The Horse


The thoroughbred Racehorse is one of the most pampered animals in the world. They are known for their agility, speed and spirit.


Horses are pack animals and love to run in groups. And if a horse does not want to run, there is very little that the rider can do about it. You will see a ‘will to win’ in many of the horses who are enjoying competing and trying their best.

10 things you might not know about horses

  • All racehorses celebrate their birthday on 1st January regardless of the actual date that they were born.
  • Many racehorses are retired to riding stables, show jumping stables or simply turned out in their owners fields. Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre retrains ex racehorses and all Racecourses pay a fee pre race day to help with the rehabilitation of racehorses.
  • Racehorses can weigh up to about 1 tonne.
  • A Racehorse is measured in ‘hands’ – 1 ‘hand’ is 4 inches.
  • You may see your horse wearing something on its head: blinkers, hood, visor, eye cover are all permitted equipment that is designed to make a racehorse concentrate. Some horses even wear earplugs and tongue straps!
  • Horses generally live between 15 and 20 yrs old.
  • Horses have 2 blind spots – one directly in front of them and one directly behind them!
  • A horse shows its feelings through its ears, eyes and nose – beware a horse with flared nostrils and ears flat back!
  • Horses sleep standing up – in fact, they expend more energy lying down than they do stood up.
  • Horses cannot breathe through their mouths.


The Horse Comes First

At Pontefract, the horse ALWAYS come first.

We take the welfare of all the horses at Pontefract very seriously and you will see a huge team who’s sole job is to care for the horse.


There are always at least 3 vets on site plus a dedicated team of EWIOs (Equine Welfare Officers).


Most of the racehorses are brought to the Racecourse on the same day as their race but some are stabled overnight at Pontefract (along with their dedicated groom who stays in the Stables Hostel).


The horses are adored by their grooms and receive a huge amount of love and care. You’ll see the grooms show a huge amount of affection to their horses every time you visit the Parade Ring.


There are horse showers both at the Racecourse and the Stables so the competitors can cool down after their race. We also have large supplies of water all over the track so that the equine heroes and heroines can rehydrate whenever required.


The British Horseracing Authority has also produced a number of fantastic videos about racing and answers all the questions that you may have about the love and care of the racehorse.