Horse Racing is one of the oldest active sports in the world today. If you look at a comparative timeline of the most popular sports in the world such as modern-day soccer, basketball, and American football, you will notice that they were all invented in the 19th century.
Though some versions of them existed before that, the sports as we know them are only a few hundred years old. The sport of horse racing was invented sometime between the 6th and 8th century, making it at least 1,200 years old.
The brilliance of this sport lies in its simplicity. The rules of horse racing have pretty much remained the same ever since it was invented. If you want to find out more about horse racing today, including its history, be sure to read the article below.
Horse racing boasts a rich history, spanning the civilizations of ancient Greece, Rome, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt.
Besides these cultures, horse racing also appears in Norse and Hindu mythology in the form of chariots and steed racing.
Considering its popularity and the scientific breeding that went into making the horses function at their physical prime, horse racing was popularly considered as the “Sport of Kings.”
Types of Horse Racing
Even though the rules of horse racing are pretty straightforward, there are certain nuances in the sport. Broadly speaking, horse racing is divided into two major categories.
The conventional option is flat racing, where horses race on a straight stretch or an oval pitch to see which one is the fastest. The other option is jump racing which comes with hurdles that they have to jump over or through.
The latter category requires the horses and their jockeys to go through intensive training for the circuits.
Besides these two popular options, there are other categories like harness racing which involves the horse pulling a sulky and a driver behind them.
Though horse racing is a popular sport, betting on them is even more popular. Race tracks around the world take bets on which horse will win the race. Whether you attend the events or watch them on the TV, anyone can place a bet.
Betting on horse racing is a gigantic industry. In the 53 countries where it’s legal, an estimated $100 billion is wagered annually throughout the world.
Horse racing might be fast, exciting, and exhilarating, but it also comes with its own downside. It is also a very dangerous sport, with between 700 and 800 horses dying every year.
Animal rights activists have been very vocal about the ruthless nature of the sport and a lot of awareness has been spread about the brutality of horse racing. This is an ongoing issue that remains a popular topic for debate.
The fact that horse racing invites a lot of betting and has a huge gambling aspect to it, is another reason that it is frowned upon. Making or losing money from the sport means that there is a lot of room for race fixing, which sometimes causes harm to the horses as collateral damage.
The Bottom Line
Horse racing is a timeless sport. What started as a means of transportation quickly turned into a means of entertainment. After hundreds of years, horse racing today is still a very popular sport.
Despite accusations of brutality and harm to horses due to the dangerous nature of the sport, horse racing continues to be extremely popular and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.