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Exercise Riding

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  • Exercise Riding

    I am an event rider who has been asked...okay well, begged to exercise ride a friends TB's. The hours are NOT my friend, but I am hard pressed to turn down $750 a week. Here is my question: what is standard procedure. In the past, I have hacked horses out for this guy, but never actually galloped them. I event though the Advanced level and galloping horses it not a problem and I am fairly certainly my riding is of the appropriate skill level to handle this, just not sure what exactly is expected. Usual lengths (I'm sure they vary)? Stirrup length? Get on get off or do I cool out? Any and all information would be helpful.
    "Gallop as if you were to die tomorrow, jump as if you were to live forever."

  • #2

    Clockerbob.com. Bob was a morning workout clocker for many years and was happy to respond to some of my emails. Also Gary Stevens has his own website. Mnay trainers and farms that train TBreds up to racing are online- try "racing links"


    • #3
      First off are you going to be at the track or a farm?

      At the track you will need a license. You will have to be watched by outriders in the morning who will asses you and say yay or nay to you working in the mornings.

      Obviously as you've evented at upper levels I don't think you are going to have problems. I galloped for 13 years and did the Future Event Horse League here in Ireland. This required none of the skill of upper level eventing and I thought it was way harder. O.K. possibly because of the dressage stuff, but you have to be very fit to do eventing. Fitness is a big part of galloping.

      Just listen to what your told to do and do it to the best of your ability. There are rules such as no galloping on the rail as this is where breezes take place. Always pay attention to what's going on around you. Loads of people are out there making a living so they are very protective of their livelihoods. So always pay attention and ask questions from people you respect. If I came to your eventing barn I'm sure you would appreciate a person who is trying to learn so I would ask questions.

      Stirrup length depends on the individual horse. A lot of people ride short all the time. I like to ride long when a horse is just jogging as I can make him use his hind leg. Most of the time I would put my stirrups up mid length for galloping. If I was on a horse that was a know puller or difficult to gallop, then I would ride short. These are things you learn as you go along. Just remember, the longer you ride, the longer you ride. We could always spot newbies because they always rode way too short in order to impress and most of the time ended up on the ground. Also, very hard to get a lazy horse into the bridle when your stirrups are up your arse!

      Usually, horses are brought out in sets. You get a leg up go to the track come back get off set your tack and on the next one. You might have 5 mins between horses. All tracks have break time to harrow so you might get a coffee in at this time.

      I'm going to get flamed here, but there is a big diffrence in an event rider galloping and a hunter rider wanting to gallop. Don't care, there is a huge diffrence.

      Clothing. You need a vest, appropriate helmet and wear jeans with paddock boots and half chaps or full chaps. Or get yourself a good pair of tall kroop boots and jeans. Always where jeans over the boots in this situation.

      Anyway, hope I've helped

      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


      • #4
        Great advice already offered.
        One other thing, racetracks and training tracks are measured in furlongs (1/8 miles) and 1/16ths.You will need to become familiar with the poles around the track marking the distance from the wire. They are measured backwards from the finish line. So when you are at "the 1/8 pole" you are 1/8 mile (1 furlong) from the finish line.
        If you are at a training center, determine how big the track is then check out the poles. Trainers tend to give orders like "jog him backwards to the 1/2 mile, then turn and to 'round twice." This means trot clockwise to the 1/2 mile pole then reverse and gallop around to the finish line, past the line and around again. Most training ends at the finish line, but not all. Sometimes horses get wise to things and get lazy near the wire. Trainers may try to trick them up and have them keep galloping beyond the wire.
        F O.B
        Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
        Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


        • #5
          Ditto on the event riders. They usually don't have much problem getting started. If at the track you will need to learn the basic rule of the track.

          Stay off the rail if you aren't working.
          When going backwards, the gates have the right of way.
          Don't panic when a horse is running off.
          Where to pull up.

          There are lots of little things. The pay sounds really good, you'll learn as you go. Don't worry about stirrup length, do whatever you feel comfortable.


          • #6
            Remember the slower you are galloping the more outside you should be. If you are passing call "Inside" (or in the case, "Outside") or "Coming on your inside/outside. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep looking all around. If you know the name of the person galloping in front of you I like to call out the name as well: "Coming on your inside Cristyn", that helps with the confusion.

            You may also like to know that a lot of the horses come out of the stall with the saddle not tight, so keep in mind you may need to tighten from the saddle, not the ground, unless you need to reset the tack. Do you know how to tie a knot?

            PM me, I'll be happy to help.

            Be sure you have a handy pair of goggles, I prefer the turf goggles as they seem to have the best scope of vision and sun blocking. I can wear them all morning as opposed to traditional jockey goggles.
            To get in the winners' circle you must first get into the gate


            • #7
              My word of advice - Don't hit them harder than you can ride them!


              • #8
                I have galloped from NY to FL and I found most tracks to be the same the farm is different and much more low key. It's a great learning tool and there are plenty of quality folks out there with great advice, just find some someone you trust and let them guide you. If you are on the east coast pm me and I can give you the names of some real ,honest, good folks that won't stear you wrong. Your gonna love it


                • #9
                  Do they have health insurance to cover you?

                  If not do you have health insurance? What does it cover?

                  Make sure this guy takes care of you. Galloping horses is great fun, but don't kid yourself, you will fall off sometime, and you can get hurt.


                  • #10
                    Every licensed trainer has to have workmens comp so that shouldn't be a problem.

                    HLAS, Oh yes, best advice possible. My rule on smacking when one was acting up is, never get myself into something I can't get out of. Needless to say, their wasn't much stick usage on badies from me!!!!

                    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Equilibrium View Post
                      Every licensed trainer has to have workmens comp so that shouldn't be a problem.

