It’s all about understanding the horse’s temperament. If you’ve ever been watching a horse race on TV, you’ll see that the horses are just constantly going. In the ring, they don’t run, they’re like statues. It’s all about how they react to the crowd in the building. The more they act like a statue, the more they win. But, in terms of speed and agility, they just don’t react like horses that are going to race. The speed of each horse is so varied. They are faster than most people think they are. If I have a good horse, I can make him fast. But, the more times he is around, the harder it is for him to win. So, that’s why you need an experienced trainer, like my son is. A very good trainer has to know how to work with his horses and make them act different.
You teach horses to race?
I taught them to go from trot to trot, from gallop to gallop. It wasn’t the usual trot to trot thing. I used to see the horses galloping very fast back and forth to their home turf (at New Jersey Racing Club in Newington). They wouldn’t really go all the way back and forth, so they would trot instead. It was just the speed of the trot, and you just see the power and speed.
What is the most common issue in running at the track and how does it affect the horse?
I would say horseback riding is probably the most common issue. A horse that doesn’t have the strength to carry his or her body and go along with the other horses will not race. But, if he doesn’t have the strong enough legs and muscle, and he isn’t strong enough to make the other horses race for him, then the horse will end up losing the race.
How about on horseback?
When you are on horseback, it’s a bit different. You don’t have to look so heavy with a rider. Just as a driver doesn’t need to look as heavy to get around like a horse, you don’t want to go at such a high top to keep your balance with the horse. You can’t get along with that kind of weight. He’ll have a better time going on horseback. That’s why a rider tends to be a lot more balanced on horseback. You look light.
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