Training

Training

After breaking-in is completed horses enter training yards where they prepare for races. Trainers are responsible for ensuring their horses are fit and healthy and can perform to their maximum potential.

Most trainers exercise their horses in the morning where they are ridden by exercise riders on the training tracks or gallops. In addition to walking, there are three different speeds at which a horse exercises; these are called trotting, cantering and galloping. Some trainers also incorporate swimming and other training aids including equine spas and specialist treadmills.

Stable lads or lasses are responsible for the general care and treatment of the horses to ensure that each horse is well looked after. This is referred to as grooming.

Glossary about training

Training yards

The place where a trainer works with his horses.

Trainers

Appointed by the owners of the horses. A trainer is an individual whose job it is to maximise the potential of each horse in their care. Some trainers train as many as 300 horses at one time.

Exercise riders

Riders prepare horses at home for the races. Unlike jockeys, exercise riders do not ride in races.

Training tracks

In Dubai, Australia and the USA, most horses are trained at racecourses and do the majority of their exercise on the racetrack.

Trotting

The second fastest gait of a horse, between a walk and a canter in speed, in which diagonal pairs of legs move forward together.

Cantering

The canter is a controlled, three-beat gait and is faster than a trot but slower than a gallop.

Galloping

The gallop is very much like the canter, except it is faster, more ground-covering, and a four-beat gait. It is the fastest gait of the horse, averaging about 25 to 30 miles per hour.

Swimming

Swimming is the only exercise in which the horse has to use all of its muscle groups, which results in an improved metabolism, blood flow and oxygen-intake. It is often used as a training aid for horses with injuries.

Equine spa

Cold salt hydrotherapy can be used to treat all forms of lower leg inflammation, removing fluid and swelling which is often associated with injury.

Treadmill

The ability to have the horse walk, trot and canter without the weight of a saddle and rider increases the overall flexibility of the horse’s back while developing back, core, and hindquarter muscles.

Stable lads

Similar to and often the same as exercise riders. Stable lads tend to a horse’s daily needs, this could include exercising the horse, grooming, feeding and travelling with the horse to the races.

Grooming

Grooming a horse daily allows the handler to check on horse's general health and well-being. At a minimum, horses are generally groomed before and after exercise.

Gallops

Training surfaces in Europe are often called gallops.