                      HLAS, Oh yes, best advice possible. My rule on smacking when one was acting up is, never get myself into something I can't get out of. Needless to say, their wasn't much stick usage on badies from me!!!!

                      This is not true. Not every racetrack requires that every licensed trainer have workmens comp. I don't. So you better check this out, too.


                      • #12
                        Wow, TBRacer, where do you ride? If the OP is in NY or any of the nearby states, the trainer will certainly have to have workman's comp coverage on the riders at the track.

                        Also to answer your last question, you get on and get off. The hotwalkers/grooms walk horses or they just put them on the machine, depending on the outfit. DEFINATELY get comfortable riding boots. Hubby's are Kroops too. After 30+ years, he's rubbed the legs so much the hair is permenantly gone. I kid him about having smoother legs then mine.

                        Have fun! Perhaps you can go over one morning before starting and just watch from the rail. I've been doing that for years and the respondants here are spot-on on their advice.


                        • Original Poster

                          You guys have all been so helpful, I really appreciate your advice. Will I be the laughing stock of the track if I wear breeches? I'll try to refrain from fullseat, but I LIVE in breeches. Also, just to clarify, I will be at a private farm not at a track...yet. We'll see how much I like it. I am riding 10-15 horses a day now and then working all night at a vet clinic and not making 1/2 of what I could make exercising so I think the risks may be worth it. And I can def stomach the hours. I'll let everyone know how it goes and will be PMing a couple of you for more info.
                          "Gallop as if you were to die tomorrow, jump as if you were to live forever."


                          • #14
                            I would not wear breeches for the main reason - a lot of grooms and hot walkers are rather ferrel, and you will attract a lot of unwanted attention. I would dress down, jeans, rugby shirt - something you would garden in.

                            The hours are really not bad, it makes a great excuse for afternoon naps.


                            • #15
                              If you are just going to the guys farm and not a training center or anything, breeches are fine. I doubt many people will be there. Now if you go to the track or big training center, people are probably going to give you a hard time.


                              • #16
                                Years ago one summer I galloped at a farm (if you can even call it that -- it was a very very small stable) and I wouldn't have been caught dead wearing breeches there. It just would have felt like eventing in cowboy boots. So it comes down to the atmosphere around the particular farm, I suppose. I wore jeans, half-chaps, paddock boots, and a clean T-shirt or polo tucked in. I never even carried a stick.

                                Sometimes what goes on at small farms can be rather different than the track environment. We didn't have a training track at home. We hacked out or did laps around the nearby water tower. Trainer would tell me what he wanted done as he threw me up (literally) into the tack. On weekdays I hot walked whatever horse I had ridden (did I mention it was a small stable?) I learned how to set up legs. Even did stalls once in a while if needed. Most weekends we shipped in to the track. I helped load up the trailer. I couldn't ride there (no license) but I did walk hots. Yes, there were some characters with elevator eyes, but for the most part everyone I dealt with was very professional and respectful.

                                Though I was in good shape and had ridden a lot when I agreed to ride there, I was very young and quite small then. I did have trouble with one young stallion in particular who knew he was entire and spent a lot of time in the air. The trainer had me ride with longish stirrups (though still a bit shorter than my average jumping length) using a double bridge and I had good enough balance that most times I could stick out the shenanigans, but as I wasn't very strong then he could still get the better of me. Speak up if you are uncomfortable. A good trainer won't want to jeopardize either you or the horse.


                                • #17
                                  I would suggest if you are starting out at the track that you are ponied first... I had a "newbie" come into the barn, she was a very good rider and had been excersising at a very good farm. She was a little unsteady on her first two horses, nerves played a part in this too. I let her know things like when you are jogging the wrong way to say coming by when she passed other horses. There is racetrack etiquette! Also to stay off the rail, and pull up from a gallop towards the outside, and always be aware of whats behind you! If you are switching from eventing to galloping at the track, the reins are different, (thicker) the saddles are different also. It might take a few miles for you to get your "riding" legs. Just make sure you are put on easy horses at first so you can get fit.

                                  I had ridden show horses/event horses for years, since I was 6, and started galloping when I was 17, it was alot different. I galloped for 25 yrs from New York to Fla.


                                  • #18
                                    My base of riding forever has been eventing. I competed up through Intermediate and now am an asst trainer on the track and an active ex. rider. During the years I have galloped on average between 5-10 sets a day.

                                    The secret to my success has been my attire. It used to be half chaps or full chaps and jeans. Now I have sadly conformed to everyone else a bit more.

                                    I wear regular shirts, safety vest and have an army of jackets to cover every element that mother nature can whip at me.

                                    The pants and leggings combo are the big thing for me. Most ex. riders on the tracks wear leggings underneath jeans and either paddock boots and pant clips, or taller jockey like boots that reach to around the knee. Both give you protection against calf rubs, a HUGE problem among ex. riders. Its pretty important to have the heavyweight kind, not the thin ones that Dover sells.

                                    Me, I add one more thing to it, I wear Ace Brand neoprene knee support wraps, the leggings over the bottom edge of the knee support so that my entire leg, from top of knee to ankle is protected. But thats because I have had a lot of rubs and got sick of bleeding all over my jeans.

                                    Knee Wraps:http://www.americarx.com/productimag...ray/687319.gif

                                    Here's a pic of me and you can't really tell all the bulk I have on underneath my jeans.


                                    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                                    • #19
                                      Put a picture up of me galloping a few years ago in case anyone is interested.

                                      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                                      • #20
                                        Oh man Equilibrium, what I would give to be your size!! I always feel like I make even big horses look small. Meanwhile you look great on that horse.

                                        So you survived working for D wayne...Ok I'm impressed.

                                        "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries