A horse race is a type of sports competition in which horses, ridden by jockeys, compete against each other in a series of races. The sport of horse racing evolved from a game created by the Greeks in the seventh century B.C.E., in which horses were connected to two-wheeled carts or chariots and run on a paved track. Eventually, rules were developed to create races in which horses were entered by their owners and in which they competed based on age, sex, birthplace, and previous performance.
The sport continues to evolve, and today’s horse race is a complex affair. Some races are open, meaning that horses can be entered by any person who wishes to enter them; others are restricted, and entrants are required to meet certain qualifications or pay a fee to enter a race. These fees support the operations and maintenance of the tracks, and also help to compensate jockeys for their work in the course of a race. The sport is governed by a series of laws, and its history has been intertwined with the evolution of the United States.
Many modern technological advances have been incorporated into horse racing, and they have improved the safety of both the horses and the people who participate in the sport. Thermal imaging cameras can monitor a horse’s temperature after a race, and MRI scanners and X-rays can detect a wide range of health issues before they develop into major problems. 3D printing technology can even be used to produce casts and splints for injured horses.
Despite these advances, the sport is still not without its dangers. It is not uncommon for horses to die during a race, and those that do survive often have severed spines or broken legs. The skeletal system of these animals is still developing, and they are unprepared for the stresses of running on a hard surface at high speeds.
In order to minimize these risks, racetracks have started to require that all horses wear protective gear. But that does not eliminate all the risk, and in the end, there is a limit to how much human beings can do to protect horses from themselves. The death toll in horse racing has never been particularly low, and even the best-equipped athletes can suffer catastrophic injuries.
A horse’s long and short pastern bones (P1 and P2) form a joint that can be pulled, or dislocated, during a race or workout. A pulled suspensory ligament (suspensory desmitis) causes the distal portion of the foot to be unable to support itself, which can cause a variety of conditions including lameness, poor gait, and poor conformation.
Horses in general are prone to this injury because the long and short pastern bones are joined together by an articular joint. In a horse that is a bit cranky, this joint can become sore and unstable, leading to an injury called flexor tendonitis.