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History of Horse Racing .... a glimpse at the history of horse racing over the ages  


Horse Racing is an ancient sport;

Its history dates back to about 4500 BC and started amongst the nomadic tribesmen of Eurasia (who it is believed were the first to have first domesticated the horse) and to have also started racing them.

Horse racing was also an important part of the Greek Olympics in the form of chariot races and individual racing as well as during the Roman Empire.

There have been many famous modern films made since about these ancient times and horse and chariot racing with movie epics such as "Ben Hur".

The beginnings of modern horse racing.

The beginnings of modern horse racing and thoroughbreds started in the 12th Century when the English Knights came back from the Crusades with the lighter, swifter and finely boned Arab breed.

These Stallions were bred with the sturdier and heavier English mares to produce the breed that we know today as the "thoroughbred".

The British nobility would take a "game of chance" and place a bet on these speedy horses in private wagers to see whose horse was the fastest.

During the era of Queen Anne (1702-1714) horse racing began to become a professional sport. Race courses sprang up all over Britain and increasingly large "purses' made the breeding and owning of these horses more profitable and encouraged more to follow.

The formation of the Jockey Club

In the 1750's the racing elite of the day met and formed the "Jockey Club" a governing body which still exists to this day.

The "Jockey Club " also started to regulate the breeding of these horses and in 1791 James Weatherby published a breeders book to which there were three foundation horses and incredibly, today every  thoroughbred can be traced back to one of these three stallions or sires.

The three forefathers of the Thoroughbred

These three stallions were the Byerley Turk (foaled c.1679), the Darley Arabian (foaled c.1700) and the Godolphin Arabian (foaled c.1724).

The Beyerley Turk - One of the three foundation horses of the throughbred
The Byerley Turk

The Darley Arabian - One of the three foundation horses of the throughbred
The Darley Arabian

The Godolphin Arabian - One of the three foundation horses of the throughbred
The Godolphin Arabian

From the above three horses stemmed the modern thoroughbred and thoroughbred horses which were exported all over the world and now exist and compete in races everywhere in the World today.

History of Horse Racing over the years