What are the rails?
The rails are the white structures around the course that keep the course on track. They are made of amenable plastic which will move if hit by a horse, in the interest of safety for both horse and rider.
How does the draw affect a horse?
At some racecourses it can very important to be drawn in a certain place. If the race starts on a bend having a wide draw means covering extra distance, while on some courses the ground is perceived as better in one place than another.
What is the judge?
The judge confirms the result after the race has finished, they are the first voice you hear after the race commentator.
What is the going?
Also known as the ground, it explains what condition the track is in. ‘Firm’ is the hardest track, and favoured for speedy flat racing, while ‘heavy’ is the softest track and most likely seen in jumps racing. ‘Good’ is the mid-point between these two.
What does on the bit/bridle mean?
This term is used to explain a horse traveling well, with the jockey sat motionless in the saddle. Inversely, ‘off’ the bit or bridle means the horse is being pushed along by the jockey and possibly struggling.
What is a bit?
A bit is the piece of metal that goes through a horse’s mouth to aid the jockey-horse communication.
What is a bridle?
The equipment around a horse’s head that connects the bit with the jockey’s hands.
What does spread a plate mean?
The horse’s metal shoe, or ‘plate’, has come off.
Who are the Stewards?
The Stewards are there to ensure the rules of racing are complied with at all times.
What is a Stewards’ Enquiry?
The Stewards have decided that the result may need looking into, due to interference or another problem that may have caused one horse to gain an unfair advantage. On a racecourse, this is publicised with a tannoy announcement.
What is a walkover?
When only one horse turns up, it is declared a walkover and no betting takes place. The horse does however have to prove its wellbeing by trotting a furlong to claim its winnings.
What does at the post mean?
The horses have arrived at the start.
What is Group racing?
These are the best, most valuable, and most desired races to win in the world, starting with Group 1 down to Group 3.
What is a Listed race?
These races are the step below Group races, but are still considered ‘black type’ races.
What is a black-type race?
They are the best races, and include any race prefixed as Listed or Group (or Grade for jump racing). The term ‘black-type’ is a reference to sales catalogues; horses that have won or placed in these races are displayed in bold.
Explaining Horse Terms
What is a colt, gelding, filly and mare?
A colt is a young male horse aged 2-4.
A gelding is any male horse that had been castrated.
A filly is a young female horse aged 2-4, whilst a mare is any female horse 5+.
What is a yearling?
A horse that is a year old and is too young to race.
Why are all horses born on January 1?
Unsurprisingly, not all horses are actually born on this day! Foaling usually occurs from January to May. This is a standardisation the industry uses to put horses into age brackets, so any horse born in the same year will be classed as being the same age.
What are a dam and sire?
The dam is a horse’s mother, while sire is the horse’s father.
What does ‘green’ mean?
This term describes a horse that is unexperienced and is showing it, possibly by running across the track and not understanding the jockey’s communication.
What are guineas?
Guineas are an old form of currency still used in some sales rings to buy horses. It is £1.05 to the British pound.
Why aren’t there any white horses?
There are a small number of racehorses considered white, but most are officially ‘grey’ as they are not white enough. Grey horses do become whiter as they age, however.
What are cheekpieces, blinkers and hoods?
These are all pieces of tack that help keep a horse focused.
Cheekpieces are the fluffy pieces of fabric either side of a horse’s ears or, for ‘cheekpiece nosebands,' on its nose.
Blinkers are devices that cover part of the horse’s vision, focusing the horse’s attention forward rather than around.
Usually used on horses that find crowds or different environments difficult, a hood covers a horse’s ears to reduce outside noise. Some trainers use earplugs instead for an even stronger effect.
What is a tongue-tie?
This piece of equipment primarily helps the jockey maintain control over a horse, but also helps the horse breathe. It prevents the horse from putting their tongue over the bit, which could make them difficult to control.
Put your new knowledge to the test and explore one of our 2020 racedays, click below to explore out fixture list.