Nowadays, horse racing is one of the most famous and captivating sports in the world. It has its devoted fans almost in each country, while the races are held in every second state. What makes horse racing so attractive for people of different nationalities? Let us find the answer in the origins of this elite and fascinating sport.
Horse racing has been known for centuries, or even millennia. It is considered to be one of the most ancient and exciting spectator sports in the world. Its origins lie in Central Asia, where horses were domesticated by the nomadic tribesmen for the very first time. The first signs of horse racing in Britain could be found in 200 AD. According to the historians, these races were held in Yorkshire by the Roman soldiers, although the data is a bit sketchy and no other information is provided.
The 12th century is marked by upgrading horse racing to the level of a professional sports discipline in Great Britain. It was the time when the English knights have managed to return from the Crusades, and they brought beautiful Arab horses to their beloved motherland. It was a pivotal moment in the history of English horse racing, as far as the first attempts of thorough breeding started at this point. The Englishmen crossbred the Arab horses with the English ones in order to produce the thoroughbred horses that are most suitable for horse racing. It is worth noting that this breed has proven itself to be very hot-blooded, full of spirit, speed and agility. That's why it has been used in horse racing for centuries, and even today thoroughbred horses are the preferred breed for the races.
The first recorded race took place in London in 1174 during a large horse fair. The 16th century is also considered to be quite important in the history of horse racing, as far as it is the time when king Henry VIII imported dozens of mares and stallions for breeding. It wasn't the first experience of horse breeding in England, but this one is marked with the general improvement of the breed used for racing. The king imported oriental stallions of Turkoman, Bard and Arab breeding that were used for producing an analogue for the modern thoroughbred horses. At the beginning of the 18th century Queen Anne was known as a patroness of horse racing. During her reign, this sport was flourishing. By this time horse racing has become a professional sport and numerous racecourses were founded all over Britain.
In a couple of decades (in 1750, to be precise), horse racing in England took another important step forward - an elite Jockey Club was formed in order to control and oversee this sport. The members of the club wrote a comprehensive set of rules and approved racecourses where the horse races were ought to be held.
Since that pivotal date almost nothing has changed in horse racing in England. This sport has managed to win affection of millions people from all over, but the Englishmen are considered to be its most devoted fans.