The four most popular kinds of horse races are Flat racing which uses the Arabian, Appaloosa and Thoroughbred breeds, Jump racing which uses the AQPS and thoroughbred breeds, Hunt racing using Standardbred horses in Australia and Finnhorse and Russian trotter breeds in Europe and finally Endurance racing.
In this kind of event, two or more horses race between a start and finish point and the winner is the one who covers the distance in the shortest time. The animals run on tracks which are usually oval shaped, although England and Ireland have numerous figure of eight tracks. The surface of the track is usually made of grass, mud or synthetic substances. Whether the race is a ‘sprint’ (shorter distance) or a longer ‘staying race’ the distances usually fall somewhere in the range of 40 yards to 2.5 miles and are a true test of the animal’s strength and stamina. A few famous flat races include The japan Cup, Dubai World Cup, and the Epsom Derby.
The most advanced forms of jumps racing are the Steeplechases and Hurdles and these are reserved for older and bigger horses. Most juveniles start off in the flat races and when they have proved themselves, after about a year, they move on to hurdling and finally to Steeplechasing. The size of obstacles that the horse has to jump over is the largest in the steeplechase races.
This is heralded as being the toughest form of horse racing although the length of the course can vary widely from as less as ten miles to as much as one hundred miles or even more sometimes. Races that are longer than 100 miles are spread out over multiple days. The trails are laid over natural terrain, with predetermined stops and breaks. The first endurance race was held in California in 1955 and extended over 100 miles which had to be covered in a single day. Currently, the longest endurance race is the Mongol Derby with a distance of 620 miles.