Typically, horses progress to bigger obstacles and longer distances as they get older, so that a European jumps horse will tend to start in National Hunt flat races as a juvenile, move on to hurdling after a year or so, and then, if thought capable, move on to steeplechasing.
The length of an endurance race varies greatly. Some are very short, only ten miles, while others can be up to one hundred miles. There are a few races that are even longer than one hundred miles and last multiple days. Contemporary organized endurance racing began in California around , and the first race marked the beginning of the Tevis Cup  This race was a one-hundred-mile, one-day-long ride starting in Squaw Valley , Placer County , and ending in Auburn. Founded in , the American Endurance Ride Conference was the United States' first national endurance riding association.
In most horse races, entry is restricted to certain breeds; that is, the horse must have a sire father and a dam mother who are studbook-approved individuals of whatever breed is racing.
The exception to this is in Quarter Horse racing, where an Appendix Quarter Horse may be considered eligible to race against standard Quarter Horses. The designation of "Appendix" refers to the addendum section, or Appendix, of the Official Quarter Horse registry.
An Appendix Quarter Horse is a horse that has either one Quarter Horse parent and one parent of any other eligible breed such as Thoroughbred, the most common Appendix cross , two parents that are registered Appendix Quarter Horses, or one parent that is a Quarter Horse and one parent that is an Appendix Quarter Horse.
AQHA also issues a "Racing Register of Merit," which allows a horse to race on Quarter Horse tracks, but not be considered a Quarter Horse for breeding purposes unless other requirements are met. A stallion who has won many races may be put up to stud when he is retired. Artificial insemination and embryo transfer technology allowed only in some breeds has brought changes to the traditions and ease of breeding.
Pedigrees of stallions are recorded in various books and websites, such as Weatherbys Stallion Book , the Australian Stud Book and Thoroughbred Heritage. There are three founding sires that all Thoroughbreds can trace back to in the male line: They were taken to England, where they were mated with mares from English and imported bloodlines.
Thoroughbreds range in height, which is measured in hands a hand being four inches. Some are as small as 15 hands while others are over Thoroughbreds can travel medium distances at fast paces, requiring a balance between speed and endurance.
Artificial insemination, cloning and embryo transfer are not allowed in the Thoroughbred breed. The Arabian horse was developed by the Bedouin people of the Middle East specifically for stamina over long distances, so they could outrun their enemies.
It was not until that the Arabian was introduced into the United States. Until the formation of the Arabian Horse Registry of America in , Arabians were recorded with the Jockey Club in a separate subsection from Thoroughbreds.
Arabians must be able to withstand traveling long distances at a moderate pace. They have an abundance of type I muscle fibers , enabling their muscles to work for extended periods of time. Also, the muscles of the Arabian are not nearly as massive as those of the Quarter Horse, which allow it to travel longer distances at quicker speeds.
The Arabian is primarily used today in endurance racing , but is also raced over traditional race tracks in many countries. The ancestors of the Quarter Horse were prevalent in America in the early 17th century. These horses were a blend of Colonial Spanish horses crossed with English horses that were brought over in the s.
The native horse and the English horse were bred together, resulting in a compact, muscular horse. At this time, they were mainly used for chores such as plowing and cattle work. The American Quarter Horse was not recognized as an official breed until the formation of the American Quarter Horse Association in In order to be successful in racing, Quarter Horses need to be able to propel themselves forward at extremely fast sprinter speed.
The Quarter Horse has much larger hind limb muscles than the Arabian, which make it less suitable for endurance racing. When Quarter Horse racing began, it was very expensive to lay a full mile of track so it was agreed that a straight track of four hundred meters, or one quarter of a mile, would be laid instead.
There is less jockeying for position, as turns are rare, and many races end with several contestants grouped together at the wire. The track surface is similar to that of Thoroughbred racing and usually consists of dirt. In addition to the three main racing breeds above and their crosses, horse racing may be conducted using various other breeds: Muscles are bundles of contractile fibers that are attached to bones by tendons.
These bundles have different types of fibers within them, and horses have adapted over the years to produce different amounts of these fibers. Type II-b fibers are fast twitch fibers. These fibers allow muscles to contract quickly, resulting in a great deal of power and speed. Type I fibers are slow-twitch fibers. They allow muscles to work for longer periods of time resulting in greater endurance.
Type II-a fibers are intermediate, representing a balance between the fast-twitch fibers and the slow-twitch fibers. They allow the muscles to generate both speed and endurance. Type I muscle fibers are adapted for aerobic exercise and rely on the presence of oxygen. Type II muscles are needed for anaerobic exercise because they can function in the absence of oxygen.
