The small family farm where I keep my horses is owned by my closest friends. Because the farm is located in a section of Lexington near several fairly posh neighborhoods, my friends have no trouble attracting boarders -- in fact, they long ago stopped maintaining a waiting list and now just field calls when the rare spot opens up.
I will soon move my "gals" to my own little farm, and in the process will create several openings at my friends' place. They've been showing the facility recently to several would-be boarders. One recent visitor toured the farm and inquired about the horses currently here. She asked about the Arab and the Mustang and the Haflinger, and about my old off-track gelding, and was content with the responses about them and the other pleasure horses. When she was told that the horses in two of the fields were Thoroughbred mares and foals, though, she insisted that my friend must be mistaken. "Oh, no," she said. "I've been to the sales. Thoroughbreds are sleek and shiny, not hairy and muddy like that."
I laughed when I first heard the story. I guess that is the impression that lots of folks have -- Thoroughbreds are always groomed and in sale trim, aren't they?!?
Now, I should point out: I pick hoofs daily, I curry and brush regularly. I blanket when necessary. But I don't put my girls under lights, and I don't clip them during the winter. The weanlings/yearlings tend to have a bit of a hay belly. Basically, they're horses coping with wintertime.
Have you experienced the same misperceptions? Are your friends or visitors unable to believe that the wooly beast in front of them truly is a Thoroughbred?