The speed of the Thoroughbred derives from the Shetland.
It reveals a recent study by two professors at the University of Dublin and Cambridge. The study shows that the 'gene for speed' is present in the blood lines of the fastest horse in the world for almost 300 years.
The small Shetland pony would be responsible for the 'gene for speed' of the English thoroughbred, horse racing king. This was revealed in a recent research carried out Ireland and Great Britain.
The researchers found that the presence of the 'gene for speed' in the English thoroughbred dates back some 300 years ago and would have been transmitted from one mare with the genetic heritage of the British native ponies, such as the Shetland and Dartmoor.
The origin of the ‘speed gene' (C type myostatin gene variant) was revealed by analysing DNA from hundreds of horses, including DNA extracted from the skeletal remains of 12 celebrated Thoroughbred stallions born between 1764 and 1930.
“Changes in racing since the foundation of the Thoroughbred have shaped the distribution of ‘speed gene' types over time and in different racing regions,” explained Dr Emmeline Hill, the senior author of the study, and a genomics scientist at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin.
“But we have been able to identify that the original ‘speed gene' variant entered the Thoroughbred from a single founder, which was most likely a British mare about 300 years ago, when local British horse types were the preeminent racing horses, prior to the formal foundation of the Thoroughbred racehorse.”