FIG­URE’S PRE­PO­TENCY

EQUUS - - Conformati­on Insights -

pedi­gree I present is cor­rect, it is merely an ex­am­ple of a pat­tern fre­quently car­ried out by 18th-cen­tury Thor­ough­bred breed­ers in Eng­land. This pat­tern is the “con­ser­va­tion of Hobby blood,” in other words a con­scious ef­fort by breed­ers to main­tain the Hobby frac­tion within a pedi­gree at be­tween 15 to 25 per­cent. The pur­pose of this was, as I have al­ready pointed out, to en­sure that the horse so bred would have speed as well as stamina. Thus, the pedi­gree I pro­pose makes True Bri­ton (see “A Tale of Two ‘True Bri­tons,’” page 46) a seven-eighths­bred, by half-bred Trav­eller by Lloyd’s Trav­eller put to a three-quar­ters-bred mare. True Bri­ton Jr.’s dam---the mare im­ported by the De Lancey fam­ily “for rac­ing”---was by True Bri­ton Sr. (a full­blood) out of a half-bred mare by im­ported Wildair, whose dam was a Nar­ra­gansett Pacer. This is ex­actly the sort of horse that could be ex­pected to win in high-stakes con­tests on the Colo­nial short track.

Fig­ure’s “short” speed thus came to him, as did his short back, long hips, and ex­traor­di­nar­ily long, deep shoul­der, through the Thor­ough­bred part of his pedi­gree. Yet should there re­main any doubt as to Fig­ure’s de­scent from Nar­ra­gansett horses as well, we have Lins­ley’s de­scrip­tion of the stal­lion as “a very fast walker,” which is an old­fash­ioned way to say that Fig­ure was an am­bler. The great stamina shown by Fig­ure is yet an­other char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Nar­ra­gansett Pac­ers, though early Thor­ough­breds were also re­mark­able “stay­ers.”

This “for­mula” for Fig­ure may, un­for­tu­nately, de-le­git­imize him in the eyes of some breed fanciers, who think that pre­po­tency de­rives from ho­mozy­gos­ity

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