How Horse Racing Films and Documentaries Can Improve Your English Skills

Have you ever met someone who speaks English perfectly and has never gone to an English class? – I have, and it is quite incredible. I have a friend who now works at a foreign office speaking only English and all his English writing and speaking skills came from watching movies. 

The idea is simple, you watch a movie in English but with subtitles just so you can dive deeper decipher words, and learn the language.

What kind of movie or documentary is perfect for learning English? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Just avoid the ones that dive into quantum computing and complex sci-fi scenes that might confuse you at the beginning.

A good idea is to stick to simple terminology used in movies such as horse racing films and documentaries. On top of that, these movies are exciting to watch, and if you are a horse racing fan you get to enjoy some thrilling content and learn English at the same time.

It may sound like a ridiculous idea at first glance, but bear with us. If you don’t know English make sure you pick some of the best horse racing movies and documentaries with native subtitles, and watch them for a couple of months.

You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn just from watching horse racing movies.


Why Horse Racing Movies?

There are a few reasons why horse racing movies are perfect for learning English. First and foremost, they are quite exciting to watch, which often leads to rewatching time and more learning. You wouldn’t want to watch something boring that will force you to sleep in the first 5 minutes.

Additionally, horse racing movies are great for building vocabulary and contextual understanding. They are rich in specialized vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. You’ll learn many terms like “jockey” “furlong,” “stewards’ inquiry” and “photo finish.”

Let’s take the “Secretariat” Documentary as an example. This is a documentary that tells the story of one of the world’s greatest racehorses, which will definitely glue you to the screen.

It is a documentary where you’ll fall deep into the rabbit hole leading to more exploring on your own.

On top of that, watching such movies will help you get contextual understanding. As a beginner who wants to learn English, having contextual understanding (using certain words in conversation to solidify the meaning of the entire sentence) is quite important.

Horse racing jargon is also quite simple, and most of these movies and documentaries have everyday words and avoid complex terms that might confuse you at the beginning.

As you probably already know, betting is also quite important in the Sport of Kings, so there is a lot of gamblers’ talk in these movies and documentaries. This can help you learn betting terms, and understand how the process goes from start to finish.

If you want to extend your knowledge and learn about how odds work in horse racing click here to read more.


Enhancing Listening Skills with Diverse Accents

Horse racing films often feature a mix of accents and dialects, which is excellent for improving your listening skills.

Take “Phar Lap“, an Australian film about the legendary Aussie racehorse. It exposes you to the Australian accent and colloquialisms​​.

Similarly, “Seabiscuit”, set during the Great Depression in America, offers insights into historical American English​.


Cultural Insights and Historical Context

Understanding cultural nuances and historical contexts is crucial in language learning. Horse racing films provide a snapshot of different eras and societies.

“The First Saturday in May” captures the essence of the Kentucky Derby, shedding light on American culture and traditions associated with horse racing​​. This not only makes you a more informed viewer but also enhances your ability to understand references and contexts in conversations.


Improving Pronunciation and Speaking Skills

By mimicking dialogue from these films, you can improve your pronunciation and intonation. “Ride Like a Girl”, which tells the story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, features authentic Australian English that can be great for practice​)​. Try repeating lines and mimicking the actors’ speech patterns. It’s like having a fun, interactive language lab.


Engaging with Emotional Storytelling

Horse racing films often have compelling storylines that engage viewers emotionally. This emotional engagement aids memory retention.

Films like “Secretariat” and “Seabiscuit” are not just about the races; they’re about overcoming odds, resilience, and triumph, which keeps you hooked and aids in learning​​. When you’re emotionally invested, you’re more likely to remember new words and phrases.

Tips for Using Horse Racing Films to Improve English

  • Watch with Subtitles: Start with subtitles in your native language, then switch to English subtitles, and eventually watch without any.
  • Note Down Vocabulary: Keep a notebook handy to jot down new words and phrases. Look them up and use them in sentences.
  • Practice Speaking: Imitate the dialogue. Pay attention to pronunciation and intonation.
  • Discuss the Films: Join forums or discussion groups about these films. Engaging in conversations about the plot and characters can reinforce learning.
  • Regular Repetition: Rewatch key scenes to reinforce learning and improve comprehension over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Keep up to date with your English blogs and downloadable tips and secrets from native English Teachers

Learn More