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Understanding and researching the history of the Thoroughbred horse takes one back to the early 17th century. At that time the ancestors of the Thoroughbred horse breed were imported to England from the Mediterranean Middle East.
These three stallions were crossed with the stronger, heavier English carriage mares. The descendants of this cross became the foundation stallions of the present day Thoroughbred.
They are Eclipse, Matchem and Herod who descended from The Darley Arabian, The Goldolphin Arabian and The Byerly Turk, respectively. This produced a medium sized horse with the capability of sustaining its’ speed over longer distances. It was named the Thoroughbred.
The sport of horse racing, also known as “The Sport of Kings”, became immensely popular in England. Selective breeding refined and improved the English Thoroughbred and it soon became evident that records needed to be kept of the bloodlines of the Thoroughbred horse.
Mr. James Weatherby was requested to research the pedigrees and the many private records maintained by numerous individual breeders. He took on this task, which resulted in “An Introduction to a General Stud Book” which was published in 1791.
This led to the first volume of the “General Stud Book” which was published by Weatherby in 1808. This book continues to be published by Weatherby & Sons to this day.
As racing became popular in North America, the need for a Thoroughbred Registry became obvious. A Kentuckian, Col. Sanders D. Bruce, spent much of his lifetime researching the the American Thoroughbred horse ... the Thoroughbred pedigree.
He closely followed the pattern of the General Stud Book of England and published his first of six volumes in 1873.The Jockey Club took over the task in 1896 and continues to be responsible for the registration of all Thoroughbred horses. There are currently nearly two million horses on a master thoroughbred pedigree file.
The Jockey Club also keeps track of the result of all races from every Thoroughbred racetrack and the earnings of every Thoroughbred that competed in a race.
The Jockey Club made giant strides in 1977 in foal registration. To insure greater accuracy all foals registered in the American Stud Book had to be blood typed.
This necessitated blood typing all stallions and every mare producing a foal. Understandably, this took several years to complete. However, it was well worth the effort as it insures the accuracy of every pedigree.
The blood typing requirement was later replaced with DNA typing. This eliminates taking a blood sample. Now it is simplified by pulling a small amount of mane from the foal and sending it to the designated lab for analysis. This assures the history of the Thoroughbred horse will remain accurate.
Additionally, the Thoroughbred registry continues to require photographs of the foal, along with a description of markings and hair whorls
You are invited to visit the home page for Foal To Yearling Halters here.