Behind The Scenes 5 - The Walker
Aug 16, 2017
In the wild a horse would - Michael Kent explains - walk between 18-22 kilometres a day. Not only are they exercising themselves without pressure, they are also unknowingly aiding the operation of their digestive systems and creating blood flow to their lower limbs.
In racing stables, horses are stabled for most of the day, not what they were designed for... which is why throughout the history of the sport, horses have been walked in addition to their daily galloping regimes.
At our Cranbourne stables, we like to have our horses out more than once a day - something that is good for the body and the mind.
The walking machine has been a great invention for thoroughbred race horse trainers. It provides a low impact, horse friendly exercise that does not put great demands on the time and efforts of staff, and the large spaces allow the horses to kick-out and muck-around and express their natural, playful behaviours.
Whilst in work, our horses have a couple of sessions a day on the walker, around 5km a time at around 7km/h - which equates to around 40 minutes each morning and afternoon. They are also ridden to the track and back, one of the advantages of being housed so close to the training centre.
Walking is essential for the horse's circulation, Kent noting that as horses have no muscles below the knee it is vital for them to be on the move... "walking is what they are made to do," he said.
"And it gets them into good condition without stress."
Pictured: dual city winner Quilate enjoying her afternoon walk