Understanding Horse Racing Gaits

Standardbreds Pace, or Trot; Thoroughbreds Canter, Run, or Gallop. In his time, the pacer Dan Patch was the fairest of them all, losing only two heats in his lifetime, and never losing a race. He was born fast, and he paced lights out in the late 1890s and the early 1900s. But like all pacers, trotters, and Thoroughbred runners, Dan Patch had to be taught to maintain his gait for a certain length of time, and to maintain a desired speed, easy, then faster and faster, around a race track. He was a quick learner and a great competitor.

What Is A Pacing Gait? Pacing is generally the faster of the two Standardbred gaits. Pacers have a lateral motion, that is they extend their right front and right rear legs at the same time in the same direction. That motion is followed by extension of the opposite side of their bodies – left front and left rear legs reaching forward at the same time.

Pacers have been referred to as “sidewheelers” because their gait, moving one side of the body, then the other, creates a lilting, rocking motion, one side to the other and back again. Pacers are trained to maintain their gait to compete in their races, usually for a mile on a mile track, or for two trips around a half mile track. To aid them, pacers wear hobbles, or leather (or plastic) straps that fit loosely around the upper portion of the legs. Leather strips attach the hobbles on the two legs that move at the same time, thus teaching the pacer to keep his gait.

Horse race betting in Australia

Horse race betting in Australia

Horse race betting in Australia dates back in time, and it is among the top three leading thoroughbred racing countries in the world. The most important racing tournament is the Melbourne Cup, which is popular not only in Australia, but also all over the world. Another important race is the Victoria Derby, which is held in the beginning of Melbourne Cup week. Other races include Crown Oaks and Caulfield Cup.

There are two main types of horse race bets: Pari-mutuel, and Fixed odds bets. They are usually done in physical areas or online ones like casinoplacard. Pari-mutuel is the most common type of betting around the world. In this type of betting, all the money in the betting pool is taken into account and the payout odds are determined when the house’s cut is removed. In pari-mutuel betting, the final payout is not set until the betting pool is closed. However, this is not so in fixed odds betting. The payout in this case is agreed upon at the time of betting, and this does not change once the pool is closed.

There are many types of horse racing bets. The most common bet is to place a wager on the horse you think will win, or have a specific place in the race. These bets are known as a Win Only bet and a Place bet respectively. An Each Way bet is one in which you can bet on both the winning, and place in race. The Trifecta bet is one in which you bet on the horses that are speculated to be placed in the first three positions, and a Quinella bet is one in which you bet for first, and second place only.

Horse race bets can easily be placed through online racebooks. Most of the online racebooks follow the fixed odds betting system, but you can also find ones, which follow pari-mutuel betting. We are offering extensive information about these racebooks, which is a good guideline for choosing a reliable and reputed racebook. Online horse race betting is easy and convenient, but is important not to bet your money through unreliable sources.

Betting on Horses

Betting on horses

Horse racing has been a popular sport throughout history. It is an equestrian sport, which has been associated with gambling since it was originated. It is also known as the sport for kings. In the past, Arabian and Quarter horses were used for horse races, but nowadays most of the racing takes place between thoroughbred horses.

Horse racing is legal in most countries of the world, and has been sanctioned by the governments. This is because it is a major part of the economy, and it is important to regulate a sport, which generates money for the state. A major part of the importance of this sport is related to the gambling money that is used for horse race betting every year.

There are many important horse-racing tournaments in the world. Some of the major horse racing countries of the world are the US, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, and Great Britain among others. The richest horse race in the world is the Dubai World Cup, which has a prize of 6 million dollars. However, there is no pari-mutuel betting in the UAE as gambling is illegal.

In the United States, horse race bets date back to 1665. It gained immense popularity when the Triple Crown race was introduced. This is a series of three races known as the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Most of the racing in the US is thoroughbred and other breeds such as Arabian horses are found on a limited basis. The most common thoroughbred race in this region is the flat race in which the track is oval is shape, and speed and stamina are judged.

Training Tips

Training Tips

Basics on the ground

Make it easy for your horse to choose to do the right thing, and make it difficult for him to misbehave. Make this your mindset – and always be thinking of ways to apply this as you handle your horse. YOU ARE A TRAINER if you handle a horse. For better or worse, you are training him to react to you.