This type of fiber allows them to propel themselves forward at great speeds and maintain it for an extended distance. The conditioning program for the different horses varies depending on the race length. Genetics, training, age, and skeletal soundness are all factors that contribute to a horse's performance. A horse's fitness plan must be coordinated properly in order to prevent injury or lameness. If these are to occur, they may negatively affect a horse's willingness to learn.
Because the skeletal system does not reach full maturity until the horse is at least four years of age, young racehorses often suffer injuries. In the United States, Thoroughbred flat races are run on surfaces of either dirt, synthetic or turf. Other tracks offer Quarter Horse racing and Standardbred racing, on combinations of these three types of racing surfaces. Racing of other breeds, such as Arabian horse racing, is found on a limited basis.
American Thoroughbred races are run at a wide variety of distances, most commonly from 5 to 12 furlongs 0. The South Westbury section is still known as Salisbury. The first record of quarter mile length races dated back to in Henrico County , Virginia.
Each race consisted of only two horses, and they raced down the village streets and lanes. The Quarter Horse received its name from the length of the race. The American Stud Book was started in , prompting the beginning of organized horse racing in the United States.
There were tracks operating in the United States by ; and in , the American Jockey Club was formed. The Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack at the Alameda County Fairgrounds is the oldest remaining horse racing track in America,  dating back to , when it was founded by the sons of the Spaniard Don Agustin Bernal.
Belmont Park is located at the western edge of the Hempstead Plains. Its mile-and-a-half main track is the largest dirt Thoroughbred race course in the world, and it has the sport's largest grandstand.
One of the latest major horse track opened in the United States was the Meadowlands Racetrack , opened in for Thoroughbred racing. It is the home of the Meadowlands Cup. Other more recently opened tracks include Remington Park , Oklahoma City , opened in , and Lone Star Park in the Dallas—Fort Worth Metroplex , opened in ; the latter track hosted the prestigious Breeders' Cup series of races in The Hall of Fame honors remarkable horses, jockeys , owners, and trainers.
They are all held early in the year, throughout May and the beginning of June. In recent years the Breeders' Cup races, run at the end of the year, have challenged the Triple Crown events as determiners of the three-year-old champion.
The Breeders' Cup is normally held at a different track every year; however, the and editions were both held at Churchill Downs, and the , and races were held at Santa Anita Park.
Keeneland , in Lexington, Kentucky, hosted the Breeders' Cup. The corresponding Standardbred event is the Breeders Crown. American betting on horse racing is sanctioned and regulated by the state where the race is located.
A takeout, or "take", is removed from each betting pool and distributed according to state law, among the state, race track and horsemen. A variety of factors affect takeout, namely location and the type of wager that is placed. Advanced Deposit Wagering is a form of gambling on the outcome of horse races in which the bettor must fund his or her account before being allowed to place bets.
ADW is often conducted online or by phone. In contrast to ADW, credit shops allow wagers without advance funding; accounts are settled at month-end.
Racetrack owners, horse trainers and state governments sometimes receive a cut of ADW revenues. The most famous horse from Canada is generally considered to be Northern Dancer , who after winning the Kentucky Derby , Preakness and Queen's Plate in went on to become the most successful Thoroughbred sire of the twentieth century; his two-minute-flat Derby was the fastest on record until Secretariat in The only challenger to his title of greatest Canadian horse would be his son Nijinsky II , who is the last horse to win the English Triple Crown.
It is the only race track in North America which stages Thoroughbred and Standardbred harness meetings on the same day. There are 15 racecourses in the Czech Republic, most notably Pardubice Racecourse, where the country's most famous race, the Velka Pardubicka steeplechase , has been run since The Czech horse racing season usually starts at the beginning of April and ends some time in November.
Racing takes place mostly at weekends and there is usually one meeting on a Saturday and one on Sunday. France has a major horse racing industry. Besides Longchamp, France's other premier flat racecourses include Chantilly and Deauville. There is also a smaller but nevertheless important jumps racing sector, with Auteil Racecourse being the most well known.
The sport's governing body is France Galop. Horse racing in Great Britain is predominantly thoroughbred flat and jumps racing.
It was in Great Britain in the 17th to 19th centuries that many of the sport's rules and regulations were established. The name " Derby " has since become synonymous with great races all over the world, and as such has been borrowed many times in races abroad.
The Grand National is the most prominent race in British culture , watched by many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.
The sport is regulated by the British Horseracing Authority. Despite having an ancient tradition with well-documented history, all racetracks in Greece have ceased operation due to the Greek government-debt crisis.
Hungary has a long-standing horse racing tradition. The first horse racing in Pest was noted June 6, Foremost of these is Kincsem , foaled in and the most successful Thoroughbred race horse ever, having won 54 races in 54 starts. The country also produced Overdose , a horse who won his first 12 races, including group races in Germany and Italy , and finished fourth in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Ireland has a rich history of horse racing; point to pointing originated there, and even today, jump racing is more popular than racing on the flat. As a result, every year Irish horse racing fans travel in huge numbers to the highlight event of the National Hunt calendar, the Cheltenham Festival , and in recent years Irish owned or bred horses have dominated the event.
