Racing in medieval England began when horses for sale were ridden in competition by professional riders to display the horses’ speed to buyers.During the reign of Richard the Lionheart (1189–99), the first known racing purse was offered, £40, for a race run over a 3-mile (4.8-km) course with knights as riders.Racing on the flat with horses other than Thoroughbreds is described in the article quarter-horse racing.Horse racing is one of the oldest of all sports, and its basic concept has undergone virtually no change over the centuries.Thence came too the Arabian, Barb, and Turk horses that contributed to the earliest European racing.Such horses became familiar to Europeans during the Crusades (11th–13th century ), from which they brought those horses back.After the Civil War, speed became the goal and the British system the model.purse, a simple wager.
Private studbooks had existed from the early 17th century, but they were not invariably reliable.
An act of the British Parliament of 1740 provided that horses entered had to be the bona fide property of the owners, thus preventing “ringers,” a superior horse entered fraudulently against inferior horses; horses had to be certified as to age; and there were penalties for rough riding.
Contemporary accounts identified riders (in England called jockeys—if professional—from the second half of the 17th century and later in French racing), but their names were not at first officially recorded.
His articles for these races were the earliest national racing rules.
The horses raced were six years old and carried 168 pounds (76 kg), and the winner was the first to win two 4-mile (6.4-km) heats.