After taking us on a tour of the area where the horses warm up, Gina took us over to the starting gate.
Gina told us that sometimes horses don’t want to go into the starting gate, in which case the jockey, sitting in the saddle, will pull on the horse’s tail to get it to move forward into the gate. We witnessed this a number of times. On one occasion, we saw a jockey pulling on the tail of his horse and somehow the horse made a movement, throwing the jockey off. The horse fell, rolling onto the jockey. Ouch! An ambulance pulled up immediately and the jockey was put on a stretcher and taken off the track. And so the race continues! No time to pause to mourn the wounded.
Standing behind and to the side the starting gate (but separated from the racetrack by a hedge) we could watch the horses and their jockeys prepare for the race. One jockey’s horse was nervous, so the handler walked the horse to calm it. The jockey waited, trying to keep warm in the cold air.
Finally, her horse was ready. She mounted it and moved into the starting gate. Just in time, because everyone else was lining up.
There was a tense moment before the gates opened. And then suddenly…
…they were off!
Tomorrow: Gina shows Monique how to make the horse go faster!
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