Help me with Thoroughbred!

I would just like to know a bit more about thoroughbreds, i bought myself a gelding a week ago and he will be ariving this week at my home, i have never ridden a thoroughbred before in my life, and apparantly all of them are so lively and full of energy.
I also heard that they tend to run away with you as they are used to it. I bought my horsie from a stable jard and they did jumping with him and took him on outrides. Should i use something to bring in his head what bit do you normally use on a thoroughbred? Is there special stuff they require?
How much do they need to be exersised?


Firstly, Congrats on your new horse! I trust the two of you are going to be very happy and fall madly in love with each other!
Whilst one can generalise about the breed as a whole, saying a TB will run away with you or is lively or out of control or has bad legs or any of the other stories I have heard too, is a little like saying cars are fast and dangerous. That all depends on the car and even more on the driver! To understand your horse a little better, it is good to go back and see how the breed developed and what kind of life the young TB has.
The roots of the Thoroughbred go back to the late 17th century England. Three Arabian stallions imported from the Middle East 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. There are also other horses of oriental breeding that have been less of an influence but are still noteworthy. One of those is the Alcock Arabian, thought to be largely responsible for the grey coat color in Thoroughbreds. Others include the Unknown Arabian, the Helmsley Turk, the Lister Turk and Darcy's Chestnut. (Thanks Wikipaedia!)
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 colours meet the breed standard, although chestnuts are among the most common.
A young TB starts his or her life on a stud farm where it is born as the result of a careful selection process where breeding for speed and matching outstanding bloodlines are the major considerations. At the age of one, the horse is sent to a ‘yearling sale’ where it is bought and sent to a trainer to begin its life as a racehorse. There, he is taught to carry a rider on his back, run with a group and finally, he must pass the biggest test of his career – the starting gate. Once he has reached this milestone, he is ready to commence racing. His daily routine is very different to most other horses his age, who are probably still running about in fields and who have not been backed yet. The racehorse is stabled for most of his racing life and only leaves the stable to train or race. The day begins early with gallops and training and when most other horses are tucking into breakfast and going out to play, the racehorse is already back in his stable where he will be for the rest of the day. These horses are fed high concentrate diets and not too much roughage, so often they have digestive problems like ulcers. If the horse is successful, he will continue to race for another two to four years, by which time his body will most likey start to break down or he is retired to stud if he is a stallion or she is a mare. Geldings are often sold on to the general riding community where they embark on a number of career possibiliites. Often they become riding school horses. Sometimes they are put down or sent to the abbatoir. Re-Training the racehorse is a specialty and many people do not realise what is in store for them when they take on their TB from the track!
Your horse has already been in the mainstream riding world, so will have already gone through his initial re-training and adaptaion period. Depending on who trained him and what they did with him, he could be an excitable wreck or a placid plod that wouldn’t bat his eye at a thing. You will have to assess him once he has arrived, and I would definitely enlist the help of a trained professional to get you going!
Your horse is very likely to be an individual in all aspects and my advice is to contact the previous owners and ask them these questions – they will be able to tell you how much he was worked, what he has been eating, what tack they are using and why. Try to stick to their suggestions until you have had a chance to get to know your horse and have enlisted the help of a qualified person who can assess you and your horse and suggest changes. TB’s can make wonderful riding horses and even those who have had a bad start can be re-trained to become super-stars! Good luck and I wish you the best!

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