If you love horses, speed, and competition, then there's a sport that might just be perfect for you - harness racing!
When someone mentions horse racing, you probably envision a Thoroughbred racehorse and jockey galloping down the track. But there's another type of racing that's just as challenging, and just as thrilling: harness racing.
While harness racing is lesser-known than Thoroughbred racing, you still need a magical combination of luck, a skilled trainer and driver, and a very special horse in order to end up in the winner's circle.
This video provides a beautiful and thrilling look at the details of harness racing. Though it's less than a minute long, it definitely pulls at the heartstrings with its visually stunning shots and its stirring music. Take a look at this equestrian work of art.
Harness racing in the United States features Standardbred horses. These horses pace and trot at incredible speeds. They can have racing careers which span for years, but when they're ready to retire, they face the same challenge that Thoroughbred racehorses face: Unless they have a breeding career waiting for them, they often have to find new homes.
There are multiple organizations which help to rehome retired Standardbreds, including the American Standardbred Adoption Program, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, and New Vocations. When you adopt a Standardbred, you will need to take some time to train him to saddle (if you plan on riding him). Standardbreds can learn to canter, and some Standardbreds even go on to have successful careers in the show ring. Since Standardbreds already know how to pull a cart, many people use them for pleasure driving.
Standardbreds are successful in a variety of disciplines, including trail riding, pleasure riding, jumping, barrel racing, endurance riding, and more. These are talented, intelligent horses who still have a lot to offer after their harness racing careers are over.