Saturday 15 February 2020

Thoroughbred Horse Racing: How to Train an Amazing Racehorse

An equine student, just like a human student, needs to learn the basics to excel in a sport. It is a fact that all horses know how to run. But in the wild, this is usually in relatively open spaces or straight lines. 

Thoroughbred horses are bred and shipped around the globe, and their race training differs widely depending on where they are residing. Regardless of the rate of training, each horse is different and will progress at its pace. 

Training a thoroughbred horse to become an excellent racehorse is a strenuous task. It requires an enormous amount of patience and skill to train a horse to race properly. Below are some ways to effectively training a racehorse. 

Lead Changes 

Horses running on a racecourse need to learn how to channel their energy effectively throughout the whole race and how to run in a circle. 

However, a vital part of that is changing leads. When a horse runs, the legs on one side of his body will extend, or lead, farther than the other side. Racing in North America takes place in a counter-clockwise motion, meaning a runner usually will be on his right lead during the straightaways and left edge rounding the turns. 

A horse will tire more quickly if he stays on the same lead for a prolonged amount of time, so teaching him to change on cue is essential. 

A runner is also being conditioned while he is learning to switch leads on command. Horses also slowly prepare for an event just like athletes. 

Horses will start with routine jogs and gallops in the wee hours of the morning. Majority of racehorses are stabled at tracks, be they a racecourse or training centre, and those venues will have a period in the mornings for horses to train. 


Basic conditioning of the equine athlete involves consideration of the level of competition that you expect the horse to achieve, the event in which the horse will be competing, then the time you have in which to condition the horse, and the horse's past conditioning for the game. 

The goal of any basic conditioning program is to enhance the physical and the psychological responses to exercise. 

Psychological responses with conditioning include greater desire and confidence to perform and minimized resentment and boredom. 

Physical responses include greater strength and endurance, enhanced skills (such as jumping and reining), and minimized soreness or injury due to exercise.

A conditioning program should be specific to the event to train appropriately for the type of exercise in the game. 

For example, Thoroughbred trainers would not want to strictly use an aerobic conditioning program for their 3-year-old Thoroughbreds because racing is mostly an anaerobic event.

The horse will gradually be asked for more in its exercise as it builds up conditioning. Finally, the runner will breeze or work, meaning he’ll run at a stronger pace for a specified distance. These are timed and can indicate a level of fitness and readiness for a race. Some trainers typically work their horses fast; others may let them start at a more moderate pace and finish fast. 

Gate Training

The starting gate is one other major component a newbie on track needs to become familiar with. It takes time for horses to acclimate to the small stall enclosure. 

Gate training will start by walking the horse in and out of the gates, build up to standing for periods in the space, both by themselves and besides other horses, and ultimately exit the stall at a run. 

Once horses have been trained to accept a rider and respond to initial requests, they learn to break from the starting gate, one of the more difficult aspects of training for some of them.

Just like what the Pegasus World Cup 2019 contenders displayed during the competition, a large amount of connection is needed between the rider and the horse to get through the gate with ease. Many breeders and trainers have their mini gates that they use for novice racers. First off, the horse is led to the gate and then gradually taught to enter the chute and remain there with the rear door closed. Horses are also taught to respond quickly to the gate opening at the start of a race and not to spook at the sound of the corresponding bell or buzzer. 

Accidents with nervous race horses do occur at the post, and they can be dangerous for the jockey and the horse, as well as for the gate workers who help the horses load at race time.


A good trainer can incorporate runners into a developed system. A great trainer will get to know the pupil, try to understand them, and design a training program around them. 

To become a great trainer, you need to focus your attention not just on training a horse to run well but on schooling the horse in all activities of the track to make the race enjoyable for the animal and to minimize anxiety.