Horse Breeds – Thoroughbreds

October 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Horse

Thoroughbreds are known as “America’s Racing Horse”. This breed of horse runs at the race track every single day around the world.

History of the Thoroughbred:

This breed of horse was originally bred in England due to the English horsemen’s desire to have a fast race horse. There are three that founded this bloodline which are: Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian and Godolphin Arabian, named after their respective owners, Thomas Darley, Lord Godolphin and Captain Robert Byerley. All of these stallions were imported to England from the Mediterranean Middle East between 1670 and 1710. The result was an animal that could carry weight with sustained speeds over extended distances. Approximately ninety percent of modern thoroughbreds have descended from Eclipse whose grand-sire was Darley Arabian, who was never beaten in eighteen races.
This began a very selective breeding process which has been going on for nearly 250 years. Breeding the best stallions to the best mares to produce fast race horses, giving them superiority and excellence being established on the race track.

Around the turn of the 1700’s, breeding records for Thoroughbreds were sparse and usually incomplete, and many times, they would not name a horse until the young horse had proven them self worthy. A gentleman named James Weatherby, through his own research and hard work and by the consolidation of his own privately kept pedigree records published the first volume of the General Stud Book. This was done in 1791. The first publication listed 387 mares, each of which could trace back to Eclipse. The General Studbook is still published in England by Weatherby and Sons, Secretaries to The English Jockey Club.

Many years later, as thoroughbred racing proliferated in North America the need for a pedigree registry for American Bred Thoroughbreds, similar to the General Stud Book became apparent. In 1873, the first American Stud Book was published by Colonel Sanders D. Bruce. This man spent almost a lifetime researching the pedigrees of American Thoroughbreds. He followed the pattern of the General Stud Book producing six volumes of the register until 1896 when the project was taken over by The Jockey Club. The integrity of the American Stud Book is the foundation on which all Thoroughbred racing in North America Depends.

The first publication of the American Stud Book by The Jockey Club had a foal crop of around 3,000. In 1986 in had grown to an astonish 51,000. Today The Jockey Club runs an elaborate new computer technology to meet the registration challenges posed by the gigantic number of annual registrations. The Jockey Club owns and operates one of the most sophisticated computer operations in the world today, with its database holding more than 1.8 million horses on a master pedigree file, with names that trace back to the 1800’s.

This is quite impressive genealogy. As well as bloodlines, this computer system also handles daily racing results of every Thoroughbred race in North America, as well as the ability to process electronically submitted pedigree and racing data from England, Ireland, France and other leading Thoroughbred countries.

Another descendant of Darley Arabian is Diomed; he won the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1780. When he was twenty one years old he was brought to the United States where he produced the male line through his son, Sir Archie.back to break the horse and prepare him for the starting gate and the run around the track.

Buying Your First Horse – A Practical Guide

October 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Horse


Spring is here, and the warmer weather is on the way. As the grass starts to grow, the sun appears and nothing seems so attractive as meandering down those country lanes or cantering up the bridle paths on your own horse.

If you have only ever ridden at a riding school before, buying your first horse will be a real experience for you – and one you shouldn’t go without doing some careful thinking and planning first. A horse should be your trusted companion for some time – you owe it to him to make sure you pick the right one for you. There is nothing worse for a horse than to be sold on time and time again because he was bought by the wrong person.

The person selling your ideal horse will be keen to make sure you are right for him and may even seem reluctant to part with him – if you ever feel you are being pressured into making a decision it is probably not the right horse to buy!

This article tries to give the first time buyer some tips.

Where should I look for my perfect horse?

Horses are advertised in magazines, both local and national, and in many local outlets such as notice boards in livery yards and tack shops.

Horse and Hound is a very popular source, and has a large number of horses for sale. However you do need to be quick off the mark – if you wait a couple of days you will find the best ones have been sold. Horse and Hound do carry their adverts on their internet site, and there are also many other sites offering horses for sale.

For a first horse or pony word of mouth is always a good option – your local riding school or livery yard may know of ponies or horses in the locality which may suit you and which are going to be sold, however this may not be the quickest option.

Be prepared for it to take some time to find your right partner.

