Ponies of the Track - Rocket: Not Your Ordinary Pony
"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 the newest installment of a my series featuring these horses, called “Ponies of the Track.”
Rocket: Not Your Ordinary Pony
Among the regal Thoroughbreds whose gleaming coats and defined muscles attract the eyes of fans and bettors, pony horses stand out as is. Oftentimes, their coats are colored or patterned far different from the racehorses they escort to the starting gate. More often than not, they are ridden in Western tack with a rider aboard whose attire differs greatly from that of the jockeys aboard the Thoroughbreds. But at Turfway Park, racing fans are often surprised to see a pony horse that is not even a horse. He’s a mule, named Rocket. . ."
Click here to read the rest of my newest Horse Racing Nation article.