Earlier, there were neither announcers nor replays in slow motion or any other way to identify the horses during the race. So horse racers adopted the idea of adorning horse racing dresses in bright colors along with matching accessories for their horses.
Way back then, the colors represented the social status of the riders. Over the time, horse owners and breeders promoted the use of their own colors for the uniforms, which came to be known as horse racing silks.
The custom of using horse racing silks in horse races can be traced back to the chariot races from the Roman times. Chariot drivers used capes in distinct colors in order to identify themselves. Since then the tradition has prevailed.
In the medieval times, it was not uncommon to find horsemen indulging in the practice of wearing colors when knights got involved in jousts. However, using multifarious racing colors as seen today, may have originated in the streets of Italy.
It is quite a possibility that traditional racing events held in Italian city communities during the medieval times may have paved the way for the popularity of racing silks.
During the 1700s' when horse racing gained popularity again and it became difficult to identify and judge the racing horses, the English Jockey Club reinforced the use of racing silks.
In fact, the Jockey Club made it mandatory for the owners to submit their racing silks, if they wanted their horses to participate. In the beginning, silks were simply silk jackets in different colors.
Today, these colorful racing silk are very much a part of any horse race and add to the grandeur of the pageantry. Though previously, racing silk were always made of silk, nowadays synthetics are also used.
The silks refer to the silk shirts and the silk covers that the riders use in the race. The multicolored silks are a crucial aspect of horse racing and symbolize loyalty and festivity.