The Different Types Of Racehorses: A Quick Guide

Thu, Oct 13, 2022
by CapperTek

It’s safe to say that horse racing has undoubtedly become one of the most beloved global sports today.

The simple act of watching a racehorse dominate a track and then placing bets to make predictions on a specific race happens to be as exciting as it is thrilling. Provided you don’t go overboard when making your wagers, of course.

Whether you're a bonafide racing enthusiast or are more of a casual observer, there are many different types of racehorses (and relevant terminology) out there that you simply must know about.

If you want to learn more about the different racehorses that compete in common races, feel free to read on!


Popular Racehorse Breeds Around The World

There are many types of racehorses to be aware of but some of the most common ones usually fall under the following categories:

     Appaloosa – one of the easiest horses to identify thanks to a unique spot-covered coat. They are usually used in show jumping, fox hunting, and barrel racing events.


     Arabian – these horses are gentle with considerable stamina and agility. They learn quickly and match well with confident riders for activities including trail and endurance riding.


     Andalusian – these pure Spanish horses are covered in hard muscle. Despite their outer appearance, they are docile and highly intelligent, making them the perfect fit for riding schools and dressage events alike.


     Friesian – the Friesian is a beautiful horse with as much elegance as they have athleticism. You’ll see them regularly appear in competitions, races, and shows.


     Quarter Horse – the quarter horse can sprint over short distances and are renowned for having incredible speed and agility.


     Standardbred – an impressive racehorse with a great temperament that makes them great for harness racing and fasted trotting.


     Thoroughbred – one of the more common types of racehorse out there, these horses are hot-blooded and are a serious competitor thanks to high agility levels and adaptability.


     Warmblood – a bit of a racehorse anomaly, the warmblood racehorse is known for having incredible sprinting stamina and extreme prowess during races.


Key Racehorse Terminology

There are a couple of key terms you must know when it comes to understanding anything about racehorses. This includes the horses themselves and how they are referred to during a race.

The Different Racehorse Ages

It’s also super important to learn about the words used to describe the ages of the horses competing in a race. We have outlined these below for your convenience.


     Broodmare – a female horse that is used for breeding

     Broodmare Dam – a female horse that has broodmare offspring

     Broodmare Sire – a male horse that has broodmare daughters

     Yearling – a horse that is one year of age

     Colt – young male horses that are up to four years old

     Filly – young female horses up to four years old

     Mare – a female horse over the age of five

     Horse – a colt becomes a horse once they reach the age of five

     Dam – the mother of any horse

     Sire – the father of any horse

     Foal – newborn horses up to a year old

     Gelding – a male horse that has been castrated to keep it even-tempered

     Stallion – male horses that are explicitly used for breeding

     Maiden – horses that haven’t won a race yet


Common Phrases

Commentators and fans of the sport alike use many different keywords and phrases to describe what is occurring in a specific race. If you’re new to this particular sporting world, you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed by just how much terminology there is to learn.

Here are some of the key phrases you must know!

Backward – horses that are physically immature compared to where they should be.

Banker – the horse that is considered highly likely to win. Bettors love making more complex wagers based on a banker racehorse!

Miler – a horse that prefers races that play out over a mile.

Off the bridle/bit – this term is used to describe a horse that is being actively encouraged to move by its jockey.

On the bridle/bit – this phrase is used to describe a horse that is moving well with a firm grasp on the bit.

Sprinter – as its name suggests, this is a horse that runs well when sprinting over shorter distances.


Why Are Racehorses Different Colors?

One of the greatest parts of horse racing revolves around making a bet. It’s also one of the most interesting aspects of the sport, especially with so many amazing breeders cup contenders competing for the title.

But another (and far more underrated) part of the sport is the wide variety of horses that participate in the races.

Wherever you are in the world, you can expect to see Thoroughbreds with colored coats ranging from deep black to chestnut brown. You may also encounter racehorses with more uniquely colored coats like roan and bay.

A racehorse’s coat is determined by its parents and genetics.



Racehorses come in many different shapes and sizes which allows them to perform differently in specific events. They also come in many distinguishable colors so you can more easily identify them in just about any type of race.




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