Before you start looking at the adverts and especially before you go to see that first horse, be absolutely clear in your own mind:

- What is an honest assessment of your riding ability?
- What do you want to do with your horse?
- What is your budget?

When you start going out to see horses bear in mind that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince! Finding your ideal partner for the next few years will take time and cannot be rushed. Make sure you are totally honest and keep the answers to the questions in your mind – many a person has been led astray by falling in love with a totally unsuitable mount. Remember, it is not fair on either you or the horse if you end up with an animal you cannot control or if you want to jump and the horse has a total aversion to it!

And remember, keeping a horse is an expensive business – there is no point overstretching yourself to buy him if you are going to need to buy tack as well.

Keep a clear head – and let it rule your heart!

When I go to see a horse, what should I look for?

Make sure you see the horse in the stable – don’t rely on any statement that he has ‘perfect stable manners’, ask to see for yourself. Ideally watch him being tacked up – does he stand quietly? Horses which behave well when being ridden sometimes try to kick or bite in the stable, when being tacked up, having rugs put on or off or just when you go to fill a hay net. A horse which is difficult in the stable will make your life difficult as the owner, and if you are going to keep your horse at livery will not make you popular!

Look carefully at the horse for any signs of sweat marks. Some sellers lunge or vigorously exercise their horses just before a prospective owner turns up at the yard making them seem a much quieter ride than they really are. You can also ask about the level of exercise he has been used to – if he is used to being exercised more than you will have time for you may find you have a more excitable horse on your hands than you really want.

I have never bought a horse before – what should I do when I try it out?

If you have only had lessons before you may find yourself at a loss without an instructor standing in the middle telling you what to do. It is therefore best to decide before you go a short routine you will use that will test the horse you are trying, and allow you to assess whether it is the one for you or not.

A routine might be, walk round the ménage, halting at least once to make the horse is listening to you. Walk a 20 metre circle, watching out for the horse leaning in or out. Does he listen to your corrections? Change rein and repeat the walk exercises. Try to assess whether he bends easier on one rein or the other – not necessarily a fault as horses do tend to have a stronger rein, but it is more important that he is attentive to you!

Now put the horse into trot – watching for whether he goes forward eagerly or is reluctant. Use little leg at first – if you have been used to riding school horses they may have become ‘dead to the leg’. You can always increase the leg aid, but it is preferable to do this than having the horse shoot off with you! As in walk work a circle on both reins. Does he drop out of trot as he bends? Does he try to go forward into canter? Would you be happy with this behaviour? If he is very strong, be prepared for him to be even stronger when you get him home – an energetic horse may well have been lunged before you came to see him and may be even fresher on other days!

If you are happy with the trot try a canter on each rein. He should make the upward transition smoothly when you ask him to do so.

If you want a jumping horse make sure you try him over a fence. Is he eager or does he need a lot of encouragement?

Try to decide before you visit the horse exactly what you are looking for, and what you are prepared to work with. And try to keep sensible. There is no point falling in love at first sight with a beautiful animal you cannot control – or one which is reluctant to jump when that is your reason for buying!

This is a partnership which you will have for some time – your partner should be chosen very carefully to make sure he is compatible with your level of riding, and what you want to do. Common sense should rule here – not your heart!

When I go to see a horse, should I see him ridden first?

DEFINITELY YES! If the owner says there is no one available to ride him be very wary. It may be that he is too difficult for anyone there to ride. Only attempt this is you are a very experienced rider – otherwise be prepared to walk away, or at the very least try and arrange to come back when you can see him ridden.

The current owner should ride a routine similar to the one described above to enable you to assess the horse’s way of going, and how he responds. If he makes upwards transitions easily for someone else, but not for you, this could be something that can be addressed with some lessons. However, be aware – there is a saying that a horse’s ability sinks to match those of its rider. Just because the horse you have fallen in love with makes flying changes on demand for its current owner, it may not make them for you if you cannot ride at that level! Your new perfectly schooled dressage horse cannot be depended on to teach

And finally

It may take a few months to find the right horse, but be assured that the wait will be worth it. One thing is probably certain – that palomino mare you had pictured yourself riding away on into the sunset may well turn out to be a bay gelding! But whatever size, colour or sex you end up with, if you have taken your time choosing you will have a wonderful partnership.

