Influence of weather on horse racing: How conditions affect performance


Horse racing has been one of the most popular outdoor sports for centuries. It can be traced back to the Greek Olympic Games in 700 to 40 B.C, thousands of years ago. After that, it spread to neighboring countries, and over the years, it grew into the prestigious sport it is today.

As with any outdoor sport, the weather plays a significant role, but how exactly does the weather affect the horses during a race? For many people, horse racing links to betting, so it’s crucial to understand the impact of the conditions on the day before placing any bets with bookmakers featured on a list of sites regulated in the UK. To get a better view of the horse’s performance, it’s best to understand what the weather conditions will be (amongst other factors) to predict if the horse they intend to bet on will outperform the rest. That often means looking at how the weather (and the going, or track conditions) were during the horse’s previous runs.

Rainy weather

Rain is a widespread weather condition encountered by racehorses worldwide. Rain affects the horse and the racetracks themselves (the going), as the tracks tend to become muddy and slippery, making the track heavier and causing strain on the horse, which can lead to injury to both the horse and jockey. It also makes it difficult for the horse to increase speed, as it causes weariness and loss of endurance.

Temperature: Hot and cold weather

When looking at temperature, we are considering both hot and cold weather conditions. Whether it’s either, both impact the horses’ performance. Cold weather can cause the horse’s muscles to stiffen and contract, decreasing mobility and flexibility. During a race, this will result in a decrease in speed.


On the other hand, hot weather tires them out, reducing their ability to maintain effort. Because they already generate heat when running, they struggle to maintain stamina when there’s excess heat. The heat also reduces their appetite, causes lethargy, increases their heart rate, and affects perspiration.


Humid air makes breathing difficult for the horses, decreasing speed and stamina. Like hot weather, humidity also affects perspiration, as they tend to sweat more, leading to dehydration and a loss of electrolytes when it’s not managed correctly.

Windy weather

Strong winds impact a racehorse’s ability to perform well by adding extra resistance as they run. It also makes it difficult for them to stay balanced.

How to avoid strain and injury during any weather conditions

With all this said, horse trainers can take specific steps and measures to ensure that the racehorse’s performance stays up to par and avoids strain and injury. During hot weather, they must always keep the horse hydrated and provide plenty of rest in a shaded area.

During cold and rainy weather, they need to make sure the horses stay warm with blankets, and they can also ensure that the horse has a proper warm-up regime before any race. They can also monitor weather conditions by monitoring the weather forecast for race day to ensure correct measurements are taken to reduce the risk of strain and injury to the horse and jockey.


There are many factors to consider when one looks at horse racing as a whole, and it’s needless to say that horse racing is a splendid sport many enjoy. So, whether we are looking at a particular horse’s performance or considering its health, weather conditions play a massive part in a horse’s daily life and have a huge impact on the outcome of bets.



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Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

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