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:


Career Paths
April 1st, 2020

Thoroughbred horses are mainly used for racing; however, they also participate in other disciplines (such as eventing/dressage, mounted archery, polo, and fox hunting). Godolphin takes us behind the scenes to learn more about yearling training and the breaking in process for dressage riding. Dressage, derived from the French term meaning "training", is an equestrian sport where horse and rider perform choreographed movements from memory. This breaking in and training process is an important step in preparing horses for their career. 

This video has a few questions at the end, followed by the answers to learn more.  

Social Thoroughbreds

Horse Behavior
March 26th, 2020

Thoroughbred horses are social animals. They benefit greatly from interacting with horses as well as other animals for friendship and support. Pasture/barn companions are common and range from old, retired racehorses, to farm horses, to ponies that have a steadfast, calm temperament. A pasture/barn companion will be seen accompanying Thoroughbred racehorses in training and different times before and after a race. They also stay with the racehorse in their stable and occasionally during travel. Many farms use these companions to provide a calming presence for Thoroughbreds who may be nervous about competing or just simply relax more easily around another horse. 

Other animals are just as effective at soothing Thoroughbreds. Some examples include pigs, dogs, goats, cats and chickens. The type of animal will depend on the horse’s personality and temperament.

Below are videos on Magical World20 and his paddock mates at Three Chimneys Farm as well as Porkchop, the pig socializing with the horses at Old Tavern Farm. 

Nutrition for mares, foals and stallions

March 24th, 2020

What are the nutritional needs of thoroughbreds? Chris Baker from Three Chimneys Farm shares some comprehensive information on equine nutrition for foals, weanlings, mares and stallions. For the first several months, foals receive their basic nutrients from milk. This means that the mare or nursing mare needs to be consuming high quality feed to maintain their milk production and health. At what stage of life are nutritional needs the highest? Watch below to learn more....

Equine Education resources

Horse Behavior
March 17th, 2020

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has some great education resources available online. The Foal Patrol program offers live streaming video of each horse along with informational photos, videos and updates on their progress and status at each farm. Along with these resources, there is the Foal Patrol education blog with articles about horse behavior, nutrition, anatomy/pedigree, career paths and a link to the Godolphin Kids website with more games and resources for children. 

Additionally, if you are looking for educational activities to do with children, the Museum has made the 3rd grade STEM packet free to download! This packet includes equine themed 3rd grade science lessons and activities that all meet New York State & Common Core Education Standards. Please click on the link below for access to the packet and to download/print at home. 

Foal Anatomy

Anatomy / Pedigree
March 10th, 2020

Foals are born rather mature as they can stand and eat within a few hours of being born. The anatomy of a foal at birth is that their legs are long, and their bodies are small. This means that a foal’s legs are very close to that of their adult length.  Their body, including the ribcage/torso are smaller in comparison, the neck short, and head small.  These will change appropriately as the foal matures, but the leg length grows a great deal less than the rest of their body.

An interesting aspect of growth is that when the foal is born they have a short neck. Foals rely on a suckling reflex in their first few hours after birth to gain vital nutrition through nursing the mare meaning their bodies and height are built for nursing. As they grow, their neck will also grow in length, but it can be challenging to reach the ground and graze on grass at an early age.     


Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman