If you’ve ever set foot on a property dedicated to housing and training Thoroughbred racehorses, you quickly realized that the facilities are very different from those of your typical horse barn. Thoroughbred barns need to fulfill a unique set of demands in order to develop top racehorses. Let’s take a look at what makes Thoroughbred facilities, like the Kentucky-based Margaux Farm, unique.
Depending on the farm, Thoroughbred facilities may breed, train, and rehabilitate horses. Margaux Farm primarily focuses on training, but also offers boarding and rehabilitation services. Sales preparation services are available as well, giving owners a full-service option.
With multiple purposes to fulfill comes the need for multiple barns, especially for a larger facility. At Margaux Farm, eight barns (with two more in the works) are dispersed across the 640-acre property. This spread-out design means that each barn has ample turnout space for the horses it houses.
Every barn also has a separate function, helping to keep the farm well-organized. Three barns are dedicated to rehabilitation, three barns are devoted to training, and two barns serve for sales preparation and space for boarding.
For any facility offering racehorse training, the training tracks on the property are of utmost importance. A properly sized and crafted training track is vital to a racehorse’s preparation, and the track’s surface plays an important part in the horse’s safety – poorly maintained tracks can result in injury.
Margaux Farm has three tracks: an undulating gallop, a straight track, and a turf course. The undulating gallop is a 7 ½ furlong course that is built on the land of four separate hills. This course features an outer loop that measures 5/8ths of a mile, and a middle crossing through the track measuring 2 ½ furlongs that also goes uphill. The hills help horses recovering from injury to get fit quicker without adding too much stress too quickly.
The straight track at Margaux Farm measures 1 1/16th miles and runs through the center of the farm. This track, constructed on the lay of the land, takes advantage of the crest of the farm, allowing for excellent drainage. Two gradual turns and a tear drop finish complete the straight track.
Finally, the turf course is an undulating one mile oval. This course lies along Elkhorn Creek, which keeps the soil rich with silt. Good footing year-round is a major training advantage.
Depending on the size of the Thoroughbred farm, you are likely to find the barns bustling with activity on a daily basis. At Margaux Farm, horses come in from the pastures around 8 a.m. They are then checked, fed, and groomed, after which many of them rest in their stalls. Training begins at 11 a.m. After being trained, horses are bathed and cooled out. They are then fed again around 2 p.m., and are turned out for the evening by 3 p.m.
In designing a Thoroughbred facility, planning is key. It’s important to make the most of the space you have, while also ensuring that you have proper facilities for the horses’ training and care. For Margaux Farm, the work has paid off; training graduates of the farm include graded stakes winners Avanzare, Grand Arch, Sharp Sensation, Solid Appeal, and Go Blue or Go Home.
Thinking about building a Thoroughbred facility, or any other type of horse barn? Let Classic Equine Equipment help you through the planning process to bring your dream barn to life.
Photo source: Margaux Farm
Original source: An Inside Look at Margaux Farm’s Thoroughbred Racehorse Facilities