What Makes a Racehorse Great?

By Holly Streisel and Hope Swerczek

When we given an assignment to research an unknown topic in Kentucky, horseracing did not seem like an option.  However, even in the horse capital of the world, it seems that many people do not know what actually makes a good racehorse. When betting on a horse one may take into consideration the race history of the horse or the jockey, what the horse looks like, or even the horse’s name. However many do not know what actually makes or breaks a racehorse. Realizing this, we chose to take this project as an opportunity to answer the question, what really makes a race horse great on the track?  First, however, we had to explain why this topic is so unknown.  This was difficult, as the people of Kentucky are so enthusiastic about horses and horse racing.

When caught up with all the excitement and enthusiasm of the industry itself, many people forget to ask the question, “what makes a good racehorse?”  There are certain aspects that greatly contribute to a racehorse’s success.  However, many people do not find analyzing these specifics to be intriguing. Much of the public sees horse racing as nothing more than a form of entertainment.  Fans of the sport are captivated by the bets, scandals, and thrills.  They are often consumed by this side of the industry and fail to discover what goes on behind the scenes.  On the other hand, people who are unfamiliar with horse racing will often give it a bad reputation.  William C. Rhoden, of the New York Times, believes that horse racing is an unremorseful industry, which exists only for the amusement of gamblers.  Others, who are unfamiliar with the sport, assume that it is unethical toward the horses involved.  Dr. Ron Meredith, President of Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, has said, “many people are impressed by training methods that are nothing more than a blatant series of attacks on the horse because they are dramatic to watch.”  However, many accomplished horse trainers will agree that an ethical approach, which respects the horse and meets its needs for safety and security, is the key to trainingWhether consumed by the hype of the industry or opposed to it due to lack of knowledge, the public tends to neglect what actually makes a racehorse great.


Meredith, Ron. “Horse Logic.” Meredith Manor: Equestrian Career College / Vocational School. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.

Rhoden, William C. “Racing Industry Should Care For Its Own.” New York Times 21 May 2011: D5. Print.

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