How Important Are Size and Body Condition for Thoroughbred Sale Yearlings?

Buyers look at various factors–pedigree, conformation, and racing performance of siblings–when considering the purchase of a Thoroughbred yearling. This study was conducted to find out the influence of body size and condition score on sale price.

Body weight, wither height, and body condition score measurements were taken in late August and early September for 630 yearlings to be sold at the 2003 and 2004 Keeneland yearling sales. Session and sale price were recorded and correlated to price.

Sale prices were used to divide the horses into two groups based on whether the horse sold above or below the session’s median price. Further division was made by age and gender. Sold and unsold yearlings were also compared.

Body weight was significantly greater in both colts and fillies that received bids above their session median. When age and gender were considered, weight was significantly greater but wither height was not significantly greater for horses that sold better. Horses that did not sell were taller but not heavier than those that sold when adjusted for age and gender.

These data suggest that the ideal condition score for a sales yearling is 6 based on a scale of 1 (poor) through 9 (extremely fat). Yearlings presented for sale with lower condition scores may be less likely to meet sellers’ expectations.

This report of KER’s 2006 research was published in Proceedings of the 20th Equine Science Society Symposium.

Read the entire research paper, titled The Influence of Body Weight, Wither Height and Body Condition Score on Sale Price of Thoroughbred Yearlings at Public Auction.