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RacingBetter News
Monday 25th April 2022

What Is Harness Racing?

Exactly like the name suggests, horse racing is an equestrian performance sport involving the racing of two or more jockey-ridden horses. Although it has been a major sport since before 648 BC, different variations have evolved across the globe. Each variation involves its own kind of horse breeds, obstacles, track surface, distance of running, and even running gaits. Thus, several forms in the likes of flat racing, jump racing, harness racing, saddle trot racing, and endurance racing are currently in existence in countries across the world. Read through this article to all to learn more about harness racing.

What makes it so characteristic?

Harness racing is a particular type of horse racing where horses pull a cart called a sulky with a driver on it. It can involve horses using different gaits, usually trot or gallop. Trotters move their legs forward only in diagonal pairs and pacers do so laterally, moving both right legs, then both left legs. Moreover, the breeds of horses participating in the race are very particular to different regions of the world. North America specifically races Standardbred horses, whereas European racehorses are usually with Russian trotters, French trotters, or have a lineage of mixed breeds. In Finland, Norway and Sweden we can find Finnhorses and Coldblood trotters. The race begins from a motorized or standing starting gate and the jockey can direct the horse using a light whip.

When did it start?

Horse racing, in general, takes its roots from Assyrian kings in 1500 BC. Around the 7th century BC, in Greece, chariot racing became part of the Olympic Games and afterwards in Rome it also became extremely popular. More modern forms like harness racing did not arrive until early 19th century. One can even trace its early history to 1554 when horses were kept and bred for trotting matches at fairs in Holland. Throughout the 1700s, there are accounts of stud farms developing strains to give birth to winning horses. And by the 19th century, trotting tracks arrived in North America and New England saw trotting as an organized sport. Hence, from 1836, trotting gained quick popularity in France, Italy, Belgium and neighboring countries. However, it is important to note that trotter and pacer races and horses evolved separately from different paths.


The topmost prize that this sport gives out is a grand $500,000 for winning the Hambletonian. Such big investments attract a lot of competitors as well as spectators. Moreover, along with the money comes extreme fame and the colt can then charge high stud fees. The world is already familiar with the names of Blacks A Fake, Popular Alm, Village Kid and the like. However, the influence of horse racing extends to more than one industry. Even popular slot games take after this theme like at Platin casino online.


The fact that the sport has sustained a more or less stable popularity over the years testifies to how engaging it is. And in this sport, with great money comes great fame too. Well-known jockeys like John Campbell, Walter Case Jr. and so on have already made history along with seasoned racehorses. It is a fun, interesting game, that, needless to say, keeps you on the edge of your seat!