The Other Horse Races
 By Saferaphus   •   8th Dec 2017   •   398 views   •   0 comments
We know that Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Arabians, American Quarter Horses and Appaloosas are commonly used for racing, albeit Standardbreds are less used for races under saddle than in harness. But there are other breeds that you can also ride in a race.

While most parents have probably warned their pony riding kids to slow down, there are some who don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t go fast. Pony racing is an exciting sport for kids. There are lots of opportunities for kids to race in the U.K., North America and Australia. Shetland and Dartmoor Ponies are two distinct breeds that kids can race, although most flat races for ponies are categorized by size, not breeds. Nobody wants to be accused of child endangerment, so safety is very important in these races. The most inexperienced and smallest riders will start out in lead-line type races. And often an adult leads the race on a horse, staying ahead of the pack while other adults monitor things closely from all sides.

Dartmoor ponies are raced in either point-to-point races, or in races similar to steeplechase racing. Shetland ponies are either raced in flat races, or in steeplechase races. Shetland Ponies carry the smallest riders and riders fly down dirt or turf tracks, and over diminutive jumps in a flurry of fuzz and cuteness. By the looks on the young riders' faces though, this is a very serious competition.

For those of us who have outgrown ponies, there are other types of racing. Most of us recognize Icelandic Horse race. These pony sized horses easily carry an adult over rough terrain. Races are traditionally held on dirt, turf or snow-covered tracks. The gaits they race at is the pace and the fast tölt. The races are held by themselves, or they are part of a larger Icelandic Horse show or cultural festival. The races can be held over relatively short distances on a straight track or they may take place on a longer oval track.

Morgans are a great all a-around horse and are used for many ridden and driven horse sports. A feature at some Morgan breed shows is trotting races. These are ridden races, although traditionally Morgans have been raced in harness.

Another popular breed that is raced is the Paint Horse. These are run just like the quarter mile QH races, with a bit of added color. Because the breed is outcrossed with TBs, you’re just as likely to see a solid bay, chestnut or brown coat as you are to see a broken coat color.

Clydesdales are raced too. These races are more a novelty act to bring awareness to this endangered breed at the Exeter Racecourse, held each November. The horses, many of which are up to 18 hands high, and weighing in at over 1500 lbs, with hooves wider than dinner plates are raced by jockeys over a two furlong (1/4 mile) course. The horses are kept in condition by taking them out on trail rides throughout the year and are all owned by the same stable. Dartmoor ponies are raced at the same event for the purpose of bringing awareness to this endangered breed too.

Depending on what country they are held in races using Mongolian type horses may be anywhere from five to twenty-five miles long. In China, shorter races prevent horses from being injured or killed. Many of the races are held in conjunction with other festivals like the Naadam Festival in Mongolia or the China-Mongolia Horse Racing Event that also hosts archery and other contests.
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