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Features and character of the Thoroughbred
Thoroughbreds are generally tall horses, around 16 hands high (64 inches/163 cm) or taller. They weigh in the region of 1,000 pounds (450 kg). Thoroughbreds that are used for flat racing have the lighter, more greyhound-like appearance which is typical of racehorses, with long bodies that give them an increased length of stride.
Thoroughbreds that excel at hurdling, steeple-chasing and cross country are often taller, up to 17 hands high (68 inches/173 cm) and more solidly built. Thoroughbred coats are almost exclusively solid coloured, with the majority being bay, followed by chestnut, brown, black and grey. The deep barrelled chest of Thoroughbreds contains plenty of room for powerful lungs and heart. In fact, many of the world’s most successful racehorses, such as the famous Phar Lap, have had large hearts. They are eye-catching horses even when they are standing still. Ever since the Thoroughbred breed has existed, they have been a topic for portraits, at first by artists and later by photographers. Once they start moving at phenomenal speed, they captivate the observer. Because they have been so intensively kept, their coats are usually gleaming with health and they are filled with energy. Underneath their coats, the musculature has been uniquely developed for athletic performance by specialist breeding.
On the whole, Thoroughbreds have dynamic and sometimes challenging temperaments, as they have been bred and reared with racing or other competitive sport in mind. They are high maintenance and require plenty of exercise. Their natures and athleticism are not usually considered suitable for people who are new to horse riding. However, like every other horse breed, Thoroughbreds are individuals, and people who know them well confirm that quite a few of them are laid-back characters. They do often need special care in the winter, including rugging and additional feed, as they tend to lose weight easily and are not usually “good doers” like native ponies. They are said to be “thin-skinned” and when fit, carry muscle rather than fat, which means they can they lose heat quickly. They will require stabling or well-made protective shelters for the worst weather. The relatively large amount of space they need to move around and rest in must be taken into account before buying a Thoroughbred. On the plus side, they usually have excellent feet. They will bond very closely with humans and also with other animals. It’s not unknown for racehorses to share their lives with companion cats, goats, and even chickens.
There’s no doubt that keeping a Thoroughbred is more challenging than keeping many other breeds, but it is also extremely rewarding. The main thing to consider is the reason for purchasing a Thoroughbred, in other words, what they will be expected to do. While most will be bought to compete, there is also interest in Thoroughbreds that have been retired from the racetrack, as they often make excellent riding horses once their racing lives are over.
Thoroughbred - These breeds belong to them
The Thoroughbred is often viewed as a breed apart from all others. The aim from the start was to create a horse that was “thoroughly bred for racing”. As such it occupies an important position for horse lovers among horse breeds. It is the creation of horses from many different locations, since native British and Irish horses, Turkomans, Barbs and Arabians have all contributed to its creation. In turn, the Thoroughbred has contributed to many other breeds, particularly the sports horse breeds. There are few European warmblood horses that do not have Thoroughbred blood, from the Hanoverian to the attractive Lewitzer pony. Thoroughbreds have been influential in creating the world’s tiniest horses, the Falabellas, and also some of the largest, such as the Percheron. The English Thoroughbred, the first of its type, is the probably the best-known of the Thoroughbred breeds, but there are also Irish Thoroughbreds, American Thoroughbreds and French Thoroughbreds. Each of these nations has developed their Thoroughbred racing breeds according to their needs. In America, one of the leading Thoroughbred breeds is the Standardbred, a phenomenally fast harness horse. The world over, the word Thoroughbred stands for speed!