What is a Horse Race?

Horse race, also called a thoroughbred race, is an event in which humans ride horses competing against each other to win a prize. It is the most popular of the sports of equestrian riding and has been around for thousands of years, with its origins traced to ancient Greece. It is considered a sport, an art form and a tradition. Some people criticize horse racing, arguing that it is cruel and inhumane to the animals involved in the sport. Others argue that the industry needs to reform in order to protect the welfare of the horses. In order to participate in a horse race, participants must take a seat on the back of the horse and use stirrups to hold onto the animal. The horse and rider must travel the course, leap any needed hurdles or obstacles, and cross the finish line before any other horses and riders do in order to win. Prize money is awarded to the winners, second place finishers, and third place finishers. A horse’s performance can be influenced by its size, gender, training and genetics. In some races, the horses are assigned weights to carry for fairness, which affect their speed and ability to compete against other competitors. Some of the most prestigious races are handicap races. The most well-known of these is the Triple Crown series of races, which includes the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Before the race begins, participants take their horses to a starting gate. The starting gates are small metal stalls with attendants who direct the horses into them. The gate opens at the sound of a bell. The start of the race can be dangerous for horses, and they may buck or kick as they are rushed from their stalls into the starting gate. This can cause injuries such as lacerations and fractures (27). Once the race has begun, a veterinarian and human ambulance follow the jockeys during the race in case of any life-threatening accidents or injuries. This is especially important in the final stretch, when speeds increase and jockeys must remain on their horse’s backs by lowering their bodies into a semi-squat position to decrease excessive movement (28). This increased movement can cause a jockey to fall off the horse. This can lead to spine injuries, lower and upper extremity injuries, and dislocations (31). Horse race is a popular sport in the United States. Spectators watch the races to see which horse will win and make a bet. Many bettors have favorite horses they cheer for by name, such as Seabiscuit. Other bettors simply cheer for a horse by its number. The most famous of these races is the Kentucky Derby, which has been running since 1875. Some people criticize horse racing, claiming that it is inhumane to the horses and that it has become corrupt due to doping and overbreeding. Others claim that the sport is a vital part of American culture and that, while it may need to be improved, it is still fundamentally sound.