All The Questions You’ve Asked About Training Your Horse, Answered. Click Here!

Horse Breeds – Types of Warmbloods

October 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Horse

Warmbloods are amazing animals. They are some of the most beautiful horses in the world, with a versatility that is unbelievable. Warmbloods, unlike what many people think, are a true breed. All of the studbooks are closed. What this means is only a horse of that breed can be registered in that studbook. The only exception is individuals of other breeding that are deemed to be able to improve the bloodline of the current breed. This is shown through performance records and the success of offspring in competition. The recent opening of the Trakhener studbook is due to a loss in type of modern Trakheners. There are various types of Warmbloods:

The Hanoverian

The Hanoverian’s originate from Germany. There primary use is for dressage and show jumping. These horses are mildly temperamental, with more of a calmness in nature than many horse breeds. The most common coloring in the Hanoverian are Chestnut, Bay and Grey.

The Hanoverian Horse is a well built, well put together horse with much success in the disciplines of dressage and show jumping. This breed tends to be very versatile.

The Holsteiner

The Holsteiner originates from Germany, usually reaching 16 to 17 hands. These horses are mildly temperamental and are used for show jumping, dressage and reining. They tend to usually be bay in color, but mostly any solid coloring. Most Hosteiners have a defined canter that tends to be very expressive, but lacks an impressiveness at the trot. They are typically well known as excellent jumpers but have made their imprint on the dressage community.

Dutch Warmblood

The Dutch Warmblood’s originate from Holland and are very easy going, typically calm in nature. These good tempered horses are built well running around 16 to 17 hands. They are known to excel at whatever discipline they are trained by.

Friesian

The Friesians originate from Holland and Germany with the studbook now kept in Germany, the FPZ. They are mildly temperamental growing to a huge size of 17 hands. They are primarily used for Dressage and reining but are sometimes seen on the show jumping circuit. These horses are also used for trick training, being widely versatile and very easily trainable. There are distinct characteristics of the Friesians. Baroque, which is mainly upright, with higher action and more feathering with a heavier mane and tail. Traditional, which is heavier and more drafty usually used for driving, and Sport Horse, which is used for all types of riding and driving. These horses are amazing. Very versatile with a very calm temperament for such an enormous horse.

Swedish Warmblood

The Swedish Warmbloods originate from Sweden, obviously. They will grow to be 16 to 17 hands. The are used for show jumping, dressage and reining. There coloring is all solid, predominantly Chestnut. The Swedish Warmbloods are one of the youngest warmblood breeds , so true “type” is not quite defined. Mainly having solid movements, with the conformation and their temperament being highly variable.

Trakhener

The Trakheners originate from Poland and East Prissuia. They tend to be a little more temperamental than a lot of other warmbloods. They are used for dressage, jumping and eventing. Coloring is mainly solid with defined characteristics of nice movements with good push from behind. They tend to be a bit stubborn and even difficult at times. Although there are some very lovely Trakheners. This breed possess a strong competitive drive owing perhaps to the large amount of Thoroughbred blood most carry. This is the only studbook still “open” in an attempt to further refine and define the Trakhener breed.

Oldenburg

The Oldenburgs originate from Germany. They grown to the large size of 16 to 17 hands. These horses are very calm and lovable  There coloring is solid but any color. They are primarily used for dressage and jumping. They were the first studbook with an American Division. Interestingly enough, all American Warmbloods approved by the ISR are registered as Oldenburgs, regardless of their actual parentage.

Andalusians

The Andalusians originate from Spain. They are smaller in height, ranging from 14.3 to 16 hands. They are used for dressage, bullfighting, parades and trick training. They come in solid colors, including mulberry. Bay and grey are the most common. Black and Dun are the least common. Andalusians are classically styled Baroque horses. They have thick manes and tails and tend to have high , lofty actions for their size. The Spanish Olympic Team was comprised entirely of Andalusians for the 2000 Games.
Horses are an amazing animal, no matter what the breed or bloodlines. They love their owners and one forms an attachment to their horse like no other. I couldn’t imagine my life without my horse.