Tag Archives: racehorses

The Life of a Racehorse – Before the Training Begins

colt-204195_1280The life of a racehorse begins long before it runs on any course. Before the horse steps foot on a course, is handed over to a racehorse trainer, or even born, owners and breeders carefully consider which sire and dam will make the best pairing to throw the ideal racehorse. These horses are bred in an attempt to pass on select qualities to their foals. Ideally, the offspring will naturally possess enough speed, stamina, and ability to make it successful, and these traits can be honed when the horse is old enough to be sent to a racehorse trainer and prepared to race.For most racehorses, life will begin in a breeding barn on a stud farm. Because all of these horses will be given an official birthday of January 1, breeders plan to have foals as close to January as possible so they will have more time to develop before beginning to race as two-year-olds. In the first few days of a new foal’s life, it will stick closely by its dam as it gains strength. The colt or filly will slowly become more independent. At first, foals need the mare’s milk, but eventually will begin to eat grass and then oats and grain. The filly or colt will be weaned from the mother when it is around six months of age, and is then known as a weanling.

For a while after weaning, the young horses are allowed to develop in paddocks. They are often turned out with other weanlings to grow and play. Weanlings become yearlings the first January after they are born. At this point, they are officially recognized to be a year old. While they are still a long way from beginning work under a racehorse trainer, the horses will soon be more directly affected by the racing industry. Many yearlings that have future careers running on the flat will be prepared to be sold at yearling auctions. Also, near the end of the year and just before their two-year-old birthdays, yearlings will be broken to the saddle. They will learn to accept tack and even the weight of a rider, and may possibly be introduced to a training track, though they will not be asked to work.

Once the yearlings have been introduced so some of the elements of the life of a racehorse, the best prospects will be sent to a racehorse trainer to join his or her stable of horses in training for races. Horses are eligible to race on the flat at two years of age, but jumps are reserved for three-year-olds and older horses.


If you have a passion for horseracing and would like to have further involvement then racehorse trainers can provide you with the vital next step, whether it be buying a racehorse or becoming part of a racehorse syndicate.