The Difference(s) Between Performance Horses and Other Horses

Last Updated on April 7, 2022 by Allison Price

My experience shows that horses with a high value (value based on the cost of buying them) can make people crazy. It’s okay in a way – it is important to care for valuable things. Some people think that because they own or maintain valuable horses, it also means that they can do special things for them. It’s a bad idea, as it opens up the possibility of being taken advantage of. Based on my own experiences and a lot of information gained, I can tell you the difference between high-performance horses and other horses.


1. Anything you can imagine. Horses, regardless of whether people are willing or able to pay more for them. They don’t need to do anything different from what they are used to. Performance horses don’t have higher requirements for vitamins or minerals than other types of exercise. Although heavy-working horses might need to drink more water than your average pleasure horse, especially if they sweat a lot, it is not a major problem since no one should withhold water from horses. Good foot care is essential for healthy performance horses. They also need to be vaccinated against certain important diseases and given occasional dewormers. Their teeth should be checked from time to time.

Performance Horses and Other Horses

Performance horses can be compared to performance automobiles. Lamborghinis and Ferraris run on gasoline, use engine coolants and have lubricating oils. Performance cars may have larger engines, but all cars use the same stuff.

Owners of high-performance vehicles, like owners of performance horses, don’t stop at the basic needs of their vehicle. Car owners who are a bit more discerning like to ensure that their cars are waxed and have tinted windows, leather interiors, GPS systems, leather seats, and fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror. You might also want to add an engine cleaner or special oil additive. All of this stuff is just as important to the car than most of the “necessary stuff” people spend on performance horses. If the cars don’t get what they need, none of this stuff matters.

 What PERFORMANCE HORSES may need more of than other horses

1. Calories. This may seem obvious but horses that work hard will need more calories than horses who don’t. Exercise takes calories; more calories means more food. How can you tell if a performance horse requires more food? It’s simple – he will be thin. A horse should be in a healthy body condition. This means you can feel his ribs but not see them. Your performance horse needs more food if his sides look like a washingboard.

Not all performance horses require extra calories. Many show horses that are considered performance horses don’t really work very hard. Many of these horses are so fat that you can’t feel their ribs even if they get a good start. They mayneed to consume more calories, but some people overdo it. People who are overweight tend to not perform well in track and field. Have you ever seen a competitive high jumper with a lot of power?

Famous people even pet their horses

2. Brushing and petting –It is so frustrating to see people who don’t care about their horses. For me, just being with horses is the best part of horse ownership. I find it sad that people get so involved in horse ownership’s performance that they neglect to give their horses attention. (NOTE: There are many exceptions). While it may be convenient to have your horse ready to mount upon arrival and dismount on its own, you are missing out on the joy of horse ownership. For both the rider and performance horse, it might be beneficial to have a bit more horse bonding.


1. Horse Riding Horses can have incredible memories. It is possible to train horses to ride, then let them run for a year in the field. Then, you can have them jump back right away. They won’t forget a thing.

Another intense training session

On the other hand, repetition seems to be a benefit for people. Thus, many horses get jumped/spun/run/slid/piaffed/etc. Horses are trained to do this incessantly. While it might be beneficial for the rider, it is likely to be detrimental for the horse. All the riding puts stress on their limbs. If limbs are repeatedly stressed and don’t have the chance to recover, they will respond the same way as paper clips if you keep bending them back and forth.

Performance horses would be much more resilient if their training and riding sessions were shorter and they would be less stressed by movements that strain their legs. Injuries in racing horses are often due to a failure of the biological process to repair the damage. The horse’s high speed (the amount of races and work) directly affects the extent of damage accumulation. Many performance horses think like this.

I used to be asked by people how I kept Robinson sound. People would often ask me how many injections and what secret formulas were used to keep Robinson sound. It wasn’t me, I had to admit. I had to share his secret: “He doesn’t get ridden that often, and then it’s mostly on trails.” Robinson is 31 years old now and, as far I know, doesn’t have any arthritic joints in his body.

2. Injections I don’t believe there are any other athletes who get stuff injected into their bodies as frequently as performance horses. It’s not just injections. There are also dentistry, surgery, and supplements. There are many ways to do it.  overdone, too. It’s hard to believe that all this stuff is good news for horses.  You can read more about the time and money wasted on “maintenance” for normal joints. There is also the possibility of injury; injections into horse joints can cause long-term damage.

A lot of things done to horses for the sake of performance have a few common characteristics: 1) They don’t prove to be beneficial, 2) They cost the owner some money, and 3) It increases someone’s net worth. One month later, a horse that was performing well had had his coffin joints and fetlocks, hocks, stifles and sacroiliac joint injections. There was no diagnosis. I have seen entire barns get their “hocks done.” Can anyone imagine high school basketball players getting all their knees injected? This is what happens in the horse world.

3. “Specialists – This brings me back to the beginning of my story. Horses are horses and veterinarians have been trained to care for them. There are some veterinarians who are specialists in surgery. But that’s a different thing. Self-proclaimed “specialists”, even if they have some obscure certification, are not needed. My experience shows that specialists are often unable to perform the tasks required to be called a specialist. If you hire a specialist to treat your horse’s joints, it is likely that they are trained in other areas such as backs or jaws. You can’t beat a hammer to make your horse look like a nail.

4. I’m a retired ranch worker who boards and takes layups. They live in corrals of good size, and can see their neighbors. A few times a year, a very high-performing horse may be allowed to rest in the corral for a few weeks. The owners are often amazed at what happens with their horse(s).

 They’ll tell you, “He’s like another horse.”

And I’ll tell you, “That’s because everybody’s not making him crazy.”

Of course, to myself.

Horses that are used as performance horses are called horses. They are very affectionate and love to be fed. It’s important for them to become horses. While performance horses are certainly valuable, so is the 26-year-old school horse that can safely carry a four year old. There is no difference between them, and although one might be more expensive than the other, it’s difficult to determine which one is more valuable. They all require the same things and a healthy dose of TLC.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!