The Standardbred

Learn the facts, history, and characteristics of the Standardbred horse breed.


Standardbred History

In 1849 Hambletonian 10, the foundation sire of the American Standardbred was born. His offspring went on to set records in the harness racing world.

The name refers to the “standard” that was set in 1879 that established a certain speed requirement (three minutes to a mile) before registration was allowed.

Standardbred horse harness racing

Today, the Standardbred competes in harness racing all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Europe. The typical racing length is one mile, and both trotters and pacers (where horses trot in lateral paired legs rather than diagonal) are raced.

Retired racers are favored by the Amish for pulling buggies. They are also retrained under saddle for both English and western disciplines.

The Standardbred is one of the foundation breeds for the Tennessee Walking Horse.

Teaching a Standardbred to canter

Standardbred Characteristics

The limbs and hocks of the Standardbred are very strong and able to withstand the constant pounding that trotting and pacing speed requires.

It stands an average of 15.3 hands high and comes in all solid colors with brown, black and bay the most prominent. Blue and red roan are also seen.

For More Information:

United States Trotting Association,

Further Reading:

This breed profile was originally published on December 15, 2006.


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