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Racehorse Training Methods

Racehorse training methods

Racehorse training methods for all athlete horse should take into consideration of the event the horse will be competing, degree of completion you expect the horse to achieve the horse previous training for previous events, and the time for training the horse.

The basic goal of all racehorse training methods is to enhance the psychological and physical response to exercise. The physical response include greater endurance and strength, enhanced jumping and reining skill and minimized injury from exercise.

The training method should be specific to the event to be competed in, so as to ensure training for appropriate exercise in the event.

Generally there are two methods race training methods.

Endurance training

Endurance training is typically used in the first weeks of all conditioning programs and may include breaking. This method is also known as the slow-speed long distance conditioning. This method usually comes before fast exercise in most conditioning programs, such as racehorse training. It includes trotting sessions and cantering at slow speeds for long distances to improve aerobic production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for energy.

Trainers normally start the horses off slowly, then they gradually increase the distance at two-to-three week intervals. The duration of time a horse remains on this conditioning program depends on the type of event and can be last from four to five weeks for racehorses but nine months for endurance horses. Slow-speed conditioning has shown improvements in aerobic capacity, skeletal muscle adaptation and limb strength.

High-speed Training

High-speed conditioning on the other hand is used to optimize the anaerobic capacity of a horse and is generally combined with slow-speed long distance training. This training method varies with the horse and the event. At times, trainers increase the speed for very short distances until near maximum speed is attained, then the distance is increased. Few trainers establish a number of distance and gradually increase the speed. The frequency of the high-speed training days depends on the conditioning method used. For example, in North America, trainers will commonly use fast galloping for short distances at 75 percent of the maximum speed of the event at least one time every seven to ten days. Other trainers will gallop their racehorses at near maximum event speed once every five days.

The main goal of high-speed conditioning is to increase the amount of training that stimulates anaerobic production of ATP without leading to fatigue. It is thought that training at maximum event speed may overwork a horse; therefore, horse trainers train their horses at 70 to 85 percent maximum event speed.


Interval Horse Training

Interval training is the use of several workouts on the same day with short resting intervals. Many trainers use this conditioning method as the horse’s high-speed program. Interval training of the racehorse should not be done at 95 to 100 percent maximum speed, because it may lead to overtraining and possibly detraining the horse.  Detraining is the reversal of physiological training adaptations of the race horse.

The key factor to note is when choosing any of the racehorse training methods is that the event being prepared for matters. You don’t want to stress or overwork the horse before the event.

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