This little fella wanted something in his mouth. Food would be good, but the hood of my jacket seemed quite interesting, and the wheelbarrow was fun too. Apparently, he uses the wheelbarrow as a chew toy pretty often, which is pretty hilarious.
Diane and Dave gave us a tour of the stables. I've never been to a racetrack, and the backstretch was especially cool. I took tons of photos.
They hang the harnesses from the rafters to make tacking up easier (and also to keep the horses from chewing on it).
The headstall includes earplugs (the little brown sponges) that are attached to a long string that runs back to the cart. The driver can yank the earplugs out by pulling the string with his leg. Apparently, it's a strategic thing: the nervous horses have earplugs inserted before the start, and then the driver will yank out the plugs when they are moving out so they will go faster.
I had never seen anything like this before:
This little fellow is in charge of barn safety and security.
I feel better, knowing he's on duty.
Over at the Track Tack Shop, check out the pretty colors!
This is a shadow roll--it goes on the noseband, to block the horse's view of the ground so they don't (literally) spook at their own shadows and blow the race. One of the shadow rolls we saw looks like a whisk broom, but I think this one looks like Mickey Mouse ears.
Here's a view of the track from the backstretch. The track is paved with limestone--freakin' hard surface! These horses are bred with amazingly sturdy feet and legs. The center of the oval is nesting grounds for Canada Geese. Diane told us that when the horses are jogged out in the morning near the oval center, the geese will sometimes attack them. I wonder if the geese are a training strategy, like the ear plugs?
The jog cart is coated with limestone mud from the track. Eeew.The weather was dreadful, so we decided not to stay for the actual races. That will be fun another time when it's not quite so cold and rainy.