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Thoroughbreds on the AA circuit?

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  • Thoroughbreds on the AA circuit?

    what do you think about thoroughbred's showing on the A circuit in classes like the 3'6 eq or hunters? Do judges tend to place them lower because the horse is a Thoroughbred, even in the eq?

  • #2
    1.) The judge does not have a list of the horses' breeds.

    2.) No, they don't get placed lower because they're TBs.

    3.) Breed bias is, for the most part, an excuse that people give to justify poor results that in all likelihood were due to errors by the rider and/or horse. Or the horse isn't as high quality as the ones that placed above it. Not every horse walks into the ring starting with a 100! Rumba does. Inclusive does. My mare, who happens to be a TB? Not so much! So my 8 beautiful distances might get me an 85, whereas Inclusive's 7 perfect distances and one teeny weeny bit deep one will still get a 91.

    4.) A properly trained horse that does the job will place well. The end.
    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


    • #3
      I have an OTTB that was my A/O horse. Now, when he has a spazz moment...they probably go, "oh...I guess this is a thoroughbred." Otherwise, I generally get asked where he is imported from (especially when I first bought him).

      He either walked into the ring and won, or spazzed and didn't place. He's beaten many a warmblood and is also a great mover.

      His last time showing A/Os:


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the opinions! I absolutely agree with supershorty628. I only ask your opinions because I have a thoroughbred that I want to take in the equitation, his only flaw is he is a tinyyyyy bit over at the knee but it doesn't affect him at all when it comes to working haha


        • #5
          I have a OTTB (trained to race, but never actually ran) and she is moving up nicely--not sure if we'll get to AA but definitely into rated. She's been placing well over fences and now (with a TON of work on the flat getting hind end engagement) is starting to win on the flat too against quality company (not AA horses but solid warmbloods, etc.)! I think sometimes TBs need a little more TLC to make them shine--a bit less natural use of their bodies correctly, but with the proper training, I have seen many become very competitive.


          • #6
            A tiny bit over at the knee is a much more structurally sound conformation than a tiny bit back at the knee.
            Other than that, a nice, well trained horse that does his job well will get good ribbons, unless there are nicer, better trained horses that do a better job!


            • #7
              I have a TB that I showed regularly in the 3' hunters (Children's and then Adult Amateurs) on Long Island. I wouldn't say I'm an A/AA-circuit competitor, but I've taken him to the Hampton Classic as well as local A, B, and C-rated shows.

              In my experience, I have never felt cheated because he's a TB. The closest thing to a breed bias has been that some judges really like the way he hacks and some judges won't use him at all. I don't really consider this to be a bias because he ISN'T a great mover. He's adequate, and he has a pleasant way of going, and some judges like him and some don't.

              A good horse is a good horse is a good horse. If Hero was 500lb heavier and had a fuller, warmblood shape, that would not automatically mean I'd place higher in hacks. If he were a better mover, I would place higher in hacks, but movement isn't a specific warmblood or thoroughbred thing. There are plenty of thoroughbreds that move better than my horse does, and plenty of warmbloods who move worse.

              Some judges have a "type" that they like, of course, and hunters are subjective, but I'd venture to say that I've been "helped" by as many old-school, TB-loving judges as I have been "hurt" by those who prefer a warmblood look.

              In the eq, you should see even less of this supposed "breed bias" because the focus is on you. If the horse is suitable and you don't make mistakes, you will not be dropped from consideration just because he's a thoroughbred.

              To me, "breed bias" is something that was invented by people who don't want to take accountability for their horse show results, and is perpetuated by warmblood breeders/brokers who want to convince everyone that they HAVE to have a warmblood because the judge won't look at them otherwise. But really, it works in my favor because it keeps the price down on TBs (whose personalities I tend to just fit with better, anyway).


              • #8
                I am lucky enough to have one who has been competitive at this level. I have to be accurate and put in a good course, but I think that stands for all the horses regardless of breed in a class of 50+.

                A good solid thoroughbred that can jump is in no way below a warmblood. The judge looks for what best represents a hunter, by jump, rhythm/pace, conformation etc. If you have the whole package, it really doesnt matter if you have a thoroughbred, warmblood, arab, draft cross etc.

