Morale was already mentioned, but because it is such a unique and detailed feature, it earns a longer section devoted entirely to it.
Maximum morale is determined semi-randomly when a horse is born. However, a foal can have a chance of being born with higher maximum morale if it's dam has 50 or 100 racing points and/or if it's sire has 100 or 250 racing points. There are two numbers listed for each because the first level (50 for mares, 100 for stallions) gives a slight bonus and the second level (100 for mares, 250 for stallions) gives a higher boost.
To get your horse to race at it's best, it will need to have 100 maximum morale AND be at 100% of it's maximum morale. Morale that is 'only' as low as 90 could cause a 10+ point reduction in the performance of stakes quality horses! With that in mind, imagine what only 70 morale could do.
You can increase maximum morale by feeding Focus. This takes away energy, so it is usually easier to feed this before a horse actually begins racing - i.e. when a horse is a yearling. Most bred horses will need 2-4 feedings of Focus, while others may need several more than that. Most horse trader/custom horses may will usually only need 1 feeding. Focus may seem expensive, however, the increased gains from how much better your horses will perform will greatly outweigh the cost in the long run!
If you want to increase a horse's current morale (the % of their maximum they are using), they will need to do exercise. This is the ONLY way to increase a horse's current morale without using a special item, so if you don't train the horse until they reach max morale then they won't race well. In addition to exercising, there are some other factors that can have a negative or positive influence on current morale.
- Negative factors include:
- Running with equipment notes (minor)
- Running with surface or distance notes
- Running with energy or condition notes
- Running on mud if the horse dislikes mud (minor)
- Running in too low of a grade (based on PR)
- Positive factors include:
- Racing at favorite distance
- Training. See "Training Help" on your horse's exercise page.