King John ascended the throne in 1199 and paid great attention to the improvement of the farm-horse, importing one hundred heavy stallions from Flanders at one time. In the first quarter of the fourteenth century, Edward II imported both mares and horses of the draft type and fifty horses of Spanish blood. Before his time, England had enacted sumptuary laws in regard to horses, especially as to their exportation. Upon the whole, these laws were beneficial and did something toward improving the horse by retaining the good ones and by the exclusion, in part, for breeding purposes of inferior specimens. They were not repealed until the sixteenth century. They provided, among other things, that horses of a certain quality, or valued at a certain price, should not be exported. At the close of the fifteenth century, Henry VIII rigidly executed the laws which prohibited the exportation of both stallions and mares that were above a certain value, which resulted in selling the poorer and keeping the better animals. He also decreed that no stallion under the height of fifteen hands (sixty inches) should run at large on the commons, and that all foals, Alleys or mares that were ill-shapen or undersized should be killed. Thus for about three hundred years intelligent effort was made to improve the horses of Great Britain by selection and by the admixture of superior blood of both Flemish and Spanish origin.

1 Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VIII, p. 181.

In order to satisfy the Puritans, Oliver Cromwell forbade racing, which had already become very common. Notwithstanding this, he was a lover of fast horses and purchased of Mr. Place a noted Arabian horse known as "White Turk," which was said to be the most beautiful horse of eastern origin ever imported into England. Many of the pedigrees of our present thoroughbred horses, and even of the trotters, trace directly in some lines to the noted animals imported before the close of Cromwell's reign, or to those imported prior to 1760. The names of the most noted of several importations follow:

Place's White Turk.......

Time of Common-wealth, 1653, 1649-1660

Morocco Barb......

Helmsley Turk....

Damaseus Arabia.......

Charles II, 1660-1685

Three Turks from Hamburg, 1684

Royal Barb or Turkish mares . .

Byerly Turk......

James II, 1685-1688

Stradding Turk.....

Darley Arabian.......

Queen Anne, 1702 -1714

Curwen's Barb....

Carlisle's Turk.....

Perhaps the most noted Arabian horse that was ever imported into England was Godolphin Arabian, during the reign of King George II (1727 to 1760). It is believed that every fast running or trotting horse's pedigree reaches back in some lines to one or more of the horses named above, or to the royal mares. In some cases the pedigree runs back to more than one of these noted stallions and to the royal mares also. Invariably, the pedigree of the running horse traces back to these noted ancestors in more lines than does that of the trotting horse. The pedigree of the trotting horse, if traced back far enough, usually ends, on the dam's side, in a "noted road mare" of unknown blood. It seems to be the consensus of opinion that horses bred true to the thoroughbred line cannot be trained to trot as fast as those which have originated from out-crosses with animals not thoroughbreds, yet with some warm blood and built on lines similar to those of the thoroughbred, so modified as to better adapt them to a fast trotting or racking gait.

Charles II (1660-1685) paid great attention to the turf, sending his Master of the Horse to the Levant1 to import both mares and stallions, and it is to these imported mares that the name of "Royal Mares" has been given.

The Spanish horses imported into England, it is believed, were identical, or nearly so, with the oriental blood; and the reason for sometimes importing Spanish horses instead of those from the Orient, was that at this early period (first quarter of the fourteenth century, King Edward) some of the Spanish horses were more improved and better than Arabian horses. It is quite probable that some of the running horses of England and the trotting horses of America have first an infusion of warm blood through the Spanish horse, and later through direct importation from Arabia and contiguous countries.

1 Levant, the east, the point where the sun rises, especially the countries of Turkey, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt, etc., which are washed by the eastern part of the Mediterranean and its contiguous waters.

Various names are applied to the horse which has wholly, or in large part, the blood of the Orient; as the "hot-blooded," "thoroughbred," "running horse," "Arabian" and "Oriental horse." The term "Orient" (the east), as used in works on the horse, is usually applied to the countries of Arabia, Morocco, Barbary and Turkey. Although Arabia is now thought to possess horses of the best quality, the other countries mentioned, and even Spain, in early days, are said to have possessed better horses than did Arabia.

It will be seen that Great Britain derived her horses from those which were in the country at the time of Caesar's invasion (55 B.C.), which subsequently were improved by importation of Flemish draft-horses and others of the same type, and by the oriental horse from Barbary, Arabia and Turkey, and from Spain. It was not long before two distinct types were developed, - the draft - horse and the light thoroughbred. There were, indeed, many intermediate types, but these two types for a long time stood at the head of all others. From these have come varieties, a few of which have developed into breeds sometimes varying greatly in form and specialized qualities. Something analogous to this also transpired in France, and here, too, is seen the draft- or heavy horse and the light, quick mover.

The people of Great Britain have always been noted for their love of agriculture and the chase. From time immemorial, equine display accompanied the public appearance of royalty, and this encouraged outdoor sports among the people. Whoever maintained one or more horses found a ready passport into society, which could not be entered in absence of such ownership. While Britain's greatest strength in modern times is her navy, she nevertheless maintains a numerous and efficient cavalry.

Not the least of the forces which have long been at work for the improvement of light horses is the universal love of the English for outdoor sports, and especially for those which test the speed and endurance of the horse, as well as the skill of its rider. The English farmer has also acquired a love for the horse. Although as a rule, he does not, participate in the race, he is everywhere conspicuous and has thus learned to admire, almost adore, the hunter. He also takes special interest in the agricultural- and draft-horses for their strong, symmetrical, plump form and size and their ability to work. Consequently, in breeding and improvement, the draft-horse has kept pace with those of lighter and fleeter forms. Perhaps no other people has done so much for the improvement of the horse, and the dissemination of well-bred animals, as the Anglo-Saxons. America is certainly indebted to Great Britain for a wealth of valuable foundation stock with which to begin horse-breeding.