Friday, March 6, 2015

Why Thoroughbreds?

Anyone who's ever held a conversation with me knows about my love of the Thoroughbred horse. I don't hide it. I'm probably a little too outspoken about it. I've actually offended a more than a few Dressage Queens by pointing out that my Thoroughbreds can do all the things their Very Fancy Warmbloods can.

* Side note: Never point out the number of Thoroughbreds in an offended Dressage Queen's Very Fancy Warmblood's pedigree. It makes them froth at the mouth. Many of the modern Warmblood lines do have a lot of Thoroughbred in them, though. 

Which is why I keep getting asked what kind of Warmblood this is.

People often ask me, as I'm singing the praises of my Thoroughbreds, "But, why? You ride dressage. Wouldn't it be easier if you rode a horse bred for dressage?" Maybe. But, I've never been known for doing things the easy way. I do things the fun way.

A Thoroughbred can do all the things that most people are doing with their Very Fancy Warmbloods.  Very, very few people are riding at the top of the sport where you actually need a horse bred specifically for dressage. Most of us are going to spend our entire career at the lower levels, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So, lets be completely honest with ourselves here..... Do you really think you've got a shot at the Olympics or WEG? Do you really need a Very Fancy Warmblood to schlep around at local shows and have fun? I know I don't! So, I just have fun riding my Thoroughbreds. Added bonus: because I didn't have to mortgage my house to buy them, I have a lot more money left over for local shows and booze.

It's a win-win!

That's not to say everyone should get a Thoroughbred, but everyone should get the type of horse they can actually have fun riding. It doesn't matter what breed that horse is, every horse can compete in the dressage arena. If you want to ride Warmbloods, ride them because you like them and have fun with them, not because somebody told you that's the only way to be competitive in dressage. It doesn't matter how well bred your horse is, if you don't like riding him you're never going to do well. I see it all the time at shows: the rider on the $50K Warmblood sobbing in terror with two grooms and a trainer leading the horse around the warm up ring, another person who replaced a solid 2nd level paint with an imported Warmblood because somebody said that's the only way to be competitive and is now getting 50% at training level. These people aren't having fun.  Sure, I'm only getting 55% on my Thoroughbred, but I'm doing 3rd Level and have a big grin on my face as I gallop through my extensions. (Thoroughbreds frequently confuse "extension" with "We're on the backstretch!")

Not a proper extension.

I ride Thoroughbreds because they're the only breed of horse with enough energy to keep up with me when I'm feeling good or lend me some when I'm feeling sick and tired, the enthusiasm to be down for whatever crazy shenanigans I get up to, and the intelligence to keep us both out of trouble while we're getting up to those shenanigans. I ride Thoroughbreds because I love Thoroughbreds, and that's the only reason to ever ride a horse.

You can't ride papers.


  1. You said it! I happily go about on my 3/4TB, other part CLYDESDALE having a blast at shows, regularly beating 5-figure warmbloods and steadily working through the levels. Are we going to show at a CDI? Nope! Fine by me. I'm having a blast enjoying him and seeing what we learn together. I don't care that he trots like a pony.

  2. Go thoroughbreds! love love love

  3. You can't ride papers. True.

    But if you could - don't most of our thoroughbreds have papers in spades? We can research our breeding back into century before last, if we care about such things lol.

    Smart, athletic, challenging... they raise the level of horsemanship. I totally ♡ mine.

  4. Interestingly enough I was reading a classical dressage book written in the 70s and they specifically vouch for hot bloods like thoroughbreds for dressage.

  5. People are dumb! TBs rule! ALL THE TBS!

  6. love this - and love tbs!! looking forward to the eventual day when i have an ottb of my very own :)

  7. Love my TB's too. My PJ looked more like a warmblood than a lot of warmbloods and moved better too.

    I did, however, adopt a warmblood this last time out. He's a really laid back fellow without TB energy and in my retirement, he's perfect that way. However my two TB's are still going strong and are quite entertaining to ride.

    May I add that as far as I'm concerned TB's are one of the most intelligent breeds around. They learn fast and remember well. Another advantage over the warmbloods is that is takes far less to get them fit and muscled up. They are natural athletes.

  8. Harley is a quarter horse, but his light build, sensitivity, and energy have always reminded me of a thoroughbred. Lots of quarter horses also have TB blood.

    We were riding in the same ring as an expensive warmblood one time and his rider nearly rode right into us. She didn't even seem to notice. Meanwhile, Harley half-passed at the canter to avoid the collision. I was very happy with the horse under me.

  9. You wrote:
    "I ride Thoroughbreds because I love Thoroughbreds, and that's the only reason to ever ride a horse."

    Well said.

  10. Ha ha you can't ride papers! Before being given a baby tb, I thought I'd never own a TB and vowed my next horse would be a WB after my childhood QH was put down. Why? Because they were suppose to be fancy or something. But I have to say I've never been impressed with any wb I've ever sat on. I do quite love my tb though.

  11. Yesss! Love that hot horse brain! Just found your blog, so happy to find another tb dressage rider!! :)

  12. Hey! So it's come to my attention that Blogger isn't updating/redirecting my old blog to my new one. I'm going around commenting on all the blogs I follow because I don't know how to contact everyone otherwise. My old blog Horses: The Process of Learning is back in action at This is some kind of blogger error. But I would love for you to come follow me over there! Thanks girl!!

  13. "Everyone should get the type of horse they can actually have fun riding." <- this x 1000. I have a Haffie that I adore and he's tons of fun. I don't care that he's short and fat and not a fancy mover. He's FUN, and that's the whole point!

  14. You know, I totally agree that its important for every rider to find the horse that's right for them. I never thought that for me a Thoroughbred would fit the bill (I never thought I was a confident enough or a good enough rider to handle such sensitive, athletic animals) but now I'm eating my words! I love, love, LOVE my Thoroughbred and he's 110% the right horse for me :-)

    I can't wait to get out there this year and show in some TB-only classes and show the world what I've found: a renewed love of Thoroughbreds, who all have different personalities and can be right for ANYONE, as long as you can find them.

  15. " I ride Thoroughbreds because I love Thoroughbreds, and that's the only reason to ever ride a horse." Beautiful line.


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