What is a thoroughbred racehorse?

The term thoroughbred dates describes “a breed of horse developed in England for racing and jumping,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The thoroughbred was created by cross breeding “Arab” and “Barb” horses from the Middle East with European stock in an effort to create horses that could run faster over a longer period – a particularly desirable quality during battle.

All modern thoroughbreds trace back to three foundational sires brought back to England to be bred with the so-called “royal mares” in the king’s barns: The Byerly Turk (imported in 1689), the Darley Arabian (after 1700), and the Godolphin Barb (about 1730).

The effort to breed faster racehorses has succeeded, but it also appears to have unintended consequences, as the modern thoroughbred is nowhere near as durable as its forbears.