Top 8 Facts on Thoroughbreds

If you have ever wondered how long a racehorse’s name can be, or how much a horse’s heart weighs, then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are the top eight fun facts on thoroughbred horses. Who knows, one of them may come up at your next pub quiz…

  1. The pregnancy period for a horse is generally 11 months, but that can increase or decrease depending on various conditions such as the local climate or the mare’s diet.
  2. Newborn foals can range in weight from 31kgs up to 54kgs. Foals are nurtured by their dam for around six months, after which time they are placed in an alternative paddock with a group of other foals for company. This process is known as weaning.
  3. With the right nurturing, 90 per cent of juvenile thoroughbreds reach their maximum height by the age of two. A horse’s height is measured in hands, and the average height of a horse is 16 hands.
  4. An adult horse’s heart weighs approximately one per cent of its total bodyweight, but can vary. Melbourne Cup winner Phar Lap’s heart weighed 6.4kgs, whilst that of Triple Crown winner Secretariat weighed 8.2 kgs. The heartrate of a racehorse can exceed 200 beats per minute.
  5. In the southern hemisphere, all horses celebrate their birthdays on 1 August each year, regardless of when they were actually born; whereas in the northern hemisphere the chosen date is 1 January.
  6. Thoroughbred horses are one of fastest breeds of animal in the world, reaching speeds of up to 75kms an hour. They can only sustain this top speed for approximately 400m, but can gallop at 60kms an hour for approximately 2500m. Their power is generated by the movement of their hind legs, which perform like springs as they bend and straighten during galloping.
  7. Nearly 90 per cent of all thoroughbreds are a shade of brown or grey, while the remaining ten per cent are black or, in rare cases, white.
  8. Racing Australia is responsible for overseeing the naming of all thoroughbred horses in Australia, with owners submitting their chosen name for approval. A number of restrictions are in place for the naming of horses, including a maximum character count of 18 (including spaces and punctuation). Owners often take inspiration from the foal’s parentage – for example, Leonardo da Hinchi’s sire is Hinchinbrook and his dam is Portrait.