I love the thoroughbred. Look at those fine lines, intelligent head and limbs built for speed. They are the ultimate racehorse, of course, and in the UK most thoroughbreds are bred for racing. The majority never come good, so they get trained for other disciplines, or sadly some just fall by the wayside.
Many of our top sports horses have at least some thoroughbred blood, and they add speed with their light legs and quick movement. Unfortunately those same legs are vulnerable when they fall because they have less bone than other breeds.
Sovereigns owned and bred the best of these thoroughbreds and our Queen today still maintains that tradition with her love of horses and breeding programmes.
The three stallions who are the foundation stock of all English thoroughbreds and from whom all our present-day thoroughbreds descend are the Darley Arabian, Goldolphin Arabian and the Byerley Turk. These three were imported in the late 17th century and bred with the best English and imported carriage mares. These mares were stronger and heavier than the Arab and Turk. Many other fine stallions were later imported improving the bloodlines until we reach present day.
Thoroughbreds are wonderful to ride and light of foot, but many are not suitable for novices or riders who lack confidence. They tend to be sharp – easily spooked and quick to shy or move rapidly sideways. This can easily unseat an inexperienced or insecure rider. These days I prefer a horse with some steadying influence in its blood – maybe a warmblood or a draught.
That sort of cross tends to produce a horse with more weight and bone with a more sensible attitude – which suits me.
My lovely Bayside had more than a touch of English Thoroughbred.