A racehorse’s existence is nonstop even before it arrives in the trainer’s yard as a yearling or, in the case of National Hunt horses, when it is three years old. Many foals will have gone with their dam to the next appointment with a stallion within their first month, and are likely to have seen more in their short lives than the average horse sees in a lifetime!
Yearlings, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds can be sold as foals at a ‘Breeze Up’ sale or later as stores. Occasionally, the breeder will send their horse directly to a trainer without going through the sale ring.
A racehorse is broken in at around 18 months of age, having previously been very well handled and accustomed to carrying a bit in its mouth, as well as being lunged and led out in hand. They will also be expected to wear rugs, be shod, and go through a variety of inspections by a variety of individuals.
The method of breaking a horse in is determined by the trainer’s preferences. Long reining is used to break many horses in. The horse will only be requested to accept a rider when you know this stage fully.
The racehorse will then be taught to go out with other horses. These will usually be led by an older experienced horse after the backing stage is completed. In groups upsides other horses, they may be trained to canter, allowing the distinct features of each horse to be recognised. They must also run and ride away from the other horses at a rate of eight miles per hour.
Racehorses enjoy lodgings comparable to those found in five-star hotels. They are well-nourished, well-groomed, and receive excellent care and attention. A typical day in a racing yard is divided into several phases that start early in the morning and terminate at dark. Horses will generally be taken care of by the same youngster or lass in most racing stables, allowing them to get to know them and any quirks or habits they may have.
Most racehorses are fed three to four feeds a day of a high-quality, scientifically formulated racing diet. A good horse feed should have a balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals, as well as high levels of starch and protein to ensure excellent performance. Fibre has been recognized for several years as important to a horse’s digestive health and comfort, but it is tough to get a fit horse in training to consume adequate fibre in a day.
On a race day, the procedure is somewhat different, although the horses will almost always be fed at least one hour before they are due to depart. When a horse arrives at the races, it will immediately unload and enter a racecourse stable, so don’t be surprised if your previous racehorse doesn’t want to stand in a horsebox or trailer all day at a show! You may have to practice short journeys at first until the horse learns that he isn’t being taken out on a race whenever he enters a horsebox. With treatment becoming more advanced on race day, races are becoming more competitive each year. This is where Timeform’s tips can make choosing which horse to bet on a whole lot easier.
Most trainers try to be at the racecourse three hours before the start of the race, during which time their horse may rest in the stables and be given a small, high-fibre meal and water.