Apologies for my recent lack in articles lately. Without much happening, I’ve felt quite uninspired. Generally, most weekends have simply consisted of early rises, drinking tea (or gin by the evening!), walking the dog and aimlessly watching the horseracing. In fact, as I write this its Saturday afternoon and guess what? Yes, I’m watching the Guineas festival. Then it hit me… I decided to snap out of the rut and become inspired by what I’m seemingly so consumed by. Plus, with the huge achievements of female jockey Rachael Blackmore, there is no better time or place to discuss horse racing.
Ever wanted to know more? Well let me take this opportunity to introduce you to racing, and tell you why I’m so addicted. Whatsmore, through interacting with you lovely lot on Instagram, I could see so many of you love horses. So it made complete sense to tell you all about the sport. Here it goes…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no jockey, but absolutely love the thrill and buzz of a live race day. There is no better place to be than at a British racecourse; whether we be trying to keep warm in our tweeds watching the jumps, or out in our finest and most glamorous hats and dresses during the flat season. It brings people together – we eat, we drink, we chat, we cheer, we laugh… (plus a little flutter!). The sound of horses galloping by, the adrenaline as you watch the race unfold, its magnificent and inspiring.
Sometimes people can find the sport a little confusing thus, creating a feeling of inaccessiblity to many. However, it could not be more inclusive – you don’t need to be from an equestrian background or the country to enjoy the racing, you don’t have to be male to join the action, and it’s not even necessary to read a race card to have some fun. Though, if you do prefer to brush up on the info, you’ll find an easy to follow guide within most race cards. By breaking the boundaries surrounding the sport, not only do we allow it to continue to thrive, but we also inspire minds.
A question I get asked a lot, is about is the welfare of the racehorses. In fact, these horses are treated to the highest quality of care. In order to excel on the track, the horses receive and enjoy high-quality care; from the best nutrition and exercise bringing out the best in the horse, to training from top equestrian experts. Not to mention the love and true passion from loyal stable staff.
Another question I was asked by a colleague at work, is whether the sport includes females? Horseracing is in fact one of the most inclusive sports. There are many hugely successful female jockeys, who also lead the way, including Bryony Frost, Hollie Doyle, Hayley Turner, Lizzie Kelly and Racheal Blackmore to name a few. Racheal recently won at the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Minella Indo, and also is the first female jockey to win the Grand National. The second question put to me was, “can they ride alongside male jockeys?” Again, unlike other sports, there is no segregation here…Female and males compete in the same races, and are all eligible to become Champion Jockeys.
Then, I was asked all about the terminology. It can be quite daunting to a novice, but hopefully this jargon buster guide will help out next time your tuning in…
Colt – young male (known as Horse from the age of 5 onwards)
Gelding – castrated male horse (castrated if not to be bred)
Filly – young female horse (Mare from the age of 5 onwards)
Maiden – a horse that has not yet won a race
Interestingly, all racehorses can be traced back to only 3 horses (brought to England in the 17th Century): Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arabian, and Byerley Turk.
Photofinish – a close race where results are examined by judges using photo of finish line
Odds – chance offered for horse to win
Eachway – 2 bets: 1 for horse to win, and other bet for horse to place
Lay – to take a bet on
Form – record of a horses recent performance
Going – what the ground is like at a course
Length – distance between horses
Hacked up – a horse which easily won
Pulled up – a horse doesn’t finish the race
Hurdles – lower, smaller obstacles than fences on a jumps course
Now all there is left to do, is wait for the gates of racecourses to reopen, and lets have some fun!
Regional Reporter - East Midlands
Female, 28 years old, Northamptonshire living (but also very familiar with Rutland due to parents living there), work full time in marketing. An avid lover of the British countryside and all that relates to it. I have an Instagram page with mostly countryside related content, and try to keep this updated as frequently as possible. In my spare time I enjoy travelling (although limited during COVID), hiking, camping and generally exploring what the UK’s countryside has to offer. When I have some spare time available, I enjoy a spot of clay shooting, home décor shopping (what women doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy?!) and thoroughly enjoy a day at the races with my other half, or a summers day spent at a country show. Always wanting to push my boundaries and try something new and exciting!