If you don’t have the time to handle him correctly – leave him in the pasture. Rushing a young or new horse and pushing them beyond what they are prepared for calls for an expert – if you are an expert go ahead. An expert can read the horse and solve the problem or avoid it before it happens in many cases. If you push to square 3 and get in trouble back up to square 2 and let him complete a task for you and do it well.

The horse is bigger and stronger than you are. So don’t plan on getting into a physical battle – you’ll probably loose and if you win, you’ll hurt so bad you’ll regret the whole encounter, plus you get angry and make mistakes that may cause a bigger problem in the future. In most cases you need to figure out
what the behavior problem is, why the horse is doing it, and the easiest way to change his mind. He has the muscle – you have the brain, use your strong point. Also, ask someone who works horses often and whose horses behave well and you admire, they will have some answers for you. Occasionally you may end up in a physical struggle. If possible end it as quietly as possible. Remember it’s better to loose and take the problem on another day than to get injured.

Use common sense working around a horse. A kick can kill – never walk behind, or nearthe rear of a horse you are not familiar with. Never surprise a horse even if it is gentle and used to you- a surprise can bring a kick. Ifmyou are working on him, when you move to the rear, start with your hand on his neck and run it softly to his hind quarters speaking to him as you do. If you are not real familiar with the horse, you need to watch his eyes, ears , and body as you do this to see if he is comfortable with you. Remember a horse can kick forward towards his shoulders as well as backward. He can also swing toward you as he kicks forward, so you can be in range of a kick before you know it. When handling your horse around other horses, be aware that a horse may kick at another horse and you might be in the middle. Sometimes a horse that would never kick when ridden will do so when you are of their back.

When you stand in front of your horse, be aware that he can strike out with his front foot. Some horses do this because they are mean, some because they are anxious, some because they have been fed treats and they are begging. If your horse shows any thoughts of pawing at you, keep a short crop in hand, and as soon as he just starts to paw, crack him on his leg. In all cases, start with as little force as necessary and ratchet it up until the horse respond properly. To start with too much force is to create a whole new problem. Some horses are very soft to deal with and some are very pushy and bracey. Read your horse and let him decide what is necessary.

If you stall your horse – always make him back away and allow you entry and exit. A horse that tries to rush and push through a gait or door is a danger. Again a crop works good – or a quick kick to the chest will work. I try to never smack a horse in the face or head.

Do not feed treats as a habit – most horses become obnoxious and few people are good enough and consistent enough with their horses to hand feed treats and maintain a well behaved horse. If you must give a treat – feed it from a bucket as a rule. The rare hand fed treat to a horse is not a big deal – it’s a horse that expects and demands his treat that becomes the problem. Do not allow your horse to come up and steal food from a bucket uninvited, nor allow them to grab hay you are carrying. These are all signs of disrespect, and a horse that doesn’t respect you on the ground will not trust your leadership in the moment of trouble. He knows that he can push you around, so if something scares him, he figures you aren’t capable of dealing with it either!

If you have a problem behavior you need to correct – set aside an entire afternoon and do the job right. If your horse won’t load, or cross water, whatever, most people just say it’s a proble mand fight the battle each time they need to accomplish the task. Each fight that becomes a battle strengthens the horses resistance. Most horses will accept anything given the time and proper training. So set aside the time – go into it with a GOOD plan, and tell yourself that when you get upset, you will take a break. The average horse will usually give in and voluntarily accomplish the ask in about 45 minutes the first
time and then you need to repeat it until it becomes simple. The more aggressive and pushy you become, the more bracey the horse will become.Problems on the ground or in the saddle – think on it. Analyze when

Problems on the ground or in the saddle – think on it. Analyze when and why it happens. Try to think with a horse type mindset.

The Study of Horse Psychology

The Study of Horse Psychology

Practical equine psychology refers to the practical study of horse psychology. Because horses, unlike domestic animals like cats and dogs, have never formed a voluntary symbiotic relationship with their human keepers their study is specialized.

Horses are prey animals that run in herds, and have a highly developed flight instinct in order to avoid becoming food for predators. Nonetheless, because their physiology is peculiarly suited to the accomplishment of a number of human-related jobs and entertainments, humans have domesticated horses and pressed them into service for centuries.

