How horse racing has evolved over the years

September 16, 2020

Horse racing, or the “Sport of Kings,” is one of the oldest and the most popular sports on the planet – with history and tradition dating back to 4500 BC.

For lots of centuries, it was one of the few names on many sports lovers’ lips.

And even now, the sport continues to attract millions of viewers from around the world.

The evolution of horse racing

As a modern-day viewer, you might think that some of the things you find in horse racing today have been a part of the sport from time. But that’s a far cry from the truth.

Horse racing wasn’t always what it is today.

In this article, we look to explore some of the evolutions the game has experienced over the last couple of centuries.

Horse racing is now open to the public

At least now you can sit in your home and watch the Belmont Stakes live on TV, stream the Kentucky Derby on your mobile device, or buy tickets online to go and see the Melbourne Cup live.

Several decades ago, this was impossible.

In fact, prior to the 1920s, horse racing was strictly a sport for the “Rich.” As such, only the rich and royalty had the chance to be a part of it.

Nowadays, the sport has become so widespread that people can now watch from anywhere around the world.

If you’re able to access any horse racing event today, count yourself lucky to be a part of this generation. Previous generations didn’t enjoy such a privilege.

Women are now jockeys

Strangely, horse racing started out as a gender-specific sport and was only open to men. It continued to be so until 1969 when Diane Crump became the first woman to compete as a professional jockey in a pari-mutuel race in the United States.

Racing equipment are more comfortable

Traditionally, horses were raced on steel plates, blankets, and metal strips, all of which posed a great threat to their safety and the safety of the jockeys.

In recent times, there’s been a shift in the kind of equipment used in horse racing events. Nowadays, we now see horses on aluminum racing plates, nylon bridles, softer leather, and lighter saddles.


The way people now bet on horses is another huge evolution that has hit the world of horse racing.

Traditionally, horse racing was controlled by a few conglomerates that set odds, regulated betting shops, they pretty much set every rule of the game. For these companies, having control over the industry has helped streamline betting and also increase their bottom lines. 

But for bettors, horse-racing betting shops have too much power, and something needs to be done.

Thanks to technology and a few changes in the regulations, horse racing betting is now accessible to almost everyone.

Anyone can now bet from anywhere from around the world and still enjoy amazing perks. Nowadays, bettors have a wide range of betting options to choose from, whether it is through an online bookmaker or via an online agent option like Sbobet Soccer.

Technology is now a part of the sport

In the times past, horse trainers and racing event organizers often relied on physical examinations and lots of guesswork to determine the conditioning of horses. This caused a lot of issues both on and off the racecourse.

Today, however, we see cameras everywhere, detecting infrared waves on the horse’s body to determine when a horse is too hot, for example. We also see other thermal imaging devices – all impacts of technology – being used to detect issues horses may have within their muscles, bones, and nerves.

Money is now a big part of the game

Although horse racing was always considered a sport of the rich, the prizes received by event winners never reflected this. Back then, victory in a horse racing event was more about affluence and less about money.

In today’s dispensation, horse racing is about money.

Nowadays, we now see events with millions of dollars being offered as the prize for claiming the victory. For example, racing events such as the Dubai World Cup, The Everest, and the Prix De l’Arc de Triomphe now offer prize money in excess of $9million, $7million, and $4million, respectively.

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