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Roman Horse Racing
#1
Fratres,
My family bred, raised and raced thoroughbred horses from the mid 1960's till the mid 1990's. My brothers rode for a long time at
Fair Grounds and Belmont Park. I know the romans had chariot races, but was wondering if they had races as we do today? Just horse and jockey? If so, was there betting on those races like we have today? Were there big races like now (Kentucky Derby & Breeders Cup)? Would like to know. I love horses and racing!
Thomas Guenther
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#2
I have not seen many ancient depictions of horseback riding other than hunting or warfare scenes & as you mentioned, chariot racing was extremely popular for prestige & gambling. I think actual horseback races were popular in various religious festivals but I wouldn't have a clue if these races involved gambling. The Greeks had horseback riding events in the Olympic games, "Keles" for colts & the "Kalpe" for mares but that is about the extent of my knowledge on Greek & Roman horseback racing. Maybe as the empire expanded & cavalry based peoples like Gauls, Sarmatians & Huns became part of the Roman military machine, horseback riding gained a bit more popularity but according to Procopius chariot racing was still extremely popular in Constantinople under Justinian. Below are a few depictions from Greek vases. :-)

[attachment=12799]image_2015-09-13.jpg[/attachment]


[attachment=12800]image_2015-09-13-2.jpg[/attachment]
Regards
Michael Kerr


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Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#3
Well I owned horses and rode them (saddled) and how the Greek rode - NO RACED A HORSE -with nothing between their 'male tackle' and the bareback of the horse.... Sick

But there it is on the pottery.
-Rod Dickson
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#4
The riders seem to be wearing chaps in the top image or that seems to be what the artist is attempting to depict. :-) Confusedmile:
Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#5
Well we know that roman soldiers did gamble and with some of the legions and cavalry stationed on the frontiers of the empire, you would think that it would be a sport they would be interested in. The only problem with this thought is that I don't know how the army would feel about using the horses for this.
Thomas Guenther
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#6
There is evidence from various mosaics which shows individual horses prized for some reason or other (I am digging through my database as I type) so it would appear that individual horses were prized for a reason (rather than a chariot team).

Of course, they could have been individual chariot horses but it is the nature of man, and the beast, to pit one against the other. If there was formalised betting one will never know; nor is there much other evidence of championship races. But once you have a winner in your local area you are going to want to test it against other horses - you don't have to be Irish to appreciate thisWink The oldest races of this sort are endurance races in the Arab states - not quite the same as a spectator affair in the hippodrome.
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#7
Vindex,

Where can I find pictures of these mosaics? And I agree with everything you said. And it's true the Irish do love horse racing as do the British. I have a friend from Ireland and he eats, drinks and sleeps horse racing.

Thanks,
Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#8
Hi Thomas

I am still looking; trying to remember where I have saved the pictures of mosaics. I have them...somewhere!!!

Edit: Google House of Horses, Tunisia as a starter for 10
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#9
Vindex,

If you don't mind me asking where are you located? Are you from Ireland? My friend here in the states is from Moy, Ireland. Do you like horse racing? If so do you go to the tracks?
I know it's not roman, but there is a Greek bronze of a horse and jockey. As you may very well be aware of? I wonder, if the Greeks would make a bronze of something like this, and we know the romans copied a lot of Greek things, why wouldn't they also have portrayed this in sculpture and bronze as well?
May the horse be with you!

Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#10
Quote:Hi Thomas

I am still looking; trying to remember where I have saved the pictures of mosaics. I have them...somewhere!!!

Edit: Google House of Horses, Tunisia as a starter for 10

Do you mean these Moi? As far as I can remember these ones are in the museum in El Jem.


[attachment=12828]IMG-20140907-00078.jpg[/attachment]

[attachment=12829]IMG-20140907-00079.jpg[/attachment]

[attachment=12830]IMG-20140907-00080.jpg[/attachment]


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Adam

No man resisted or offered to stand up in his defence, save one only, a centurion, Sempronius Densus, the single man among so many thousands that the sun beheld that day act worthily of the Roman empire.
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#11
Wow! Those are fantastic! Do you know if the names are the names of the horses? Those definitely tell me that somebody thought a lot of those horses. Race horses or not.
Thanks for taking the time to find pictures of the mosaics

Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#12
Glad to help. They weren't hard to find, they were on my phone!
Adam

No man resisted or offered to stand up in his defence, save one only, a centurion, Sempronius Densus, the single man among so many thousands that the sun beheld that day act worthily of the Roman empire.
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#13
Well done! Yes, those are the ones. I'll re-save them somewhere with a better title so I can search more quickly!
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#14
Quote:Vindex,

If you don't mind me asking where are you located? Are you from Ireland? My friend here in the states is from Moy, Ireland. Do you like horse racing? If so do you go to the tracks?
Thomas

Hi Thomas

No, I'm not in Ireland but southern England. National Hunt racing is my preference so Cheltenham is my favourite course (google that too) and there are several Irish acquaintances I meet there at the Festival each year - four days of top quality jump racing; total heaven. I've recently just been to Newmarket to see the flat strings working in the morning. An awesome way to start the day. Literally dozens of top quality thoroughbreds on display for free.

I think I know the Greek statue you are referring to and I think it is safe to assume that if mosaics were dedicated to horses then there would be statues too, but alas they have not survived in the archaeological record.

Yes, I think the horse's names are by their mosaic. They are either well known racers or possible breeding stock. I say this due to the branding shown on the horse's haunches.

Any excuse...here's my new project pony whom I have selected due to the nearness of her conformation to many depictions of Roman horses (Iberian stock and not Arabic).
[attachment=12831]Open-Sesame_originalphoto2013.jpg[/attachment]


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Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#15
Man, she's a beautiful filly!
England and Ireland do a lot more hurdles and turf racing than we do here in the states. And I love turf racing more than dirt. Also you all run a lot longer races than we do. Which to me is a lot easier on the horse due to the fact that the pace is slower and therefore less strain on them. Compared to when they run short and are all out for pretty much most of the race. And I think turf is better too. It's not as hard of surface. Some of the dirt courses here are like running on highways. British racing also has better rules than we do. Like the way the jockey can use the whip, etc. and the medication rules for horses. I think a lot of those rules should be adopted here. English tracks are great. My wife and I have been the Royal Windsor Race Course and we loved it! Beautiful track by the way.

Good luck with your filly,
Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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