Education Blog

Welcome to the Foal Patrol Education Blog! Please check back regularly as we will be constantly posting new content. Thank you to veterinarians Dr. Ted Hill and Dr. Stuart Brown for help with this project. Questions or comments? Contact us at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame:

Vision of horses

Anatomy / Pedigree
February 20th, 2020

Thoroughbred horses have incredible vision. Their eyes are the largest of any land mammal and the peripheral range is quite wide, warning them of predators. If you add the range of each eye together it covers a field of about 330 degrees. The human eyes can see around 120 degrees.

The drawback is that horses have a blind spot in front of their nose as well as behind their tail. Additionally, a horse will always see two images, and cannot merge the images together like a human. Horses move their eyes independently, allowing them to see objects in two different directions at once. 

vision photo by Ed Sindoni .jpg

Photo courtesy of Ed Sindoni

Presidents and pets

Horse Behavior
February 18th, 2020

In celebration of President’s Day, we wanted to highlight some of the USA Presidents who have owned horses and/or been involved in horse racing.

Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned horses and were very proud of them; breeding different types of horses to enhance those bloodlines. They loved horse racing as it was a popular sport during the colonial and early republic period.

George Washington helped to hold races in Alexandria, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson frequently attended race meets at National Race Course in Washington, D.C., located close to the White House. In the 1840-50s, many prominent horses raced there. Andrew Jackson bred racehorses at the Hermitage; managing a race stable throughout his time as President. Jackson’s private secretary and nephew, Andrew J. Donelson was the name used by Jackson when entering races.

Below is a portrait of Andrew Jackson part of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame collection.

Andrew Jackson Portrait .jpg

Collection of National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Winter Weather

Anatomy / Pedigree
February 13th, 2020

Horses deal with cold temperatures much better than they deal with heat. Provided with adequate supplies of fresh water, hay and feed, horses tolerate sub-freezing, zero or minus temperatures remarkably well. The process of digesting long stem roughage (grass or hay) generates a lot of body heat that keeps horses warm with these cold temps. Snow does not really negatively impact this scenario unless it is particularly wet snow. Rain and wind take away the insulating properties of the horses' hair coat and sap a lot of heat away from them. 33-35 degrees fahrenheit and blowing rain is the hardest weather on livestock. 3 degrees with snow on the ground on a cold winter day is more preferable for horses. Start with a horse in good body condition and keep plenty of good quality feed, hay and water available and short-term blasts of extreme cold are well tolerated.

It is important to encourage the horses to drink enough water during cold weather periods. Some farms will add electrolytes to the feed, a powder made of salt and trace minerals to ensure the horses are well hydrated. Below Alpine Sky at Old Tavern Farm takes in the winter weather. 

winter weather photo old tavern farm.jpeg

Photo courtesy of Old Tavern Farm

Aftercare of thoroughbred horses with Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA)

Career Paths
February 11th, 2020

The aftercare of thoroughbred horses is an important aspect of their lives. This can take a lot of different paths and routes depending on their background, age and experience. Some horses transition to eventing, mounted archery, polo, and fox hunting in addition to serving as therapy horses and lead ponies on the racetrack. Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) is an non-profit organization that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, retire, and rehome thoroughbreds. Here is a video overview of the organizations work as wel as a link to learn more about the success stories on their website 

Farrier work

Anatomy / Pedigree
February 6th, 2020

Farriers are the professionals who care for the horse’s hooves. They are an important part of the equine management team. Most farriers are familiar with specific breeds of horses and their needs by studying at a training school, serving an apprenticeship, and then becoming licensed or certified. This extensive hands-on training is vital to becoming a professional farrier.

Hoof care is very important for thoroughbred horses. Picking, trimming and shoeing are general aspects of hoofcare. Below Old Tavern Farm broodmare manager, Trina Pasckvale shares how the yearlings at the farm get regular hoof care. In the video, Comme Chez Soi’19 is getting a regular trim and being sales prepped for the spring. Yearlings get a trim approximately once a month and that is done on a regular basis to keep them correct.