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About the Standbred Race Horse

The Standardbred horse actually descended from a thoroughbred named Messenger that was imported from England in 1788. He didn't race in harness. The foundation sire was an in-bred descendent of Messenger named Hambletonian 10 who was foaled in 1849.

Standardbred racing is now popular throughout the world. It is especially popular in Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and North America. Standbred races are often called harness racing, because the horses are hooked up to harnesses and sulkies. The sulky is the little cart looking object where the driver sits, that's right the person controlling the horse is known as a driver in harness racing, not a jockey. The American standard-bred is by far the fastest horse in harness, and the most popular trotting/pacing breed.

Standard-bred racing is contested on two gaits, the trot and the pace. Trotters move with a diagonal gait; the left front and right rear legs move in unison, as to the right front and left rear.

The pacing gate is different because horses move the legs on one side of their body in tandem: left front and rear, and right front and rear. Pacers is by far the more prevalent of the 2 gates in harness racing. Most pacers are aided by plastic loops called hobbles, which keep their legs moving in synchronization. Europian racing generaly prefers trot racing, while North America prefers the pacing gate.