The American Standardbred is a breed of horse that originated
in North America. A variety of breeds contributed to the development
of the American Standardbred, though its origins can be traced
back to a Thoroughbred stallion by the name of Messenger who
was brought from England to the United States in the late
18th century. Messenger was father to several racing horses,
one of whom yielded the line that ultimately created all American
Standardbreds, starting with Messenger's great-grandson, Hambletonian
The name of the American Standardbred first came into official
use in the late 19th century, and originated from the requirement
that a horse must be able to trot a mile in the "standard"
time of two and a half minutes or fewer in order to be registered.
The breed registry for the American Standardbred was first
created in 1879 by the National Association of Trotting Horse
Breeders in the U.S.
In build, the American Standardbred is more muscular, bulky,
and long than the Thoroughbred, but is still refined in appearance.
Height varies notably among American Standardbreds; an American
Standardbred can measure between 14 and 17 hands in height.
However, the average American Standardbred stands at 15 to
16 hands tall. It typically weighs between 800 and 1,000 pounds.
The majority of American Standardbred horses are bay, black,
or simply brown, though some may be chestnut. The American
Standardbred may also be gray or roan, though this is seen
Each American Standardbred has a tendency towards either
trotting or pacing. Those who trot and those who pace each
have distinct bloodlines, though both bloodlines share many
commonalities and begin with the same horse, Hambletonian
10. The American Standardbred can also perform gaits other
than the trot or the pace.
The American Standardbred horse has remarkable speed and
stamina, with many trotting a mile in less than the standard
time of two minutes and 30 seconds that was used in the 19th
century. In fact, the American Standardbred is the fastest
trotting horse in the world. For this reason, it is often
used in harness racing. In the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia,
and New Zealand, specific races for both trotters and pacers
are conducted, while in continental Europe, harness racers
are held only for trotters.
While the American Standardbred is best known for its prowess
in harness racing, it is also used as a show horse and for
pleasure riding. The American Standardbred is a very popular
choice to pull light buggies, especially among the Amish,
who rely on such buggies for transportation. Additionally,
it is good at jumping, and is therefore also used in show
jumping and eventing. The American Standardbred is also used