Just Horsin’ Around: Fun Facts about Horses & Jockeys, by Prairie Meadows

quarter horse racing

Horseracing season at Prairie Meadows is in full swing, with their mixed meet format beginning June 18th. This format features both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse competitions each race night.

So, how much do you know about horses? Today, we’re sharing some interesting facts to pique your interest and get you excited about attending a live horse race at Prairie Meadows this summer.

Did you know…

• Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal.
• A foal can run within hours of being born.
• Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up.
• Because a horse’s eyes are located on the side of their head, their line of sight is nearly 360 degrees.
• Gallop speed for a horse is nearly 27 miles per hour.
• A horse’s teeth take up more space in their head than their brain.
• Horses can see better at night than humans.
• A horse’s heart weighs nearly 10 pounds.
• Horses have a sweet tooth. They prefer sweet flavors and will usually reject anything that is sour or bitter.
• Horses drink up to 25 gallons of water daily.
• When measuring a horse, you use ‘hands’. A hand is a unit of 4 inches – the approximate width of a human hand. Height is determined by measuring from the ground to the highest point of the horse’s withers. The wither is the ridge between the horse’s shoulder blades.
• The average racehorse weighs 1,000 pounds.
• Quarter Horses can reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour or more during a sprint.
• Thoroughbreds are considered a middle-distance runner and typically attain a speed of 40 miles per hour.
• All racehorses share the same “official” birth date of January 1st.
• Horses can rotate each of their ears 180 degrees, giving them a full 360-degree range of hearing.

Now that you know a little bit more about horses, here are some fun facts about the track and jockeys:

• Jockeys typically weigh between 108 and 118 pounds.
• Before each race, jockeys weigh in with their kit. Each horse in a race must carry a specific amount of weight to equalize the competition. Jockeys may need to carry extra weight when racing if they’re under the weight requirements.
• Horse races are measured in furlongs which is 1/8 of a mile or 220 yards
• The track has different colored poles along the inside rail. Poles are placed 1/16th of a mile apart and each color represents a different length. Black poles are 1/16th of a mile, green is 1/8th, and red is 1/4 of a mile.
• Prairie Meadows’ track is a one-mile oval composed of a 21-inch limestone base and 5.5 inches of sand and organic cushion on top.
• When the barn at Prairie Meadows is at capacity, there are more than 1,400 horses in the stalls.
• The largest Thoroughbred race purses of the season are awarded during Prairie Meadows’ Festival of Racing on July 2nd & 3rd. Purses total more than $1,000,000.
• The most lucrative Quarter Horse purses of the season are during the Quarter Horse Championships on September 24th and the Iowa Classic on September 25th.

Prairie Meadows is where all the fun is this summer! Spend a night at the track, watch the horses, and grab a bite to eat. Horse races are FREE, family friendly, and held each week, Friday-Monday, now-September 25th.

It’s fun you can bet on, only at Prairie Meadows.