National Racehorse Week is a nationwide annual celebration of the racehorse and a chance to see first-hand the love, care and attention that goes into looking after them.
Looking back at what was a hugely successful week in 2023; that featured 209 separate events with over 100 yards opening their doors, including training yards studs and aftercare, retraining & rehoming centres taking part.
Here are just some of the things you’ll likely experience on your yard visit
Daily fitness training
Just like any human athlete, fitness is imperative in preparing the racehorse for the track and ensuring they are in the best of health. There are many parts to keeping a racehorse fit, so during your visit you may get the chance to see the horses on the gallops, taking a restorative swim, warming up/down on the horse walker, or even doing a session on an equestrian treadmill.
See racehorses honing their skills. Racehorses regularly need to practice all the skills they need on the racecourse, whether that be jumping or learning a particular way of racing to optimise performance. Schooling over jumps, working on different surfaces and environments are all an important part of a racehorse training routine that help the horse to successfully adjust to different situations at the racecourse. It also adds variety to their work and gives them mental stimulation.
Veterinary care demonstrations
Ensuring that racehorses are in the best health is an absolute priority. There are teams of people dedicated to making sure that racehorses receive the best veterinary care going. Some of the demonstrations you may see on the day are routine vet checks, physiotherapy, the horse solarium and equine dentistry.
You may well get to watch a vet do a routine check on a racehorse, a dental examination, or even a physio demo.
Meet the people who look after a racehorse’s hooves, keeping them in the best condition and shoeing them to ensure they’re ready for every race. See a racehorse having its hooves trimmed and being shod. Take the chance to ask questions to the experts in equine foot care. They are an essential part of maintaining a racehorse’s health.
Taking a break
An important part of any racehorse’s routine is down time and the ‘chance to be a horse’. Racehorses will have a freshly made bed every day and often enjoy a hack or time in the field which is where they all have the opportunity to put their feet up and enjoy a bit of time off. Learn how stable staff work hard to ensure that racehorses are kept in clean, safe environments where the horses can relax and enjoy being pampered.
To perform at the very best, racehorses are supported by dedicated staff who ensure they are ‘race ready’ before the big day. From vet checks, to receiving a special set of racing shoes (not forgetting a long packing list!) go behind the scenes on what it takes to get a horse and jock safely to the starting line on race day.
As naturally versatile and highly intelligent animals, racehorses go on to a variety of careers after racing. Experience how racehorses are rehomed, and retrained, going on to live happy and healthy lives. From eventing and dressage, to polo and horse ball – racehorses can do it all!