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Thoroughbreds in Endurance?

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  • Thoroughbreds in Endurance?

    Does anyone use thoroughbreds for endurance riding? My TB seems to never run out of steam and I am thinking of trying endurance.
    What kind of trail saddle would you use on a TB since they typically don't fit into your standard western saddles?

  • #2
    Wasn't the first horse to ever win the Tevis, a TB?

    I agree with GTD on the western saddle bit. I've never seen one, even at an LD. They're just pretty darned heavy and uncomfortable for the long haul. And I don't care what anyone says, 25 miles is a lot of miles no matter what. I wouldn't want to do it in a western saddle.

    It seems that you can see every type of saddle - aussue, CC, AP, dressage, treeless.


    • #3
      Actually the "first" endurance saddle was a McClellan, made for TBs. I would not recommend you get one however. I used to ride in one when I was young and while it is light, and spreads out your weight well, ANYTHING ELSE is more comfortable.

      Lots of choices these days that are light, distribute the weight well, and fit a TB.

      Have fun


      • #4
        prudence, I too started riding endurance on my OTTB in a McClellan, ugh, what a bum breaker.

        I had lots of fun with my guy. We did several 50 and 60 milers and many 25/30 milers. He was 16.2h so getting off and on wasn't easy, but he loved to cruise down the trail and I totally enjoyed his company! We did used a dressage saddle. Now I ride in a Freeform and wish I had one back when I rode him.

        Go and have fun.
        Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.


        • #5
          Yes! I have been doing LDs for the past year on a NZ TB and he has been fantastic -- he is on "vacation" at the moment for a torn rear suspensory. <sob> So, my other small TB is coming in to pinch hit and we'll see how he does at his first 25 next weekend at Blackwater.

          He is fat and not quite in shape, but three vets have given the ok for us to try it, trusting my judgment if I decide he doesn't need to finish.

          We are frequently the only, or one of only one or two, TBs at a ride. He is unusual enough that volunteers are beginning to remember him from ride to ride. In fact, he's had two pulse takers ask if he is a freak, since he pulses in so low

          At our SEDRA seminar this past summer, the speaker said that TBs would be ideal distance horses if they didn't have so many feet and leg issues.

          I love mine, issues and all

          I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
          Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


          • #6
            In the SW, we dont see many tbs in endurance. I've done a few LDs and CTRs with mine. He doesnt have any feet or leg issues but is definitely not as talented as my Arabs. I dont think he'd like to do a 50, definitely not a tough one.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
              Wasn't the first horse to ever win the Tevis, a TB?
              Not quite. The first horse to win the Tevis in 1955 was Bandos, and Arab stallion (won it in 1956 too).

              The first "cup" was awarded in 1959 to a TB cross named Buffalo Bill. I'd be willing to bet he was also an Arab cross.


              • #8
                TB have too done 50's!

                My mother did a couple of years on a TB, and won them too. Her only problem was the horse didn't have the heart to do it for full seasons.

                Another friend of ours had a TB and won several 50’s throughout each season over several years. This horse was amazing, and it had competition too.

                It is finding one with good feet. Of course they are never as a breed going to give the Arab a threat. I don't think any breed can do that.

                Anglo Arabs are about the toughest you are going to get on an Arab Cross.

                The TB is primarily an Arab, with some crosses in the beginning for height.

                If you got a tough one, who know what you can do.

                I think the only other problem is the physical issues that may have come from prior work (track) or poor breeding (not structurally sound). Then again, TB can have poor attitudes compared to the Arab who is bred for disposition to run long distances. We need to thank the Arab people as a whole for providing the history, and breeding of the Arab. And most definitely for the constitution of the Arabian horse with regard to having the ability, and mind to work relentlessly for man.
                **Founding member of the TQ (Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or MOVE OVER!\" Clique** 2005 Winner of the \"Rush Limbaugh of the Trails\" Award

                Rope The Moon Ranch RTM Breeders of Anglo-Arabs, and Performers of


                • #9
                  Not having the heart to do 50s?!! Ack!

