It has been said that the invention of the Thoroughbred was the single most consequential turning point in the evolution of the horse since its domestication. Its blood has provided the key to superiority in nearly every equestrian discipline. Why the Thoroughbred was created, how, by whom, and how its progenitors survived war, politics and the ambitions, jealousies of monarchs, noblemen and politicians is the subject of Speed and the Thoroughbred. Handsomely illustrated with paintings and photographs, this is the first book to identify and historically trace the three sources of Thoroughbred speed: the pre-Christian Irish Hobby, the 16th century English Running-Horse, and a few Middle-Eastern imports. More than ten years in the making, the author—the most prolific equine author and creative equestrian of the 20th century—believed it was his finest work of equine scholarship. It is the most important and fascinating book ever written about the Thoroughbred.
Alexander Mackay-Smith was born in Manhattan in 1903, but he lived most of his life in the horse country of Virginia. He is also the author of The American Foxhound 1747-1967, and Foxhunting In North America, among others. He died in 1998.