The Standardbred horse breed was developed in the New England region of the United States. The breed can be traced back to a foundation Thoroughbred stallion named Messenger that was foaled in England in 1780 and imported to the United States.
His great-grandson named Hambletonian 10 or Rysdyk’s Hambletonian was foaled in 1849 in Sugar Loaf, New York. Between 1851 and 1875, he sired about 1,335 foals. Almost all Standardbred horses can be traced to him and he is considered the foundation sire of the breed.
In addition to the Thoroughbred, the other breeds that contributed to the Standardbred include Narragansett Pacer (now extinct), Canadian Pacer, Norfolk Trotter (now extinct), Hackney, and Morgan.
The breed registry for the Standardbred was formed in 1870 by the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders.
The breed is named Standardbred because to be accepted as breeding stock, it was the “standard” that they be able to trot or pace a mile in less than 2 minutes 30 seconds. There are two types of Standardbreds, the ones that trot and the ones that pace, and it depends on the individual horse.
The Standardbred is best known for being a harness racing horse, and they are the fastest trotting horse in the world. The Amish people like to use them to pull their buggies. They also make great riding horses for show and pleasure including jumping, dressage, trail riding, and ranch work.
Standardbreds are considered easy to train and are willing and docile horses. They are heavier and more muscled than Thoroughbreds and have a longer body. Their average weight is 800 to 1000 pounds, and their height can range between 14 and 17 hands with average being 15 to 16 hands. The most common colors are bay, brown, or black and occasionally chestnut, gray, and roan.
You can read about Thoroughbreds here: Thoroughbred Horse