How to Train a Quarter Horse for Racing

By Darla Ripley

An experienced horseman with a well-bred, healthy, registered quarter horse at least 2 years old has a prospective racehorse. Training your own horse takes consistency and diligence, but it is well worth the effort financially. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction and pride of standing in the winner's circle as owner and trainer.

Jog your horse lightly for 1 mile working up to 2 miles a day for the first two weeks after bridling and saddling him. Train six days per week during this first stage.

Increase your horse's workload a couple of days after you see he breathes easily during 2 miles of jogging. Combine jogging a mile and galloping a mile spaced every other day for two to three weeks until the horse finishes his work with energy to spare. Graduate to galloping 2 miles one day and light jogging the next for six days a week.

Jog your horse out for a mile to begin speed work. Ask him for full-throttle speed going three furlongs. Repeat every week to 10 days interchanging the distance from three furlongs to four furlongs each outing.

Unsaddle your horse at the barn after training. Rinse him off in tepid water. Either hand walk or put him on a hot-walker to relax his muscles and prevent lactic acid accumulation in his muscles, called tying-up.

Place your cooled-out horse in his stall with at least two 5-gallon buckets of water and two flakes of good grass hay or legume. Do not feed or water a horse before he is cooled-out. This could cause colic.

Walk your horse through the open starting gates after he has gained his wind from speed work. Allow the horse to stand in the chute with both the back and front gate open for several minutes. Do this exercise until your horse comfortably stands and walks through the gates.

Close the front gate and walk your now comfortable horse into the chute. Shut the back gate. Allow him to stand still in the enclosed chute for a minute or two. Open the front gate and cue your horse to move out of the chute. Repeat this exercise each training period building up to a full gallop exit out of the gate.


About the Author

A University of Texas Bachelor of Science in advertising degree launched Darla Ripley's writing career in ad copy in the '80s. By the '90s, her passion for horses launched her career in horse racing; an industry in which Ripley founded a state breed association newsletter, website and authored several articles. A UT M.B.A. underpins Ripley's articles on the business of horse racing.

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