How Does a Horse Train for Races? AM Workouts

Contributed By Dave "Daily Double" Wildermuth
Posted on 5/26/15 3:38 PM

Horses prepare for races known as the AM workout. Many professional gamblers gauge their race day bets on how well a horse performed during the AM workouts. Trainers and Jockeys work together to create a solid training regimen to prepare a horse for race day. It can be weeks, sometimes months of AM workouts before a horse actually participates in a race.

But what are some of the exercises which a horse practices? One daily routine is to train your horse in a "horse walker." A horse walker is round gated area which allows a horse to walk around in a circle. This type of training teaches a horse how to turn so it becomes automatic during race time. The horse can walk solo, be led by a trainer, or even move via an electronic panel divider. (Below you can see the Priefert Six Panel Horse Walker in action)

Horses will also train on various distances. When training begins, horses often start with a 1/4 of a mile length. They usually work at this distance for a few weeks until they progress to 3/8 of a mile. As the training progresses, horses will run at even further distances such as a 1/2 mile and 5/8 of a mile. The length of the Am workouts tend to increase as race day approaches.

There are also various speeds which a horse will run in AM workouts. Horses usually start out at slower paces and increase speed leading to race day. "Gait," is the way a horse moves its legs. There are several Gait techniques which are used in training. A horse racing term often heard, "breeze," simply means: to run easily, under a hold, but with little encouragement. This is usually an easy morning workout for race horses. It can judge a horse's character at a moment in time, and his professional readiness. Another term you hear often is "Jog." This is a slow trot that is moderately collected, usually ridden without posting. This is often seen in western riding. "Gallop" is a phrase you will hear as well. The fastest natural horse gait. There is a moment during a gallop when all four hooves of the horse are off the ground, known as the moment of suspension. The gallop is used in the wild to escape predators and is know as the gait of the classic race horse.

Check back tomorrow for another informative horse racing blog!

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