| American Standardbred horses are widely known for harness racing. The Standardbred horse is powerfully built. They range from 14 to 16 hh and may be any solid color, usually bay, brown, black, or chestnut. This breed is often descibed as honest.
The foundation of the Standardbred horse first comes from an English Thoroughbred named Messenger. Messenger was born in 1780 and was a great racehorse. He was sent to Philadelphia in 1788 and was bred to Thoroughbred mares at first, later branching out to other breeds after racing was suppressed in New York. Hambletonian, Messenger's great grandson, had four sons, George Wilkes, Dictator, Happy Medium, and Electineer, who became responsible for nearly all harness racehorses in the USA. Also, Clay and Morgan horses helped establish the Standardbred's gait.
Standardbred racing is concetrated on two gaits, the trot and pace. Even though a trotting horse in full stride is beautiful, trainers have to work hard to get high speed with a trotting horse. Pacers move their legs in tandem, or one following behind the other. Pacers are usually about seven seconds faster than trotters.