained a certain level of performance on the racecourse before it is used for breeding. The exceptions are those horses which for some reason cannot compete at racing, although their ancestors distinguished themselves on the course.
This selective breeding has naturally left its imprint on the build and temperament of these horses.
Although not bred for beauty, the Thoroughbred is exceptionally beautiful with its long, delicate limbs and slender, elegant bodies. The total impression is one of harmony and aristocratic nobility.
In temperament, the horse can be both exuberant and explosive and normally demands a good to very experienced rider. On the other hand, their are some that are very gentle and can be ridden by a novice or a child.
In performance, the Thoroughbred is the ultimate racing horse over middle distances and even is a top class performer as a jumping horse and calvery horse.