Main articles: Horse racing, Harness racing, and Parimutuel gambling
Humans appear to have long expressed a desire to know which horse (or horses) were the fastest, and horse racing has ancient roots. Gambling on horse races appears to go hand-in hand with racing and has a long history as well. Thoroughbreds have the pre-eminent reputation as a racing breed, but other breeds also race.
Types of horse racing
Thoroughbred horse racing is the most popular form worldwide. In the UK, it is known as flat racing and is governed by the Jockey Club in the United Kingdom. In the USA, horse racing is governed by The Jockey Club.
Steeplechasing involves racing on a track where the horses also jump over obstacles. It is most common in the UK, where it is also called National Hunt racing.
American Quarter Horse racing—races over distances of approximately a quarter-mile. Seen mostly in the United States, sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association.
Arabian horses, Akhal-Teke, Appaloosas, American Paint Horses and other light breeds are also raced worldwide.
Endurance riding, a sport in which the Arabian horse dominates at the top levels, has become very popular in the United States and in Europe. The Federation Equestre International (FEI) governs international races, and the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) organizes the sport in North America. Endurance races take place over a given, measured distance and the horses have an even start. Races are usually 50 to 100 miles (80 to 161 km), over mountainous or other natural terrain, with scheduled stops to take the horses’ vital signs, check soundness and verify that the horse is fit to continue. The first horse to finish and be confirmed by the veterinarian as fit to continue is the winner. Additional awards are usually given to the best-conditioned horses who finish in the top 10. Limited distance rides of about 25–20 miles (40–32 km) are offered to newcomers.
Ride and Tie (in North America, organized by Ride and Tie Association). Ride and Tie involves three equal partners: two humans and one horse. The humans alternately run and ride.
Show jumping is when a horse carries a rider over an obstacle also commonly known as a jump. There are usually multiple jumps in a show and if the horse hits the jump then they will get points deducted in a show.
Both light and heavy breeds as well as ponies are raced in harness with a sulky or racing bike. The Standardbred dominates the sport in both trotting and pacing varieties.
The United States Trotting Association organizes harness racing in the United States.
Harness racing is also found throughout Europe, New Zealand and Australia.