Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Thoroughbred Horse!
I think everyone knows what the Thoroughbred horse is famous for – racing! Our minds instantly fly to the famous race horses such as Seabiscuit and Secretariat. These famous race horses all have one thing in common – they are Thoroughbreds! Thoroughbreds are the fastest horses in the world and are primarily used in competitive horse racing and other competitive sport activities such as jumping, eventing, and dressage.
These horses are known for having a ton of energy and are often called “hot” and can be difficult to handle. They love to run and be athletic, and due to their high energy levels they are not usually the best horses for beginners. They have very long legs and have a long and straight looking profile. They grow to about 16 hands and their prime racing years are when they are a young 2 and 3 years old. The Thoroughbred is considered to be a light horse breed. Light horse breeds are on the lighter side and most often weigh under 1500 pounds. They are commonly used as riding horses and sometimes for light ranch work or in the show ring.
The background on the Thoroughbred all starts in Britain. Back in the 1600’s and 1700’s was when an interest in horse racing really took off. King Henry VIII started the very first royal racing stables due to this budding interest. Three specific Arabian stallions are where the modern day Thoroughbred genes can be tracked back to. An interesting fact is that those three stallions never actually raced! The majority of the Thoroughbred horses have 31 known ancestors, and all of these can be traced back to those three original stallions. The names of these stallions were Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian. The first famous racehorse, Flying Childers, was the offspring of Darley Arabian!
Thoroughbred care and feeding is similar to most other horses. One thing to note is that Thoroughbreds do require more food than other horses their size because of their fast metabolism! Typically horses are grass-fed or fed hay twice a day with occasional grain if needed. Other foods such as oats or treats should be kept to a minimum. Make sure to provide fresh water everyday and keep a salt block where they can easily lick it. They should be groomed on a regular basis to keep their coat in shape. Pick their hooves often (especially before riding) to check for rocks and fungus. You should have their hooves trimmed regularly as well.
There are some health problems specific to the Thoroughbred. Because they are racehorses and are pushed to the limit, they are prone to accidents which cause injuries and sometimes death. Broken legs and other musculoskeletal injuries are the biggest problems. Other problems include bleeding in their lungs, constipation, small hooves in relation to their bodies, and fertility problems.
Thoroughbred horses are available almost everywhere. They can be very expensive (the most expensive around the world!), especially in the competitive racing world. Older, former race horses can be found cheaper in classified ads and at auctions. Many horses offered at auctions though, will need to be re-trained to be leisure riding horses or to become competitive in other disciplines. They may also sport injuries from their racing days.
Thoroughbreds definitely have a legend around them and are highly sought out in the horse racing world. Animal-World’s Thoroughbred Horse page has more information on these horses if you want to know more!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.