A hurdle race in Britain and Ireland is a National Hunt horse race where the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles that are over three and a half feet high. They are typically made of a series of panels made of brush and are flexible. Hurdle races always have a minimum of eight hurdles and a minimum distance of two miles (3 km).
National Hunt horses that have the size and scope to jump higher than the height of a hurdle, use these types of races in order to gain experience of jumping obstacles so they can later be sent to jump bigger obstacles called fences. Hurdle races tend to be run at a faster pace than Chases as the height of the hurdle is much lower than a chasing fence. The best hurdlers have a low and efficient style of jumping, which means they do not lose much momentum when they jump.
Australian hurdle races are now conducted over wooden fences which provide some flexibility when jumped. In Victoria these jumps consist of portable hurdles in which the natural brush has been replaced by bright yellow soft synthetic brush. Hurdle races are usually run over a minimum distance of 2,800 metres. Victoria and South Australia are the only two states in Australia that conduct jumping races.