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A Quick Guide to the Different Types of Race Horses

Did you know that human civilization has been enjoying the sport of horse racing since 4500 BC?

Ever since man learned to domesticate horses, it’s not too hard to imagine our ancestors saying, “Hey, let’s race ‘em!” Whenever a contest happens, winners and losers are decided, and that’s when our competitive nature takes over. Our desire to win compels us to find out which types of race horses can give us the best chance to take home the trophy.

There are over 200 breeds today, from the Abyssinian to the Zhemaich, but only a few are suitable for racing. Four race horses breeds thrive on the racing grounds. These are the Thoroughbreds, Standardbred, Quarter Horses, and Arabians.

Keep on reading to learn more about these race horse types and the events they excel at.

Thoroughbreds Are the Most Well-Known Types of Race Horses

While there are other versions of horse racing, the most prestigious and lucrative races are the domain of thoroughbreds. The prize money can go as high as $20 million in some races like the Saudi Cup. If you’re starting to get in on some action on horse race bets, you can find more here.

With stakes that high, you only want the best of the best, and that’s the thoroughbred. Some of the famous names you might recognize are Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and Man o’ War.

Thoroughbreds are a hot-blooded breed with long legs, a long neck, and a lean body. These characteristics make them amazing racers. They’re also known for other equestrian sports such as show jumping, rodeo, and polo.

The American Quarter Horse Is the Short Distance Sprint King

The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the US. It has a stocky appearance with a compact body, a short head, and strong and rounded hindquarters. The muscular body of the quarter horse gives it a tremendous advantage in activities that require quick, powerful bursts.

Its name derives from its ability to outrun other horse breeds, even the thoroughbred, in a particular kind of race. The quarter horse is the king of the quarter-mile race. However, it struggles at any distance longer than that since it’s not built for endurance.

The Arabians Are the Marathon Runners of Horse Racing

The Arabian breed is probably the oldest breed of horse used in racing. It’s one of the foundation sires of the modern thoroughbred, in addition to the Barb and Turkoman. Having desert roots, the Arabian is known for its stamina, speed, and strong bones.

These horses were designed for long-range treks, serving as war horses that could quickly invade enemy camps in far-off lands. Today, the Arabian breed dominates the world of endurance riding like no other.

The Standardbred Races at a Trot or Pace

The Standardbred is also an American horse breed, and it’s known for its ability to compete in harness racing. In harness racing, the horses gallop at a specific gait, either a trot or a pace, while pulling a two-wheeled cart.

They are more muscular than the thoroughbred, with longer bodies and solid shoulders. The Standardbred also competes in other activities like pleasure riding and horse shows.

Horses for Courses

Some people think that only thoroughbreds matter in the world of horse racing. However, other types of race horses can beat the thoroughbred in other equestrian contests. The course or race is as important as the horse breed.

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