Training Young Horses: The Science behind the Benefits

Animals (Basel). 2021 Feb 9;11(2):463. doi: 10.3390/ani11020463.


Conflicting research and anecdotal evidence have created disagreement among equestrians as to whether two-year-old horses should be trained and raced. The objective of this literature review is to evaluate epidemiological studies, as well as physiological data on equine bone, articular cartilage, and tendons to better determine the impact of training and racing two-year-old horses. The evaluation of numerous studies on the topic provides evidence that a horse which is trained or raced as a two-year-old has a lower risk of injury and better adapted tissues for the rigors of racing. Unfortunately, the current prolific use of pain-mitigating substances in the racing industry does place horses, including young cohorts, at greater risk of injury, and should be used with caution.

Keywords: bone; career; cartilage; development; equine; exercise; growth; injury; race; tendon.

Publication types

  • Review