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  • Writer's pictureSandy

Spotlight on The Standardbred Horse

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

Families looking for a great “starter” horse need look no further! The Standardbred is a wonderful option.

This breed is one of just a few truly American horses, having originated in the United States over two hundred years ago. The story goes that an English Thoroughbred named Messenger was born in 1780 and that one of his descendants, Hambletonian 10, is credited as being the founding sire of the Standardbred breed.

Interestingly, Standardbreds either trot or pace (though they can canter) and are called Trotters or Pacers within the breed.

Trotters trot using a diagonal gait where the right front leg extends at the same time as the back-left leg.

Pacers trot with a lateral gait, meaning both legs on one side of the horse’s body move forward in unison.

No one is quite sure whether the Standardbred learns its gait from its mother or whether it’s an inherited characteristic, or maybe a bit of both!

Regardless of whether your Standardbred is a trotter or a pacer, there is much to love about the Standardbred breed:

*They are patient animals and much more tolerant than other breeds.

*They are even-tempered and very consistent horses.

*They have relatively few stall behavior issues.

*They make great trail horses.

*They are exceptionally durable.

*They are independent thinkers, and, once adapted to the saddle, they are very responsive to verbal commands.

*They are very adventurous and will enjoy joining you on your rides.

*They make good jumpers, dressage horses, and ranch horses.

*They are loving animals that are intelligent and willing to please.

Curious as to how the Standardbred got its name? It came about from early registration requirements where horses had to trot one mile in a “standard” amount of time. Back then, the time to qualify was two minutes 30 seconds. Today many Standardbreds can go a mile in one minute 50 seconds!

If you’d like to meet some Standardbred horses and see for yourself what great animals they are, contact Karen at

Although Sarge has recently been adopted, there are many beautiful Standardbreds at RFA looking for a forever home.

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