Unsung Heros of the Track

Most people when they think of the Racetrack, they typically think of horses, jockeys, and owners. If they have been to the track a few times, they may even think of the horse trainers themselves. However, there are many important roles and jobs at the track that most people wouldn’t even know existed. The three that we will discuss today, are Grooms, Hot Walkers, and Exercise Riders. While for most professions the typical work day starts at 9am, Grooms, Hot Walkers, and Exercise Riders start their shifts by 5am sharp.

Grooms

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Marco cools down The Big Beast after Grade 1 victory “Kings Bishop”

Grooms certainly have the dirtiest job at the track. They are responsible for cleaning out the stalls, mucking the stalls (keeping the ground layer of the stalls the perfect condition for the horse’s hooves), feeding and grooming, and bandaging up legs. Grooms start their day at 5 am by feeding the horses and getting water containers prepped for the day.

By 8 am they are giving the first group of horses baths after their first workout of the day, and by 10:30 am they are bathing the second group of horses. At 4 pm, it is dinner time for the horses, which the Grooms are in charge of as well. In between these times, the Grooms are constantly mucking the stalls.

Exercise Riders

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Next, we have the Exercise Riders. Their job is to actually ride the horses during workouts and introduce the starting gate process. Exercise Riders gives feedback about the horse’s performance to my father (the head trainer). My father designs the workout plans and oversees each training session.

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Hot Walkers also play a huge role. Their job is to walk around the horses after workouts, in order to properly cool their bodies down. Another major part of a Hot Walkers job is making sure the horses are relaxed and happy. Race Horses can get spooked out very easily, and since they are such large and powerful creatures, this can be extremely dangerous for everyone involved.

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