Our mission

"I believe racehorses deserve more credit — that they will always try for us and, if they don't, there is a reason. It is my mission as the trainer always to find that reason for why they are not trying; to fix it and then to allow that horse to try for us again. I strongly believe that there is no such horse as an ungenuine one. The focus of my approach is on preventing injury."

— Simon Earle


An overview

We treat each horse that we train as an individual within the framework of our training methods. We believe that our horses do better when they are able to live and behave as naturally as possible, which means that they are turned out for the majority of the day with constant access to forage. We work with an excellent equine nutritionist to ensure that each horse's diet is tailored for the type of training it is undertaking. A high percentage of racehorses in training suffer from some form of gastric ulceration, and we have found that having access to pasture turnout and not being confined to stables, combined with good nutritional management, is key to avoiding this problem.

Together with this, we spend a great deal of time schooling our National Hunt horses, doing grid work and conditioning them to be better balanced and improve their jumping. We have the luxury of a specially designed loose school in the centre of our covered eight-horse horsewalker as well as the standout one-mile gallop that rises more than 220ft, which enable us to fine-tune our horses' fitness so that they arrive at the racecourse in peak condition.

In 2005, I decided to train and run all my horses without shoes because I believed that the shoes were causing or contributing to injuries. None of the horses that I have trained or run without shoes since has suffered a tendon injury, and we have had success and winners under rides by top jockeys such as Sir AP McCoy, Richard Johnson and Andrew Thornton, among others.

We, as participants in the sport of racing, working alongside our ruling body, must continue to do everything possible to safeguard the welfare of our equine athletes and jockeys. Racing must evolve and keep pace with the expectations of modern life. This is what we hope to do here at Simon Earle Racing.


Training methods

Our training approach is centred on the horse for several key reasons, with the ultimate aim of preventing and avoiding many of the common injuries, ailments and stress-related problems that are frequently associated with racehorses in training.

  • Individual management and health focus
  • More pasture time
  • More precise training and schooling
  • Nutritional focus
  • More social interaction
  • Training and racing without shoes
Individual management and health focus
  • Every racehorse at Simon Earle Racing is recognised as being a different and unique individual.

  • As such, the training approach is tailored accordingly, with a particular focus on healthy, happy, pain-free horses.
More pasture time
  • Every racehorse is turned out, even when in full training, for the majority of the day with less time spent in the stable.
More precise training and schooling
  • All racehorses, regardless of being Flat or National Hunt, receive a better warm-up programme and more conditioning work in their varied training regime.

  • All National Hunt horses receive grid work training and loose schooling over jumps.
Nutritional focus
  • Every racehorse, when in the stable, is able to access forage for 24hrs a day and receives ad-lib steamed hay.

  • Each racehorse has an individually tailored diet for the type of exercise undertaken.
More social interaction
  • Every racehorse is turned out in a managed herd, rather than in individual, small paddocks.

  • The horses spend more time over extended periods socialising and interacting with one another.
Training and racing without shoes
  • Where possible, and within the framework of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) rules, every horse is trained and raced without horse shoes.

  • Under the BHA rules, this is currently possible for those racehorses racing over hurdles and steeplechases; and on the flat for those racehorses racing on the all-weather. For flat racehorses racing on the turf, horse shoes must be worn.

Health benefits

Our horse-centred approach drives significant health benefits with a focus on preventing injuries:

  • Less stress and happier, more relaxed horses
  • Fewer gastric ulcers
  • Fewer fallers
  • Less respiratory disease
  • Fewer injuries
  • Fewer back issues
Less stress and happier, more relaxed horses
  • Stress in the racehorse is a major issue that can lead to negative effects, including weight loss, poor performance and slow healing.
  • Maximising turnout, allowing social interaction and access to forage all helps prevent stress.
  • Conditioning the racehorse with appropriate, consistent training and exercise develops its fitness and prevents overuse injuries.
  • Managing the horse as an individual and understanding its behaviour is key.
  • None of the horses that Simon trains exhibits signs of box weaving, box walking, crib-biting or wind-sucking.
  • Many of the horses that arrive to the yard with these stress signs, quickly stop them.
Fewer gastric ulcers
  • 80-100% of racehorses in training suffer from some form of gastric ulceration and those racehorses that have gastric ulcers have a reduced time to fatique, stride length and maximal oxygen consumption. 
  • Pasture turnout and not being confined to stables together with good nutritional management is essential to the prevention of gastric ulcers.
  • Here at Simon Earle Racing we feed the racehorses their hard feed often, using a high fibre, low starch and low sugar diet. As well as this, all horses receive a performance balancer and vegetable oil.
  • Also key is not being fasted before exercise (and before going racing) and lowering gastric acid production by allowing all the horses continued access to forage.
Fewer fallers
  • Our National Hunt racehorses are given better schooling and grid work. This teaches them to get themselves out of trouble when jumping, to learn to trust themselves and make their mistakes here at home and not on the racecourse.
  • Better conditioning work, including lunging, allows the racehorses to be better balanced and more even on their leads.
  • In his whole training career, Simon has had over 550 runners and just one fatality on the racecourse, which is below industry average
  • As of the 4th July 2019, we have had one faller in 187 runs over jumps. This is 0.53% compared with an industry average of 2.90%.
Less respiratory disease
  • Around 30% of racehorses are unable to race due to inflammatory airway disease (IAD).
  • Evidence also shows that feeding from the floor mimics the horse's natural habitat and reduces instances of IAD.
  • Here at Simon Earle Racing, all horses are fed from the floor and maximising turnout allows a horse's lungs to drain naturally.
  • Less time spent in the stable also equates to less exposure to dust and allergens.
  • Steaming hay reduces the incidence of horses developing IAD by 63% and here at Simon Earle Racing we steam all our meadow hay using a Haygain steamer.
Fewer injuries
  • Tendon injury is one of the most frequent causes of lameness in thoroughbred racehorses. There is also a high re-injury rate of between 23-67%, with 19-70% of racehorses ultimately retired due to the original or subsequent re-injury. In a study in Japan, 70% of those racehorses that sustained a tendon injury failed to return to previous level of performance in any race.
  • Here at Simon Earle Racing, we have had just one tendon injury from 341 runs by 38 horses (and that racehorse was wearing shoes).
  • None of those racehorses that has come to Simon with a previous injury has suffered a re-injury.
  • Simon has a track record of training horses with previous tendon injuries — 80% improving on previous form.
  • In particular, we find that injury rates are low here due to a particular focus on better foot angles:
    • This is because we know that tendon injury is affected by the angle of the foot. Horses that are long in the toe have an increase in stress on their tendons and joints. 
    • We try to prevent collapsed (under-run) heels, which is a common problem in the thoroughbred with prolonged shoeing.
    • The frog of the horse's foot has to be weight bearing to dissipate impact energy as intended.
    • Poor foot angles can be associated with an increased risk of musculoskeletal injury as they change biomechanics and load distribution.
Fewer back issues
  • Here at Simon Earle Racing, attention is paid to recognising pain.
  • A natural grazing behaviour helps with the horse's posture. When stabled, all horses are fed and watered from the floor.
  • Specialised conditioning work builds up muscle and top-line, which helps to support the spine.
  • More riderless exercise, in particular lunging, and saddles that fit each individual horse help with back issues and managing those racehorses with diagnosed back issues.

Improved welfare = Improved performance

We believe that implementing high levels of welfare for our horses produces better performances, and it is this ethos that underpins our training methods.