Historically, equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and honed the excellent horsemanship that was needed in battle. Many sports, such as dressage, eventing and show jumping, have origins in military training, which were focused on control and balance of both horse and rider. Other sports, such as rodeo, developed from practical skills such as those needed on working ranches and stations. Sport hunting from horseback evolved from earlier practical hunting techniques. Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between riders or drivers. All forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport. The popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat.
Horse racing is an equestrian sport and major international industry, watched in almost every nation of the world. There are three types: "flat" racing; steeplechasing, i.e. racing over jumps; and harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a small, light cart known as a sulky. A major part of horse racing's economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a world-wide market worth around US$115 billion
In the Roman form of chariot racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. These teams became the focus of intense support among spectators, and occasional disturbances broke out between followers of different factions. The conflicts sometimes became politicized, as the sport began to transcend the races themselves and started to affect society overall. This helps explain why Roman and later Byzantine emperors took control of the teams and appointed many officials to oversee them.
The original track and its accompanying Jockey Club were social draws in the late 1800s, but modern developments and changes in the law led to the decline of both. In its prime, the track was an especially important social gathering place on opening day and the day of the American Derby, which ranked as one of horse racing's highest purses. The Jockey club, designed by Solon Spencer Beman, hosted a social gathering led by GeneralPhilip Sheridan who was an early leader of the track and club. The track was closed and reopened according to the contemporary state and local laws on gambling and eventually waned in popularity and social importance.
Popularly referred to as the "Arc", it is the most prestigious horse race in Europe, and one of the most renowned international events in any sport. Many of its winners are subsequently regarded as champions, and its roll of honour features such highly acclaimed horses as Ribot, Sea Bird, Dancing Brave and Sea The Stars. It is currently the world's second richest horse race on turf, after the Japan Cup.
A slogan of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, first used on a promotional poster in 2003, describes the event as "Ce n'est pas une course, c'est un monument" – "Not so much a race as a monument".
Poseidon (19 August 1903 - 3 February 1930) was an AustralianThoroughbredHall of Fameracehorse. He won 19 races over distances ranging from five furlongs to three miles. Sixteen of these wins were "Principal Races" (equivalent to today's "Black Type" races), eight of them now of Group 1 (G1) status.
As a three year old in 1906/07, Poseidon had 14 starts for 11 wins, including the Caulfield Cup (in race record time), Melbourne Cup, Victoria Derby and AJC Derby. In achieving this, Poseidon became the first horse to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double. In winning the Caulfield Cup again the following year, he also became the first horse to win consecutive Caulfield Cups.