Kentucky State Horse


Thoroughbred horse

Thoroughbred horse Wiseman's Ferry; photo © Barbara D. Livingston Photography (all rights reserved; used by permission).


The thoroughbred (Equus caballus) was designated official state horse of Kentucky in 1996 (a thoroughbred horse is also featured on the Kentucky quarter). The Kentucky Derby (first of the yearly Triple Crown thoroughbred races) is called The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.

The Thoroughbred is a breed of horse celebrated for speed and endurance. Thoroughbreds are best known as racehorses, but are also popular in other equestrian sports such as polo, hunting, and eventing. Off the track thoroughbreds are also used in police work, equine-assisted therapy, and vocational training in correctional facilities.

All thoroughbreds trace their lineage to three stallions brought to Great Britain from the Middle East over three-hundred years ago. Known as the “Foundation Stallions” they are the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian. They were bred to native horses to produce a breed that could sustain speed over an extended distance. The thoroughbred has been selectively bred for these qualities ever since. American thoroughbred pedigrees are documented in the American Stud Book, first compiled by Colonel Sanders Bruce of Kentucky in 1873.



Racing thoroughbred horses; photo by Jason Mrachina on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).

Racing thoroughbred horses