England, particularly northern England, was the original home of the thoroughbred horse, and thoroughbred breeding was a national industry of great value. The ideal for all breeders was to breed stamina and speed in their horses, but Britain, with its high proportion of two-year-old racers, largely bred for speed at the expense of stamina. Breeders provided the thoroughbreds for flat racing, and were therefore indispensable. Some breeders were breeder-owners, breeding and racing their own horses, and prepared to trade potential profit for the pleasure of ownership. The breeding industry had always been economically risky and although it largely rode out the economic volatility of the 1920s and 1930s the period was fraught with anxiety for breeders, even though the drastic weeding out of useless horses that took place during the 1914–18 War had positive effects on the breeding stock.
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