Horses are amazing athletes

26th March 2020

Racehorses are amazing athletes. They can easily outpace a car and can jump over obstacles more than four and a half feet high – all while carrying a jockey on their backs! Read on for more awesome facts.

Size matters

  • Horses are measured in ‘hands’, an old measurement that was used in Ancient Egypt.
  • The average racehorse measures 16 hands, the same as 162cm or 5 feet 4 inches.
  • Horses weigh up to a whopping 550kg, around seven or eight times the weight of an average man.

Stylish shoes

  • Racehorses wear shoes made of aluminium, the metal that fizzy drinks cans are made of, because it’s light and lets them run fast.
  • Horses’ feet, aka hooves, are looked after by a ‘farrier’, who makes sure the shoes fit perfectly.

The need for speed

  • Horses can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour – nearly twice as fast as Usain Bolt!
  • In a single minute, a racehorse can cover one kilometre in just 150 strides.

Horses Explained


  • Horses have huge hearts that weigh as much as four bags of sugar.
  • A racehorse’s heart pumps 60 pints of blood during a race.
  • During a race a horse’s heart will beat 240 times a minute – well over twice as fast a human’s.

Deep breaths

  • Horses also have big lungs and breathe in and out 150 times a minute.
  • They breathe 150 litres of air every second!
  • A racehorse will breathe 10,000 litres of air during a race – that’s as much as a human uses in a whole day!

Food for thought

  • It’s thirsty work being a racehorse. They’ll drink 5-10 gallons a day – that’s between 40 and 80 pints.
  • A racehorse eats up to 12kg of food a day – humans eat around 1.5kg.
  • Racehorses eat roughly 35,000 calories a day – that’s an amazing 1,650% more than humans – equal to over 250 Weetabix, 135 Mars Bars or 65 Big Macs!