We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Is a Thoroughbred a Good Riding Horse?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Thoroughbred horse breed is one of the most prized breeds in the world. Thoroughbreds are particularly famous for their skill on the racetrack, but they are also used for a variety of other equestrian events. Many horses which compete at the Olympic level are at least part Thoroughbred, and the horses are also used in eventing, show jumping, dressage, and a variety of other equestrian competitions. Smaller Thoroughbreds are in great demand as polo ponies. However, for casual and trail riding, a Thoroughbred may not be the best choice.

The roots of the Thoroughbred can be found in 17th century England. Three Arabian stallions were crossed with English mares to yield an entirely new breed of horse. All modern Thoroughbreds carry the bloodline of the Godolphin Arabian, the Byerly Turk, or the Darley Arabian. The cross of this foundation stock with sturdy English horses created a breed known for being competitive, fiery, strong, and big hearted in competition.

The primary focus of Thoroughbred breeding is on creating racehorses. A racehorse is bred for speed and agility, and these traits also translate well into other horse sports. The horses range in size from as little as 15 hands to 17 hands, and they have long necks, muscular hindquarters, long legs, and distinctly planed faces. A wide range of colors meet the breed standard, although chestnuts are among the most common.

The traits which make a Thoroughbred valuable on the track are not desired for all riders. The horses have a reputation for being difficult to handle, so they should not be ridden by inexperienced and very young riders. They also require a lot of work, since Thoroughbreds get impatient and bored if they are not exercised. The long legs of the horse are also easy to damage, and many people prefer to keep Thoroughbred horses stabled when they are not being exercised, which means much more work on the part of the owner. A Thoroughbred is also not bred for extended endurance, making it less suitable for trail riding and endurance riding.

However, if you are looking for a high quality competition horse which will meet any challenge you present, a Thoroughbred is well worth considering. The horses perform very well in competition, and they will become fiercely loyal to their riders. For an additional level of difficulty, you can look into programs which rescue former racehorses. Many ex-track horses have successfully trained to compete in other arenas, although they require careful handling and dedicated training.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Janio — On May 28, 2014

I have a six year old 16.3 hh Thoroughbred that has completed three endurance rides of 80 km each, and one of 100 km at an average speed of 18.3 km/h.

The last ride it used easy boots glue on. The only disadvantage that he has in comparison with my 12 year old purebred Arabian is that he needs nearly the double of food and supplements to keep his weight with the training.

By anon924737 — On Jan 07, 2014

A correctly trained thoroughbred can be used for long distance, but other horses, like Arabs, will have a competitive advantage over them. This is due to genetics, something which no amount of training can change.

Thoroughbreds are really made up of type II fibers, the power type, whereas Arabs are type I, the endurance type. So yeah, you can use them for long distance trials, but hundreds of years of breeding and refinement means that they are most suited to short powerful gallops.

By anon321295 — On Feb 21, 2013

TBs are sensitive souls with an amazing work ethic. If you aren't a sensitive rider who can calmly and quietly communicate with a horse, don't get on one. You ask a thoroughbred, not tell them what to do.

If they are hesitant or fearful, approach what you want to do in a different way. I would never leave a thoroughbred in a stall. They do get bored easily and leaving them in a stall can make them stressed, and cribbing, weaving and ulcers can result. Worst case, they'll colic.

Letting them stay out in a paddock will keep them moving and relaxed, resulting in a calmer ride and better digestion, too. If you have an off the track TB, it may take time for them to get used to a paddock or field. Turn them out with a calm friend, and only let them out for short periods of time until they get used to it. Some of them have never had turnout.

They are incredible, athletic horses and well worth taking the time to treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve!

By anon194323 — On Jul 07, 2011

Why is it saying thoroughbreds aren't good for casual riding? I have an 11 year old gelding and besides him spooking at certain objects and shadows, he's extremely calm. All the thoroughbreds I've ridden were fantastic.

By anon164591 — On Apr 01, 2011

i was just wondering which horse do you think would have a better endurance the Thoroughbred or the German sport pony? I'm doing this for an experiment and i want to get other people's opinions on it.

By anon162229 — On Mar 22, 2011

I agree that Thoroughbreds need their exercise because as a young teen of 14 (lucky if I weighed 80 pounds back then) I went to ride a good friend's T-bred and although I was no greenie, that baby took off from underneath me! Give T-breds a few years to mellow and I believe most T-breds can become exceptional steeds that understand their owners better than many other breeds available.

It takes a lot of time investment with an appreciable amount of one-on-one time, so don't jump on buying one unless you are willing to be a committed owner.

By anon147600 — On Jan 29, 2011

I have just purchased an ex race horse and I agree with anon 132360. I'm training my horse now for extended trails and long rides. Any horse that is conditioned correctly can be a good trail horse.

By anon132360 — On Dec 06, 2010

Why do you say that Thoroughbreds can't be used for endurance or distance riding? That's absolutely not true. If you have a Thoroughbred with good feet, there's no reason that the horse can't ride extended distances. Whether off the track or off the pasture, they have a competitive spirit that exceeds many horses.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.