Ponies of the Track - Cinch: The Perfect Prince
"It is a normal day at the track. The sun shines down on the crowd, bettors stand in line to place their bets, the smell of hot dogs and lemonade floats through the air, and a group of pony horses and their riders stand along the rail. A small child reaches up to touch one of the horse’s noses, giggling as its whiskers tickle her palm. The rider smiles, telling the child the horse’s name. The horse may not be a grade one-winning Thoroughbred; it may not even be a Thoroughbred. But a new fan has just been made.
There are many forgotten heroes at the racetrack of the human variety: grooms, hotwalkers, EMTs, veterinarians, and jockey valets among them. But there are also equine heroes outside of the obvious racehorses: the outrider horses and lead ponies. They are kicked, they are bit, they are slammed into, and they are pushed around. They tolerate the immature two-year-old, the testy mare, and the lazy gelding. Their riders often endure the same difficulties. But these horses also provide guidance and comfort for many racehorses, as well as a best friend for many young children and loyal racetrackers that visit the track.
For racing enthusiasts that frequently watch racing on television or visit the track regularly, a pony horse may become familiar in appearance, but it is rather unusual for a pony horse’s name to be known. The name of the racehorse alongside the pony is in the program, on the television monitor, and in pedigree databases, but the pony is largely anonymous. But for hours upon hours – whether it be in the morning or afternoon – the pony works tirelessly, often encountering unruly racehorses and unpredictable weather. It is time to shine a light upon these hard workers.
Please enjoy my first installment of a new series featuring these horses, called “Ponies of the Track.”
Cinch: The Perfect Prince
Click here to read the rest of my newest Horse Racing Nation article.