The clearest and most fundamental pecking-order relationship in horse herds is that between mare and foal. Foals and young horses display subservience and a “don’t hurt me – I’m harmless” message to other members of the herd by drawing the corners of their mouth back and open – creating an almost “keyhole” effect at the corners of the mouth, chewing dramatically, and lowering their head. Mares exhibit this same behavior (among others) to signal acquiescence to a breeding stallion.

In mature horses, a less dramatic chewing motion, lowered head, and cautious approaching walk signals simple acquiescence. A mare will discipline and reassert her dominance over a misbehaving foal by raising her head and tail, and moving aggressively toward it. If it fails to retreat, she may make eye contact as a further threat, bite it at the rump or withers, or even resort to a mild kick. She will keep the foal at a distance and keep it moving away with these actions until it offers to return meekly with lowered head and chewing motions, indicating submission. She will in turn accept the contrite foal with her own lowered head, turning sideways, and perhaps engaging in mutual grooming. The pecking order is firmly established when she moves slowly away and the foal follows at her shoulder no matter which way she turns. Monty Roberts calls this point in the relationship “join up.”

A senior mare or “herd mare” will assert her dominance over the other mares in the herd in much the same way.


The history of domestication of the horse

The history of domestication of the horse

There are a number of theories regarding the domestication of the horse. Although horses began appearing in cave art as early as 30,000 BCE, these were truly wild horses, and were probably hunted for meat; how and when they became domesticated is less clear.

Older theories (pre-1999)

Before the common use of DNA in such research, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists had to content themselves with studying features of existing animals and comparing them to preserved specimens from the past–frozen remains, other preserved remains, and fossils. For horses, the data led to the hypothesis that horses were domesticated in one small area, perhaps around 4600 BCE on the grassland steppes of Eurasia.

Theories from DNA evidence

More recently, a comparative study of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from living and fossil horses suggests that horses were domesticated in many places, at many times.

Evolutionary biologists at Uppsala University in Sweden studied mtDNA from 191 pedigree horses (Vil et al., 2001), including primitive English and Swedish animals and one breed derived from animals imported to Iceland by the Vikings. They also obtained DNA samples from a Przewalski’s horse, a small Mongolian equine thought by some to be a sister species to the original wild horses. They compared these samples with fossil DNA from leg bones of horses that have been preserved in the Alaskan permafrost for more than 12,000 years, and with other samples from 1000- to 2000-year-old archaeological sites in southern Sweden and Estonia.

The mtDMA analysis showed that the modern horses had almost as much genetic variation as samples of fossil horses. By contrast, similar mtDNA analyses had shown that modern individuals from cattle, sheep, water buffalo, and pig breeds are much less genetically diverse than their ancient forbears. This would suggest that horses, unlike the other domestic animals studied, had ancestors in many places, implying that domestication occurred in many areas.

Investigations by professor Hans Ellegren et al., Sweden, publicated i Nature Genetics 2004 has revealed that all horses, Big and small, probably descend from one single stallion. These investigations were performed on chromosome Y. On the other hand similar investigations showed that there are at least a hundred different maternal ancestors. The conclusion ought to be that mankind early understood the importance of breeding good stallions since they can produce much more foals than a mare can. This fact is even today of big importance in breeding.

The Equivocal evidence: When and Where domestication occurred

The when is also difficult to establish, and here again there seem to be several camps. One claim is that evidence at several sites shows equine tooth wear that only could appear from the friction of a bit against the molars. Sites incluke Dereivka, a Ukrainian settlement site (circa 4500-3500 BCE), and the Botai culture, dated 3500-3000 BCE in the northern steppes of Kazkhstan, east of the Ishim River. One idea is that the horses with bit wear were part of the religion, and were kept as objects of veneration; this is clearly the beginning of domestication. Another idea is that there would be a large population of equines in the area; some would be domesticated and others would be still-wild. The domesticated individuals would be used to hunt the wild individuals; only the domesticated individuals would show bit wear.

