Richard I - Lion Heart
Already C. Julius Caesar in
his “writings about the
Gallic Wars" is
mentioning the small but fast horses, which the Brits were riding and with
which they also used to race the Roman cavalry horses. Later on, when the
small Nordic ponies were
no longer suitable in the developing culture for the draft and racing
alike, there were imported into England taller horses of the western type
from the European mainland, mostly from Normandy and the Belgian Flanders,
with which the local horses were crossbred and the lighter products were
used for racing.
The old English chronicles mention that horse racing was an ancient national tradition/entertainment of the Anglo-Saxons and already in the XI century the racing was organized with certain rules; the races were conducted over longer distances and the owner of the winning horse received an honorary reward, like silver bell, but there were no money prizes. From these chronicles, it is also known that already in the year 1121 also ran/raced in England an imported Arabian horse. Whether it was actually the first Arabian, as it is stated, cannot be realistically proven.
The certain fact is, that with the Christian Crusaders came into England many horses, mares and stallions from the Orient, and that Richard I the Lion Heart brought home entire ship of these horses, which he used to crossbreed the local horses to improve their speed. The later rulers also paid great attention to racing, awarding greater purses and importing horses not only from the Orient but also from Morocco and Spain as well, where for the longest time circulated the blood of the Barb horse (see Old Spanish Horse) , the legacy of the Moorish culture.
The first recorded Arabian that ran on the racetrack in England was Markhams Arabian, but he fail to prove him self in his offspring. Later on under Cromwell rule, the Turkish gray stallion Palace White Turk proved himself not only in racing but also through his descendants' racing performance. A greater import of horses came during the rule of James I (1603-1625). Also by the late Stuart king Charles II there was a great import of mares, whose offspring excelled in racing and entered the pedigrees of the English thoroughbreds, these mares were/are known as the “Royal Mares”.
From those days, which is circa the year 1680, is dated the beginning of the English thoroughbred breeding. The imported “Royal Mares” were not exclusively Arabians, but also Turkish and from North Africa the Barbs as well as some Hungarian mares who were of Oriental origins. All imported horses were in England tested on the racetrack and if they proved themselves, they were used in reproduction. Their matured progenies were again tested on the track. Hence in this way, there was a new breed of horses developing in England mainly for racing purpose – “English fullblooded horse” that was named “thoroughbred”. Horses were selected according to their performance and not according to their form as it was done on the European mainland.
When we backtrack pedigrees of today’s thoroughbreds to the more distant
generations at the end of XVII and the beginning of the XVIII centuries by
the sire lineages, they all can be derived from three stallions, the founders
of their breed, and from about (less than) a hundred mares, whose
descendants proved themselves not only on the racetrack but in
reproduction as well.
The patriarchs of the English thoroughbred became three stallions that
founded lineages after themselves.
| As far as the 100 mares are concerned, which were entered into the first edition
of the Stud-Book, they were not all "Royal Mares",
but they were also other imported or domestically bred mares after
Oriental stallions, which proved themselves on the racetrack, as well as
mares of unknown origins. There are listed variously crossbred mares in
which, on their mothers side, circulated the western
or the Nordic blood, as well as
mares that proved themselves in racing and when bred to one of the above
mentioned three stallions, the progeny was performing well in racing.
Not all of the ancestors of the English thoroughbred were imported
Orientals. The famous chestnut racehorse Eclipse had from his dams side
many ancestors of unknown origins, hence from the domestic mares with the
western or Nordic blood. Therefore, the English thoroughbred is not some
type of an acclimatized Oriental, but with one-sided systematic selection
according to performance, training, with the entire preparation for the
racing career and with the help of inbreeding was established, stabilized
and bred an individual/genuine breed (crossbreed), in which
the most influential was the blood of the Oriental ancestry. The horses,
that were repeatedly winning on the track had in the racing gallop, not
only by training, well developed mechanics of their body, but also the
needed temperament and efficient heart and lungs. These characteristics
are hereditary in the English thoroughbred under similar living
conditions. In this way, the Oriental type changed into a brand new type,
the English type
noticeable in the long lined proportions of his body. The presence of the
western blood can be noticed in some thoroughbreds in the somewhat
“edgy” (less rounded) shapes, in the head is noticeably longer and
from the front narrow, from the profile
straight or at times bulged in the forehead, further in the longer
loins (6 more vertebrae), chestnuts developed on all four legs, in no
particularity in feeding and in reaching greater weight (Prawochodenski).
In order to keep the breeding of the English thoroughbred pure, there was a need for listing and record keeping of selected horses in the breed book. The first printed edition of this breed book of domestic animals, named “General Stud-Book” came to existence in the year 1791; in this book are registered all horses back to 1680, that excelled on the racetrack and in reproduction gave the foundation to the English thoroughbred. Already before the first print of this Stud-Book, there was established a rule, that from that point on, besides fullblooded Arabians and their offspring (hence Anglo-Arabians), no other horse could be registered that without interruption could not be tied to the ancestors registered in the book; hence today all the thoroughbreds have to have verified family tree/pedigree.
|For easier up keeping of the Stud-Book there were later on chosen representatives from each of the original stallions; for Byerley Turk lineage the stallions Herod (1758), for the Darley Arabian the famous Eclipse (1764-1789) and for the Godolphin the stallion Matchem (1748). Among these sizable lineages there are further recognized large count of lineages named exclusively after stallions.|
Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a.
from the 1953 Special Zoo-Technique - Breeding of Horses
Published in 1953 by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Agricultural Science and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Written by: MVDr Ludvik Ambroz, Frabtisek Bilek, MVDr Karel Blazek, Ing. Jaromir Dusek, Ing. Karel Hartman, Hanus Keil, pro. MVDr Emanuel Kral, Karel Kloubek, Ing. Dr. Frantisek Lerche, Ing. Dr Vaclav Michal, Ing. Dr Zdenek Munki, Ing. Vladimir Mueller, MVDr Julius Penicka, pro. MVDr Emil Pribyl, MVDr Lev Richter, prof. Ing. Dr Josef Rechta, MVDr Karel Sejkora and Ing. Dr Jindrich Steinitz.