Horse Racing

Horse racing was first held in 1174 England but some historians have suggested that they were also popular in the Roman Empire. The popularity of this sport grew and in early 16th century, the then king Henry VIII began to import horses to England in an effort to breed better race horses.

Racing quickly spread to other countries and new forms of racing were developed. Point to point racing became popular in Ireland, and North America started to organised races for Quarter horses as well as Thoroughbreds. Harness racing was also a popular form of equine racing in several countries.

Depending on the distance and style of the race, certain breeds became household names in equine racing. Thoroughbreds are still used in short distance races and races with obstacles as they are able to reach high speeds. For the more tactical harness racing, Standardbreds are chosen as their conformation suits the needs of this type of racing better.

Although other breeds can be found in distance racing, Arabian horses are the most common breed. The distance travelled in endurance racing varies between 10 and 150 miles, so the stamina of Arabian horses is a great advantage in these races.

There are various races organised for all the different types of racing around the world. In the United States of America the most important events are the Triple Crown competitions.

In the United Kingdom there are several annual racing events, including Cheltenham Festival in March and Royal Ascot in June. The racing calendar runs all the way to Christmas after which racing takes a two month break.

Although this sport is very popular all over the world, there is frequent criticism and protests against it. Animal rights organizations have blamed the racing industry for endangering race horses lives. Reports have been filed revealing the cruel treatment of ex-race horses, some of them being slaughtered and some abandoned once their prime racing time is over.

To this day horse racing has kept its popularity around the world. Variations in breeds and types of racing have been developed and selective breeding used to get even better race horses for the many events of the racing calendar.

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