Another camp resists this evidence because there’s no proof that the horses were actually domesticated, as opposed to merely tamed. Marsha A. Levine, one of the foremost researchers in this field, points out that traditional peoples (aboriginal hunter-gatherers and horticulturists) world-wide tame individuals from wild species, typically by hand-rearing infants whose parents have been killed. A species cannot be said to be truly domesticated until it will reliably breed in captivity.

Levine’s model of horse domestication starts with individual near-infant horses (foals) being captured as their mothers were slaughtered for meat. Foals are relatively small and easy to handle. Horses, being herd animals, need companionship to thrive, and the modern data show that foals can and will bond to other domestic animals to meet their intimacy needs. Levine envisions horses being made into pets happening repeatedly over time, until the great discovery that these pets could be put to work.

The horse may have been domesticated in one isolated locale 4500 BCE. But as Levine points out, the unequivocal date of domestication and use as a means of transport is circa 2000 BC, the Sintashta chariot burials. However, shortly thereafter the expansion of the domestic horse throughout Europe was little short of explosive. In the space of possibly 500 years, there is evidence of horse-pulled chariots in Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. By another 500 years, the horse-pulled chariot had spread to China.

What came first, riding or driving?

The real question for a given time and locale is: which came first, domestication of the horse or the invention of the wheel?

Ancient or early-domesticated horses were relatively small by modern standards, perhaps 12.2 to 14.2 hands high (see horse for explanation of hands) or 1.27 to 1.47 meters, measured at the shoulder. The small stature of these horses, compared to modern riding horses of 15.2 to 17.2 hh (1.6 to 1.8 meters), lead theorists to believe the ancient horses were too small to be ridden and so must have been driven.

However, this does not necessarily tarry with the strength of equivalent modern breeds; for example Fell ponies, believed to be descended from Roman cavalry horses, are comfortably able to carry fully grown adults (although with rather limited ground clearance) at an average height of 13.2 hands.

Undoubtedly, our understanding of early horse domestication will continue to evolve, and continue to be hotly debated.

Horses bred and raised in South Texas

Horses bred and raised in South Texas

My family settled along the Texas border to Mexico in 1883.  I grew up in Del Rio, Texas, where my dad’s family ranched in Val Verde and Edwards counties and my mom’s family ranched in Kinney county.  Ranching in this part of the country calls for tough, athletic, and physically capable horses.  I have been horseback my whole life, and that is all I have ever known.

Some of our bloodlines trace back to the original bloodlines used by my grandfather, Dink Wardlaw.  He and his brother, Walt, began their own horse breeding operation to stock the family ranches.  They were pioneers in the Quarter Horse industry, starting Wardlaw Brothers Quarter Horses in the late 1940’s.  They were known for producing top-quality ranch and performance horses.  They bred athletic performance horses, from racehorses, to roping horses, to great horses for ranch use.  Their horses raced at all the Texas tracks, and also raced in California and Florida.  Riding a Wardlaw Bros. horse at the NFR, Jim Bob Altizer won the World Champion Calf Roping in 1959.  The Wardlaw Brothers Quarter Horse operation was the 2nd largest Quarter Horse operation in the U.S. during the 1950’s!

Both sides of my family have horses in their blood.  My other grandfather, Joe Kerr, enjoyed showing horses as a hobby, especially cutting.  He was fortunate to land upon a young mare named Annie Glo, which he loved dearly.  He eventually sold her because he knew he couldn’t show her to her full potential, while running the family ranch in West Texas, so far from the big shows.  Annie Glo went on to become the first mare inducted in the Cutting Horse Hall of Fame.

I’m very proud of my heritage, and like both of my grandfathers, really enjoy seeing my horses excelling in the events for which they were bred.  Since my husband team ropes, I see the most progress in that field.  He is presently roping at the PRCA rodeos on two of my colts.  It is so exciting for me to see them being successful.  He obviously loves roping on them, because he has more of my babies in training!

My herd of horses include some of the top foundation bloodlines with exceptional ability to perform for any event.  You will find our horses are athletic, great minded, cow smart, good looking, and built to hold up physically.  As a young girl, I was always lucky to be mounted on well-bred, talented horses.  I have made every effort to go back to the bloodlines I knew were dependable.

