It’s not too hard to guess: it’s gambling, where you bet on how long a horse will run. In practice, the horse is always betting on the outcome of a fight. The wager is a wager on how long a horse will ride, not on its ability. The difference is that in boxing: Your horse gets its pay when the fight ends. If you win your bet, you get your horse back. So you pay the horse, even if the horse doesn’t win the fight or doesn’t have a chance to do what you want. The money you put into the horse makes it a better horse; the outcome is all based on you betting for them. If you didn’t pay, you still lose. You win your bet, and the horse gives you your horse back and wins the fight.
A more precise term is “boxing a horse, bet on its ability” – which means to bet on how long it will run.
A horse has no natural ability to run for the whole race. If your horse doesn’t want to run, you won’t pay it and it wins. If your horse does want to run, and tries to outrun you, you have to bet on how long it will run. This is like racing someone in a straight race, you have to work a few tricks of the trade, but the best you can do is get to the halfway mark.
A dog is pretty well programmed in this concept. It knows how to race, how long it will run, how fast it will run, where it will race, on what kind of trail, when to pass, to attack, and on the rest of it’s “work.”
So you may find here an amusing definition: “boxing a horse, bet on its ability.” It’s easy to understand how a dog would do this. The most obvious solution is to allow your dog to run, you’ll only lose that much, you can make your bets based on ability, and it’ll never have been able to outrun you.
Let’s do some math: if I’m betting $1000 on my dog to win, I’ll lose $1000 if the dog doesn’t win, but have $1000 winnings if he does. So if I bet, for example, $2000 on an ability and have no luck, you’ll have $2000 winnings, and I’ll get exactly $2000 you lose, or $500 if the dog beats me.
This doesn’t account
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