From birth to yearling

Thoroughbred foals are usually born early in the year. They will spend the early months with mum before being weaned and learning to be independent and socialise with other foals. 

A  yearling is a young horse, either male or female, that is between one and two years old. It is important that young horses get used to being around and handled by people in their early years. They will learn to lead, stand for the farrier and to be around lots of activity. 

Did you know that all thoroughbred racehorses have the same birthday? This is done to make it easier to keep track of horses’ ages. Many racehorse owners accept 1st January as the birthday. 

Susan Corbett

Starting training

Once a horse is ready, they will learn to be tacked up, carry a rider and understand basic human aids so they can continue this learning in training.

A trainer will start each horse off cantering slowly on the gallop and gradually build up their fitness. After around three months of slow galloping a horse will have built up enough muscle and fitness to start doing fast ‘work’ at racing speed!

Did you know that there are around 14,000 horses in training in Great Britain?

The life of an athlete

Racehorses maintain their fitness in training and learn and develop all the skills they need for the racecourse.

Racehorses live the best life, receiving world class care and attention. Daily life on a racing yard usually revolves around a structured routine tailored to each individual horse’s needs.

Did you know the average daily calorie intake for a racehorse is 35,000 calories? That would be the same as eating 600 Weetabix per day!

At the races

Racehorses quickly become accustomed to visiting the racecourse, and receive the best possible veterinary care and attention before during and after competing in a race.

Did you know before a racehorse travels to a racecourse it will be checked over a by a number of professionals to ensure they are safe to race? This includes a vet, equine therapist and a farrier – who changes the horse’s training shoes and fits him with ‘racing plates’.

Life after racing

Racehorses are talented athletes that are highly trainable and intelligent and will go on to a wide variety of careers after racing. Many will be retrained as riding horses, showjumpers, eventers, dressage and showing stars while others take up roles as therapy horses and even falconry!


Keep up to date with all the latest National Racehorse Week news, videos and competitions.

“Horses are great to work with as they’re pure athletes” Equine physiotherapy not only helps keeps racehorses happy and healthy, but can also make a huge difference to performance on the track

Richard Johnson and Menorah: A lifelong friendship Jockeys develop strong, long-lasting friendships with their racehorses. Johnson and Menorah enjoyed success on the track and now they’re enjoying

Retired racehorses helping young people with special educational needs | Greatwood charity “Horses help people, people help horses” National Racehorse Week celebrates the special relationship humans and racehorses have

How do racehorses build up their fitness after a long holiday? With some horses needing to shift up to 60kg, Emma Lavelle explains the process of building up fitness

A day in the life of a work rider. Stable staff and racehorses love working together. On National Racehorse Week we celebrate that strong bond.

The 2019 Magnolia Cup heroes helping the next generation. Khadijah Mellah is with her old friend Haverland who’s enjoying an active retirement.

Team GB Event rider, Piggy March, talks about the success she is enjoying with the former racehorse Our Old Fella who has found his niche eventing. The combination excelled recently at Barbury International Horse Trials in the NTF RoR Eventing Championship.

Khadijah Mellah visits retired racehorse UAE King, who’s now loving life in a new career after being rehomed by Retraining of Racehorses

Khadijah Mellah meets African Jazz and his owner Tara Murphy to learn about the retraining process.

Chris Hughes on the industry wide-initiative this September (12th-19th) where trainers across Britain will be opening their doors to the public.

Racing unpacked: Khadijah Mellah visits a yard and learns about the incredible daily care that racehorses receive.

Racing unpacked: Khadijah Mellah visits trainer Charlie Fellowes to discuss the main aspects involved in training a racehorse

Racing unpacked: Everyone in a racing yard works incredibly hard to get racehorses fit, healthy and successful on the track

Dame Judi Dench loves racing and racehorses, and gives her full support to National Racehorse Week

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