Here in the UK, we can honestly say that as a nation, we are collectively completely horse crazy. Many of us enjoy watching many of the famous horse races which occur annually and many even enjoy betting a quid or two at one of the local racetracks. It all helps make the horse betting industry a fairly important component of the UK economy. With all this attention and prestige focused on horse racing and the horses themselves, it is sometimes worth asking ourselves where these exceptional thoroughbreds come from. Do we really know who their parents, grandparents and even distant ancestors were? Fortunately, modern DNA technology allows us to perform amazing feats of detective work and come up with reliable answers.
You can easily find Arabian horses for sale
Sires Are Not the Only Ones That Count
By the 17th century, horseracing in the UK had really taken hold, but there was no understanding of genealogy, chromosomes or even DNA. That was to come almost 300 years later, pretty much during the last few decades. As a result, horse breeders and other experts of that past era always felt that it was the sires (that is to say the boys) that really mattered. They kept fairly accurate records of who the fathers were, but often completely disregarded or dismissed the mares (that is to say the girls) as being inconsequential. We now know that both parents have an equal significance and contribution to the genetic pool of their offspring. Until recently, it was assumed that the mares were mostly exotic oriental breeds, but that has been fairly disproven. It turns out that many of them were bred and born right here in UK.
The Foundation Sires
Just like any house, humans and horses both have lineages and in some cases, initial starting points where bloodlines can be traced. In the case of horses, the initial sires that bred the modern UK thoroughbreds are fairly easy to identify. In the UK, there are three main ones, which all arrived to our shores at approximately the same time. They are the Byerley Turk (imported in 1686), the Darley Arabian (imported in 1705) and the Godolphin Arabian (imported in 1728). These are generally known as the foundation sires. So we know something about Dad; what about Mum? Fortunately, modern genetic research came to the rescue and many questions were promptly answered.
Made in the UK
Many experts and readers had always assumed that these mares came from oriental stock. But the genetic tests that were performed proved beyond a doubt that a solid majority of them were actually local UK ladies. However, out of the 72 original founding mares that were identified, only 30 of them have children that are still breeding today. Nonetheless, it conclusively negates the long-held knowledge that somehow all of today’s thoroughbreds were of either Arab or oriental lineage exclusively. Given the limited understanding of genetics of the 17th and 18th centuries, breeders of that time probably just used the best local mares they could find, figuring that they didn’t really count for much. As a result, we can be proud to say that we have plenty of UK blood in today’s thoroughbreds.
Getting the Horse You Want
Today, we obviously have very sophisticated methods for determining not only the health but also the lineage of any horse. While there are many Arabian horses for sale, working with a trusted agent who has a wide network of contacts is crucial to get exactly the horse you’re looking for.