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Do vendors value safety in Thoroughbred horses in the Australian recreational riding horse market?

McGreevy, P., Oddie, C., Hawson, L., McLean, A., Evans, D. 2015. Do vendors value safety in Thoroughbred horses in the Australian recreational riding horse market? Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 10 (2), 153-157.


The purpose of this short report is to describe the influences on the pricing of Thoroughbred (TB) horses for the adult recreational riding market. Research into the association between horse breed and specific behaviors supports the view that some breeds are more reactive than others. There is anecdotal evidence that TBs may be more likely than other breeds to show traits that compromise rider safety. Having been bred for speed and reactivity, TBs may have reduced habituation tendencies. In addition, those that have raced may have had more training to accelerate than to decelerate and as such may be predisposed to uncontrollable flight responses. We examined data from advertisements to determine which descriptors influence the price of TBs (n = 220) entering the adult riding horse market. Linear regression analysis of log(price) revealed that variates such as a larger total sum of performance experience and bigger advertisements (P < 0.001), all significantly increased the price set by vendors. The inclusion of trail riding in the advertisement had a detrimental influence on price (P < 0.001). Dressage experience was associated with increased pricing (P = 0.002). The inclusion of positive descriptive terms associated with safety had a rather smaller and less significant effect (P = 0.012) on price. The average advertised price of $3,286 for a TB was significantly cheaper than the average advertised price of a non-TB horse ($7,384; P < 0.001). In contrast to the findings for the ponies and non-TBs previously reported using the same method, reassuring descriptors had a significant positive influence on price of TBs. These data confirm that TBs are valued differently to other breeds in the Australian adult riding horse market.