The world's largest Thoroughbred stud farm, Coolmore Stud , has its main site there in addition to major operations in the U. In recent years, Irish bred and trained horses have enjoyed considerable success in major races worldwide. Various horses achieved victory in one or more of the British Guineas , The Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe , considered the three most prestigious races in Europe. In the six runnings of the Epsom Derby between and , Irish horses filled 20 of the first 30 placings, winning the race 5 times.
Historically, Italy has been one of the leading European horse racing nations, albeit some respects behind Great Britain, Ireland and France in size and prestige. The late Italian horse breeder Federico Tesio was particularly notable. In recent years, however, the sport in the country has suffered a major funding crisis, culminating in its expulsion from the European Pattern.
In Wassenaar in the Hague there is a grass course at Duindigt. The industry was severely limited during the Communist era, when gambling, the major source of funding, was made illegal. Horse racing in Australia was founded during the early years of settlement and the industry has grown to be among the top three leading Thoroughbred racing nations of the world. In country racing, records indicate that Goulburn commenced racing in In Australia, the most famous racehorse was Phar Lap bred in New Zealand , who raced from to Phar Lap carried 9 st 12 lb In — the mare Makybe Diva bred in Great Britain became the only racehorse to ever win the Melbourne Cup three times, let alone in consecutive years.
In harness racing , Cane Smoke had wins, including 34 in a single season, Paleface Adios became a household name during the s, while Cardigan Bay , a pacing horse from New Zealand, enjoyed great success at the highest levels of American harness racing in the s.
More recently, Blacks A Fake has won four Inter Dominion Championships, making him the only horse to complete this feat in Australasia's premier harness race. In all endurance events there are rigorous vet checks, conducted before, during and after the competition, in which the horses' welfare is of the utmost concern. Racing is a long-established sport in New Zealand , stretching back to colonial times. Horse racing is a significant part of the New Zealand economy which in generated 1.
More than 40, people were involved in some capacity in the New Zealand racing industry in In , more than one million people attended race meetings in New Zealand. Racecourses are situated in 59 locations throughout New Zealand. During the —09 racing season 19 New Zealand bred horses won 22 Group One races around the world.
The most famous of these is probably Cardigan Bay. The Champ de Mars is situated on a prestigious avenue in Port Louis , the capital city and is the oldest racecourse in the southern hemisphere.
The Mauritius Turf Club is the third oldest active turf club in the world. Undeniably, racing is one of the most popular sports in Mauritius now attracting regular crowds of 20, people or more to the only racecourse of the island. A high level of professionalism has been attained in the organisation of races over the last decades preserving the unique electrifying ambiance prevailing on race days at the Champ de Mars. Champ de Mars has four classic events a year such as: Most of the horses are imported from South Africa but some are also acquired from Australia, the United Kingdom and France.
Horse racing is a popular sport in South Africa that can be traced back to The first recorded race club meeting took place five years later in The premier event, which attracts 50, people to Durban, is the Durban July Handicap , which has been run since at Greyville Racecourse. It is the largest and most prestigious event on the continent, with betting running into the hundreds of millions of Rands. Horse racing in one form or another has been a part of Chinese culture for millennia.
Horse racing was a popular pastime for the aristocracy at least by the Zhou Dynasty - 4th century B. General Tian Ji 's strategem for a horse race remains perhaps the best known story about horse racing in that period.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, horse racing and equestrian sports in China was dominated by Mongol influences. Thoroughbred horse racing came to China with British settlements in the middle s and most notably centered around the treaty ports, including the two major race courses in Shanghai , the Shanghai Racecourse and the International Recreation Grounds in Kiang-wan , and the racecourses of Tianjin.
Horse racing was banned in the Republic of China from , and the People's Republic of China maintained the ban after , although allowances were made for ethnic minority peoples for whom horse sports are a cultural tradition. The longer race led to deaths and injuries to participating horses in both and the 11th National Games in Also, with the entry into the sport of Han majority provinces such as Hubei , which are better funded and used Western, rather than traditional, breeding and training techniques, meant that the original purpose of the event to foster traditional horse racing for groups like the Mongols was at risk of being usurped.
At the National Games, Hubei won both the gold and silver medals, with Inner Mongolia winning bronze. Cornelius Lysaght asks whether the subtle words he whispers to his horses are what sets him apart. Analysis and opinion from our horse racing correspondent. All the meetings scheduled in the United Kingdom. How to get into horse riding, whether you want to work with horses at the stables or become a fully fledged jockey.
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