Seabiscuit: Thoroughbred Horse [movie horses]

In EquusLine, we want to introduce a new theme in our blog. A theme that is interesting for those who love horses.

We are speaking about… movie horses! A different way of seeing our beloved equine friends, often turned into cinema stars. If you are a horse lover and a cinema lover, you will like this post.

We start with a highly acclaimed film that you surly know: Seabiscuit. An American legend. This film, directed in 2003 by Gary Ross, opted to 7 Academy Awards. No more and no less. At the end, it did not obtain any Oscar, but it does not matter. Seabiscuit is a film of reference in the equestrian world that have a large cast of actors like Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper.


Based on a true story, Seabiscuit was a racehorse of the 1930s with no aspiration that became a champion. Not only that. Seabiscuit became a symbol of struggle and hope, a mirror in which many Americans looked to face the economic crisis that was sinking them at that time.

Thoroughbred, the race of Seabiscuit, a specialist in horse races

Have you ever wondered what eqrace is Seabiscuit? It is an English Thoroughbred horse, a horse especially designed for high competition.

And Yes, you have read correctly, it is designed.

The Thoroughbred is not so distant in time. To know its origin, we have to go only 3 centuries ago, in England.

seabiscuit thoroughbred horse

It is then, when the English maresandthe stallions from Middle Eastwere crossed. That is to say, a cross with Arabian horses, Berber or akhalteke. This cross-breed sought to create horses specialized in gallop. Today, this breed is also very good for equestrian competitions.

As a general rule, the Thoroughbred horse tends to have brownhair and it measures around 1.65 meters. Regarding its weight, it weighs around 500 kg.

The buyers of thoroughbred horsesthat want a winning horse are based on different parameters. One of these parameters is the musculature. With more muscle, the purebloods are best horses for one mile races, while those who do not have much muscle concentration, their perfect races are superior to this distance.

Another important aspect that buyers have in mind is the pedigree. The children or grandchildren of the great champions are very precious in this special market.

Without going any further, Seabiscuit was the grandson of Man O’War, considered the best Thoroughbred racehorse of the 20th century, father and grandfather of other great champions of the era.

The story of Seabiscuit, an authentic example of overcoming

To learn a little more about this film, it is necessary to talk about the true protagonist of this story: the horse. We already anticipate that, if you have not seen the film and you do not want “spoilers”, you should not read this part;).

From sparring horse to winning horse

Seabiscuitwas born in 1933. Despite being the grandson of Man O’War, the most recognized thoroughbred horse of the 20th century, and having a great potential, itslaziness made it, during its first years, the sparring partner of another great horse who won the Triple Crown: Omaha.

It was not until it had a new coach – Tom Smith –and jockey – RedPoolard–that Seabiscuit began to stand out, between 1936 and 1937, it was thechampionof many races. In fact, in 1937 it became the horse that got the biggest profits in racing.

The shadow of itsgrandfather was not the single slab which affected the animal. Another son of Man O’War, War Admiral, was the Thoroughbred racehorse that had more recognition, with only three years of age. In 1937,after winning the Triple Crown,it was named horse of the year.

seabiscuit story

Seabiscuitdid not meet War Admiral until the 1st of November 1938, in a direct confrontation known as “the race of the century”. With another rider, because Poolardwas injured, Seabiscuitmanaged to win over War Admiral, when all prognoses indicated otherwise.

Now, Seabiscuit was crowned Horse of the year, but it needed the victory in the most prestigious race of the American equestrian circuit: the Santa Anita Handicap.

A lesion that presaged the end of its career

To its disgrace, Seabiscuit was injured during a race. In particular, it broke its left front leg ligaments. At that time, many persons predicted the withdrawal of the horse.

Once again, Seabiscuit surprised everyone. It was adifferent kettle of fish. For this reason, we show it on our blog;).

seabiscuit film

Poolard and Seabiscuit started to recover together, demonstrating that nothing is better for a racehorse than a good relationship with its rider.

Recovery, victory and retirement

At the beginning of the year 1940, the horse and the rider were ready again. The prognoses indicated that it could not support the high competition. After several races, it seemed that Seabiscuit would not become a winning horse again.

As you can already guess, Seabiscuit did not bow to the adversity. The horse returned to prove that it was an incredible horse, and after several races, Seabiscuit got the Santa Anita Handicap.

Months later, in April 1940, the retirement of this formidable equine arrived. After its retirement, it was the racehorse that more money had gain in the history. Tens of thousands of people visited, in subsequent years, the ranch of Ridgewood, California, the Golden retreat of Seabiscuit.

Seabiscuit, a movie horse

You may not know it, but this was not the first time that the story of Seabiscuit appears on the big screen. Two years after its death, in 1949, the film The story of Seabiscuit, starring Shirley Temple, was launched. By the way, the horse appearing in the film was Sea Sovereign. Nothing less than the son of Seabiscuit.

Phrases of Seabiscuit

seabiscuit film phrases

Here are some of the phrases of the movie that show us this desire for improvement of the horse and its rider:

“Sometimes, when someone small does not know that he is small, he can do great things.”

“Do not throw a life overboard because it is a little bruised.”

It is clear that we have chosen for this first post about “movie horses” a true legend. A horse that reflects the feelings of the people of the time. Seabiscuit, like many Americans, was born in one of the toughest economic periods in its country.

Its dedication and overcoming was parallel to the recovery of the United States, erecting a symbol of hope for many people.

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