Thoroughbred breed information
Thoroughbred horse general information
SIZEThoroughbreds usually stand between 15 and 17 hands high.
WEIGHTThoroughbred can weigh in range of 1000 to 1200lbs (450-550kg).
LIFE EXPECTANCYAverage life span of a Thoroughbred horse is somewhere between 25 to 35 years, depending on the health care provided.
USESAlthough the Thoroughbred is primarily bred for racing, the breed is also used for show jumping and combined training because of its athleticism, and many retired and retrained race horses become fine family riding horses, dressage horses, and youth show horses. The larger horses are sought after for hunter/jumper and dressage competitions, whereas the smaller horses are in demand as polo ponies.
INFLUENCEArabian, Barb and Turk
TEMPRERAMENTBeing a hot-blooded horse, the Thoroughbred is courageous and alert. Sometimes nervous, these horses are spirited and excitable. As true racing machines, the Thoroughbred is fast and athletic.
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word "thoroughbred" is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered a hotblooded horse, known for their agility, speed and spirit.
The head should be correctly proportioned to the rest of the body, displaying a good flat forehead and wide-set intelligent eyes. Carried relatively low, the head should sit well on a neck which is somewhat longer and lighter than in other breeds.
All modern Thoroughbreds trace back to three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerley Turk (1680s), the Darley Arabian (1704), and the Godolphin Arabian (1729). Other stallions of oriental breeding were less influential, but still made noteworthy contributions to the breed. These included the Alcock Arabian, D'Arcy's White Turk, Leedes Arabian, and Curwen's Bay Barb. Another was the Brownlow Turk, who, among other attributes, is thought to be largely responsible for the gray coat color in Thoroughbreds.
The descendants of these sires were bred and crossbred to create a horse that was very fast, yet strong. Almost all of the selective breeding was for one purpose, to produce the fastest horse on the track. It has a wide girth for a large lung capacity, and strong legs for hard running. The shoulder is long and sloped to allow a greater stride. The hind leg is long so that it can gain greater ground quickly. Everything about the breed suggests speed.
The horses were shipped to America almost with the first settlers. Governor Samuel Ogle established racing competitions in Annapolis in 1745. Colonel Sanders D. Bruce started a studbook in the late 1800’s. Soon after the Jockey Club took over the responsibility and continues to do it today.
Thoroughbred health and genetic issues
One tenth of all Thoroughbreds suffer orthopedic problems, including fractures.
Thoroughbred tend to have smaller hooves relative to their body mass than other breeds, with thin soles and walls and a lack of cartilage mass, which contributes to foot soreness, the most common source of lameness in racehorses.
Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) also known as "bleeding" or a "bleeding attack" has been known to occur in horses that engage in short periods of strenuous exercise.
Thoroughbred fun facts
All Thoroughbred foals have the official birth date of January 1 no matter when they where born.
Whenever a racing accident severely injures a well-known horse, such as the major leg fractures that led to the euthanization of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, or 2008 Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles, animal rights groups have denounced the Thoroughbred racing industry.
Unlike a significant number of registered breeds today, a horse cannot be registered as a Thoroughbred (with The Jockey Club registry) unless conceived by "live cover"; that is, by the witnessed natural mating of a mare and a stallion. Artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET), though commonly used and allowable in many other horse breed registries, cannot be used with Thoroughbreds.
The most popular Thoroughbred horse of all times was the Secretariat. In 1973, the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Citation in 1948, won 16 of 21 starts, fourth all-time money winner. Tied or broke 5 track records. Secretariat sold for an all-time of $6,080,000.