How to prepare your horse for the racing season in Cave Creek, AZ

Horse racing

Proper preparation of your horse before the racing season is absolutely crucial for their safety as well as their success. This process involves a variety of different elements, including the following:

​​​Physical Training

There is much more to physical training than just getting your horse to run. An increasing number of professionals are now using the science of equine exercise in their physical training programs. These generally consist of three phases:

1. Endurance training, which is carried out at speeds of less than 7 MPH. This includes walking, trotting and cantering paces that are sustained at increasing distances.

2. Combined aerobic and anaerobic training at 70-80% of max speed (27 - 30 MPH).

3. Anaerobic training and development for speed and acceleration, and also to ensure that your horse doesn’t suffer from over-training or physical distress.

The goal of physical training is to hone the anatomical and physiological factors of how your horse races. This includes elements such as:

- Oxygen intake rate

- Maintaining a lower heart rate during exercise

- Ventilation

- Increased oxygen-carrying capabilities

- Stamina levels

- Increase in muscle strength

- Fatigue

- Temperature regulation

By optimizing the above physical capabilities of your horse, not only will you ensure they are in peak physiological condition which could improve the likelihood of their success but doing so will also minimize race stress and help their long-term health and wellbeing.

Psychological Training

Your horse’s mental health is as important as their physical wellbeing. The goal of psychological training is to condition your horse to be able to race with confidence and purpose. This involves balancing their natural aggression and drive with their inbuilt ‘herd spirit’.

Race Dynamics

This type of training looks at teaching your horse the dynamics of being ridden and gets them used to the rhythm of racing. Understanding these will help to reduce any race stress and give your horse the confidence needed to deliver their best performance.

A comprehensive check by an equine vet

To make sure that a horse is in the best possible condition, you need to ensure that they are checked over by an experienced equine vet. Some of the elements that may be assessed could include:

- Checking for signs of general illness, injury or lameness

- Assessment of the overall condition of your horse

- Evaluation of your horse’s behavior

- Assessment of your horse’ demeanour, to make sure that they are bright, alert and interactive

- Evaluation of your horse’s stance to ensure that it doesn’t seem unusual or uncomfortable

If there are any red flags, these can be addressed immediately.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your horse is in the best possible condition before you send them out to race. For more advice and support on the preparatory process, please contact our experienced equine veterinary team at (480) 595-8600.