After what seemed like a never-ending winter, spring has finally sprung in Alberta. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the season of Harness Racing is well underway at Century Downs in Balzac, just outside of Calgary. The backstretch is buzzing with the start of stakes season, and the return of many horses who spent the winter away in either California or BC. Despite this, there is one topic that remains constant through all the chatter – how can we give back?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It takes an army to get a Standardbred onto the track for its first race. From trainers to judges to race announcers and everyone in-between. Here’s a starters guide to a few people you need to know that are all part of the harness racing puzzle.
Harness racing is a fast paced, exciting and dynamic sport, here’s the basics you need to know to be ready to watch your first harness race!
At the end of the day, fancy new racetrack or not, there’s yet to be the major shift in mentality so desperately needed in Alberta. It’s going to take risk, and it’s going to take something new, and something that hasn’t been done before to bring back those crowds and the sheer love and joy for the sport.
Everyone knows someone who’s naturally good with horses, or who’s simply learned how to be good at what they do. But what makes a good horsemen great?
The fact that these amazing athletes have had an entire other career will mean that some steps in this process will come faster, and some steps will come a little slower. This has nothing to do with their breed, but everything with the fact that they have been taught something different previously.
We’ve all heard someone say, “But my horse never raced.” There seems to be this odd concept circulating that because the horse doesn’t have an extensive race history that they were never taught any of the skills, or learned any of the habits, they would have acquired in a lengthy career as a racehorse. So what do they know?
Ever wondered what pacing is, where it comes from, what hopples are, or if Standardbreds can actually canter? It’s all covered in this article about everything pacing!
When the going gets tough the community surrounding these amazing horses has never failed to come together. The global Thoroughbred community was there to support Classy Lane and the Standardbred community when we were faced with an unimaginable loss, and now they need our help.
“The heart of racing is when a group of people drop everything to stand in a stall for five hours to save a horse that they don’t own.” – Karen Sobey, owner of Prince Sharka