  • Mr Pretty Poco is our primary stud.  His nickname is “Buck” and he has a very sweet demeanor.  He is the most gelding-like stud I’ve ever seen!   His beauty and demeanor are definitely bred into his babies!
  • Claytons Yellow Bear is our “Romeo!”  We might call him Romeo, but he is one tough stud.  Not only is he pretty, but he will go forever and a day!
  • Haidas Hillbilly, our newest stud, is presently being shown.  We will have colts out of him next year.
  • My Broodmares:  Doc O’Lena, Dual Pep, Freckles Playboy, War Bond Leo, Doc Bar, and many more.

Our breeding program here at Alacrán Quarter Horses is producing exceptional foals that will make the perfect horse for you, for any event and any level!

Releasing the Shoe

Releasing the Shoe

It does not matter if you have the best footwork in the league. It does not matter if you have perfect balance and the eyesight of an eagle. If you cannot release the horseshoe properly you will not be scoring any points.

During your entire swing you should have a firm grip on the horseshoe. You do not want it too loose as this can lead to letting go unexpectedly, or too much motion of the horseshoe while swinging. If you hold it too tight, you will end up jerking the horseshoe upon release. What you are looking for is a balanced, flexible, grip on the horseshoe. This will allow you to have more of a fine tuned control with your fingertips. Since your fingertips are really the only things holding onto the horseshoe they play a crucial role in the flight and rotation.

Before starting your swing you should be holding up the horseshoe and aiming at the stake on the opposite side. It is important to release the horseshoe at that same point. For example, if you are aiming with the horseshoe at a height of your nose then you do not want to release the horseshoe at your chin. The aiming point and exit point of the horseshoe should always be the same. This way your body will adjust and begin to “learn” your throw. You will also keep much more consistency with all of your throws.

When releasing the horseshoe, your rotation is dependent on your grip. As stated earlier, the fingertips control your turn or rotation. Your index finger has the most control over the horseshoe because it is in contact with it longer than your other fingers. As you release the horseshoe, make sure that the shoe is in a horizontal position. Your fingers are going to have to support the weight of the horseshoe here to keep it from hanging down towards the ground. This is something that will just take practice to get used to. During the release you want the horseshoe to have a nice smooth exit. You want to avoid any drag against your fingers as much as possible. A nice smooth release will give your horseshoe a beautiful loft and horizontal positioning in the air. This will allow you to land more horseshoes flat around the stake.

Physical Therapy and Massage

Physical Therapy and Massage

Horses are companion animals, workers and athletes. As such, they suffer from many of the same soft tissue damage afflicting humans. When disaster strikes, people call the Veterinarian. In some instances, in addition to conventional treatment, a vet may recommend therapeutic massage.

Veterinary Massage is a form of physical therapy and massage. In application to horse, it may be called Equine Massage. It is a relatively new field of massage therapy. There are now various types and schools. You can visit such sites on Equitouch, Tellington Touch, Equinergy, In Hand Equine Massage and Total Equine Massage.

There are now schools that only teach Equine Massage. There is also the Equine Sports Massage Association.

There are various approaches to Equine Massage Therapy. Many base themselves on various techniques derived from Classic or Swedish Massage Therapy. Some combine the 5-basic techniques of Swedish Massage Therapy with other New Age or modern innovations. As a result, Equine Massage Therapy is a hybrid.

The most basic type of Equine Massage Therapy is Equine Sports Massage. Sports Massage is a variation and expansion of Swedish Massage. It include the 5 techniques of Effleurage, Petrissage, Tapotement, Frictions and Vibration. The addition to Sports Massage is Stretching and Range of Motion, and 2 unique techniques. These are Rhythmic Compressions and Active Assistive Release.

Equine Sports Massage is for racehorses and other high performance equine. It is non-invasive. It uses massage as a technique and a tool to help with the overall performance and maintenance of the animal. The techniques include specific categories. You have pre-race and post-race massage. A massage practitioner also employs Equine Massage for treatment, training and maintenance practices. This is the same for Sports Massage for human athletes.

As with Human Sports Massage, Equine Sports Massage utilizes specific techniques for the different settings and times of massage. A practitioner massages the horse on a regular basis to maintain the health of the animal. At the same time, therapeutic massage acts as a diagnostic or warning system. It detects various changes in the muscles, tendons and skeletal structure. A massage can note possible problems and take preventative measures. It is the reason why many trainers arrange for a horse massage before and after a training exercise.

