There’s speculation as to when EXACTLY humans first decided it would be a good idea to hop on a horse, but it’s been a few thousand years at least. Since this initial discovery people have been using horses for a great variety of purposes, including (but not limited to) transport, warfare, farm work, entertainment, hunting, racing and leisure. Horses have been romanticized in Western cultural consciousness as near-mythic (or just plain mythic, in the case of unicorns) creatures who sit at that fascinating intersection of wild and potentially tame. Horse racing happens to be one of the oldest sports there is. Like wrestling, it is thought to have begun in Ancient Greece. It is also historically entwined with monetary exchange (bets, primarily) and the leisure time of the upper classes. The SVA Pictures Collection’s Sports - Horse Racing & Riding folder contains several dozen images related to all things sporty and equestrian, and is worth a look for anyone interested in the equine body in motion, racing and riding fashion, or a visual history of horsey sports/sporty horses.

Geo Vol. 2, July 1980
1953
1932
Mid-Week Pictorial

"Snowy Stallions Dance Like Ballerinas" National Geographic Society
Delton, 1883