iSpyHorses --  Fri, 03-May-2024


Thoroughbreds are just the XC kings! Who else enjoyed watching the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event 5* last weekend? What a great event, and an incredible showcase for the cross country ability of thoroughbreds with five full thoroughbreds taking part. I did a bit of number crunching after the event, and the numbers are impressive:

⭐5/32 horses to start the XC were thoroughbreds – they all jumped clear, so that was a 100% clear rate

⭐The other 27 horses achieved a 55.5% XC clear rate

⭐The thoroughbreds had a mean average of 2.64 time penalties

⭐The non-thoroughbreds that completed the course had a mean average of 8.02 time penalties

That’s an incredible difference.

And it’s why every time I see an advert from someone who is looking for an event horse that will be able to progress to the higher levels of the sport but specifies ‘no thoroughbreds’ a little part of me dies inside. Thoroughbreds can do everything that the expensive WBs can do – just watch Artist’s dressage test if you want evidence (also shoutout to EventStars Ltd who probably have the best rehoming operation in the whole world that Artist came through). There is no horse that will give as much and as willingly as a well-trained TB.

All of those thoroughbreds looked fantastic around the course – they didn’t tire, they kept galloping all the way to the end. Those are the kind of positive images that the sport needs – not the image of heavier set warmblood types getting tired and weary and being carried home.

And of those 5 horses - Twilightslastgleam, Artist, Phelps, Harbin and Sorocaima – their racing starts number 0, 0, 0, 4 and 43 respectively – showing that ability on the track isn’t required to translate into eventing success, but *also* that horses that have had significant mileage on the track like Sorocaima can also still go on to have really successful athletic second careers. And in fact, it was Harbin and Sorocaima who did race that were the two horses that left all the showjump poles up on Sunday too.

I love the fact that eventing is a sport where you can buy a horse for less than you might spend on your month’s supermarket shopping, and still get to the absolute pinnacle of the top of the sport. That’s something that inspires me so much.