Tag Archives: Racing

How to Explain Horseback Riding to Anyone

We all have friends, and friends are awesome.

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Some of our friends are horse people, and totally get what we are talking about all the time. For instance, you can say your horse “was a little up today, but only bucked a few times and was otherwise fine” and these horsey friends will nod in understanding..because that’s not jargon to them.

But we also have non-horsey friends…and to them that is pretty much a foreign language. Your non-horse friends are also awesome, but sometimes they try to ‘get hip with your lingo’ and stumble…and sometimes they just stare blankly and pray you talk about boys, or ice cream, or the latest episode of The Bachelor so they won’t have to listen to you talk about your horse again. And this can be tricky to manage, but here are some things you might hear, and how to address them nicely:

  1. “How was your race?” – Because mainstream media touts racing as the ‘horse sport’ of choice, this tends to cause many people to wrongfully assume that all riders are racers (kind of like how everyone assumes that anyone who lives in Texas must be a Country music fan). It’s ok to correct them a few times, but be nice. As a hobbyist group, we tend to not realize how defensive we are about our beloved sport…and can come off as jerks. So don’t be a jerk. If your friend feels the need to always ask ‘how fast’ you went, or if you raced anyone today…just smile and re-explain that your discipline has nothing to do with going fast (unless you actually do race horses, or are a jumper).
  2. “But doesn’t your horse do all the work?” – Don’t flip out, this is a common misconception. Because most actions that involve sitting are commonly misconstrued as ‘easy’, horseback riding is an easy target. For the same reason that Nascar is belittled for just being about going fast and turning left (see Talladega Nights), many people assume that things you do whilst sitting on your butt require little to no effort. Just calmly explain that what you do is a challenging physical activity, and that no, riding a horse is not like driving a car. If you still have difficulty letting this concept sink in, find a good ‘thrills and spills’ video on Youtube, and try having them watch that.
  3. “You horse is brown, so it’s a clydesdale, right?” – This one probably will only happen once, as once you’ve established that not all brown horses pull beer carts you should be good to go. Because Budweiser uses clydesdale horses in their ads, its only natural that most people assume horses that are big and brown must be clydesdales (your average person might have caught wind of the Romney horse and be aware that warmbloods exist, but it isn’t likely). If you ride a warmblood, feel free to explain what that means…and if you have a thoroughbred, be prepared for a renewed believe that you race and go fast. See 1. again.

For the most part, these are the only 3 annoyances you will probably experience. The exception to any of these, is the person that firmly swears by what they find in a Google search or from ‘sources’ like Yahoo answers and comments in YouTube videos. In the case of these, just don’t bother trying to explain to them that:

  • Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron is just a movie, and your horse is fine with being ridden
  • The Parelli method is not the only effective method out there
  • No, they cannot ride your horse without permission
  • Yes, even if they have been taking notes from old western movies
  • No, rearing and kicking out is the opposite of what should happen (those were stunt horses)
  • No, you cannot ride your horse on the highway
  • Yes, you are sure you cannot ride your horse on the highway, its illegal

Hopefully this helps!

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Famous Last Words: Equestrian Style

I thought to cheer you all up (and after that thrillingly long hiatus) I’d share a few funny possible equestrian ‘famous last words’:

  • “Oh he doesn’t need ear puffies, he was fine yesterday”
  • “I don’t think I’m going to lunge him today, I’m sure he’ll be fine after that month off!”
  • “It’s going to rain? Quick, open that umbrella!”
  • “Oh its fine, your boyfriend can ride him without a helmet, experience, or supervision. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
  • “Well I saw it work in this movie once, so I’m going to try it.”
  • “This guy at the dude ranch told me it worked with his horses, so I’m going to try it in my clinic with George Morris.”
  • “I’m sure you can text and ride, it’s not like that’s as unsafe as texting and driving.”

Got any great ‘last words’ to add? Tell me int the comments!

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A Word Of Advice

I will keep this short, sweet, concise…what have you. When you are marketing to an equestrian demographic, do your homework. I find that some people do not tune in to this concept, and as a result get lost in the many sphere of equestrianism.

Like with any great campaign, being able to be as specific as possible will be key to your success:

  1. If you are trying to hit the affluent polo-goers who wear Ralph Lauren causally and insist on premium products for themselves and their horses, be true to that. Trying to glue together a fragmented industry is probably not going to help you win the uphill battle you will inevitably need to climb to court the horsey market.

  2. Knowing the difference between a casual trail rider and an Arabian endurance rider will change the demographic. Knowing the difference between a western trail rider and a hunter pace trail rider is also key to understanding demographics.

  3. Knowing the difference between a trail rider, a hunter/jumper amateur, and a professional show jumper is colossal: If you are trying to reach out to ladies who rent horses on weekends for light trail riding, don’t throw up stories about new releases from Animo. It’s just common sense.

  4. If you are trying to reach racehorse fanatics who bet on races with whatever money they can find, realize that those are not the floppy-hatted race-goers who sip mint juleps and wave casually to their horses as they pass by.

  5. Realize that someone who will drop $40,000+ on an equitation/hunter horse will likely not have any interest in trail riding guides. Also realize that people who want and need trail riding guides probably don’t give a crap about updates in the combined driving sphere. Also realize that part of why Dover does not sell combined driving gear, is that it realizes its core demographic is hunter/jumper and dressage.

  6. And also realize that not every equestrian is an affluent iPhone user that is intently concerned on using apps for functionality: most YouTube equestrians post videos of them jumping things and messing around, most instagram shots are of pony-noses and equestrians goofing off, and most Facebook activity is in a younger demographic than people intently seeking trail guides.

