Horse racing is one of the most ancient sporting events in the world as the premise of the sport remains the same as it was in the classical era. It has different formats in different countries that must have arisen from the traditional differences. The interest surrounding horse races is also on account of the huge gambling associated with them. The mixed-sex contact sport is conducted outdoors on turf, dirt or synthetic track that is suitable for horses.
The most common variant of horse racing is flat racing. Oval-shaped race tracks that are level are used. Turf surfaces are commonly used in European countries while in Asian and North American countries dirt is preferred to turfs. Synthetic surfaces like Polytrack and Tapeta can be seen on some tracks. The distance of individual flat races ranges from 400 meters to 4 kilometers while the commonly seen distance is between 1 and 2.4 km. Short distant races are called "sprints" whereas long races are referred to as "routes" or "staying races."
Also called National Hunt racing in Great Britain and Ireland, jump racing is a popular variant of the sport. Depending on the size and nature of the obstacles, jump racing has been divided into hurdling and steeplechasing. Hurdling races have hurdles or flights as obstacles that will be around three and a half feet high. There will be at least eight hurdles and a minimum distance of two miles is to be covered. Steeplechase races will present the competitors with fences and ditches of diverse nature.
Endurance races are widely conducted with varying lengths. Some races only ten miles while some can be as long as one hundred miles. A couple of races are there that are even longer than that and could last for days. The races that come under the length of 10-20 miles are called pleasure rides while those under 21-27 are referred to as non-competitive trail rides. The races that range from 20 to 45 miles are known as competitive trail rides whereas those in the 25-60 miles category are named progressive trail rides. The races that are even longer are usually called endurance rides.
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