Everything You Should Know About Harness Racing (Andelar Trav)

You have probably been to harness racing track, and the first thing you notice is that trotters compete in separate races with standard-bred pacers. Therefore, they will not compete against each other because these two sports and activities require a completely different training approach.

Generally, pacers are much faster than trotting horses, which is a logical perspective because they are pulling less weight. It is essential to differentiate these two sports so that you can bet on an andelar trav without any additional problem.

Let us start from the beginning.

What Is Harness Racing?

It is vital to understand that harness racing started when buggies and horses were essential for transportation purposes. In most cases, they carried wheels, which is why buggy drivers decided to challenge each other to see which one is faster.

However, at the end of the 18th century, they created both regulations and tracks for this particular sport. It is essential to understand that pacers and trotters do not race against each other.

Even though both horses will use similar equipment, in harness racing, the driver sits behind a horse in a sulky while he/she uses driving lines to control the horse.

That is why the name started because the horse is in a harness, which means it wears crupper, saddle, and girth, among other things. At the same time, it wears the head pole to prevent head and neck turning, which is an essential aspect of the sport.

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Remember that this particular type of horse and racing descended from thoroughbred Messenger, as well as some extinct ones, including Hackey, the Morgan, Narragansett Pacer, and many more.

Remember that Standardbred has its origins in the USA. However, more than ninety percent of them have descended from Hambletonian, which is a Messenger’s great-grandson, and the fastest trotters during the 19th century.

Keep in mind that standardbreds tend to range in height and can reach up to 17 hands, which is an important consideration you should remember. It got its name from standard time for racing a mile.

Remember that the overall standard nowadays for two-year-old horses is up to two minutes and twenty seconds, while the standard for three-year-old is two minutes and fifteen seconds.


You should keep in mind that trot or jog is one of the essential parts of riding a horse, which is something you should remember. Trotting means moving diagonally while pairing legs at the same time.

Therefore, it means that it is moving back left leg at the same time as the right front leg, which is in unison, and that is an effective way to reach the goal. Therefore, trotting racehorse can efficiently perform this particular gait when it reaches high speed.

Remember that some trotters tend to wear hopples, which are front leg loops that will affect and maintain the gait, among other things.

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Compared with trotters, pacers are much more common because they move the legs based on their body movement, which is an essential consideration you should remember.

We are not talking about diagonal gait but the lateral one, which changes the perspective of a game. Keep in mind that most pacers tend to wear hopples on all four legs because that is important for overall gait maintenance.

At the same time, you can find a free-legged pacer that does not use hopples for running and pacing. Generally, most of them can naturally turn while you are on the field, but they tend to undergo training for trot as the form of the second career when they reach a certain age.

However, trotters will not pace in the future, similar to the other way around. According to some researchers, some horses come with a DMRT3 gene that determines whether it can pace or not.

Since technology advanced, you can quickly test them in its infancy to determine whether it has this particular gene.

Different Types Of Horses For Trotting and Pacing

It would help if you remembered that trotters and pacers are completely different training approaches.

We have mentioned above that standardbreds can become both pacers and trotters, primarily because this particular breed can provide you natural gait that will provide you peace of mind.

For instance, Missouri fox trotting breeds come with a comfortable and unique trot that will allow them diagonal gait, which is completely interesting to watch and train.

On the other hand, the Canadian pacer, as well as Narragansett pacer, is two breeds used to create a Standardbred currently extinct. Even though pacers and trotters are familiar with racing, they can be used for saddle horses as well.

  • Missouri Fox – Keep in mind that this particular breed comes with foxtrotting gait, which is natural. When compared with others, it features the ability to walk quickly by using front legs while it trots by the rear ones, which is fascinating to watch. According to Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Association, one hoof is on the ground at all times while the front hoof will create a diagonal pair just before the rear one. This particular movement will lead to gait that will create unique trotting movements.
  • Canadian Pacer – Even though it is an extinct breed, it is commonly related to indigenous Canadian horses. At the same time, this particular pacer was the combination and variety of Canadian breed, which is not extinct, especially since it has roadster, pacing, and trotting abilities at the same time. Remember that this particular breed has nearly reached extinction, but the numbers are currently unknown.
  • Narragansett Pacer – This particular breed is one of the first deliberately created horse breed developed in the US in the mid-17th One man purchased the land from the Narragansett Indian tribe and developed a particular breed that had both endurance and speed. Apart from that, this particular breed had a steady gait that did not incline from one side to other as other breeds nowadays. It was highly popular in the US as well as the West Indies. However, it became extinct because of popularity and significant exports on an annual basis. Remember that since the US roads improved and modernized, the saddle horse became obsolete because horse-drawn vehicles became popular.


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