In the 17th century, the first trotting races were held in the Americas, usually in fields on horses under saddle. However, by the mid-18th century, trotting races were held on official courses, with the horses in harness. Breeds that contributing foundation stock to the Standardbred breed included the Narragansett Pacer and the Canadian Pacer, English Thoroughbreds, Norfolk Trotter, the Hackney, and the Morgan. Breeders selected bloodlines that would produce the fastest horses, with one of the most notable sires being the gray English Thoroughbred stallion Messenger, who was exported to the United States in 1788. He produced both runners and trotters. Messenger's descendant, the legendary Hambletonian 10, also known as Rydysk's Hambletonian, was born in 1849. He was sold, his owners thinking he was worthless, but later became one of the most prolific sires of Standardbreds, today with nearly every trotter or pacer tracing its lineage back to him. The name "Standardbred" was first used in 1879, due to the fact that, in order to be registered, every Standardbred had to be able to trot a mile within the "standard" of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Today, many Standardbreds race much faster than this original standard, with several pacing the mile within 1 minute, 50 seconds, and trotters only a few seconds slower than pacers. Slightly different bloodlines are found in trotters than pacers, though both can trace their heritage back to Hambletonian. The stud book was formed in 1939, with the formation of the United States Trotting Horse Association.
Standardbreds are a breed of horse best known for their ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at a gallop. Developed in North America, the breed is now recognized worldwide for its harness racing ability. They are solid, well-built horses with good dispositions that are also used under saddle for a variety of equestrian activities, particularly in the Midwest and eastern United States.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Standardbred Horse".