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Are older horses slower horses?

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  • #4256
    BenMore
    Member
    • Total Posts 32

    Do horses get slower between 5 and 10 years? If so how come 10 yo’s can win group one races against 5 yo’s e.g. at Cheltenham. Surely old horses must jump slower as well as run slower.

    #101766
    Daylight
    Member
    • Total Posts 369

    I hope not! What about +10yos though?

    #101769
    robert99
    Participant
    • Total Posts 897

    Ben,

    Horses are fully grown between 3-5 to 4 years old. They are then at their fastest in terms of the top speed they can run. As they get older their top speed slows but their stamina grows and they can keep up a high cruising pace for longer than younger horses. This means for NH, that the stronger, fast hurdlers at 5-6 yo can often go on to the slower paced, but more stamina dominated chases and peak at 8-9 yo. It is not surprising, therefore, that a sound 10 year old can outpace a 5 yo over a distance of ground (even though it cannot run as fast in top speed terms). The problem with older NH horses are the arthritic joints and weak tendons from so many years of competitive racing, training and falls. They are hard to get fit after long lay-offs, nursing injuries and becoming over-weight.

    Regards,<br>Robert<br>:cool:

    #101770
    BenMore
    Member
    • Total Posts 32

    Thank You robert99.

    #101771
    robnorth
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4723

    As well as general wear and tear on horses there are other reasons why younger horses are favoured.

    Younger horses not handicapped on their full ability but  only what they have shown to date. Older horses are well exposed and the handicapper is likely to have them at a level (or class) where it is difficult for them to win very often.

    In non-handicaps older horses have picked up penalties for winning races and these penalties are often carried through the years. These horses will be at a continuing disadvantage.

    Conversely though some types of races actually favour the older horse. Claimers and sellers will favour them as they are unlikely to be severely penalised, and can be put at risk of sale  in such events as potential buyers are more likely to want to buy younger horses, rather than risking their money on horses with a lot of mileage on the clock.<br>Some conditions events may favour horses if penalties are only for recent wins. Horses which are badly handicapped may be favoured by the lack of a penalty against younger penalised horses.<br>Long distance races may favour older horses as speed, which tends to decrease with age, is less important than stamina in such events.

    Alan Potts covered the subject of the ideal age for chasers in ‘The Inside Track’.

    Rob

    #101774
    robert99
    Participant
    • Total Posts 897

    Robnorth,

    Thanks for a most valuable and interesting contribution.

    In today’s SL Weekender, Nick Mordin has provided another good article on the speed/stamina/age characteristics of NH horses from France, Germany, Ireland, USA and UK.

    Regards,<br>Robert<br>:cool:

    #101779
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total Posts 1198

    I would not take it as "cast in stone" that a horse looses speed as it gets older. Of course as it becomes a vetern it does but many horses seem to get speedier as they get older…………One Man and Rooster Booster to name a few. On the flat the likes of Fantastic Light,Montjeu and Grandera showed much more speed as they got older.

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