Thoroughbred Horse Characteristics

 Thoroughbreds, though born and raised to run, are now found competing in every English discipline out there! They’ve built quite the fan-base and people are realizing more and more that they can do more than they were bred for. We are particularly big fans of them at Dapplebay! But what do you know about thoroughbreds? Read on to find out!

Thoroughbred Horse Characteristics

Height: Thoroughbred horses are generally a taller breed with the average height being 16hh.

Weight: A thoroughbred horse generally weighs around 1200lbs or 544kg with discrepancies based on size, muscle tone, and breeding. 

Color: Thoroughbred horses can be any of the following colors: bay, gray, black, and chestnut (with roans being very rare).

Physical Characteristics: Coming from Arabian bloodlines originally, they usually have a more refined head and long and lean neck. And if you’ve tried to saddle shop for a thoroughbred, you know the, always frustrating, struggle of the high wither. Overall, they are lean and well muscled.


Thoroughbred Horse Shirt


Famous Thoroughbreds From History

You’ve most likely heard their names or seen their movies. The following are only a few of the many record-breaking Thoroughbreds from around the world. 


Man-O-War was a Kentucky bred, chestnut stallion who stood at 16.2hh. He only raced for 16 months before retiring in 1920 but in that short amount of time, was able to win 20 of 21 of his starts! He once won a race by 100 lengths. Man-O-War was a celebrity in his own time and, to this day, is known as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. 

Native Dancer

Native Dancer came to be in the early age of television, making him a celebrity. He was known as “Gray Ghost” for his stunning gray coat and won 21 of his 22 starts.


Even if you’re not a Thoroughbred fanatic, you’ve probably heard of Secretariat. In 2010, Disney adapted his unusual and inspiring story into a movie beloved by horse lovers both young and old. In 1973, Secretariat was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in a quarter century with his most famous moment being winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. 

Seattle Slew

Lesser known than Secretariat, Seattle Slew became the first undefeated winner of the Triple Crown only a few years after Secretariat in 1977. 


Thoroughbred Horse Sweatshirt

What Can They Do? - The Evolution Of The Thoroughbred

History Of Racing: Organized thoroughbred racing, as we know it, is credited as starting in North America in 1745. By that point, it was already well established in the United Kingdom, where the thoroughbred got its start. The first American Studbook was published in 1873 and the task was taken over by The Jockey Club in 1896. Thoroughbred horse racing is a multi-billion dollar industry to this day. 

Second Careers: What’s becoming more and more popular, is the retraining of retired racehorses. Many people are seeing the potential in these extremely fast and athletic horses and training them to become some of the best in the English discipline world. You’ll now find thoroughbreds or, what they’re affectionately known as, OTTBs, competing in eventing, dressage, and show jumping competitions as well as enjoying the occasional trail ride. In fact,  it’s become so popular that the Retired Racehorse Project was created! 

Recycled Racehorse T-shirt

What’s The Retired Racehorse Project?

The Retired Racehorse Project or RRP is a platform for thoroughbreds to showcase their new found talents. The project has a very popular 100-Day Trainer Challenge or “Thoroughbred Makeover” and has a massive social media following. People love a comeback story! If you don’t already follow along, check them out here!

Source: International Museum Of The Horse

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