A Beginner's Guide To Horse Racing Accessories
Horse racing may seem like a straightforward activity, but there’s more to the sport than simply getting on a horse and making it run fast. Modern horse racing requires outfitting both the rider and the runner with the right accessories.
Most racing accessories are meant to provide better control over the horse, making it easier and safer to ride at higher speeds. This is also why having entrants that do not have the right accessories equipped could lead to race scratchings.
Whether you’re an aspiring horse rider or just curious about horse racing, here is a guide to horse racing accessories. If you want to learn some horse racing tips and insights, head on to this link, https://www.youtube.com/c/PuntersAustralia, and other similar sites to beef up your knowledge. Without further ado, let’s check out the different accessories that are used in the sport.
Jockeys and their get-up
Besides having the right pieces of equipment, it's said that the rider or jockey is one of the most significant contributors to an equine's win in any horse racing event. Aside from knowledge about the runner, the race track, and other nuances, they must also be equipped with the right accessories. For safety purposes, jockey changes may be necessary if the initial rider isn’t completely prepared for the race.
Here’s a rundown on the different accessories that a rider should have when horse racing:
- Silk refers to the rider's shirt, usually provided by the horse trainer or owner
- Breeches are snug and lightweight pants that prevent chafing and keep riders from sliding off the saddle
- Safety helmets protect the wearer from severe head injuries following a kick, fall, or knock. Some jockeys wear racing helmet covers as accessories to quickly identify them on the racetrack.
- Vests protect a rider's body from kicks and falls. While riding vests can't completely prevent injuries, they can at least minimize the risks of serious injuries by absorbing some of the impact.
- Boots ensure that riders' feet are in the correct position while the horse is moving. More importantly, the proper boots can prevent foot injuries and keep your grip on the stirrups.
- Riding gloves protect a rider's hands from scratches and blisters. More importantly, they enable jockeys to grip the reins more firmly.
Essential horse tools and accessories
Horses are also equipped with plenty of accessories just like the Jockeys riding them. While Jockey accessories are mostly aimed towards safety, runner accessories focus more on improving the animal’s performance on the track.
- Saddles are special seats mounted on the back of the horse. The saddle is cushioned with saddle pads, and are designed to distribute the jockey's weight on the back of the horse while also doubling as a shock absorber.
- Stirrups are metal tools attached to either side of the saddle. It works to support the jockey in riding the horse. Stirrups enhance a jockey's stability by keeping their foot planted on the horse's sides. Riders can often use safety stirrups that prevent their foot from being trapped if they fall.
- Blinker hoods cover the horses' eyes and ears so that they can only see straight ahead. A horse can be unpredictable even if it's well taken care of, so it's crucial not to startle or alarm them. This essential horse racing tool enables the equine horse to focus on the race and remain calm.
- Bridles are head harnesses typically made of leather. They have a metal part called a bit, which goes into the horse’s mouth.
- Reins are straps attached to the bit and held by the jockey during the race. Reins are used to guide the horse into making turns, speeding up, or even slowing down.
- Halters are straps that run across the horse’s nose and head, and are meant to stop or discourage the horse from moving on its own
- Racing whips are short, stiff whips that feature long flappers, and are used to tap the horse on the side to signal the horse to run faster. The whip must not be used to forcefully strike the runner, and different races have different policies regarding how many times the rider can hit the horse. Well-trained runners can finish an entire race without the jockey having to use the whip, in which case, the run is called a “hand ride.”
Horse racing accessories help improve the runner and rider's comfort and safety during horse racing. By reading this blog, we hope it helped you understand why each of the accessories mentioned above are essential in modern horse racing.
1. Newman, D. 25 April 2022. A Beginner's Guide to Horse Accessories. www.pethelpful.com. https://pethelpful.com/horses/Beginners-Guide-to-Horse-Accessories. Accessed 15 July 2022
2. LUCRFSuper. 24 October 2016. Helmet to stirrup: A jockey's get-up explained. www.thenewdaily.com.https://thenewdaily.com.au/sponsored/2016/10/24/jockey-clothes-explained/. Accessed 15 July 2022
3. Tutorials point. Undated. Horse Racing: Equipment. www.tutorialspoint.com. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/horse_racing/horse_racing_equipment.htm. Accessed 15 July 2022.