Thoroughbred Horses: Health, Behavior, Grooming & More 

Since thoroughbred horses are used in horse racing, most people are familiar with them. Due to their versatility, thoroughbreds sometimes find second careers as riding or driving horses. Thoroughbreds are considered “hot-blooded” horses, which refers to equines that have a propensity for being fiery, brave, astute, and athletic. Even though not all riders can handle it, it makes for a great horse.

Thoroughbred History and Origins

The origin of thoroughbred horses may be traced to Great Britain in the late 17th century. There had been horse racing for many years, and humans had been carefully breeding horses for their racing propensities.

In the late 1600s and early 1700s, three stallions were brought to England: the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian (named for their owners, as was once a regular practice). Despite the fact that none of them had ever raced, they ended up becoming the first thoroughbred stallions. The original mares were of various native and imported kinds.

This careful breeding produced a horse with power, speed, and endurance. The first thoroughbred made its way to the American colonies in 1730, but during the Revolutionary War, imports all but ceased. In the 1800s, thoroughbred breeding and racing became increasingly popular in the United States, with Kentucky and Tennessee emerging as major breeding and racing hubs. Several other horse breeds, such as the American quarter horse, standardbred, and Morgan, were affected by the thoroughbred horses as well.

Thoroughbred Size

The height of a thoroughbred can range from approximately 15 hands (60 inches) to 17 hands (68 inches). The majority are about 16 hands (64 inches) tall. Normally, they weigh 1,000 to 1,200 pounds.

Thoroughbred Breeding and Uses

Thoroughbred horses are common in many other equine sports, like as dressage and jumping, despite having been bred largely for their racing traits since their inception. They can also be utilized as trail horses, all-purpose riding horses, and pleasure drivers. Former racehorses, often known as off-track thoroughbreds or OTTBs, frequently go on to become riding and driving horses.

Additionally, thoroughbred horses are frequently utilized to enhance the elegance and athleticism of other horse breeds. In particular, many sport horses have thoroughbreds in their pedigree.

Colors and Markings

Every solid equine coat color is available in thoroughbreds. They are often bay, brown, chestnut, black, or gray in color. Many breed registries don’t accept coat patterns with many colors. But while many thoroughbreds are simple with little to no markings, white facial and leg patterns like blazes or stockings are permitted.

Unique Characteristics of the Thoroughbred

A thoroughbred is distinguished by its athleticism and elegant appearance. These horses are capable of reaching speeds of about 40 mph. As they gallop, their heavily muscled hindquarters increase thrust. And while being strong, muscular horses, they can move with grace and quickness.

Common Health 

Many of the health issues that thoroughbred horses are prone to are brought on by their breeding for racing. Thoroughbreds experience a high percentage of health issues and accidents, including life-ending fractures, because they are frequently subjected to physical extremes on the race track.

The breed can also have exertion-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which is when the lungs bleed as a result of strenuous exercise. Additionally, some thoroughbred horses have abnormally large hearts, which can exacerbate circulation problems caused by leaky valves and eventually result in congestive heart failure. Additionally, some horses may be lame or painful due to hooves that are excessively light and thin-walled for their size.

Behavior Problems

Many thoroughbred horses have temperaments that are too spirited and active for novice equestrians. But they have a great work ethic and are quite educated. This horse can frequently be trained to succeed in a variety of equine sports by a self-assured, knowledgeable handler.

However, it might be particularly challenging to retrain ex-racehorses for other uses, such as regular riding. These horses frequently startle at loud noises that resemble starter pistols since they have been bred for racing their entire lives. Furthermore, ex-racehorses often only receive fundamental behavioral instruction.

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Grooming

Thoroughbreds can be groomed using traditional equine techniques. To check for wounds and stop infection, brush them at least twice a week and daily check and clean their hooves.

Due to their thinner skin than many other breeds, thoroughbred horses require particularly careful brushing. A thoroughbred may therefore be more sensitive to brushing and irritated by it, especially if you irritate any painful regions. Slow down the procedure and give the horse rewards or compliments when they behave well. Additionally, search for gentle grooming products like a brush with natural bristles as opposed to nylon.

How to Adopt or Buy Thoroughbred Horses ?

Due to their popularity, it is not difficult to find or purchase thoroughbred horses anywhere in the world. Champion bloodline thoroughbred horses can easily cost more than $100,000, while retired racehorses or thoroughbreds for general riding typically cost between $1,000 and $10,000.

Inquire about the horse’s background, health, temperament, and training from the seller. So before choosing to bring the horse home, be sure you can handle it. Before purchasing or adopting a horse, it is also essential to have your veterinarian undertake a pre-purchase examination to ascertain the animal’s health and appropriateness for the purpose for which it is intended.

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