For centuries racehorses have been bred to run faster and longer distances.
One of the greatest racehorses of all time was Secretariat affectionately known as “Big Red” because of his size. Secretariat was the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown of racing – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. His speed records in those races still stand today.
When Secretariat had to be euthanized due to laminitis which wouldn’t respond to treatment, his heart was weighed as is normal procedure. Although larger than normal hearts are often found in thoroughbreds, his heart’s weight was an astounding 22 lbs. Average weight for a horse’s heart is 8 1/2 lbs.
A horse’s heart continues to grow until the age of 4, but can increase in size depending on activity. There is a gene known as the x factor that is linked to large hearts, but of course the general well-being of the horse determines its racing ability.
Often when purchasing a racehorse the buyer will have an equine cardiologist administer an ultrasound to check the horse’s heart.
Racehorses not only have the desire and heart to win, they have large hearts to help.