Friday, December 29, 2017

What happens to race horses once they stop racing?

Most ex-racehorses are adopted and re-trained for another sport. There are hundreds of non-profit organizations that take in retired racehorses and advertise them to potential adopters. The horses go on to do everything from trail riding to showjumping. 

Retired Racehorse Project is a showcase for adopted thoroughbred racehorses.

Do racehorses know what they're in a race to do?

Racehorses really know when they lost and they show it after the race is over by stomping around, shaking their head and generally acting mad. When they win they are bigger than life, confident and proud. 

Less talented racehorses that just aren’t fast enough or lack confidence in general, also know when they lose and that type will tend to sulk after a race. 

Bad racehorses that may be fast enough but they just don’t want to race are the worst to be around because they neither get mad nor sulk, but walk around after the race acting like, “see what I did, I got out of that race without even trying, ha, ha! Why don’t you let me try showjumping?” Believe me, thoroughbred racehorses are pretty smart cookies and every one is unique.

What is the name of the bugle fanfare played at the start of horse races?

“Call to the Post”

How does the buying process work when buying a race horse?

There's 3 ways to buy a horse for racing in the U.S.
1. private sale - if you identify a horse you'd like to buy, and you can contact the owner, you just call and make an offer.  If the offer is accepted you pay by bank wire transfer or cash to the seller, and you get a notarized bill of sale signed by buyer and seller, and you receive the original registration papers for the horse from the seller.

2. claiming from a race - the U.S. has claiming races at most tracks with a set price for each horse in the race.  If you identify a horse to "claim", you must have deposited money on account at the track where the race will be held, and then you must submit to the racing office a "claim slip" properly filled out and signed by the buyer, no later than 15 minutes to post time for the race.  After the gate has opened for the race, and if no other party also submitted a claim for the same horse, you then own that horse and must pick it up in the paddock after the race.  

3. auction - many auctions are held in the U.S. and in fact all over the world for race horses of all ages.  Each auction company has rules for how to go about bidding on a horse.  Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton sales companies are 2 of the biggest auction houses for thoroughbreds in the U.S.  See their web sites for details.

Who makes the rose garland given to the winner of the Kentucky Derby? has all the details.

If I meet a racehorse owner at the track, what questions should I ask?

Ask which race and the name of the horse, and ask if you should bet that horse to win, or put it in an exotic bet - that will start a great conversation. Always ask the owner if you can get in the win photo, and if the horse wins make sure you are standing near the gate into the winner's circle and just file on in there with the owner's group for that picture.   Make sure to ask the photographer how to order the photo before you leave after the photo is taken.  They will usually have photos ready by end of the race day.

How does the rider get a horse to go sideways?

After the horse is trained to respond to the leg and rein aids, often all the rider needs is to sit slightly harder on the seat bone that is on the side that you wish the horse to move to.  The horse will move that way to stay in balance with the rider - weighting the stirrup on that side may have the same effect but the stirrup is not needed, only the rider's weight in the saddle.  Often I see riders inadvertently sitting unevenly in the saddle, sometimes just because the rider is built a little crooked, maybe one leg is longer than the other, or the rider's spine is slightly crooked, and they have problems with a horse drifting in or out, or problems getting a right or left canter lead.  Sometimes perceived problems with a horse are really problems with the rider.  

What doesn't work to get a horse to go sideways is pulling the horse's head around to the side you want him to move to.  Works better to move both reins together in the direction you want the horse to move, so to go sideways left, the right rein will rest on the horse's neck and the left rein will not pull the horse's head around but will hover next to the horse's neck, creating an opening for the horse to move into.

What does it mean when a mare suddenly starts rearing and other bad behavior?

The first thing that came to my mind when I read your question is that sometimes mares have terrible reproductive issues that make them crazy, even dangerous every time they cycle into heat.  I have known of mares that had to go on Regumate to regulate hormones, and I've also known of mares that had their ovaries removed to resolve their pain.