The best start for your Thoroughbred


While the education of a young thoroughbred, called starting or “breaking in” may on the surface allow a horse to be ridden, it is in fact, far more complex.

The process also builds physical strength, through stimulating growth and muscle, and mental development, by exposing them to different conditions. They are encouraged to accept pressure, in a calm and controlled manner.

The combination of willingness and tolerance gives young thoroughbreds the correct mindset to handle an exciting and active stable environment and the ability to perform in a raceday setting.

Romsey based breaker, Ray Matthews knows this only too well and has mastered the art of developing a young horse into an athlete through a lifetime of experience.

“They are only babies when they first start their training, so it is important that you read their behaviour and any changes in personality as the horse is progressing. We have a basic plan that we follow, but through communication and experience, we treat each as an individual.”

Matthews’ training facility has been purpose-built from the ground up with round yards, a sand track, barriers, and a bush trail experience.

“The youngsters gain the ‘race’ experience that they need, happily working in pairs as they trot and canter on our sand track. They learn to be balanced and calm with a rider, and ‘walk’ confidently through our barriers.”

“Additionally, they also get a chance to enjoy the bush and navigate the natural environment, which is great for the babies mentally.  They are amongst the trees, trusting their rider, while relaxed and going forward. The horses love it, they see kangaroos, and hear different noises and sounds,” Matthews said.

Towards at the end of their breaking-in, they head back to the trainer to experience life in a busy stable before heading back to the paddock for a well earnt rest.

Ray Matthews has just finished breaking in two horses for Jewel Racing, and he describes each yearling’s progress through their education.

The Rubick x Seonia filly is an eager, forward moving horse, that was always keen to get on with the job. This is a great start for a little mare, and I was pleased with how she enjoyed her work every morning. 

“She has an optimistic attitude, with a clean action and a keen disposition, she gets all pluses from me.”

“The Charm Spirit x Black Beauty colt was an absolute gentleman to break in, he was good to handle during his education and maintained an excellent attitude in his work. He is not over colty, able to relax and would easily adjust to new experiences and surroundings.”

“He walked confidently through the barriers, he was happy to do his job, without revving up or being silly, and comfortable in his box, eating well throughout the process,” Matthews reports.

Overall Ray Matthews ensures that a positive breaking in experience gives them the tools they need to be a successful racehorse.

“A solid education helps a young thoroughbred build fitness, hold form and regulate behaviour to help them preform to their best on the racetrack in the years to come.”

There are still shares available in both these horses please visit for more information.



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