Saving the Thoroughbred

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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There has been much said about the drugs that are used to medicate the racing horses that have been competing in various stake races. It seems that the breed is suffering a downturn in the ability to perform at the level expected by those who bet on and breed these animals. I have a great idea to remedy this phenomenon but it is directly forbidden by the breeders association by laws.

For those who don’t know, all Thoroughbred horses are able to trace their lineage to 4 “foundation sires“ of the breed. These horses were Arabian horses and their qualities of speed, stamina, intelligence, beauty, and most importantly, physical soundness are essential to the extraordinary abilities of the Thoroughbred breed. So any Thoroughbred can trace its heritage to the Darley Arabian (1704), the Godolphin Arabian (1729) or the Byerley Turk (1680’s). In addition there were 74 foundation mares of mixed blood (Arabian and English).

I am sure the loss of performance ability in the breed is a result of not renewing the traits that make the Arab horse the most desirable for cross breeding with other breeds. For example, breeding draft horses with Arabs has produced the Belgian draft horse. It is notably smaller than other breeds, but it is the most handsome of those breeds and is the strongest pound for pound by far. If the Thoroughbred can be infused with fresh pure blood. I’m sure it will reverse the undesirable tendencies in the modern Thoroughbred that have affected its health and performance abilities.

The loss of genetic diversity has obviously become a factor in the poor health that has manifest itself recently in racing horses. I hope that some serious thought is given to doing something about it.

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