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News: What Makes a Good Race Horse?

The ingredients that make a good racehorse.

04.08.2021 - Who doesn’t want to head down to the track and pick the winning horse, either as owners or as punters looking to make the winning bet. However, it is not as easy as you may hope. What can help you feel more confident in your bet is understanding the ingredients that lead to a good race horse. The makeup that makes a race horse a good race horse, and a more probable winner on the tracks.
Today we will talk to you about some of the factors that can add up and design a perfect race horse, so you know that when you are making your bets, your horse was a good choice no matter what the outcome.

For more information on horse racing and what makes a good race horse, check out TVG/ Now let’s have a look at those ingredients.

The first thing that matters with race horses is their pedigree. This is one of the absolute first places to look if you were to purchase a horse for racing. A sire that has produced lots of stakes winners is obviously very appealing, however the more successful and fashionable a stallion is, the more his offspring are going to cost. Some sires will produce speedy offspring, others more progressive, and some producer stayers. Do not forget to look at the mare as well, check to see how many of her offspring are winners, and how many made it to a racecourse, thinking about injuries. Obviously, this is something to look at for those looking for a horse to buy for racing.

However, if you know the background of the horse you are betting on, understanding its pedigree can also help, however this is not always something that is achievable.

Structure of their bones
Whether you are buying a horse or looking for the perfect one to bet on, pay attention to their bone structure. Every horse is made differently, but there is a particular bone composition that adds up to a stellar race horse. ‘Plenty of bone’ is a term often used when buying a horse, and this means that there is the right amount of bone for their size. So, if you hear this term referring to a horse, this is a good horse to bet on. The ‘plenty of bone’ phrase refers to size- bone ratio, for example if you had a big and heavy horse with thin leg bones it should be avoided for racing.

Looking at a horse from the front, you can see some signs, a leg bone should travel straight downward from the chest, to knee, to hoof. If not, this is an offset leg and the knee could be of concern.

Looking from the side you should see the knee position to be slightly over the hoof, if the knee is behind the hoof then this can cause extra knee strain, which is not ideal, especially for jumping horses.

When looking at the physique of which horse you will bet on, the knees are the place to look, it can tell you how strong the horse's form is and how healthy their legs are for racing.

Muscular tone
The powerhouse of a race horse is in their back legs and quarters, so you want to see a good amount of muscle and strength in this region. Muscle definition in their shoulders will also contribute to their strength, although it is not always built up when they are younger. Forearm muscles, on the other hand, a horse will either have or not have, but forearm muscle is ideal for jumping horses.

So if you are looking for a long distance race horse check the muscles of their rear quarter, if they are for jumping also check out their forearm muscles.

It might sound a bit obvious, but the horse needs to be balanced. Their neck, back, and hips need to be of equal length for them to look well proportioned. While horses will come in all shapes and sizes just like humans will, they do need to be in proportion with themselves to be relatively balanced. Younger horses will usually have higher up withers or quarters, but this is due to them still growing. Many horses are not even full-grown into their bodies until they are 5 years old. So, a 5+ year old horse will be the best bet for balance.

A beautiful coat
It is almost needless to say that a horse with a well groomed coat is a much loved horse, and a healthy coat mirrors their internal health too, much like our skin can tell others about our overall health. If a horse's coat is looking vibrant and healthy, then so are they.

No matter if you are buying a horse or doing extensive research into which horse to bet on, the way a horse moves is imperative. If you are looking to bet on a horse, try to find some online footage of them moving to get an idea of how they move when on the go.

Phrases like ‘ A scratchy stride’, or ‘ covering the ground with ease’ are key to look out for. A good racehorse should be able to move well, no matter what pace or gait they are moving at. Some horses will move better at certain paces or doing certain gaits than others, however horses with lengthy strides tend to perform the best overall, as they can cover more ground much faster. This is not always imperative, though, especially for a speedy horse.

It is totally possible for a horse with a small stride to be faster than a horse with a large stride, it is totally dependent on the individual horse, and their comfort with their speed.

Be sure of what event they are participating in and what gait/ pace they will be moving at and then have a look at their footage, see how they move, and you will get a good idea of how well the horse will be in competition.