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:

Herd animals

Horse Behavior
June 11th, 2019

Thoroughbred horses are herd animals. At 6 months of age, foals are placed in a herd of horses their age. This provides some important opportunities to socialize and learn. It is an introduction to their peers and their pre-training will begin in a group setting.

Horses are strongly social and are at a higher comfort level when they can make visual contact with other horses. During their time training and racing, horses are around other horses and interact in various ways. This can be to calm their nerves as well as to increase their endurance and stamina on the racetrack. In terms of grouping them into herds, different personalities warrant different results. Some horses are not comfortable in a large group and others prefer a large group over small ones. Trainers and farm mangers spend time observing the horses to implement best practices for each horse.

Herd animals 1 - Kathy Landman.jpg

Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Foal Socialization

Horse Behavior
May 14th, 2019

In the second and third months of a foal’s life, they are interested in socializing. This is an important step in ensuring the foals interact well with other horses. Foals will start to leave their dam’s (mother’s) side a bit more, exploring other foals. This is a time for play and both fillies and colts will engage in equal amounts.

Fillies will play by running, jumping and even bucking; whereas colts will play in a way that mimics combat. Sometimes colts will also bite and push to assert dominance. This is appropriate as it is male behavior that is inborn, and colts start to build their combat skills when they are young. They may play with their dam if they do not have other companions that are their age.

Foal Socialization 1 - Kathy Landman.jpg

Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Foal Socialization 3 - Kathy Landman.jpg

Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Horse Transportation

Horse Behavior
March 26th, 2019

Ever wonder how race horses travel across the country or around the world? There are a few different ways! Airplane, boat and trailer transportation are most common. In the 1600 and 1700s, horses traveled by boat. They were loaded into a ship with hay and water for a long trip across the ocean. With the invention of cars and airplanes, horses were able to travel more easily.

Currently, horses are most likely to travel on an airplane or in a trailer. Airline travel consists of coach class where three horses fly together, and first class where two horses travel together. Larger planes can also accommodate 10-20 horses. Hay and water are offered on the flight and grooms take good care of the horses while in transit. Trailer travel is also a popular mode of transportation and many companies offer options to accommodate specific needs.    

Transportation 1 - Godolphin.jpg

Photo courtesy of Godolphin

Transportation 2 - Godolphin.jpg

Photo courtesy of Godolphin

snow and cold exploration

Horse Behavior
March 7th, 2019

From Season 1, Memento d'Oro explores Old Tavern Farm during a snow storm. Horses are still turned out in the cold as they tolerate it well due to their ability to grow a winter coat and maintain heat after digestion.