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The Thoroughbred

The attempt to create a superior breed of horses for racing began in England after the Stuart Restoration of 1660. King Charles II was instrumental in the design and creation of the Thoroughbred. The aim was to develop a horse that would combine size, speed, and type, and would continue to breed true to that type.

For foundation stock, the English looked to the Arabian peninsula, the source of the Oriental horse, considered to be the most genetically pure breed in the world. In the hundred years between 1660 and 1760, approximately 200 such horses were imported to England. Half of them were unquestionably Arabian horses. The others were half-Arabians and breeds closely related to Arabians: Barbs and Turks from North Africa. These were the foundations for the Thoroughbred.


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