Training a horse for horse racing is very similar to the basic training techniques for all disciplines of horse training. Any breed of horse can race, but the most common racing breeds are the Quarter horse, Thoroughbreds and the Arabian horses. Thoroughbreds are especially made for running. Their strong, sleek bodies have the ability to propel them forward at remarkable speeds.
The most common racing for racehorses is flat track. This involves a full-speed run on a flat surface with no obstacles to overcome. Flat track racing is the most popular kind of racing since it is heavily advertised and many people bet on the outcomes. While it may seem relatively straightforward, training a horse for flat track racing can be quite challenging. These basic training tips will get your horse started to begin a long, healthy career as a racehorse.
Slow and Steady Conditioning
The main focus of training a racehorse is conditioning. All horses have the natural ability to run, but they will only run for short distances. Much like humans, horses have to build up their stamina so that they can finish any race. Start by building the endurance slowly.This should include short gallops around the paddock in to order to build his muscles and lung capacity. Ride your horse for a minimum of three miles, but only every three days. As the horse progresses, you can start to lengthen his gallops so that he gets use to running long distances. Once your horse is conditioned properly, you can push him to run faster. Again, you will want to start out slow and only push the horse a few hundred yards at first. As your horse gets use to the speed, you can push him for longer distances and more frequently.
Rest and Recuperation
Also like humans, the horse’s body needs time to recuperate. A young horse must slowly build up muscles, tone and control to exert the amount of effort necessary to race on a flat track. For that reason, a good workout should be followed by an appropriate period of rest. You will also want to invest in equine massage. The massage will help the horse to develop his muscles in a more evenly distributed and healthy manner. It will also help to increase circulation, which is extremely helpful in reducing any swelling or inflammation of the ankle, which is coming for young racehorses.
Starting Gate Preparation
The other focus should be training the horse on how to start from the starting gates. The first step is training the horse to go from a complete stand still to a run. Once the horse understands this concept, you can try it in a confined space. Lead the horse through so that he will get the idea that he is supposed to leave the chute. When the horse becomes familiar with the chute, make him go from complete stand still to a run just like before. Finally, put the horse in the chute with the front and back openings closed off. Then, open the front of the chute and simultaneously ask the horse to run out. This will replicate the starting gate.
Training a racehorse can be exhilarating. However, not every horse is meant to race on a flat track. Also, it’s important to never push a horse younger than 32 months into speed training. Before this age, the horse’s knees are not fully closed up. This could result in severe damage if the horse is pushed too hard. It’s best to wait until the horse’s body is matured and ready.
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Karen Smith is a freelance writer and avid horseplayer. In her spare time, she enjoys horse racing betting online. Karen looks forward to attending the Kentucky Derby each year with her husband Richard.