Chariot Racing: Still Alive Today?

David Sanderson Horses in History

Quite possibly the oldest equine sport, and believed to be the sport that started the ancient Olympic games, chariot racing was made famous in modern times by the 1959 epic film, Ben Hur. And even though this is a very old tradition – can you believe it’s still alive in some parts of the west?

In the 1920s in Wyoming, chariot racing was a way to pass the time during the winters. Local ranchers hooked their fastest horses up to sleds and raced through the snow at full speed. Over time chariot racing became more sophisticated and sleds were replaced with skis, and then with wheels (for snow-less races).

Here’s a video with a live example:

So why do people do it?

Just like ancient chariot racing, the sport is rife with danger, excitement, and adrenaline. Each team has two horses pulling a chariot, and two or three teams run a straight quarter-mile race in about 22 seconds, or at roughly 50 miles an hour.