From watching horseraces you could get the impression that only male horses can participate in the race. At least in the U.S. But what are the facts?
Are Racehorses Male Or Female?
Racehorses can be either male or female. But there tend to be more male horses than females. But both genders can participate in most races and there are multiple examples of great female racehorses.
Let’s take a closer look at it and check some numbers and facts.
Are Racehorses Typically Male Or Female?
There are no specific breed store genders that are favored when it comes to racehorses. That being said there are races that are female-only like Thoroughbred racing.
But most races have a higher percentage of male horses even though female horses are (almost always) very welcome.
Here are two examples of races that only allow horses from the same gender:
- The Secretariat race is for males only
- The Ruffian race is for females only
These are the exceptions to the rule. We will normally mix males and females and let them race shoulder to shoulder in the same races.
Why The Majority Of Horses Are Male
That being said, we do find the majority of male racehorses on the tracks.
According to CNN, there are 63% male horses on the tracks in British flat racing and only 37% females. That’s almost 2/3 of male dominance.
Male horses are typically a tiny bit bigger
This is because a male horse is typically built a little stronger than its female colleagues.
Another difference between male and female horses from the same breed is the size. A male horse tends to be a tiny bit taller than the female horse. These tiny differences can make a huge difference in the race.
All the horses in these races are trained exceptionally well so it’s the thin little lines that make the difference sometimes.
But there’s another recent that shouldn’t be neglected. And that has to do with breeding.
Female winner horses are taken out to breed
When you eventually have a winner horse with very good genes and strong genetics you typically want to breed on it. As you might know, it takes around a year for a female horse to be pregnant.
This makes it hard to keep up with the training and obviously, the female horse is not able to compete on the same level during the pregnancy.
We have a very good track record of winner horses producing winner offspring. On top of that, there are a great deal of money to be earned from breeding on a mare that has won an important race.
Often times the owner of a racehorse will castrate the male horse in order to keep it more focused on the tasks at hand. That some people prefer to not castrate the mail because they hope to make some money from breeding on the horse.
You can easily collect around $150,000 (and up!) when you produce a good offspring from a winning racehorse.
Hormones play a role too
The last reason we will look at here has to do with hormones.
Just like humans among horses, we do find that female horses have periods where hormones interfere with work. This means that they can be unpredictable at times. This sometimes causes the rider to go for a male horse.
The male horses (Stallions) can also cause problems in this regard. They can be aggressive at times when the testosterone spikes and they can act weird as well. That’s why many people choose to castrate the racehorse.
That turns the stallion into a “gelding”. The gelding is easier to work with because it is more stable and is not so easily distracted on the tracks.
Are The RIDERS Primarily Male Or Female?
Another question is whether the riders themselves are primarily male or female.
There seem to be a lot more men among the list of jockeys than women. And there is a good reason for this.
(besides the obvious reason, that women tend to get pregnant more often than men).
And it has to do with genetics.
You need to keep your weight LOW as a jockey and that can be harder for women who generally have a higher percentage of body fat.
You need a thin and lean body with enough muscles to withstand the races and not too much fat in order to meet the (unofficial) weight threshold.
The riders typically won’t weigh more than 126 pounds (57 kilograms) when they enter the big races. This is a low weight for both genders even though it tends to be a little easier to find this type of body among men.
Horse racing is one of the few sports where men and women compete directly against each other. The reason for this is that the horse is doing the majority of its work.
It might seem like the rider is merely steering the horse toward victory. But that’s not the whole truth. It takes a lot of work from the writer to win the race on the horse. But it’s not just about pure physical strength.
It’s more about the mental and physical connection between the horse and the rider so therefore a woman can be as good a rider as a man.
3 Famous Female Race Horses
The riders on the tracks are typically adrenaline junkies. It takes a lot of courage and willpower to stay on track because you will typically break a bunch of bones in order to get to the top.
So you need to be able to work your way back and this is not always as easy for women as for men. This is just for the obvious reason, that men are stronger built than women (physically).
Here are some women who have made it with impressive results.
Chantal is not only a Canadian model she has also a famous jockey.
She won her first career race back in 2000 on October 9th in Toronto. Since then she has inspired many women to go into horseracing and she has won multiple times.
She’s also famous for starring in the TV show “Jockeys” on Animal Planet.
Another famous woman on the race track is Emma-Jayne Wilson.
She began taking riding lessons at the age of 9 and she became the first woman to win the oldest and most prestigious race in Canada: the “Queens Plate”.
She ranks number one among Canadian women when it comes to money earned from sports. She has made more than $70,000,000 from racing horses. Very impressive.
Julieann Louise Krone is another American jokey. She has won multiple races as well and is quite famous in the racing world.
She started her career as a show horse rider in Western Michigan. Later on, she was inspired to become a professional Jockey. She won her first race in 1981 and the long list of victories followed after that.