                  My TBs biggest threat to his soundness is his heart. He is so tough that he was the only one of our group to go out for the third day at Yellowhammer, and that group including some very nice Arabians. He came in on the first loop that day, having lost a hind shoe, (and twisted his foot and torn his suspensory, though I didn't know it then. ) still kicking butt.

                  He didn't even look lame until I let him stand before the vet check and his adrenaline level dropped.

                  And, once he'd rested, his shoe was back on, and he'd had a chance to get over the initial pain, he was just a little lame and would have gone back out and busted his butt on that final nine miles if I'd asked him to do so.

                  Even if they'd passed me on the vet check, I would NEVER EVER have asked him to do that, even though I didn't know at that time that he was Really Broken. Even with one of the best endurance vets working on him at the ride, we couldn't figure out what was wrong with him until I spent an entire day at UF with them crawling all over him, as he just never would show much pain.

                  He is the toughest creature with the most heart I've ever had the privilege to ride. If I asked him to walk through fire, he would. He came in so strong at one LD in the spring that the timers told me it was more than time for him to do a 50 -- his only limiting factor is ME.

                  And, now, of course, his torn suspensory. <sigh> Which is my fault -- I let him continue to rock in without his shoe, in really rough territory and that was stupid.

                  I hope he doesn't pay for my mistake with the end of his career.

                  So, any jingles for suspensories growing back together?

                  He is just the best and I feel so badly for him, stuck on stall rest and not understanding why (it doesn't hurt him much, apparently -- we started another LD with him trotting sound before we found it). <sigh>

                  I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                  Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


                  • #10
                    More on TB's - Don't discount them!

                    Little Ole Sid (AERC#:11083)
                    Sugar Shenanigans (AERC#:15357)

                    The name of the two mentioned horses.

                    The problem with looking up several horses for TB is many are OT, and did not necessarily pass on the papers to the owners. Therefore these horses are listed as grade.

                    The first horse was ridden by my mother, then her friend, and my daughter. Several times we rode in a group, so crossing the line was a political thing, and not necessarily the race in hand.

                    The second horse was ridden by Linda Hamrick.

                    Honey (AERC#:16000)

                    Here is another TB ridden by another friend in MI. The owner has ridden this horse for several years and is more conservative in regard to her horse, but an awesome competitor just the same. Her owner even did some 100’s.

                    Get on AERC to see these horses if you wish. http://www.doublejoy.com/erol/Indivi...rseHistory.asp
                    **Founding member of the TQ (Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or MOVE OVER!\" Clique** 2005 Winner of the \"Rush Limbaugh of the Trails\" Award

                    Rope The Moon Ranch RTM Breeders of Anglo-Arabs, and Performers of


                    • #11
                      Please reread bensmom

                      I said the heart to do a whole season!

                      That is apprx 2 ride a month for the whole season. Not one here and there, and not a couple a year. It is using one horse and competing over months several rides. Many Arabs get burned out too.

                      Please read generalizations for what they are. They are not horse specific, nor rider specific.

                      Take what I write for what it is, and please don't tork it to fulfill your need to boast yourself, and bash me.

                      Besides, I was writing in educational purposes, and know nothing about you to slam on your mount.

                      Best regards
                      **Founding member of the TQ (Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or MOVE OVER!\" Clique** 2005 Winner of the \"Rush Limbaugh of the Trails\" Award

                      Rope The Moon Ranch RTM Breeders of Anglo-Arabs, and Performers of


                      • #12
                        oh, saddles

                        I didn't respond to that part.

                        TB's can be very different in shape. A saddle should fit the horse and not necessarily the rider.

                        Some TB's can have high withers, while others may have long loins. This is an attribute of racing. Not all racing qualities transfer over nicely to long trail riding.

                        You may need to go to a floating tree. I find those are more congruent to racing bred TB's and Arabs. Although these can be expensive, if you keep the horse for the long run they will pay off.

                        Treeless are a disaster IMHO. They do not dispel the weight evenly for the back, and if you are a heavy weight rider can become painful for you both.

                        Buying a good saddle is a must, and you will need an experienced person to get the bang for your buck. Other people’s opinions on what works for them may not work for you. I suggest learning what constraints with regard to saddles. It is easy once you learn.

