Welcome to the PA Pleasure Walking Horse Organization.
We are the promoters of the flat shod walking horse breed in all phases of recreational horsemanship and education. We aim to honor the history and legacy of one of the world’s greatest pleasure horses. We support our members with show programs and breed demonstrations, educational programs and award shows for all disciplines of horse riding.
Horse racing is a horseback riding, equestrian performance sport in which riders compete against one another by racing their horses over a set distance. It is one of the most ancient sports and played to identify one of the horses is the fastest. There are various different variations of horse racing. Countries have come up with their own variations of this sport including races restricted to specific breeds, running over obstacles, racing on different surfaces, etc.
According to one of the oldest archaeological records, horse racing occurred in ancient Greece, Syria, Babylon and Egypt. Mounted horse racing and chariot racing have been popular sports for quite a long time. Historically, these races and games were a source of honing their skills for the equestrians. These sports entertained the crowds and refined the horsemanship that was needed for battle. It was through these sports that efficient development of particular breeds and gear for sports evolved and their popularity resulted in conservation of the ancient equestrian skills.
There are various different types of horse racing among which Flat racing is the most common one. The tracks are usually oval in shape and generally level. However, in Ireland and Great Britain, there is a greater variation of the tracks in which the tracks are in shape of a figure of eight with severe gradients and cambers. These races are usually run over a distance ranging from 400 meters to 2.5 miles.
Another common variation of horse racing is the jump racing which includes running over obstacles of different types and sizes. According to the type and size of obstacles, the jump racing can be further divided into two categories including steeple chasing and hurdling. Usually, the horses progress towards larger obstacles and longer distances as they become older.
Endurance racing is another form of horse racing in which there are various variations of distance and time. These races are typically longer and may even last for multiple days in some cases. There are five subcategories of endurance racing namely Pleasure rides which range up to 10-12 miles, non-competitive trail rides which range up to 21-27 miles, competitive trail rides which range up to 20-45 miles, progressive trail rides which range up to 20-60 miles and the endurance rides which range up to 40-100 miles in a day and over 250 miles in multiple days.
Conditioning horses for racing events is done by the equestrians to train their horses for the events in which they want to take part in. Basic conditioning starts with the consideration of the event and then time and level of competition that the horse is going to take part in. The main goal of conditioning your horse is to enhance his physical and psychological responses towards exercise.
Most condition programs are structured specifically by keeping in mind the type of event a horse is going to take part in and then train it accordingly. Following are some condition programs which you can take up to condition your horse for the event.
In this type of condition program, the horses are usually trained at slow speeds but longer distances. The sessions usually include trotting and cantering for long distances at slow speeds. Trainers start the horses slowly and progressively increase the distance. The total time a horse can be on such a conditioning program can vary according to the time it has for the event but usually, these programs range from four to five weeks. Such programs are usually taken up by horses who are going to take part in endurance racing events.
In this type of conditioning program, the anaerobic capacity of the horses is enhanced. Some trainers increase the speed for very short distances and after the maximum speed is reached, they enhance the distances. Other establish a distance first and then work on increasing the speed for that distance. Such a training is given to the horses to make them ready for competitions like flat racing. The main goal is to increase the horses’ anaerobic production of ATP without causing over training or fatigue. Most trainers condition their horses on 70-85 percent maximum event speed because it is considered that conditioning a horse to 100% maximum event speed will greatly over-work the horse.
In this type of condition program, the horse is given multiple workout sessions on the same day separated by short resting periods. Some trainers use this method as a high-speed training program but some limited research has shown that it may lead to altering muscle fiber types. It is believed that this training should never be performed for more than 95 percent may lead to over training.
There are other condition programs as well like skills training where horses are trained for pole bending and fox hunting events. Some facilities also provide hybrid programs to condition your horse. All comes down to the type of event you want your horse to be trained for and the conditioning program is structured accordingly.