The English Thoroughbred: all you need to know about this breed of horse


Selected for its velocity, the Thoroughbred is the star of the racetracks. Courageous but brash, this horse must be managed with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Close-up on a breed of champions.

The Arab origins of the English Thoroughbred

The English Thoroughbred (translation of English Thoroughbred) was born from a selective breeding carried out during the XVIIe and XVIIIe centuries in England. Mares local robust were then mated with foreign stallions, mainly arab, rigorously selected for their velocity. All current English Thoroughbreds are thus descended from three males of oriental origin: Herod, Eclipse and Matchem, themselves descendants of three oriental stallions, Byerley turk, Godolphin arabian and Darley arabian.

The elegant English Thoroughbred

English Thoroughbreds do not have specific standards, but they do have some common characteristics:

  • A harmonious morphology and athletic ;
  • A well marked musculature;
  • An elegant head and straight with a broad forehead and a straight muzzle;
  • A fine, arched neckline;
  • A full, deep and ogival chest;
  • Long shoulders and oblique, favoring the gallop;
  • A straight back and a long horizontal croup;
  • Senior members and dry with small feet compared to his height;
  • A colored dress bay and its shades, from bay-brown to alezan through gray;
  • Balzanes and white marks frequent on the head but of moderate size;
  • A height at the withers of 1.65 m on average;
  • A weight ranging from 400 to 500 kg.

This animal brittle – which is easily injured – requires great care and attention. If he cannot live in the meadow all year round, he must exercise regularly to maintain his balanced physical and mental. The average lifespan of Thoroughbreds is between 20 and 25 years, a longevity lower to that of other races.

English thoroughbred: a strong character

The English Thoroughbred has many qualities : he is agile, fast, lively, energetic, daring and intelligent. However, the equine is renowned for its delicate temperament and unpredictable, sometimes skittish. Beginners should refrain from mounting this strong head because time and patience are required to establish a relationship of trust. To manage your character dominant, the English thoroughbred needs a partner experimented, knowing how to make the most of his complex personality. Sometimes capricious, the animal is capable of a sudden outburst of disobedience that can throw off its rider. His influx nervous undoubtedly contributes to earning him regular victories in competitions.

The English Thoroughbred, a racing ace

Appreciated for its speed, the English Thoroughbred is considered to be the best competitor in gallop races. Still used in racetracks – which it has dominated since the inception of the breed – the horse is now very popular in others disciplines equestrian such as the CSO (show jumping) or the CCE (eventing) where he climbs to the highest level. We can also meet him in competitions of dressage and on the hunter and polo grounds. He proves to be a good educational and recreational horse at a later age, when his fiery temperament has subsided.

A reproduction in front of a witness

With nearly 200,000 broodmares, the English Thoroughbred is bred all over the world, mainly in Great Britain, Ireland, the United States and France, particularly in Lower Normandy. More than 1500 breeders are referenced in France for nearly 6000 births per year. Particularly qualitative, the tricolor breeding is very well placed at the world level. Note: for a horse to be registered as an English Thoroughbred, mating must take place in front of a witness. Northern Dancer – born in Canada – is considered the biggest breeder in the world. After two years of career (1964-1966), this relatively small stallion retired with the honors having won 14 of the 18 events in which he had participated. When he died in 1990, 467 of his 635 registered foals had also won races.

Seabiscuit, legendary English Thoroughbred

Among the thoroughbreds of great renown is Seabiscuit (1933-1947), whose extraordinary career made him the icon of the American public during the Great Depression. Although descended from a fine line (grandson of the famous Man O’War, who won many times in the twenties), the stallion of only 1.52 m under the gauge displayed a meager track record, running the second zone racetracks without imposing themselves. Charles Howard, his new buyer, believed in the talent of the animal. With his entourage, and through training, he made him more than a champion, a legend. The horse made the headlines to the point that books and feature films were devoted to him, including a multi-awarded film at the 2003 Oscars.

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