American Standardbred Horse

rider and her American Standardbred Horse

The Standardbred Horse is a versatile breed that has played a significant role in American history. Descended from the Thoroughbred, American Standardbred Horses were developed in the United States for their speed and endurance. This is a popular racehorse like the Quarter Horse or the Thoroughbred. The Standardbred Horse Breed boasts the fastest trotting horses all over the globe. The average cost of a Standardbred ranges from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on age, training, and pedigree.

This article reveals interesting facts and characteristics of the American Standardbred Horse breed.

What Is a Standardbred Horse?

The American Standardbred Horse is commonly used in harness races. It can also be seen in pleasure riding and horse shows. The breed features its muscled body and placid temperament. The Standardbred Horse is the world’s fastest trotting horse. The equine is used to develop other race horses.

Standardbred Horse in driving

Standardbred Horse History

The first American races trace back to the 17th century. Where riders were sitting on horse saddles. Soon after, trotting races turned to official harness racing. Horsemen started to use a special vehicle for sitting behind the equine.

A range of horse breeds took part in creating the Standardbred. They included the Canadian Pacer, Narragansett Pacer, Thoroughbred, Morgan, Hackney, and Norfolk Trotter. In 1708, a Thoroughbred foal named Messenger was born in New England. This grey stallion was brought to the USA in 1788.

The Messenger’s great-grandson, Hambletonian 10 or Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, was born in 1849. He’s claimed the foundation sire of the Standardbred breed. William Rysdyk, a farm hand from New York, bought this foal and his mare. Rysdyk grabbed the headlines with his prosperous colt. Hambletonian was a father to 1331 offsprings. 40 of them could trot a mile, spending only 2,5 minutes.

Another significant sire in the breeding was the Thoroughbred named Diomed foaled in 1777. He was a grandfather to the Thoroughbred American Star born in 1822. American Star took a great part in the Standardbred breeding through the mares of his offsprings. One of them was American Star 14 who was bred to Hambletonian 10.

As soon as harness racing became popular, trotting horse breeders started to improve equines. They aimed to produce faster horses.

Standardbred Horse emblem

Dan Patch is another tremendous figure in the Standardbred breed. It’s a notable stallion known as a speedy racer. Dan Patch set a world speed record several times. He’s holding his first place for over 30 years! Some of Patch’s competitors even gave up with no partaking in a competition.

In 1879, the Standardbred breed registry was established in the USA. It was formed by the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders. The name Standardbred occurred because of the “standard” set by the U.S. trotting association. The breeding stock must pace or trot a mile for less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

The United States Trotting Association (USTA) is an organization responsible for governing the sport of harness racing in the United States. Its primary objective is promoting and regulating the sport while also overseeing the breeding, registration, and racing of American Standardbreds.

The American Standardbred Breeders Association is an extension of the USTA. It is responsible for maintaining the breed registry and promoting the breeding of high-quality trotters and pacers.

Modern Standardbreds can easily beat this record. They can pace a mile for less than 2 minutes. In North America, trotting is a few seconds slower than pacing. Pacers are single-foot horses that feature an amble, smooth gait. A rider feels comfy when horse riding. Pacers can be taught to trot as well. That makes the equines versatile for show and pleasure driving.

Pacers and trotters may have a bit different bloodline. Individual Standardbreds tend to feature pacing or trotting. But all of them share a common pedigree with Rysdyk’s Hambletonian.

The American Standardbred was primarily bred as a harness horse. The driving horses were loved by horse owners for their great speed and stamina. The Standardbred can be seen both as a driving and riding horse. The range of activities is pretty wide. You’ll find Standardbreds in show jumping, dressage, and as a trail horse.

Standardbreds are great ranch horses. Besides, these are excellent police horses. As they are tolerant of crowds and loud noises. Such equines get tested first before they’re released on the streets. Thus, the Standardbred’s abilities make the breed highly flexible.

Standardbred horse racing at the track

Major Races in North America

Many Standardbreds can be found competing in harness racing in North America, as many popular races are hosted in this region.

The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is the location for one of the most significant races for North American trotters, the Hambletonian Stakes. The race is named after the legendary Standardbred stallion Hambletonian 10. It is widely regarded as the most prestigious trotting event in North America, with a purse of over $1 million.

The Breeders Crown takes place annually and features 12 races for trotters and pacers. This event rotates between different tracks in North America each year. The Breeders Crown offers millions of dollars in prize money, making it a culminating event of the harness racing season.

Other notable races for North American trotters include the Kentucky Futurity, held at the historic Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Maple Leaf Trot, held at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Ontario, Canada. These events offer substantial prize money and attract top horses, drivers, and trainers from around the world.

Standardbred Horses sniffing each other

Standardbred Horse Temperament

The Standardbred Horse has a calm and placid temperament. Standardbreds are easy to train, which is a great perk. A rider finds it pleasing to ride such a horse. The Standardbred exhibits willingness to please its owner and appreciate human companionship. Such a horse is a perfect choice for beginner riders and kids.

Due to their excellent disposition, Standardbreds are commonly used for trail riding. You can face the breed in training courses. As the temperament is quite manageable, you’ll get a docile companion. Their ability to learn fast is another great benefit of the breed.

Standardbred Horses in harness racing

Standardbred Horse Facts

Standardbreds are more massive than Thoroughbreds. Their build is a bit heavier. The head is straight and refined. The forehead is wide. The nostrils are large, and the mouth is shallow. The body is long with well-defined withers. The shoulders and hindquarters are powerful.

The neck is muscular and slightly arched. It can be medium or long. The legs are muscular and solid. The hooves are durable and tough. The bones are dense and solid to withstand trotting speeds.

Standardbred horses can be trotters or pacers. The trot is performed with the legs move in pairs diagonally. When the right front leg moves forward, the same goes for the left hind leg. And vice versa. When the left front leg moves forward, the same goes for the right hind leg. Another popular trotting breed is the Missouri Fox Trotter.

The pace is a two-beat gait where the legs move laterally. This means the horse’s front limbs move in tandem with the hind limbs.

Some individuals of the breed can canter but the gait isn’t allowed in harness racing.

Standardbred Horse gelding

Standardbred Horse Height and Weight

The Standardbred Horse height is 14 to 17 hands tall. The average height is between 15 to 16 hands. The weight is around 800 to 1,000 pounds. That’s a common weight for a horse.

Standardbred Horse Lifespan

The Standardbred Horse lives 25 to 30 years. That’s pretty solid. The lifespan depends on the horse’s health condition and the way you treat it.

two Standardbred Horses playing around

Standardbred Horse Colors

Standardbred horses are usually brown, bay, and black. Chestnut, roan, and grey are rare colors. Standardbreds rarely have some white markings and spots on their body.

Standardbred Horse Price

The Standardbred price could go as low as $300. The average price is $1,000 to $5,000. It’s a budget-friendly horse compared with most other breeds. The price tag depends on an array of factors. They include the horse’s age, gender, health, color, and training experience. The Standardbred may be considered as the first horse.

racer sitting behind Standardbred Horse

The Winner of Harness Racing Revealed

The Standardbred Horse is loved for its impressive speed and appearance. That’s a breed that is best known in harness racing. The horse is versatile so you can use it in English and Western disciplines.

Standardbreds are calm and friendly horses. They can be an ideal companion for kids and as a family pet. The Standardbred is a quick-witted horse, which is a plus. The breed is of average size. Thus, finding the best saddle pad and bridle is not a problem at all.