When a racehorse finishes its racing career it’s far from the end of the line for these talented and versatile animals.
One disciple they excel in is eventing, a sport which sees horse and rider tackle three different phases: dressage, show jumping and cross-country.
Dressage is ridden in an arena where the horse and rider perform a set of movements which are judged and for show jumping the pair tackle a course of nine to 12 jumps in an arena.
However, it’s the cross-country phase where the thoroughbred really shine.
This phase sees the horse and rider tackle a course which starts at two kilometres long in the lower grades with about 20 jumps, to more than six kilometres and 45 jumps at top level.
Qualified Equestrian Australia coach and three-star eventer Simon Tainsh has trained many successful thoroughbreds, some to three-star level (1.2 metres high).
“Everything I do is based around eventing and the main part of that is cross country and the endurance of that phase,” he said.
“It’s the triathlon of riding horses.
“We ask our horses to do a grand annual steeplechase multiple times a year.
“Or even a Melbourne Cup, which is 3200 metres. We do that every second weekend.
“Not at the same speed but we still have to cover the same ground.
“We have to twist and turn and stop and go and jump 20 or 30 jumps as well as covering that distance.
“They have the ability to complete that task and still have the energy to back up the next day and do a show jumping round.”
Australian thoroughbreds are among the best in the world with many Australian event horses in demand overseas due to the high quality.
Typically horses winning at top-level eventing have a large percentage of thoroughbred blood in their breeding.
“On a world stage they’re all breeding to thoroughbreds and there are lines that produce better movers and lines that produce better jumpers,” Mr Tainsh said.
“Even off the track mares can be used in a breeding program to breed performance horses.”
Obviously, not all horses off the track are going to make it to the world stage but thanks to their lovely temperament most make quality horses for junior riders.
“By the time they’re ready to become a juniors horse they’ve competed at some of the biggest three day events in the country,” Mr Tainsh said.
“They’ve been through the system and they weren’t cut out to be Olympic quality but they will take the next generation into their competitions and give those riders more experience.
“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since their racing days - by the time they’re 12 their racing career doesn’t have an impact on their life anymore.”