Perhaps the most recognised breed in the world and the most widely identified as such, the Thoroughbred was first developed for speed and scope in 17th century Britain.

The breed hails from three founding stallions, these being the Byerley Turk of the 1680s, the Darley Arabian of 1704, and the Godolphin Arabian of 1729.

The Thoroughbred was originally developed for flat racing, a sport that was popular by the 12th century, and a standard was eventually established to differentiate a Thoroughbred from a purebred. In order for a Thoroughbred to be registered as such, a ‘live covering’ needs to be witnessed between a stallion and a mare.

Today, the Thoroughbred is observed in a variety of disciplines, from racing and polo to competition eventing. It is thought that 118,000 Thoroughbred foals are registered every year from around the world.

Characterised by a well balanced, athletic physique, well conformed legs, a strong head and a thick mane and tail, the Thoroughbred is seen in a variety of solid colours, with white markings permissible on the face and lower legs. In height, the Thoroughbred is generally between 15.5-17 hands.

Did you know...?

Secretariat, one of the most well known racing Thoroughbreds in the world, fetched a record price of $6,080,000 at auction, having won the Triple Crown in 1973, 16 of 21 race starts and tied or broken 5 track records. After his death, the veterinarian on hand discovered that Secretariat had a heart nearly 3 times larger than the average horse.

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Our Thoroughbred owners' thoughts

20141201 10:00 pm
Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

After years of loaning I finally was able to buy my dream horse at the age of 40! My gorgeous Irish TB ex-racer "Sean's Legacy" (my name for him)....his passport went AWOL but it has transpired that his race name was "Common Sound".....last ridden to victory by none other than Tony McCoy and trained by Martin Pipe....when I bought him he was skin and bone, teeth not looked at for years, and obviously ridden in a 'one-size-fits-all' saddle - now, after loads of TLC and VioVet products (!) he is the horse EVERYONE wants to own - great condition and an absolute gent!!!! He is a gentle giant. Full of love. Knows when mum needs extra cuddles!!!! I trust this horse with my life. Please please never be put off with the "ex-racer" label!!!! x

20141201 10:00 pm
Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

So good I had to buy another!!!! Proud owner of two Irish TB ex-racers - my first one was last ridden to victory on the track by TONY McCOY! But I don't like to talk about that much (!) Wonderful breed - noble, independent, characterful.... so willing to please, loving and intuitive....highly recommend this beautiful breed....ONLY SNAG - my older boy struggles to keep weight's a labour of love! x

20130919 07:43 pm
Humberside, United Kingdom

Bingo is a beautiful tb with brains - however, puff of wind in the wrong direction sends her to her stable at high speed. Easily loses the plot - but if you like a challenge, have plenty of experience, like fast forward gear, there's nothing better. Got her when she was 11 and flatwork and jumping was superb. love her bits and would do anything for her.

20130429 09:38 am
Surrey, United Kingdom

Dot was bred to race but was injured so Slightly unsound, i bought her at 6 years old, known her since shecwas 3. Highly intelligent with a whole box if tricks but doesnt buck or rear. Now 26 she she has been an education. Incredibly fast if you ask for it, Safe, sensible, sure footed , but also extremely sensitive... both physically and mentally. Ive ridden quite a few thoroughbreds and found them to be well worth the effort but they need lots of experience plus confidence, tact and kindness... huge fun for the right person !

20170730 03:04 pm
Worcestershire, United Kingdom

I have had the pleasure of owning George (Dragon Master) for over 3 years now, he being the 5th ex-racehorse I have had over the past 30 years. Thoroughbreds aren't for everyone and not everyone sees the beauty, courage, class and sensitivity of the breed...... But then not everyone is blessed with good taste!

20170829 07:42 pm
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I have the pleasure of owning "campbells lad" whose dad was mind games...he is a big pudding and we have the best bond together however his party trick when he gets scared of that massive annoying FLOATING LEAF he will quite happily go vertical but always checks im still in saddle but there is nothing at all i would change about him.... you should all own a tb they are amazing xx

20170317 10:40 am
Essex, United Kingdom

The best breed ever! As everyone says they need proper care but they are fantastic. My mare whisper certainly has attitude and can do vertical rears if hacked alone but she genuinely very honest. She can be grumpy in the stable, and can be protective of her food ie throwing food at you if you go near her but she has got so much better. Biggest thing is trust and understanding.
She just recently turned 16 years old and acts 4! She is terrified of plastic bags.. but massive artics ...tractors.. No problem. X