A Day in the Life of a Racehorse

min read
Two women lead a pair of horses out to pasture.
BetMGM @BETMGM Dec 31, 2021, 4:20 AM

From sun-up to sun-down, there’s no doubt that it takes a lot of energy, discipline and knowledge to manage the day-to-day affairs of a professional racehorse. These mighty animals undoubtedly require an incredible amount of care and attention to ensure they are racing ready. But what exactly does a racehorse’s day look like?

Whether you’re a passionate veteran horse racing bettor who knows all the ins-and-outs of online sports betting, someone learning how to bet on horse racing, or just curious about what happens from the time a racehorse wakes up to the time it goes to sleep, you can find out all you need to know here. However, it’s also important to note that different horses will have differing routines, depending on what their owners and trainers prefer. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at a day in the life of a racehorse.


While most of us are still sleeping, horse trainers and their crew are up bright and early to start the day with their horses. For many horses, this first means breakfast, which may be different, depending on the horse owner and trainer and whether the horse has a race coming up, but usually the horse will get hay, and some kind of concentrated meal containing grain, such as oats. 

The morning also kicks off with a general checkup for any injuries or issues, particularly signs of lameness, by a qualified individual. To detect these sorts of issues, particular care is paid to the horse’s hooves and legs, as they carry most of the weight of these muscular racers and are often where a problem is likely to appear first. For example, if a foot is hotter on one leg than another, it may indicate a problem such as a hoof abscess.

Once the horse has been deemed to be fit and ready for training, a groom will give the horse its first brushing for the day to make sure that the horse is clean and that the right bridle, saddle and protective leg bandages (more generally referred to as horse tack) are put on. The groom will also ensure the hooves are clean so that the horse can walk and run properly.

With the horses prepped and ready to go, the training riders will arrive to take them for their morning training. Every racehorse will have a different training routine to get them into shape, depending on their age, the race they are training for, and even if they are recovering from possible injuries.

Cool down

With the morning training done, the horses’ tack is removed so that they can have a morning wash, after which they are taken to for a cooldown with a hot walker. A hot walker may be a person who takes them for a gentle walk after they are done training, but some hot walking is also done by machines that are specifically designed to handle this task. This serves the same purpose as human cooling down exercises, such as stretches and other light physical exercise activities. 

With this out of the way, the horse is hosed down and is given the chance to graze before getting the next meal for the day. The horse’s stall is also cleaned during this time so that they have a clean, healthy space to rest in when they are done with their morning schedule.

Some horse owners also have a sandpit for horses to roll in, which many horses love to do. This fun activity helps them relax and keeps their minds in good shape, which is why many horse trainers integrate it into a horse’s morning routine. Due to the nature of the activity, horses must be closely supervised, as they may accidentally injure themselves when rolling on the ground. Other horse owners also try to give their racers some turnout time in a paddock, either on their own or with other horses. Since horses are social animals, some trainers view this activity as another important part of ensuring their mental health is well looked after.

Around midday, when the sun is at its highest and hottest, most horses will be found resting or sleeping in their stables.


A horse’s second meal is served in the afternoon, and some horses will be given an additional opportunity to graze, as well as to go for a light walk, either around the stables or around the stable grounds. The late afternoon is when most horses will get their third meal.


Rest continues throughout the evening for racehorses, with a fourth meal for most racehorses happening at night. For many horses, getting their final serving of hay and grains takes place between 8 and 9 pm.

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While a better understanding of the day-to-day life of a racehorse may not help you increase your wins, those with an interest in horse racing will now have a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. 

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.