Derby, steeplechase, running: all the fun about horse racing


Horse racing, as well as trotting competitions, occupy a special place among equestrian sports. First, they are the most ancient, and, secondly, it is a serious type of business. Virtually every influential person in the world is somehow connected with horse racing. Or just a lover, or a gambler, or the owner of a promising horse. Let's talk about this type of equestrian sport in more detail.

Horse racing, both today and a thousand years ago, is a speed competition at a certain distance. To say exactly when and where the first such competition took place is quite difficult. There is a version that the first races were held in Arabia and Persia. Some historical finds also point to India and China.

A bit of history

The roots of modern speed test horses come from ancient Greece and Rome. Already in antiquity, starting from the 7th century BC. people organized chariot races, and horse riding was part of the Olympics program. Especially horse-drawn carriages or chariots competitions became popular in the Roman Empire. Like today, then people also made bets and rooted for their athletes. Even then, the first hippodromes with a lap length of about 300 meters appeared.

Later in England around the 17th century they began to breed fast horses especially for horse racing. Since at that time the Arabian horses were considered the most frisky, they began to be crossed with local English mares. As a result, the now-popular breed for horse racing has emerged - purebred horse. Later in England began to be carried out the biggest races, which collected the best racers from around the world.

From 1711 in Ascot and from 1780 in Epsom began to pass the famous "derby" (by the name of the Earl of Derby). Only horses of three years take part in them. Later in 1822, the first racetrack in Germany opened in the small town of Bad Doberan. In 1836, the famous steeplechase obstacle races for the first time started in Liverpool. A year later, the first and still the largest hippodrome in France - Longchamp was opened.

Sports features

Although many races are not considered a sport, they are still a sporting event. They are held on special tracks on hippodromes or on specially equipped treadmills. Only selected thoroughbred racehorses are allowed to jumps, which are distinguished by their special playfulness and courage. The foal, which will later become a race horse, already at the age of one year is handed over to an experienced trainer and jockey. At this time, his first start begins.

If the animal shows good results by the age of three, it will be announced to participate in the main races in three years. The further race career of the horse will depend on this result. It is important to note that each horse has its own individual qualities. Some run better at short distances, others are real sprinters. Each has its own training and competition program. For example, horses travel a mile from 1600 to 2000 meters.

Horse racing must be conducted in accordance with certain rules. The animal’s condition, weight, parameters and health are strictly controlled. Before and after each race, the jockeys are weighed together with the saddle and clothing. A racehorse can carry a weight of 49 to 65 kg as standard. All rules were developed in the 18th century in the UK.

Types of horse riding

Today, the following types of races are distinguished: smooth, steeplechase, cross-country racing, trotting, or running and running.


Such jumps imply a test of thoroughbred riding horses for agility without the use of barriers and obstacles on the way. Most of these races are held on special dirt tracks at a distance of 1,000 to 3,600 meters. On smooth races, all horses start from special starting boxes. They open all at once, allowing all the racers to start the race from the same distance.


This is a more difficult type of race, since it implies the presence of various obstacles and barriers on the track. Usually, compared with jumping, they are simple, but since they are overcome at high speed, they can carry a danger. Its history of this type of competition has received from the popularity of horse hunting in England. Until now, by tradition, most of the hedges and barriers have the appearance of natural barriers, as seen in the photo.


These tests are also carried out on racetracks and consist in testing horses for agility in running trot. It is known that for the first time this kind of competition originated in America. In Europe, local trotters were initially experienced only under the saddle. But the beginning of the harness sport put the famous Russian Count Orlov-Chesmensky. When breeding his Orlov trotter, he first attached importance to training trotting horses.

At the same time, for carrying out these trainings, and later the competitions themselves, a special lightweight carriage was designed - cross-country tracks. This is the first prototype of a modern rocking chair. From 1834, races became popular at the Moscow Hippodrome, and in 1895, they were first held in Berlin. See more video.

The essence of the run

Rysakov begin to train at the age of 2 years, continuing to 3-4 years. The main distance for running is from 1600 to 2400 meters. Two-year-olds are tested only at a distance of 1600 meters, three-year-olds - at 1600, 2100 and 2400 meters. Horses older than 3, 4 years allow for a distance of 3200, 3400 meters. The rider's weight is allowed arbitrary.

On the run it is preferable to run amble, but the gallop is strictly prohibited. A galloped horse is disqualified or transferred to an outer circle. There is also a special type of racing - Monte, which is held in France and is experiencing trotters under the saddle.

Crosses and runs

Today, in addition to the usual horse racing, so-called cross-country or cross-country racing is becoming popular. They are held at a distance of 3 to 8 kilometers. Previously, this type of competition was a preparation for the triathlon. However, the history of such competitions goes back to ancient times.

The riders are thoroughly prepared for the crosses and runs. Their horses need to show not only agility, but also the ability to overcome the distance in any weather, in any conditions. To be able at the right time to accelerate and slow down the run. For example, the Hidalgo feature film is dedicated to this kind of special horse racing.

Photo Gallery

Photo 1. Chariot competition in ancient Rome Photo 2. Smooth horse racing Photo 3. Running trotters in rocking Photo 4. Long distance racing




Popular Categories