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:

Yearling Training & Dressage

Career Paths
January 17th, 2019

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 riding career. 

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

Basic Nutrition

January 15th, 2019

Horses need to eat a variety of foods to stay healthy. The needs of the horse can vary by age as well as activity. Pregnant mares usually need more nutrients to support their growing foal. Racehorses usually need more food to build their muscles and strength for racing. It’s a balance of having the horse eat enough to grow but not gain too much weight.

A balanced diet for horses should consist of grass or hay, grain mix, and water with occasional salt and treats. Grass or hay make up a majority of the horses’ diet. A full-grown horse (1,000 pounds) will eat 15-20 pounds of hay each day.

Each of the mares participating in Foal Patrol Season 2 have slightly different diets which will also change and adjust as they deliver and start lactating. Explore the pages under the daily routine section to learn more. 

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Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Social Thoroughbreds

Horse Behavior
January 8th, 2019

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.

Horse Sense

Anatomy / Pedigree
January 2nd, 2019

Sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch – the five senses. Humans have them and horses have them, too. These senses are used daily to navigate the world and protect from danger or potential predators. To warn that danger may be close, horses use hearing, smell and sight.

Hearing is an important evolutionary trait in horses. This developed hearing allows horses to determine the location of sound and recognize its’ identity. Their ears rotate 180 degrees and usually point in the direction that the horse is looking. With exposure to different noises in rural and urban environments, horses become more accustomed and familiar with them.

The horses’ sense of smell is highly advanced. Horses use their sense of smell for survival. It helps them to select what they want to eat and what may be poisonous or dirty. Their sense of sight is also strong with a 340-degree field of vision with two blind spots directly in front – between the eyes- and behind the tail. Horses have excellent peripheral vision.

As horses train to race, these senses are important in learning about their environment and how to compete on the racetrack.