                        Basically you place a saddle on a horse (no pad) and slide your hand ever so softly underneath. You will feel where is becomes tight. Then place on your horse and ride it till it sweats. Take the saddle off and wait for the moister to come through the hair. If you see a perfect sweat template of the saddle the weight is even, but it doesn't mean the weight is correct necessarily for you horse.

                        You have to deal with the length of loin, and shoulder on the length of saddle too.

                        To find that out means hours in the saddle, at a walk and trot with hills for long periods is the best way to find that out. Then remove the saddle, look at the sweat for evenness, and palpate for a sore back.

                        I find good breastplates are in need; especially if hills are present.

                        Good luck on your search.
                        **Founding member of the TQ (Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or MOVE OVER!\" Clique** 2005 Winner of the \"Rush Limbaugh of the Trails\" Award

                        Rope The Moon Ranch RTM Breeders of Anglo-Arabs, and Performers of


                        • #13
                          heehee -- I didn't think you were bashing me or my mount, but I have to laugh at the idea that I'm taking the opportunity to brag on myself.

                          I can barely ride my way out of a paper bag, and I didn't train this horse, nor did I pick him out -- I'm just so darn proud of him and feel so lucky that he ended up in my barn, that I am constantly surprised by my good fortune.

                          He is an event horse that came to me, sort of by mistake and I started riding him and fell in love -- my other TBs that I did find and have done some of the training on are good, but this one is spectacular and I am amazed that I am so lucky.

                          If you look at my post again, you'll see mainly that I am worried that I have been stupid, shown poor judgment and perhaps ruined the nicest horse I've ever had.

                          I hate to see the generalizations too -- I helped a friend sell a nice arab recently whose heart just wasn't in this sport, so it really is a horse specific and not breed specific thing. I was mostly responding to the tone of the posts here -- not yours specifically, that were tending towards assuming TBs couldn't do this.

                          I just don't think that is true -- mine has done one full season and was on his way to his second when he got hurt -- LDs instead of 50s, true, but that is because his mom isn't ready for the 50s.

                          Several people whose opinions I respect have told me the only thing holding this horse back from a full season of real endurance is me.

                          And that is ok, especially if I'm going to show poor judgment and let him get hurt. That tells me that I am not ready for Real Endurance yet.

                          And, now, I'm going to go ride the backup TB and give that sweet boy on stall rest some cookies. He deserves it for putting up with me
                          I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                          Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


                          • #14
                            I think TB's generally have a good work ethic. My boy likes a hard day of work. He isn't crazy about going out alone, but he does it for me. And he's always game for the next hill or for a trot, canter, or gallop no many how miles we've already ridden. I get a kick out of the fact that he is usually pretty cool even when other horses are dripping sweat. The really hot weather gets to him, so keeping him cool enough on hot rides might be an issue. It's something I've got to plan for if we compete in the summer.

                            I ride him in an Abetta endurance saddle. The saddle fits his back when resting there with no pad. But when I get on, his high withers hit the pommel. So I took some advice in a saddle-fitting book and bought a closed-cell foam pad to put between his regular saddle pad and the saddle. I cut out the withers, and now the saddle sits high enough that it clears his withers when I'm riding. I use a breast plate to keep the saddle from sliding back when going up hills. I'll eventually add a crupper, but I haven't had the guts to try one on him yet. He bucks when he's excited (and he gets excited when out in groups), so the crupper makes me a bit nervous at this point.

                            I'd eventually like to get a treeless saddle, but again, I'll probably have to get creative about padding because of his high withers. The saddle I like is a Sensation, which is not meant for high-withered horses.

                            His feet suck (I ride him in modified Easyboot Epics), and I don't know if he'll pulse down enough to finish an endurance ride, but we're gonna try!!
                            "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks for all the great advice! My horse has great work ethic and will keep going and going all day long. I have no clue about what her pulsing is like though. But it sounds like TB's are fairly successful in endurance.
                              As far as the saddle thing goes, I will have to try a few things and see what works best for her. We have the same problem as most TB owners with the high withers/narrow back and it's really hard to fit a saddle perfectly.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by rcloisonne View Post
                                Not quite. The first horse to win the Tevis in 1955 was Bandos, and Arab stallion (won it in 1956 too).

