Training A Horse For Racing: Basic Tips

We spend quite a bit of time on this site discussing basic horse training tips and for an owner or trainer, it’s really a never-ending discussion. A responsible owner understands that caring for a horse‚ and keeping him or her healthy and fit‚ involves what often feels like constant care. And that’s just basic training! So what happens if you decide you want to begin training horses for a particular event or lifestyle?

Specifically, it’s the idea of racing that tends to capture so many owners’ imagination. Take the Cheltenham Festival coming up shortly in the UK. This four-day racing event doesn’t take place until mid-March, yet already there’s a great deal of interest when it comes to which horses will be racing and what sort of condition they’re in. At sports/betting site Betfair, you can even place bets already on some of the headline races for Cheltenham. Not only that, but you can browse through the latest news regarding the competitors! Betting odds and news will continue to shift as the event approaches, but the interest is already there. It’s that particular intrigue that leads many owners and trainers to consider the idea of training a racehorse themselves.

Now, it’s not exactly as if you can simply take a horse you already have and suddenly turn him or her into an accomplished racehorse. But if you’re taking on a new horse and you’re serious about the idea of training, here are a few tips to get you started regarding how to prepare him or her for a race.

  • As Horse Racing Help notes, endurance is key. Horses are naturally fast, but to finish a race‚ even a short, two-mile burst format‚ endurance needs to be the main focus. There’s nothing tricky about the process of building endurance. Simply take it slow in the beginning and gradually increase running distances to help your horse adapt.
  • Speed comes second. In the interest of health and condition, it’s absolutely necessary to build endurance first. And once your horse is comfortable with consistently running longer distances, you can begin to slowly push the horse to run those distances more quickly. Again, it’s simply a process of gradual progress.
  • Be sure to allow adequate rest. Many humans, when trying to get into shape, will push themselves day in and day out. Not only is this generally a bad idea for you and me, but it can be harmful for your horse. A bit of activity daily is fine, but you need to follow high intensity workouts with lighter days. That’s especially true with speed training.
  • Finally, you’ll want to work on acceleration. In order to be successful on any racing circuit, your horse will need to grow comfortable with the idea of getting up to speed quickly from a standstill. This is best worked on once endurance and speed have already been built significantly.

These are the very basic ideas, along with the order of training, that can get you started. Mind you, racing a horse in any sort of professional forum requires licensing, so be sure to look into those details, too, before you simply start training. But otherwise, have fun!


About Deanna Castro

Deanna Castro has been training horses and riders professionally for over 18 years. She trains riders in Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Showmanship and Trail Riding. Deanna is married to Native American Horse Trainer Fredi Castro and she is the author of "Six Weeks to a Better Horse".
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