When training your horse, you certainly have many options to choose from, and this is…
If you have ever watched the Kentucky Derby or other events in racing’s Triple Crown, you have had the opportunity to see Thoroughbred horses. If you’re not a racing fan, but watch the news on a regular basis – particularly after the 2006 running of the Kentucky Derby and on through the rest of the year, you’re likely familiar with the story of Barbaro, the 2006 Derby winner that was put down after shattering a hind leg during the 2006 Preakness Stakes: the beautiful, calm Thoroughbred Horse was beloved by many.
Many of the reasons why Barbaro was much beloved share similarities with the reason why many people express love and adoration for Thoroughbred horses. The breed is known for a noble beauty, a dignified appearance, a determination, coupled with speed and drive.
Of course, it’s the speed and wildness of the Thoroughbred horse – known widely for its racing abilities – that make Thoroughbreds a less than ideal choice for those who are looking for a horse for their family, as well as for inexperienced riders. Many find that Thoroughbreds are too fast, too unpredictable and dangerous for those who aren’t experienced with horses.
Just how fast can Thoroughbred horses be? On average, Thoroughbreds like those that are used in racing run nearly forty miles per hour, but remain agile, able to turn quickly and change pace without much notice, when necessary. The hindquarters of Thoroughbred horses often are the seat of their power; long, well-developed muscles in the hip and thigh are things that you should pay attention, whether you are picking a horse out of the
line-up in race five or if you are looking to buy a Thoroughbred horse for your own use.
In addition, when you look at a Thoroughbred horse, you will want to also look for other characteristics that define the breed. Thoroughbreds stand between 15 and 17 hands. Colors range from dark bay to black or gray. White Thoroughbreds can occur but are extremely rare, however, that doesn’t mean that there cannot be white hairs or patches of white on a Thoroughbred horse.
As many Thoroughbred horses are bred specifically for racing – and, as a result, it’s not surprising that many Thoroughbred horses for sale have been born in Kentucky. Other states where Thoroughbred horse breeding is extremely common are Florida and California.
Still, not all Thoroughbred horses are bred for racing – and, of course, very few that are make it to the Triple Crown races. Based on the athleticism of the breed, the drive that most Thoroughbreds have to succeed and excel at a task, many are also trained for other equestrian sports. Though the Thoroughbred is uncommon in dressage, it is not unheard of; the same is true for show jumping. Likewise, because Thoroughbred horses move with a smooth gait, some have been used for classical jumping and as show hunters.
The best of the breed are taken one step further and trained for event performance. In event competition, dressage, cross-country and show-jumping is all combined into a single equestrian event. Because of their success in event performance, many Thoroughbred horses make it to World Championship and Olympic competition levels.
This athleticism of the horse and its competitive potential is something that, when one is looking at horses for sale, often puts young Thoroughbred horses out of the price range of many families. When making an investment with two or more partners into buying a Thoroughbred horse for racing, buyers can expect to pay up to $5,000. To own your own Thoroughbred, you’ll need to invest at least $10,000, and understand that you are buying one of the least expensive Thoroughbreds. At this price level, many horse owners are only partial owners of the horse that they have invested their money. Prices only climb from there.
However, those who do own Thoroughbred horses – either on their own or as a part of a partnership – tend to find that there are many rewards. There’s camaraderie among Thoroughbred owners, an excitement that comes from getting together at the track (even if your horse is not the one that ultimately wins the race).
If you are committed to owning a Thoroughbred horse and do not have the financial backing to buy one outright, you may want to consider contacting the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Charity service to learn more about adopting retired racehorses.