Your horse is back in training and looking great, surely the next stop is the races? There is a critical step, that has been in the media lately, that needs to be mastered however before a race opportunity can be taken. Today we are talking jumping and barrier trials.
When you try something for the first time you do not expect to do it perfectly and we don’t expect that from young horses. One critical step for a racehorse is mastering the barriers, a step that can make or break a career in racing. And a step that in Australia must be completed before being able to race.
Several years ago people referred to jump outs, a place where horses from the same stable would go through the barriers at the local race track. If there were additional horses from other stables they would be added to the jumpout as well. These were for horses that were fit and ready but hadn’t experienced much racing.
The emphasis was on entering the barrier and jumping when the gate opened. Sounds self explanatory really but these are 500+kg animals in an extremely confined space. A space which is excessively padded to protect the horse in every way but still a confined space. In human terms every time you get into a lift there is someone in the lift that you can instantly tell is waiting for the lift to stop at their floor. The racehorse has to be comfortable in a barrier while remaining alert.
They needed to be alert because reaction time is the next factor that needs to be tested and trained. A poor reaction can lead to a slow jump and in a race that is tight, ie less than 2 lengths at the post, a slow jump could result in a minor placing rather than a win.
Jump outs were being used to create a process for a horse prior to a race. The horse needs to be aware of the process, the countdown that follows and prepare itself to jump out into action.
View: barrier training pre jumpout.
In the perfect scenario, trainers would put their horses through a “bull ring” or mini gate when their fitness is at the halfway mark. This would be followed by stable jump-outs on the grass. This might happen several times before a jump out at the local track and then finally a trial would follow. A slow gradual progression while the horses fitness was building. The horse was being prepared on every facet of what they will experience on a race day. And being an owner was the only way you were able to access any of this information.
Today trials are publicly available and in some instances jump outs are as well. The reason they have become available to the public is to make the public confident in the runners so they will consider wagering on them. Not so much for the benefit of the horse.
View: Early education for gate training sets the tone for later performance.
This has led many of the larger trainers to create barrier training days where they can go back to the main benefit of a jump out – educating the horse. Days that are about the horse and relying on trials more for the run and the ability to show the follower how well they accelerate to the line, without pressure, and what they potentially have in the tank for race day.
Not everywhere in the world are barrier trials required prior to racing. In Australia this is the case in addition to when a clearance is needed by a steward. In some countries horses are still introduced to barriers when they first reach the races – far too late to be able to effectively deal with it.
All miRunners horses have had the benefit of early training in barrier work. One of the first comments each trainer who works with miRunners horses makes is how well educated and willing our horses are. They have had the time and care taken with them from their purchase to ensure they are well rounded horses, educated across equine disciplines and able to take on different task because they inherently know they will be looked after.
You can experience ownership with miRunners and be a part of this education journey from $275 upfront plus $15 ongoing monthly fees.
Bjorn Baker is training the Rubick X Slainte filly at Warwick farm and you can become an owner for just $275 today and $15 per month.
And for Tony Gollan supporters he has a stunning Your Song X Sheeznodoubt filly in pre training now for just $275 today and $15 per month.