Regardless of a foal’s date of birth, all horses born in the Northern Hemisphere become a year older on January 1st, whilst all foals born in the Southern Hemisphere, including continents such as South America become a year older on July 1st or August 1st as in the case of Australia. Foals are raised for a year before their racing training begins. Training begins by getting the horses used to saddles and basic handling.
A horse that is bred to race on a Flat race track begins its career typically as a two year old by racing over short distances against its two - year old competitors. Jump racehorses, on the other hand, have to learn how to handle hurdles first. Therefore, they start their career in extended Flat races known as bumpers in order to gain racing experience over longer distances and obstacles. These racetracks are usually run over a distance of approximately 2- 4 kilometers. It is also common to use an older horse as a teacher as an example of how to jump hurdles.