when is a horse too old for races

The age bar for racing horses was not formalized till a few decades ago as most breeders allowed their horses to race from the time they completed two years of age. With the growth of professional practices in horse racing there was growing criticism of using young horses for racing. So breeders began racing them from age of three years and then retiring them at ten to fifteen years. According to experts, horses become skeletally mature only at the age of five years and racing them before that age will lead to muscular and joint injuries that can impair their ability to race for a long duration of time.


10 year old racing horses

There are a number of horses that manage to stay active in races at the age of 10 years. After a few initial years of racing when horses show signs of exhaustion along with wear and tear of muscles and tendons, they are sent away for a few years of rest and recuperation. During this period horses are given plenty of exercise under trainers and farmhands on a daily basis to prepare them for races. Every racing horse is given a year or two of rest before being introduced to racing tracks again after regular practice.

Retirement age

Depending on a racing horse’s physical condition and lack of serious injuries it may be used for races till the age of 15 years though at some racetracks there are age restrictions for thoroughbred horses. Trainers and breeders accept the fact that standard-bred horses cannot race beyond the age of 13 years even if they are in good health. Though most states do not have limitations for horses during races, New York limits it to 14 years to avoid injury and possible death. To keep young horses in top racing condition, trainers insist that they should not be kept away from the race track for too long during their rest periods as it makes them unfit to take on the stress of racing again.