Little is known about the types of surfaces used during training of Thoroughbred racehorses or methods of exercise used in addition to ridden track-work. Our aims were to (1) describe the types of surfaces used in the training of Thoroughbred racehorses and to (2) identify alternative approaches used to exercise horses in addition to, or in place of, ridden overground track-work. Information regarding surface and alternative exercise methods was collected as part of an in-person survey of training practices of 66 registered Thoroughbred trainers in Victoria, Australia. Sand and synthetic surfaces were used by 97% and 36% of trainers respectively for slow-workouts, with galloping on turf training tracks used in training regimens by 82% and synthetic by 58% of trainers. Of those trainers utilising turf tracks, only 34% of gallop training was completed on turf despite turf being the predominant racing surface. Almost 90% of trainers used alternatives to ridden exercise. There is substantial variation in training surface used and alternative types of exercise undertaken by Victorian trainers. Future research should focus on how such practices relate to injury risk, particularly as it relates to the importance of musculoskeletal adaptation to specific race-day surfaces.
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