The Four Fundamentals that Make a Great Race Horse

Over the years breeding horses has produced some of the fastest competitors we know. Even a horse from the best bloodlines still need that something extra to perform on the track.

It is widely agreed by racing experts, owners, jockeys and breeders, that there are four fundamentals that make a great race horse.

Conformation and Soundness

Have a good look at a thorough bred race horse. These young horses are trained to run speeds upward of 40m/ph. on legs that are carrying up to a ton in weight. That’s a whole lot of weight to be hurtling round a track on their skinny pogo stick legs. Consider the stress that is put on their bones and joints.

A horse that is not sound will struggle and can easily end its career or life due to injury. When checking for soundness, trainers are looking for bad feet and weak ankles, soft bones that would be prone to breaking or soft joints. Each racehorse selected needs to be able to cope with the training schedule set out for it to make it in the competitions.

Diet and Appetite

Just like a human athlete, the race horse needs to be able to fuel its body to build the muscle it is going to need to cope in its training and ultimately perform on the track. This comes down to more than just a balanced diet and supplementary nutrition.

A horse that does not eat well, will not be able to get the energy it needs to perform at maximum ability, and how do you force a ton of animal to eat up?

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Sound Body, Sound Mind

The easier horses are the horses that make great racers. The horses that know they are, well horses. Uneasy athletes tend to be high strung pacers. The simple horses go out and train, come in, eat and rest. They can focus.

None of this matters without a healthy body and a strong heart. Breeders across the world hunt for the X-factor. So named because the gene believe to cause the large, even oversized heart, is carried in the X-chromosome.

A large heart has been found to significantly impact a horse’s performance on the track. Think Secretariat, whose autopsy revealed a heart three times the average size. A good set of big lungs to feed the machine and a relaxed state of mind give you the makings of a winner.

The Desire to Race

A horse that does not want to race will never be a good competitor no matter how talented. This is proven on the track year after year, were horses that lack talent and soundness pull off impossible wins because they want to race.

Forcing a ton of athlete to run a circuit is challenging, and if they refuse? There are very few options to get them going. Enthusiasm for racing, or a lack thereof, can make or break a race horses career. Having said that, just because a horse doesn’t want to train doesn’t mean it lacks the drive on the track, but how do you get a horse you cannot train onto a track without injury?

Horses of sound conformation, that exhibit stamina and speed ultimately do stand the chance of collecting the shields. The foundation of a winner is what will set it up for its career as a racer, but its our ability to train them, ensure that they have everything they need that will ultimately separate the winners from the losers.