A new study has shown that owners of retired Thoroughbred racehorses feel that many stereotypes of the breed are ultimately untrue.
Dr. Lillian Hellmann and colleagues from the University of Sydney, Auburn University, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences created a study to try to better understand why those outside the racing industry often hold preconceived notions that many Thoroughbreds are dangerous or behave erratically. The team was interested in determining if these stereotypes affect the transition of retired racehorses into new homes and second careers.
The researchers hoped the information gleaned from the study would help develop and modify programs that transition horses into careers after racing. The researchers surveyed 313 horse owners, requesting information about breed, sex, birth year and discipline, as well as owner-perceived information about their horse’s behavior.
The results included four main disciplines: eventing, dressage, show jumping, and pleasure riding. Owners of retired racehorses generally felt that their horses are more social than other sporthorse breeds. They also believed their horses possess greater self control, but that their horses also appeared to be more dominant and aggressive. Overall, they felt their horses behaved better than other breeds. The researchers conclude the belief that Thoroughbreds are not well-suited for specific disciplines because of their temperament is not supported.
Read the abstract here.
Thank you to the Paulick Report for use of this article.