What Happens During a Horse Race?

Horse racing is a thrilling sport that has been part of our culture for centuries. But like many other entertainment industries, it is not without its critics, who point to the exploitation and abuse of animals and the crookedness of some of its players. While it is impossible to ignore these pitfalls, the industry can begin to address them by introducing an adequately funded wraparound aftercare system for all of its ex-racehorses.

During a horse race, horses are ridden by human jockeys who have the responsibility of keeping their mounts under control and safely on the course. A jockey wears a helmet, often with visor, and protective pads over the knees, shins, ankles, and thighs. A rider is also equipped with a whip that can be used to encourage or lash their rivals during the minute and a half of brutal battle. Each competitor is dressed in the colorful silks of their district, making them easy to spot among the swirling blur of hooves and stripes.

The hypnotic sound of the pack thundering by as they run into the last of the sunset can be heard from a grandstand or the bleachers. A small group of fans shifts from cheering to shrieking as a favorite tries to edge out their competition. It could be War of Will hugging the inside, or the stout, chestnut-colored mares Mongolian Groom and McKinzie.

A patrol judge monitors the progress of each race from different vantage points around the track. They have a special pair of binoculars to help them identify the competitors. The patrol judges then relay their observations to the stewards, who decide whether to disqualify a jockey or horse.

In the early 1800’s the popularity of short races waned and a larger field was needed to produce more open events. A series of rules were developed based on age, sex, birthplace and previous performance to determine eligibility. These rules were expanded to include additional requirements for the entrants and to establish minimum training requirements.

The clubhouse turn is a term for the horse’s final stretch into the finish line, which is usually a left-handed curve. A horse that reaches this turn more quickly than their rivals is considered to be closing well. A runner who has a “good trip” had an even or better than expected course, not requiring any unusually difficult obstacles to overcome. A horse with a bad trip would have had trouble along the way, such as getting wide or being boxed in by other runners. Blinkers are equipment worn to restrict a horse’s vision on the sides to diminish distraction and focus their attention on the road ahead. They are often placed over the eyes of a horse that is nervous or sweaty. This is a common practice for races with a large crowd. Blinkers can be dangerous if not properly fitted, or if the horse is not used to wearing them. A blinker can also interfere with the horse’s breathing.

By archplusdesign
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