And if any of this confused you, and you aren’t sure how any of these demographics are different, maybe don’t pursue the equestrian demographic.

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Omak vs. Redstone: Am I Being Too Sensitive?

As an equestrian, I have to wonder what kind of horse sports ESPN is supporting with their recent choice to profile the Chilcotin Nation’s downhill race. In the wake of plenty of other horse sports shunned by the Humane Society of the United States, America’s ‘Suicide Race’ phenomenon is among one of many that are quite unsavory to watch. It seems the ESPN loves writing about speed, speed, and speed when it comes to horse sports, but doesn’t seem to care much for tactical merit and adrenaline rush of show jumping or cross-country (I genuinely understand that dressage would be too slow). In a recent article, the tagline reads, “Mountain racing riders only know one way to go: all out” but what exactly is meant by “all out”?

Although not as steep as the famed (and feared) Omak suicide races, the horses are still galloped top-speed down rocky hills that are awe-inspiringly steep and quite precarious. The race, exactly like the Omak suicide race, involves galloping in and out of a body of water, and a lot flat gallop home over even terrain. So is this race comparable? Unlike the Omak, this race is only run with 4 horses (the Omaha is run with more than 10). Additionally, the inclined running space is remains the same width and incline for the entire ‘mountain’ portion of the race. I’m not actually sure how deep the water is where the Redstone Stampede mountain race is run, so I cannot speak to that, however there is no “chute” that racers must funnel through and the race is only held once a year (rather than 3 nights in a row). You’ve seen the Redstone stampede, now here is what the Omaha suicide race looks like:

So I guess what I’m wondering it, is ESPN unknowingly promoting an inhumane sport? Or are the two races distinctly different enough that I’m just being too sensitive?

Let me know in a comment!

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Black Caviar Now 22-0 After Ascot Win

Black Caviar.Image courtesy of Daily Mail

You may have read previously that Black Caviar had been the horse to watch at the Royal Ascot Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Well, though America didn’t ‘have another‘, England celebrated  the monumental 22nd win for the Australian mare. The 6 year-old is now ranked 2nd behind Queen Anne Stakes winner Frankel, who amazed fans by winning by 11 lengths. Though it has been discovered recently that the mare hand endured some serious injuries after her win, sources have confirmed the mare will be resting and well-treated until she is race-ready again.

Frankel. currently ranked as the top racing mare in the world. She doesn’t just look fast, she IS fast. Image courtesy of Bet365.

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Preakness Time Finally Acknowledged

Secretariat at the Belmont. Image courtesy of Champions Gallery.

In 1973, Secretariat clocked in at 1:53 flat on the Preakness track the day of the Preakness Stakes. Initially, this time was clocked incorrectly at 1:55, as the electronic equipment had incorrectly recorded the colt’s time to be slower than the hand-clockers had recorded. However in a hearing at Laurel Park, The Maryland Racing Commission ruled that Secretariat had in fact run faster than he’d initially been clock, and that 90-year old owner Penny Chenery had been correct in assuming there had been an error in the records of her beloved horse.

“I didn’t know if it was appropriate to cheer but I couldn’t help myself,” Chenery said. “This is a big day.”-Penny Chenery, The Herald

With this new distinction made, Secretariat now holds the all-time record for all three legs of the Triple Crown, a feat that took a four-hour hearing and extensive evidence. Secretariat passed away at his home stable Claiborne Farm in 1989 at the age of 19, the proud father of over 653 foals and is now the proud bearer of of a legacy.

Secretariat is now immortalized at the Kentucky Horse Park in this elegant statue. Image courtesy of About.com and Cindy Pierson Dulay.

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Trainer With Ties To Cartel In Court

Allegedly, Eusevio Huitron was being paid unusually high amount to train horses, and has since been accused of laundering money for  Mexican drug cartel. Huitron, who trains racing Quarter horses, has been accused of laundering money for the Zeta cartel through a real-estate business and trained their horses for competition. Authorities confiscated property from Huitron,including one of his prize racing horses, Tempting Dash. This horse had won several races such as the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas, in October 2009.

Tempting Dash, one of Huitron’s winning horses. Image courtesy of 440 Post.

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Will We Have Another?

Since 1978, the racing world has not seen a Triple Crown winner. The last great horse to achieve this feat, Affirmed, was also a chestnut youngster. Like I’ll Have Another, he was a force to be reckoned with and an early favorite to win.

I’ll Have Another. Image courtesy of The Guardian

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‘I’ll Have Another’ Upset Please

In yesterday’s Kentucky Derby, racing fans watched as the favorites to win, Bob Baffert’s Bodemeister and Michael Matz’s Union Rags struggled to make an impression on the field. Leading the pack in the last big push for the win, Ill Have Another, an extremely long shot nosed ahead for a stellar finish. Ill Have Another is the first horse to win from post 19 at the Kentucky Derby,often referred to as the ominous  ‘long long shot’ spot racing.

Image courtesy of the LA Times.

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Atrocities At Aqueduct

Since last year, the Aqueduct casino and racetrack in Queens, NY has been experiencing a staggering rate of horse injuries, deaths, and equine contestants are reported to have a staggeringly high number of injections previous to hitting the turf. On March 3rd, three year-old hopeful Wes Vegas took to the track only to break his leg in the first turn and be euthanized. A week previous, four year-old Coronado Heights suffered a fatal breakdown, largely attributed to an ‘early degenerative disease’. Horses like these are reported to have received as many as 13 drug injections, many of which are used to mask pain and help sore horses run more comfortably. However, these practices often come with disastrous results.

Pictured: though not a victim of Aqueduct, Eight Belles suffered a fatal injury at Churchill Downs in 2008. Image courtesy of Tuesdays Horse.

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