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.

Three jockeys ride horses on a track in dense fog.
Geo Vol. 2, July 1980
Three images of a jockey riding a horse on a track as seen from the side.
1953
A horse falls down mid-race, its jockey rolls on the ground. The other horses in the race continue onward.
1932
Portrait of a woman with her horse.
Mid-Week Pictorial
Three jockeys riding horses in a race. A crowd watches in the stands behind.
View of a horse race from the stands.
Four white stallions ridden by jockeys wearing burgundy riding uniforms demonstrate various tricks. A small crowd observes.
"Snowy Stallions Dance Like Ballerinas" National Geographic Society
An instruction guide to riding sidesaddle. Images feature a woman wearing a suit and a bowler hat.
A woman rider riding sidesaddle and wearing a bowler hat holds the reigns of a dark horse.
Delton, 1883
Horses and jockeys race while on a parallel track a yellow car drives alongside the race. A crowd observes from the center of the track.
A jockey and horse in profile on a racing track, standing still.
A close-up of a jockey near a large wheel.
An illustration of a jockey sitting on a small open carriage behind a horse.
Four people sit on top of horses standing in a forest clearing.
A frontal view of horses and jockeys mid-race.