There are many EZ Horse Betting readers who write to us asking about what equipment is used in horse racing. There are several different types, and some of them can have an impact on your handicapping decisions.
We’ve put together a quick look at horse racing equipment that is used by jockeys, trainers, and even the horses that compete in races across the world. These pieces of equipment should be familiar to you if you are betting at a live track or with an online racebook.
Jockey Horse Racing Equipment
Jockeys are very limited and restricted in what they are allowed to carry during a race. The entire package of tack that the jockey uses must weigh no more than four pounds on many racing circuits.
Boots are one of the heaviest items a jockey will wear. The riding boots are made of the lightest material, and provide little protection if the jockey is thrown from a horse during a race. They are there to help the jockey make light contact with the stirrups of the saddle.
The jockey’s saddle is a small piece of leather that contains a simple seat. It has been jokingly referred to as a postage stamp by many in the sport of horse racing. Even though the jockey rarely makes contact with the seat, the saddle is still required. Stirrups are positioned on either side of the saddle, and these account for the greatest part of the saddle’s weight.
Each jockey is required to wear a helmet and a padded vest for protection. These items have helped to prevent serious injuries that can result from taking a fall in a horse racing event.
Finally, most jockeys carry a whip while racing. This long piece of material is capped with a leather piece on the end that is used to tap a horse’s flanks or shoulder to encourage additional speed. In some racing circuits there have been efforts made to eliminate the whip from the sport. There is a deep division on the issue, with many claiming that the whip can also provide a measure of protection and control when dealing with an unruly horse.
Trainer Horse Racing Equipment
To know what equipment is used in horse racing we also have to think about items used by a horse trainer. Each trainer is responsible for saddling their own horse before a race. The trainer must provide a girt, reins, and a bit for his or her horse.
Trainers also use their own saddle cloths when training horses, although these are not used on race day. The horse will wear a saddle cloth that has been adorned with the number it has been assigned in the race.
Some horse racing trainers also use specific medications on race day. The most common of these are Lasix and bute. Lasix is given to prevent bleeding that may occur in a horse’s lungs. Bute is an anti-inflammatory and pain medication that is permitted in small quantities.
In recent years the subject of horse racing medications has been debated by industry professionals. Some racing jurisdictions are now preventing horses from being given any race day medications. There is a belief that some trainers use such medications to mask injuries or otherwise encourage a horse to run through pain.
Horse Racing Equipment for Horses
Of course, no discussion of what equipment is used in horse racing would be complete without looking at the items actually used by a horse during a race. The obvious place to start is the shoes horses wear.
Almost all horses are equipped with aluminum racing shoes which are attached to the bottom of the hoof. These shoes serve many purposes. They are used to protect the hoof and provide some cushioning. They are also used in some cases to provide better traction.
In very rare circumstances a horse may be sent to the race track without shoes. This has to be approved by the racing officials, and a note is made in the official racing program to let bettors know that the horse will not being wearing shoes.
A shadow roll is a piece of material that goes across the bridge of the horse’s noise. This piece of equipment is meant to prevent the horse from seeing any shadows on the track and being spooked. Likewise, blinkers are a type of equipment that can be used to narrow or restrict the horse’s vision. When a horse wears blinkers, a notation must be made in the racing program for bettors to see.
Bandages are sometimes applied to a horse’s legs when there is an issue. Bettors should be exceptionally wary when a horse suddenly appears with bandages when they have not been using them before. This could mean that there is a new health issue to contend with.
Some race horses are given a tongue tie before a race. This is a small piece of material that is used to secure the horse’s tongue to the bottom of its mouth. Keeping the tongue secure can prevent something known as flipping the soft palette. Some horses have their airway partially blocked by their tongue during a race. A tongue tie will prevent that.
Now you are familiar with some of the basic horse racing equipment that is used today. This is a good time to check out Amwager or one of our other recommended online racebooks. You can sign up, receive a welcome bonus, and begin betting on horses right from the comfort of your own home.