National Geographic : 1923 Nov
532 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE It was not until about 1750 that the importation of English race horses began. . U Long prior to that time, however, racing . had been a popular sport in Virginia, and " the distances were far greater than any run in recent years. Heat races of one, two, and even four miles were common events. The horses were selected by their S owners as worthy to carry their colors, as well as their money. The horses of the early period were small, none being above 15 hands and o most of them half a hand less, the meas 7 ure of a hand being four inches. Just a what breeding gave them their speed will < never be known. Some had come from S Ireland, which had long been noted for 2 its speedy hunters. Prior to the coming of the Thorough , bred, the winners were mated to perpet < uate the speed of both sire and dam. <p WVhile the men of fortune were inclined to the long-distance and heat races, an a other element developed the short-dis tance horses, which competed over a straight course of one-fourth mile, and from that early period to about the time of the Civil War, quarter racing was a very popular sport, and not confined to r"z regular race tracks. Rarely indeed was S there a session of court without its quarter - race as a side issue. o GAITED HORSES DEVELOPED IN VIRGINIA z At a very early period the Virginians o began the use of pacing and racking z horses, and the best animals were bred to t perpetuate these gaits as natural gaits of the horse. o In the pace, the horse moves the two l feet on each side together; the rack, or e single foot, is a movement in which the a feet come down singly, in a rapid, shuf fling, easy motion, which gets over long S distances rapidly and with ease to the r rider. SThese saddle horses were trained to the single foot, fox trot, and running walk, and in time were found all over the South, , being much preferred to the walk, trot, and canter horse usually found in the North. The pace had been a popular gait in the z early history of England, but lost its * favor soon after the development of the Thoroughbred.