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Meet the Thoroughbred

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Chestnut Thoroughbred mare

This Pony Club member warms up her Thoroughbred mare before entering the dressage ring.

2005 K. Blocksdorf

Body Type:

The Thoroughbred typically has a deep chest, lean body and long flat muscles. They are fine to medium boned. They have well angled shoulders, and lean but powerful haunches.

Size:

The Thoroughbred can range in height from 15HH to over 17HH.

Uses:

Primarily bred as a race horse Thoroughbreds are also used in many English disciplines such as jumping, dressage, and hunting. Many Thoroughbreds are now being bred as riding horses only. The breed is often used to add refinement and athleticism to many pony, warmblood and draught horse breeds. Many sport horses have Thoroughbreds in their ancestry. Thoroughbred Arabian crosses are called Anglo-Arabs.

Color and Markings:

Thoroughbreds come in every solid color, including grey and rarely, roan. White markings such as stars, blazes, stockings and socks are common. The predominant color is dark brown or bay.

History and Origins:

The breed originated in seventeenth century Britain. Pedigrees of Thoroughbreds are carefully documented and most trace their ancestry to one of the original Arabian foundation stallions: The Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Goldophin Arabian (named for their owners—a previously common practice). Bred to native racing stock they produced offspring that were fleet, strong and of a consistent type.

Unique Characteristics:

 

  • Fine sleek hair coat.
  • Long sloping shoulders.
  • Long forearm.
  • Lean muscle.
  • Powerful haunches.
  • Deep wide chest provides lots of room for lungs and heart.
  • Energetic and athletic.

 

Champions and Celebrities:

TBs excel in other sports besides racing. Many horses ridden in Grand Prix and Olympic dressage, jumping and eventing have been TBs or part TBs.

  • Laudanum: A French stallion who won at Grand Prix jumping as well as puissance. Puissance means ‘power’ and is a high jumping competition. Laudanum sired many Grand Prix level jumpers.
  • Ladykiller: Raced unsuccessfully, but bred to Hosteiner Warmbloods added refinement and athleticism. He is regarded as an important sire of sport horses.

 

An Athletic Riding Horse:

Thoroughbreds have been bred to be fast, athletic and spirited. They don't always make the best beginner horses. For the intermediate and advanced rider, who can channel their energy they are the ultimate ride with smooth flowing gaits and powerful athleticism. TBs who once raced but are now riding horses are called OTTBs or off-the-track-thoroughbreds.

Reader Stories: Life With Thoroughbreds

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