Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in all of Ireland. As the name suggests, it consists of multiple horses racing on a track to reach the finish line. The horse that gets there first is the winner. Ireland is renowned for breeding some of the finest horses in the sport.
The horses are ridden by jockeys who often wear their own specific colours and patterns in order to identify them. Being able to handle a horse is a difficult skill to master. Professional jockeys are the very best at what they do and are awarded monetary prizes for every race that they win.
By far the most famous annual horse race is the Grand National. It is held at Aintree Race Course in Liverpool. Despite being hosted in England, it has a very large Irish presence. This is especially so in terms of the nationality of both the horses and the jockeys themselves. The race has been going on since the mid-1800s and is known internationally.
Over the years, there has been criticism of the safety of the horses in the race. The track contains 30 fences, which the horses must jump over. When this happens it is likely that multiple horses will topple over. This has led to the deaths of numerous animals since the inception of the race. The course itself runs a stretch of over 4 miles. It is held during the summer months and because of this, heat is also a contributing factor to the ill health of the horses.
Horse racing is an activity that can be enjoyed by those who have disabilities. Throughout Ireland, there are several sports centres that allow people with mobility problems to have access to the activity. An increasing number of these equal access stables are being set up in the country.