A race horse doesn’t stand out just for the speed and flexibility of its long legs. These animals possess a number of important skills that have been perfected throughout history with sports training. In this article we will show you which must be the main qualities of the two breeds of racehorses par excellence.
Characteristics of racehorses: Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse
Although all equine breeds participating in the races are thoroughbreds, this breed has earned its name thanks to the excellence of its qualities. Thoroughbred horses were historically used as runners, but have evolved optimally to perform hunting tasks as well.
Physical qualities of the thoroughbred race
A typical thoroughbred can measure, at the withers, between 1.50 and 1.80 cm in height. Its physical structure has been refined to guarantee the best performance of resistance and speed, during the competition. Its line is wide and straight, with a deep and sloping back and well developed muscles.
The ends are strong and elongated, while the neck is muscular and prominent. Its head has a fine shape and two well-separated eyes, which guarantee this horse an excellent field of vision.
The colors of his fur are mostly shades of light brown, but there are also shades of vinegar, bay, brown and beige. Their legs usually recall the nuances of the muzzle and the lower part can show white spots, but they are not very common in the rest of the body.
The selection and breeding of a thoroughbred depend on its purpose or the type of race or performance in which it competes. If we talk about short races – up to a mile – the ideal is to prefer the so-called “sprinters”, explosive and very muscular horses. In the case of races with greater distances, larger horses with long legs are used.
Historically successful sports specimens are usually medium-sized and athletic, such as the Man or War and Secretariat champions , both with a height of 1.67 cm. However, the big winners like War Admiral and Seabiscuit, respectively of 1.55 and 1.57 cm, have shown that talent can beat the simple physical configuration. The most famous thoroughbred that has won the most trotting races in history is the Italian Varenne.
Emotional qualities and character of a thoroughbred
Thoroughbred excellence for racing is due not only to its physical configuration, but also to its emotional qualities. These horses have a warm and nervous character, which allows explosive behavior at the start of a race. Like most horses, they are constantly attentive to their environment and are very brave.
The qualities of a thoroughbred also require experience and dedication from the jockey. An explosive horse in the wrong hands is a danger, but with proper training it becomes unstoppable. Like any professionally trained animal, thoroughbreds need perseverance in their education and clear goals to be properly stimulated.
The Quarter Horse
Also this American breed, developed for the quarter-mile race (for this reason the name “Quarter”) has truly surprising and unique qualities. Because they have different heights, they are considered the most versatile racehorses. They can be used in sports such as polo and horse riding, but also as animals for pet therapy and so on …
Physical qualities of the Quarter Horse
These beautiful animals can be tall at the withers, from 1.40 to 1.65 cm, although the optimal height is between 1.50 and 1.55 cm. It is a medium-sized equine and very light despite its well-developed musculature. The chest is broad and has a large perimeter, with a considerable muscle mass, mainly in the extensor fibers.
His back is short, strong and with sturdy, full, arched and deep ribs. The head is short, with two large and well separated eyes, which allow it to have a straight and thin profile. As for the mantle, the Quarter Horse can have different shades, except the pezzato (typical of the Paint horse, always American) and the albino.
Emotional qualities and character of the Quarter Horse
Quarter Horse horses are as sensitive and sensitive animals as thoroughbreds. However, their temperament tends to be more docile and balanced, which facilitates their breeding and training. In fact, because they are intelligent and sociable, they tend to learn very easily from their jockey.
Although they inherited the warm and explosive blood of their wild ancestors, crossing with lighter blood horses made their character more gentle. They are practically the result obtained from the union of the best mustangs with the English thoroughbreds, selected in the 19th century by the cowboys.
Their emotional qualities reflect their physical structure. Strong and hard-working, they never lose their elegance with a harmonious and graceful walk. But when they are well stimulated, their energy and strength make them race horses that are impossible to beat.