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. 

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!


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