‘The Sport of Kings’ as it has become known over the years is steeped in tradition and history. Originating in the BC era, horse racing has remained a staple entertainment of mankind throughout the years. Despite this constant existence and popularity it has consistently been changing and the last 100 years has seen a particular acceleration of changing with the advancement in technology. From equipment to accessibility and betting to veterinary procedures this sport has developed over the years. Below we are going to look at just how horse racing has changed with the times.
Amongst the oldest games in the world, horse racing originated in 4000BC Mongolia. It spread in popularity through the ancient civilizations from Egypt to Rome. It would spread throughout Europe and eventually result in the 1750 creation of the Jockey Club. Whilst the first documented competition of horse racing can be attributed to the old Greek olympic games in 648BC, the racing would evolve over the centuries and result in the sport it is today. Let’s have a look at some of the things that have changed.
Betting and Money:
The change in personnel becoming involved in the sport was linked to the opening up of wagers through bookies instead of privately. This changed not only sports betting around the world but specifically horse betting and horse racing more generally. It meant working class people could become involved in betting on the races which opened the sport up beyond the rich and elite. Nowadays this betting on the races has become normal with huge swathes of options available online and in person, along with help to make the best bets, like tips and racecards at Timeform. With this change in betting has come huge amounts of investments into the sport internationally. The affluence of years gone by has exchanged wealth for the prize pots and huge amounts of bookmakers money which circulates in the sport in the 21st century.
Over the years the equipment has moved with the times and generally modernised. Horse racing has become incredibly fast, with racing now taking place on aluminium plates which are lighter and more aerodynamic than the original steel plated which used to be used. Proper training now takes place also for both the horse and the jockey alike which means less chance of danger or injuries. Racing has been more on the mind rather than functionality in recent equipment developments which has made the whole experience for horse and rider much more comfortable. Parallel with this technological advancement in equipment is the development of veterinary practices and knowledge about the horses which has helped to develop better results both on and off the track.
Given the name the ‘Sport of Kings’, horse racing used to be for the wealthy only. It was previously reserved for the elite and super rich who would be the only ones able to keep and rear a horse to race in the first place. It wouldn’t be till the 1920s where the sport would take a turn towards a more working class direction. This would see normal people start to flood the concourses on the roots, people from all over the world become involved in the sport and women also become involved in horse racing.