                Conformation flaws like over at the knee are generally irrelavent in childrens/amateur hunter classes and equitations. I know a lot of horses with small conformation flaws (cow hocket, toed in etc) that are at thetop of their game.


                • #9
                  It's hard enough to find a horse that goes around really well with a capable pilot in the tack. Most judges don't get much further than that before scoring the course they just judged.

                  Besides, most of the people who see a nice older TB are just sure it is a WB - I get that all the time about my older horse (whereas I think he is so classically a refined TB type that I describe him as a "Sam Savitt TB"). They also think my younger TB is a QH, or at least one was in the woodshed (from the side I think he looks like a TB, from dead on, I can see their point ). People seem to think that lank, growthy, running fit look of a 2-4 year old off the track is what they look like when they are mature. Obviously they have never been stared down by a herd of hungry TB broodmares.
                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                  • #10
                    I have known quite a few TBs that do great at the As.
                    "There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience."


                    • #11
                      My daughter finally has a lovely young WB and her new trainer sort of prefers TB! Joke is on us. There is breed biased but it goes both ways And, I hope judges judge the horse and not the breed. God luck to you.


                      • #12
                        Thoroughbreds are absolutely TERRIBLE for hunter/jumpers at the AA level!!! (complete sarcasm)

                        6 of the 11 horses I own are Tb. Some are A circuit horses and some aren't (actually just one isn't but he is a saint of a schoolie). Of those A circuit horses, a couple look like warmbloods and a couple look absolutely like a Tb. My first horse was a tb and he took me from short stirrups to jr hunters, though he did best at 3'- 3'3". I've owned him for close to 18 years and he is still cleaning up in the short stirrup ring with little kids.
                        Last edited by hntrjmprpro45; Feb. 5, 2013, 11:25 AM. Reason: Forgot how many horses I have...


                        • #13
                          One of my close friends has a LOVELY dark bay TB who, if you could find 8 spots on, was almost unbeatable in the three foot. His old owners took him to tons of local As and AAs in my area (Old Salem, Fairfield, Ox Rige, etc.) and he always did consistently well. Gorgeous mover too. He's now a happy old man and semi-retired:



                          • #14
                            I have a TB and I use him in the equitation.. I did my local medal finals with him and have shown him in the big eq since August of last year. I don't see any discrimination.. unless of course I'm the one making the error


                            • #15
                              So, maybe this is a dumb question, but how come I almost never see TBs listed, say, over at the H/J Exchange website? Is that just a coincidence?

                              (BTW-I am a total TB fan and grew up showing many on the local circuit for most of my Jr. years)
                              Barn rat for life


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by wcporter View Post
                                So, maybe this is a dumb question, but how come I almost never see TBs listed, say, over at the H/J Exchange website? Is that just a coincidence?

                                (BTW-I am a total TB fan and grew up showing many on the local circuit for most of my Jr. years)
                                Probably because they are not "in fashion" at the moment and therefore going for lower prices. HunterJumpers exchange tends to showcase mid 5 figures and up. There is one TB and one TB cross on there now but there are a ton more on bigeq where the prices are a little lower.

                                Maybe this is a little optimistic of me, but all the TBs I know that were successful at a high level were very coveted and could have been sold in a heartbeat.


                                • #17
                                  I bought an incredibly fancy TB hunter, recently off the track, last year. Unfortunately only made it to a few shows before he got hurt, but I had multiple people come to me at every show, including big name judges, to comment on how much they loved him and how happy they were to see a fancy TB back in the ring. wouldn't trade my boy for the nicest WB in the world...now I just need to get him back to the ring!

                                  My favorite story actually is from his 2nd show, at the end of the day the judge came to me at the in gate and personally told me that he was incredibly impressed by my horse. We had some issues w/ his weight when we first got him (at least 200 lbs underweight), but he commented that once i got the weight on he'd be unstoppable


                                  • #18
                                    You cannot say how lovely your TB is and then not post a picture.

                                    I believe it's against forum rules!


                                    • #19
                                      If I had my own farm, I would be bringing TB's home and training for jumper land!! They have the brains, speed and stamina, and are "strong willed"!! They can go far in the jumper ring if your willing and able to put the time in.


                                      • #20
                                        LOVE my OTTB. She's smart, beautiful, and athletic. And sweet as the day is long!!!