How Does a Thoroughbred Racehorse Differ From a Regular Horse?

Written by rena sherwood
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How Does a Thoroughbred Racehorse Differ From a Regular Horse?
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

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Physical Differences

Thoroughbred racehorses are physically different from the average riding horse. They are taller, slimmer and have a thinner mane and tail than other breeds. They usually can't grow a heavy winter coat. Their eyes and nostrils are large in proportion to other breeds. They have deep chests to hold bigger lungs and hearts. They have been bred to mature quickly, but still aren't mature until it is 5 years old. Their ankle bones are smaller than a person's wrist. They come in solid colours and not the spotted or patchwork colours of other breeds.

How Does a Thoroughbred Racehorse Differ From a Regular Horse?

Temperamental Differences

Horses off of the track are difficult for the novice rider to handle. They need expert handling. They have lived lives where every time they've been saddled, they were to run their fastest. Although Thoroughbreds can often be sensible horses, becoming riding, therapy or police horses when they retire, many have behaviorial problems and panic at the slightest noise. When they panic, they run. However, they are usually good at having their hooves worked on, unlike many other breeds which often can't remain still.


Thoroughbred is not another word for purebred. All Thoroughbred racehorses are decended from three Arab stallions imported to England in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian. the stud book was closed in the early 1800s, so a Throughbred foal has to have both parents be registered Throroughbreds in order to be allowed to race.

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