The Thoroughbred is a breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, in this case it refers only to the breed. Thoroughbreds are considered “hot-blooded” horses that are known for their agility, speed, and spirit. They are one of the most popular breeds in the world today.
The breed originated in England from crosses between imported Turkish and Arabian horses and existing English lines. They have been exported and imported all across the world. The term describes a breed of horse whose ancestry traces back to three foundation sires - the Darley Arabian
, the Godolphin Arabian
, and the Byerly Turk
, named after their respective owners- Thomas Darley, Lord Godolphin, and Captain Robert Byerly. These stallions were brought to England from the Mediterranean Middle East around the turn of the 17th
Fact: All true Thoroughbred foals can trace their bloodlines directly back to one of these three foundation sires.
- Deep chest cavity
- Lean body
- Long, flat muscles
- Fine sleek hair
- Long sloping shoulders
- Powerful haunches
- Medium to fine bones
- Range from 15 hands to 17 hands
Common Disciplines and Use
Thoroughbreds are mainly used for racing, but are also used for other riding disciplines, such as show jumping, dressage, polo, fox hunting, and combined training. They have so much versatility and have made their marks in many sports. Their mental and physical strength make them tough and extremely intelligent. Since they are exceptionally sensitivity to their surroundings, they can be hot headed and are not always advised for beginners.
After the Track
An off the track Thoroughbred, or OTTB, is a race horse that has been retired. They can also be trained as lesson horses, companion animals, or even for therapeutic riding programs. They may be great racehorses, but they can do so much more! Nonetheless, Thoroughbreds still find themselves retiring from racing with nowhere to go. There are so many rescues and foundations, so let’s be part of a solution and help get these wonderful animals rescued and adopted out to wonderful families! There are many facilities across the world, and there is likely an organization near you. Click to check out a few popular organizations below:
Thoroughbred Charities of America
Retired Racehorse Project