Education Blog

Welcome to the Foal Patrol Education Blog! Please check back regularly as we will be constantly posting new content. Thank you to veterinarians Dr. Ted Hill and Dr. Stuart Brown for help with this project. Questions or comments? Contact us at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame:

Breeding and Pedigree

Anatomy / Pedigree
April 30th, 2019

The Thoroughbred horse has been bred over more than three centuries to produce an animal that can run with great endurance at incredible speeds.

Lineage and pedigree are important factors in breeding Thoroughbred race horses. Owners will do extensive research to decide which stallion they believe will produce a quality foal with their mare. Many factors go into this selection including size of the mare and stallion, the fees to breed, and race performance of the mare and stallion.

The pedigree of the mare and stallion are studied extensively to create the strongest, best suited horse for the type of racing it will train to do. Thoroughbred horses are bred for flat racing or jump racing. Stallion - An adult male horse used for breeding.  Foal – A baby horse in its first year.  Mare - A female horse, 5 years of age and older.

Here is a video of Vivien Malloy at Edition Farm sharing some background on the timeline followed to ensure the mare is in foal and the pregnancy is progressing.


Growth and Development Evaluation for Foals

Anatomy / Pedigree
April 17th, 2019

Foals are evaluated on a consistent basis to ensure they are healthy and in good conformation. Soon after birth, a veternarian will examine the foal to check if everything is going well and if not, get specialized care for the baby. Foals are evaluated on a weekly basis for the first month of life then, bi-weekly thereafter. Development and growth is ideal at a steady rate to ensure they are growing optimally. Chris Baker from Three Chimneys Farm takes us through a growth and development evaluation for Love and Pride19. Watch to learn more!

Timeline of Breeding Thoroughbreds

Anatomy / Pedigree
April 4th, 2019

The cycle of breeding, gestation and delivery follows a specific timeline for Thoroughbred horses. Chris Baker at Three Chimneys Farm shares some background on that timeline and how the farm ensures the broodmares are safe and healthy. It is an excellent and thorough video with a beautiful view of Love and Pride in the Kentucky.


Anatomy / Pedigree
February 26th, 2019

A rich brown, soft silver or warm chestnut are all beautiful colors of Thoroughbred horses. These colors are part of their markings that help to identify the animal. Markings are defined as certain colors and characteristics that appear on a horse including the overall color of the horse such as black, brown (bay) and chestnut in the dark color category and gray, roan or sometimes white in the lighter color category.  

Markings also include those on the legs and head that are white with some rare exceptions. These are generally more unique and distinctive. Head markings include a star, stripe or combination of both as well as a blaze. A star is a small to large block of color on the forehead. A strip is a long line of color down below the forehead. A blaze is a wider band of color from the forehead down to the nostrils and muzzle. Leg markings consist of a stocking, sock or pastern. The markings cover the leg or legs at different heights. 

Lastly, there are a few other specific markings used for identification. Cowlicks or “whirls” in the haircoat can be used as a unique identifying feature. These are seen most often on the horse’s face and/or neck. "Night-eyes" or "chestnuts" are small horny growths on the inside of each leg with a distinct pattern for each horse. These are also used as an identification aid and they can be quite valuable in reviewing a horse’s photos submitted to the Jockey Club registry. Both markings have been compared to a fingerprint in humans.

Markings - Cavalcade museum collection.jpg

Cavalcade Martin Stainforth, oil on canvas 1960.12.1 Museum Collection

Markings - Gino museum collection.jpg

Gino Martin Stainforth, oil on canvas 2015.22.4 Museum Collection

Markings - Gallant Fox museum collection.jpg

Gallant Fox Franklin Brooke Voss, oil on canvas 1934 1996.21.2 Museum Collection