The Spanish period
There does not appear to be surviving evidence of horse-racing in Jamaica during the Spanish period, from the late 15th to the mid-17th century. However, it was the Spanish who introduced horses into the island, along with other Old World livestock, such as cattle, pigs, goats and chickens. Match races took place in other Spanish American colonies, so it may reasonably be assumed that such races took place in Jamaica during that period. Horses were used by all ethnic groups, and the men who rounded up the semi-wild cattle, which roamed the island's plains, were particularly fine horsemen.
When the Spanish left at the time of the English conquest in 1655, many of the horses and their riders remained behind.
The early English period: mid-17th to mid-18th century.