Grooming the Thoroughbred…for Race Day or the Sales Ring

Ok…I’ve been curious about this for a very long time. I recently saw a photo of a Sales Yearling who had that “checkerboard” design on it rump. That reminded me of all the times I’ve seen that pattern on horses who are entered in a race. How is that design groomed onto the horse?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen horses in the walking ring with a braided mane and then the groom or jockey takes the rubber bands out leaving the horse with a curly “natural”. Is that intentional? The horse had its mane braided just to have the braids “undone” right before the race? Didn’t Affirmed race with braids?

Coz looks like he’s had his hoofs polished with black hoof polish. I guess that’s not just for the sales ring?
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Comments

  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    The checkerboard is a stencil that is placed on the rump and then the hair is brushed against the grain and I think hairsprayed or gelled or something. I remember looking into it and decided it was too much work, lol

    Some trainers (Doug O'Neill for one), love the curly mane look, so they intentionally braid the mane, then when it's completely dry, they unbraid it and fluff it up. It's an interesting look. Some trainers prefer the more "refined" look of braids, and some only braid the mane that will fly in the jockeys face. I guess it's just preference.... Me, I love the look of braids, but then, I braided for years....
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Ok, just re-looked at the video of Coz. He isn't wearing black hoof polish, though he has something on them, most likely to prevent absorption of water into the hoof. It could be a hoof dressing or one that seals the hoof because it's been so wet back there
  • edited July 2013
    Casey, thank you for your comments! Loved hearing that some trainers, such as Doug O'Neil, do like the curly mane. And I have to agree, using that stencil sounds like a lot of work, but the look sure is fun.

  • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen horses in the walking ring with a braided mane and then the groom or jockey takes the rubber bands out leaving the horse with a curly “natural”. Is that intentional? The horse had its mane braided just to have the braids “undone” right before the race? Didn’t Affirmed race with braids?

    The jockey has to take the braids out of the bottom part of the mane. The jockey winds his/her fingers into the mane for security as the horse erupts from the starting gate. It's the only way to stay on during as the horse accelerates.
  • RachelRachel Member
    And a horse has no feeling in its mane so this doesnt harm the horse. How I found out about the jockeys holding onto the mane as well as the reins is from the movie The Black Stallion when Alec trains Black to race
  • And a horse has no feeling in its mane so this doesnt harm the horse. How I found out about the jockeys holding onto the mane as well as the reins is from the movie The Black Stallion when Alec trains Black to race
    I remember that movie...wasn't it Mickey Rooney instructing Alec in the scene? I always wondered if Mickey had some sort of "jockey" training for his roles. Him being in the Black Stallion and National Velvet with Liz Taylor and all. He's the right height for a jockey. No insult to him of course-he did some memorable movies!
  • RachelRachel Member
    I grew up thinking he was a retired jockey LOL he was so good
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    And a horse has no feeling in its mane so this doesnt harm the horse. How I found out about the jockeys holding onto the mane as well as the reins is from the movie The Black Stallion when Alec trains Black to race

    I remember that movie...wasn't it Mickey Rooney instructing Alec in the scene? I always wondered if Mickey had some sort of "jockey" training for his roles. Him being in the Black Stallion and National Velvet with Liz Taylor and all. He's the right height for a jockey. No insult to him of course-he did some memorable movies!
    Mickey wasn't ever a jockey, but he played one both on the big screen and tv's Twilight Zone.
  • RachelRachel Member
    Thays why I grew up thinking he was, he was so good at it
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2013
    I believe I remember that Twilight Zone episode... If I got my re-runs straight...he wanted to be taller like most people since he thought his career as a jockey was completely over (banned from racing for fixing races) and was frustrated from being bullied. He got his wish alright-woke up taller...but at the end, he received news that he his ban was lifted and he would be able to get a winning mount for the Kentucky Derby-something he always wanted...was extemely excited...but then realized that he was now too tall! Anyway...it was something like that that I recall of this TZ episode. Of course, I may be really off target.
  • Rachel...did you see Mark's notification that he's quitting the forum again out of frustration. He posted his notification in the discussion: "As the Clubhouse Turns--Rachel's Vacation". :o(
  • Rachel...did you see Mark's notification that he's quitting the forum again out of frustration. He posted his notification in the discussion: "As the Clubhouse Turns--Rachel's Vacation". :o(
    I noticed that and i am very sad but I don't think there's much we can do about it at this point?
  • Markinsac?
  • RachelRachel Member
    yes i did :(
  • Markinsac makes his own decisions. If his main purpose for being in the forum was to get support for his view on the the management of TB racing and tracks, then he should have expected to face frustration as MANY of us out here just aren't into those issues. For me, it's just the horse stories (especially re Zenny and her kids) and actually 'talking' with all of you out there!
  • I’ve noticed that most American trainers don’t cut the end of the tail off to be parallel to the ground like I see on horses trained in England. I think it gives a very polished and crisp look.
  • RachelRachel Member
    ive seen some americans do that with their horses but not many.
  • I think Michael Matz does that with his horses. I love the look of it.
  • I’ve noticed that most American trainers don’t cut the end of the tail off to be parallel to the ground like I see on horses trained in England. I think it gives a very polished and crisp look.
    Trimming the edge of the tail is more popular in the Western and recently English show rings than it is in racing. I agree with all of you though; it does give a nice polished look to the horse's tail. But I prefer natural manes and tails when horses are running.

  • I'm surprised to hear it is popular in the Western show ring. Interesting.

    Regarding trimming the edge of the tail for the racehorse, I don't have a real preference. And we wouldn't have the nickname "Mr. Longtail" for Whirlaway if it were a standard practice.
  • RachelRachel Member
    Ive seen it before with in the western showring. Where theyre all decked out in dazzling briddles amd saddles and the riders have these amazing outfits on
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    I’ve noticed that most American trainers don’t cut the end of the tail off to be parallel to the ground like I see on horses trained in England. I think it gives a very polished and crisp look.
    It's called "banging" the tail. Dressage riders do it, because if the tail is too long, and they back up, they can step on the tail. There is a definite art to doing it right. You can't just chop it parallel to the ground when they're standing, because as soon as they start moving, the tail is held out and the cut will not be parallel. So you have to either put a polo wrap (rolled up) under the tail head, and then cut it parallel, or cut it at the angle of the hock. I always found the polo under the tail was easier.
  • When is body clipping used...Summer or Winter or all year?
  • RachelRachel Member
    ive seen Body Clipping done in the winter mostly. but thats just what ive seen
  • It's done in the winter. Here's an article on the different cuts and why it's done.
    http://www.doversaddlery.com/images/art/Equine Library 5 Body Clipping.pdf

    And here are some artistic clippings.

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    My personal favorite.
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