Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Racing Lesson 2 + Hi Angie + OWWWWWIIIEEEE...

Okay so first and foremost:


So I coughed and one of the ribs displaced and now shifts every time I move, breathe, exist, ect.
So, dear sweet baby Jesus, yes, Ow.


Hi Angie, my former agent (Whose life I ruined by making her a jockey's agent, my bad), who I invited to the blogishness.

Third: RACING LESSON 2!! (Backstory Needed)

When I was a teen I did ride H/J a bit, not much but a bit.  All I know if that when I essentially ran away to join the circus, everything was exactly the opposite of what I learned riding show horses.  When I showed up at the track I literally would get on any horse that any person would put me on which is a completely terrible idea because there are horses that the best riders would not touch and that are ruled off the racetrack for their dangerous behavior.  You have no idea how many times I was told that I needed to carefully GET THE HELL OFF AND DO NOT BRING THE BEASTIE BACK EVER.  Alas I learned how to work with the most difficult horses...until I broke my first collarbone.  Shortly thereafter, while watching a major race with said collarbone issue, I approached a trainer I worshiped for an autograph and proceeded to gush and tell him I was going to be a jockey.  Said trainer thought I was fabulous and offered me a position, I was lucky, this guy was known for loving to train riders like he trained fantastic horses.  Literally, my first day I rode a beastie that was purchased for 3.1 million dollars, along with several others worth more than my entire extended family could compile in years.  I cried because I failed spectacularly and said trainer approached me, put his arm around me, and laughed "You are making this so much harder than it has to be, just let go..."

(Yes, I went there Angie, Teehee)

The thing that led me to be able to ride for the best trainers in the world, exercising horses that won Breeder's Cup races, ran in the Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races, to work for royalty and be trusted with animals worth more money than one person should have, is that I did in fact let go.  I trusted them, I had patience, I relaxed.  You drop their heads and they are all like "Oh, okay, we're cool".

Racehorses love or hate a fight.  Either way, they will fight back.  You avoid the battle and you will be fine...probably...sometimes they are just jerks.

In any case, the simpler the better.  Lead changes work off a natural system.  You fall into the turn and use the fall to shift them into the lead ideally.  You are essentially using the fact that they are off balance to force them into the lead.  There is no leg...forget leg, you can't use it in a race so in the morning you teach them habits like when I tug on your inside rein you fall into the lead or if I tug out you open up to the lead (depends on the trainer).  I repeat THERE IS NO LEG.  You use leg, that means go faster, nothing else.  There literally is a saying "It's all in the hands".  Going into a turn in a race I typically used the turn (At that speed that is usually all you need) and cocked my mount's head out so they fell into the lead at the elbow of the turn.  They shift in a bit so you have to be careful, because there might be another at your heels (and if you clip heels, OMFG BAD, ALL OF THE BAD).
The horses are also trained to only switch leads every quarter of a mile to save energy and time things so you have your best shot of winning.  Grey beastie struggles with unnecessary swaps, he pretty much is telling me "But I did not even use this lead until exhaustion!"

Then you have jockeys such as myself who know how to THROW a horse on a lead for an extra spurt (Dangerous, all of the dangerous...don't ever do that one).  You essentially throw a horse off balance enough by jerking his head to one side or another so that he is forced to fall into the lead or fall down.

I know...Bad. *More Shame*

BUT all racehorses will switch leads (Unless there is something wrong, they're smarter than that. General Rule: Don't ask more than 3 times in a race unless you want to go boom).  Just use the momentum and turns, that is all we teach them.

Grey Beastie doesn't get this "One lap, diagonal, switch leads" thing.  It makes no sense to him.


  1. I need more descriptions!! What do you mean "cock" their head out? Like... a little tug with the new inside rein? Thanks for the lesson. ;)

    1. You got your own post! YEAH! Lol. I started to reply here but omigosh, too many details....

  2. letting go is maybe the hardest thing for me - even just trotting around 20m circles lol...

  3. Yes, my primate brain thinks - oh shit, do MORE, hold MORE, try HARDER!!! Let go is the opposite of what my survival instinct & ego wants me to do ;)

  4. Honestly, I can gallop, but I don't like to. It's not that I'm scared, my fiancé would never put me on a dink, but I just never fell in love with it. It's probably the most physically and mentally challenging thing I've done (even if I wasn't freakishly tall, I never could have been a jockey). Love that you are doing all of these posts because people are going to be able to understand OTTBs better if they understand how they are trained. Letting go is one of the most important things they need to know.

  5. 'Letting go' is my biggest struggle when I gallop on the track, my brain starts trying to control all the things...which on a racehorse is essentially like herding cats. So I stick to getting them fit in the spring and training the babies, I can do that.

  6. It's so interesting reading about training on the track from your inside perspective! Thanks for sharing

  7. Fascinating, thanks so much for elaborating