Massage can also act as a measure to enhance performance before the race. A massage prior to a racing event can help stimulate the horse to maximize its physical and mental performance. A massage following the event detects any possible problems, relieves tension and prevents muscle fatigue.

Treatment Massage is a way to help speed up the healing process. Combining massage with medical treatment helps to decease recovery time from injury. It relaxes the horse, eases spasm, reduces pain and increases the flow of blood and lymph circulation.

There are other forms of Equine Massage besides Equine Sport Massage. Some are holistic; others are not. Some achieve the same effects as Equine Sports Massage but focus on achieving a bonding between rider and horse. On one hand, the purpose is to help heal, relax and improve the overall well being of the animal. On the other hand, it is to increase or improve the rapport between a horse and its rider, a horse and its companion.

Some practitioners use other forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) with or on a horse. These include a form of non-touching massage. Reiki healing is a type of massage some therapists employ to help balance the energy flowing through a person’s channels. If the channels or meridians become blocked, the energy decreases. A person becomes unbalanced. This results in illness and disease. Reiki realigns and balances the energy to begin the healing process. It does so without physically touching the body.

Some people do perform Reiki on animals. Practitioners on horses need to consider any possible variables. Size does matter if you are a small therapist dealing with a large animal. Some props, such as a stool, may be necessary. Props and other forms of massage tools are easily available from supply stores. You can purchase various tools and pieces of equipment to make your job simpler. You can also ignore the extras and work with your hands. By the way, massaging a horse can take an hour.

Horseback Riding is a Dangerous Sport

Horseback Riding is a Dangerous Sport

I was recently reminded of the fact that whenever we work with a free spirit there is the potential for great harm. Most horse related accidents are caused when safety precautions are overlooked, however, that is not always so. If you can, tell me which of these does not belong:

A. novice rider on a somewhat green horse gets dumped when horse spooks and the rider suffers a broken back;

B. experienced rider gets foot broken when insisting young horse move over and young horse knows it can push through people;

C. intermediate rider gets tossed off several horses and hits head and receives concussions, each time not wearing a helmet;

D. and finally, the rider on trail that rounds the bend at the trot and horse stumbles and falls to the ground with rider who suffers a ruptured spleen and the horse suffers a ruptured intestine.

If you guessed the last, you are correct. Try as we may, we can only keep ourselves in a certain amount of safety when riding or working with horses. Some scoff at the use of a riding helmet, but there are those who are still walking and talking thanks to the protection a helmet has given them while on trail and even in an arena. The number one injury in horse related accidents is head trauma. Most people have sense enough to fasten a seat belt as they value their lives, so why is a helmet so different?

Choosing a suitable horse is a common fault as well. That first horse of our dreams may not know when to stop running into the sunset with hair blowing in the wind until someone ends up hurt. There is no shame in buying an older, quiet, seasoned horse. Think of all the time you can spend enjoying the horse when you don’t have to spend all your time and possibly money on a bunch of training or being laid up with injuries. Then when you become more experienced you can look for a younger more challenging horse. This is especially true for kids who have poor judgment on how much horse they can handle.

Yet, as I mentioned, even experienced horse people make mistakes. Once you have been around horses awhile you tend to forget your own safety rules. We sometimes forget we are working with a youngster that really does not know better. We skip lessons because we are sure he understands and then BAMM!, we end up with an injury. The point is to take all the safety precautions you can, remember you are dealing with a free minded and free willed animal, and don’t get over your head with that first horse. Although there is no possible way to be 100% safe around horses, there are ways to make it a much safer experience. So ride and enjoy the day with your partner.

About the Author:

Jodi Wilson is a recognized authority on the subject of horse training and has spent almost 30 years developing training techniques and solutions for horse owners no matter the discipline or breed. Jodi is an Accredited Josh Lyons trainer, and is Certified in John Lyons training techniques. Her website, http://Jodi-Wilson.com, provides a wealth of information to improve the relationship between horse and rider. Jodi is also available for clinics and demonstrations as well as lessons, apprenticeships, and horse training. Jodi has trained and competed in Reining, Sorting, Jumping, Dressage, English and Western Pleasure, Trail and Problem Solving.