                                The first "cup" was awarded in 1959 to a TB cross named Buffalo Bill. I'd be willing to bet he was also an Arab cross.

                                Oh, I got it. Thanks for the info! I knew there was a TB in the wood pile somewhere.


                                • #17
                                  MF -- I was so busy bragging about my beast and beating myself up that I forgot to address the saddle issue.

                                  I have a treeless (Bob Marshall) but am not crazy about it for me, or for him, as he has pretty high withers. I have been riding him in a county extreme xc saddle and the other TB is going in his Albion jumping saddle.

                                  My friend rides her QH in my Albion Dressage saddle and it works great for him.

                                  Whatever is comfy for you and the horse should be fine == I can commiserate on the trouble of the high withers TB -- I thought it was hard finding a saddle for my wide horses. HA!

                                  Best of luck, and most of all, have fun!!

                                  I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                                  Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by RTM Anglo's View Post
                                    The TB is primarily an Arab, with some crosses in the beginning for height.
                                    Not quite true.

                                    There were many "hot blooded" stallions used to create the English TB -- some were Arabs and there were also Turkomen or Akhal-Tekes used as well. When you see the names from the original English studbooks (kept by the breeders, long before there was an English JC), the names followed by "Turk" meant the horse came from Turkomen stock, which primarily would be a Yomud or Akhal-Teke horse (both from the country of Turkmenistan).

                                    Byerly Turk would be one of those as an example.

                                    The fact is we don't actually know the history of many of the horses used, since many were bought from traders and/or were "spoils of war." The Godolphin Arabian's history, for instance, is mostly surmised, Margarete Henry's book notwithstanding <g>.

                                    So, considering that TBs have been a "pure" breed for hundreds and hundreds of years, the Arab influence is pretty non-exsistant these days.

                                    Speaking of tough AA's -- VSF Otis+/ is/has doing very well. Of course, look at his sire -- also the sire of the famous "Bionic Pony, " Theodore O'Connor. Can't get better blood than that....


                                    • #19
                                      Yeah, I think Otis is VERY cool! I have a Hungarian Felver filly (part Shagya too) that I have already been looking at Otis for a future date, way down the road.

                                      But, that would be a serious muttly mix!

                                      I like Otis though, he is AWESOME.

                                      I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                                      Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bensmom View Post
                                        Yeah, I think Otis is VERY cool! I have a Hungarian Felver filly (part Shagya too) that I have already been looking at Otis for a future date, way down the road.

                                        But, that would be a serious muttly mix!

                                        I like Otis though, he is AWESOME.

                                        I just confirmed a date with Otis for '08! He IS awesome! Did you see his YouTube video? And his daughter, Picabo Street is a strong contender for War Mare Award at only the age of 7. I think Connie said she is o/o a Shetland/Arab mare. She's TT'd most of her 50's and just started doing 100's this year. She is doing GREAT -- I think she's gotten a couple of BC's as well.

                                        But speaking of mutts -- I was going back and forth between which mare to breed to Otis -- either my purebred (mostly Bask/Polish)Arab or her daughter. Now her daughter is officially a half-Arab -- her sire was a Dutch WB named Werigo. But because of the TB and Shagya the WB people have used to refine, the mare is actually only 25% Dutch WB.

                                        And I wanted more TB than I would have gotten using just my PB Arab. I've decided on using the daughter -- the Arab/WB mare.

                                        THAT muttly mixed foal from Otis & my Arab/WB would, genetically be:
                                        50% Arab, 34% TB, 12+% WB and 3% Shagya! Can't register it anywhere....<g>

                                        Only worry is that, because my mare's sire was 16.3hh (although she is BARELY 15hh), and Otis is 15.2hh (and his sire was 16.2), I might end up with something over 16hh. But based on the bloodlines, if I do, I bet the eventing people will be lining up to take that thing "off my hands..."

                                        I can't wait! Check out the mare in question -- last photo was taken when she was three and she's just turned five now, so she has filled out abit...