Life Lessons from a Standardbred Race Horse

I’ve been an intern at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino since the beginning of the live racing season and I will be here when it concludes. While I’m not all that surprised to be learning so much, I’m rather surprised by who has been teaching me. Some of my teachers go by names like Rockin Racer, Ponytail, I Know My Chip and Freaky Feet Pete. I’m still learning some of the ins and outs of harness racing, but even when my internship concludes these horses will have taught me some important things that will stay with me throughout my life. Not all classrooms have four walls, and sometimes the best teachers show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.

Here are five things that we can all learn from a standardbred race horse.

Don’t Let The Odds Keep You Down

I’m a girl that loves to bet on longshots because of the bigger payout. For instance, there was a horse with 106 to 1 odds that ended up winning the last race of the night. When the horses line up behind the gate each and every night, they can’t read the tote board; They don’t know they are 106 to 1 but they line up behind the gate and give it their all every race. Every once in awhile, that 106 to 1 show will find its way to the winner’s circle.

Take Some Friends Along For The Ride

Where would a horse be without the driver to keep it on track during the race? How would a horse get along without the trainer making sure it’s in top shape? How would a horse get by without its owner taking care of it and loving it? Horses need all sorts of support to help them get them to the winner’s circle, and people do too. You can’t make it through this life alone.


Always Be Prepared

If the horse doesn’t have the correct equipment, it can’t properly run the race. The driver can’t even be in a race without their bike. When going into any situation, it’s important to make sure you have all of the materials and information you need. Being unprepared for situations just makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Never Give Up

There was one race where I saw a horse that remained last for much of the mile. In the final stretch, it made its way up to fourth. Even when things are looking hopeless and it looks like everything is telling you to quit, you absolutely cannot. You can’t stop the race, but you can learn to run it. You may not be the quickest horse in the race, but any forward motion is forward motion. The wire might be closer than you think.


Don’t Bite People

That’s just generally good advice if you want people to like you.

Horses can be pretty fascinating teachers. So whether I’m learning my lessons from my coworkers or learning them from a two-year-old pacer named Gorgeous Dave, they’re just as important to remember wherever life takes me. Whether you’re visiting a race track or trying something new for the first time, always remember to never stop learning because life never stops teaching, even when that teacher has four legs and a tail.


Story by Hoosier Park Race Marketing Interns Rose Flood and photos by Grace Hollars