Change is something that should be welcomed, as we have learned from the development that technology has rapidly experienced in the past 40 years. Some things have changed immensely, and some have remained exactly the same. The case is the same with us – we still like to enjoy our favorite hobbies, we still like the comfort of our homes and the hectic life that happens beyond its doors. We have seen our computers, phones, TV sets, and even cars change, but will every area of our lives be subject to it? VR is one of the technologies that have emerged in the past couple of years, and it seems to have taken the world by storm. Many schools incorporate VR into their teaching, and many athletes use it to perfect their playing, but can VR be applied to horse racing?

What is VR?

VR stands for virtual reality, and it refers to the technology that enables us to seize our senses and enter a virtual world of our own. Even though it seems like something out of a science-fiction novel, it is fairly simple to perform, as it only requires the use of a headset that covers the eyes and ears. The effects are so convincing that it is often recommended that you sit down while doing it to avoid stumbling. It has already found a great application in sports training.

VR in sports

When it comes to sports, VR has a huge application, especially in sports such as golf, athletics, football, basketball, and so on. The technology is primarily used to assess the trajectories of objects. However, there are also ways of employing this technique when it comes to individual athletes – it enables them to track their movements and precisely analyze their posture and technique, in the hopes of optimizing their performance in their next game. Furthermore, virtual reality can be used to play out game simulations, in order to assess game tactics and strategies. However, all of these play well with team sports, as well with sports that use some kind of object. But what is the case when it comes to horse racing? Can VR be successfully applied there?

Virtual horse racing

Unfortunately, there is no way for virtual reality to be applied to practicing horse racing as it has been done in other sports. The bond between the jockey and the horse is one that cannot be summed up in words – the trust, the shared feelings of excitement, and being finely attuned to one another is something that can only be achieved through extensive training and practice, and it takes years of being close to these majestic animals before one can try riding them in a race. However, this does not imply that VR cannot at all be employed – it is just not of much use for the sport. The grand majority of horse racing fans will never have the opportunity to race a horse, and virtual reality can be successfully used to bring the experience to anyone. You can find recorded races from the perspective of the jockey, with special cameras being attached to their helmets, which recorded races in crystal-clear 3D, allowing the users to view every aspect of the race – the track, the horse, and even the opponents and their horses at their side. Even though you cannot do anything to change the outcome of the race, it is as close as most people get to racing a real horse.

By Sam