Sunday, January 03, 2010

On The Other Hand

In Defense Of Thoroughbreds

I don't want anyone to think I meant to give a bad impression of Thoroughbreds by yesterday's post. As a matter of fact, I love Thoroughbreds. Given my choice of any breed, they are number one as far as I am concerned.

Many are good, quiet, solid kids' horses. I have just had the luck of getting ones with tricky personalities. But I even love those quirks. Yes, they are sensitive creatures and yes, they do mentally overload, but that too is part of their appeal. They are the perfectionists of the horse world, always ready to offer maximum effort when it counts.

They are also extremely intelligent. Again, that can make for a difficult train. As a rider/trainer of a sharp Thoroughbred, you must be able to out think your horse. Riding becomes an intellectual sport where you must ever be conscious of what you are doing and what you are communicating. One international trainer told me you always have to be careful of drilling a Thoroughbred on exercises. They learn quickly and build muscle quickly too, so knowing when to quit is an important skill.

Getting a Thoroughbred fit for sport is not a huge challenge. Bred to be the ulitmate athlete of the horse world, these horses are prized for their strong wills and determination. They have the will to win, to succeed, and the heart to match. Remember, they were not bred to be compliant, submissive, or a gentle companion to man. Their breeding is all about running as fast as they can no matter what happens. And that spirit translates as they become riding horses.

I think too, that matched with the right owner, they can become fiercely loyal partners. I know my Russell was, and I developed nearly as strong bonds with PJ and Toby. I am also sensing a deep bond of mutual respect with Tucker as if we are sharing this world with each other instead of his being my servant.

A agree that every Thoroughbred is not a horse for everyone. But there are many Thoroughbred that are the kindest, gentlest, and wisest horses you would every want to know.

Despite the challenges, I love them.


  1. I'm a big fan of TBs - as you know, I have one (Dawn) and a TB cross (Maisie). As I get older, though, at some point I might want a quieter, more predictable horse. Even my Noble, although a QH, is 35% TB by pedigree. Dawn is probably the smartest horse I've ever met, and as you point out, that presents training challenges, particularly when coupled with an anxious over-achiever personality. Maisie can be a bit of a flake at times, but I'm not sure that's the TB. I've always liked a very forward horse, and mine are certainly that!

  2. I've met lots of TB's over the years and they are one of my favorite breeds. Beautiful and intelligent. We had a black mare once off the track and she was the smartest gal I've ever had the privilege to know. Some of our boarders had TB's and while some were challenging they were never wild or dangerous. One of our best horses was a paint with lots of TB in him and he couldn't be beat for personality, talent and intelligence. There were others that I wish we still had, but all in all I think you're right, with the right owner/trainer they can be the best horses in the world to work with and to forge a relationship with. And I've got to add they are certainly one of the most elegant looking breeds.

  3. I think they are very athleti horses,and the ones know were also quite gentle, however perhaps because of lack of horsemanship and training they were tricky to ride.

    As I wrote to you on my blog, some bloodlines of WB in Europe are very agressive dominant horses, They also win everything in show-jumping. But they are not begninners. It really depends the bloodline, and the training.

  4. I love TBs too...I own a TB/Quarter cross. But...I do love it when the Quarter horse side of her brain comes out:-). The TB side, so much energy, so forward, along with anxiety, and takes a special person to deal with that combination. Definitely not the breed for everyone, but they are such amazing athletes coupled with so much heart and drive.