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Training for a Harness Race

| July 30, 2013

Harness Training from WAGM-TV on Vimeo.

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MEET DROP OF THE HAMMER- A HORSE WHO’S TAKING PART IN HARNESS RACING THIS WEEK AT THE NORTHERN MAINE FAIR. HIS TRAINER IS BELINDA GRAY OF SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK. SHE AND HER FIANCEE HAVE OWNED DROP OF THE HAMMER SINCE HE WAS THREE YEARS OLD… A FAMILY MEMBER THAT’S SPENT THE LAST FIVE YEARS HARNESS RACING.

GRAY SAYS, “HE’S BEEN IN.. I’M NOT SURE BUT HE’S MADE US ALMOST $100,000 SO WE’RE PRETTY PROUD OF HIM- HE’S JUST ON THE EDGE OF MAKING US 100.”

BUT WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PREPARE A HORSE FOR A RACE LIKE THIS?

ACCORDING TO GRAY, “THEY (HORSES) JOG EVERY DAY. SOME PEOPLE WANT TO JOG THEM A CERTAIN NUMBER OF MILES- WE LIKE TO JOG OURS ABOUT 3-5 MILES A DAY, WE LIKE TO GIVE THEM THE DAY AFTER THEY RACE, OFF. OF COURSE, THEY DON’T JOG THE DAY OF- WE JUST GET THEM OUT AND WALK A FEW MILES, SOMETIMES THEY’LL SCORE DOWN WHICH IS RUN A BIT OF A FASTER MILE- AND THEN GO AND RACE.”

AND RACING IS FUN FOR THESE HORSES… BUT NOT ALWAYS– ESPECIALLY WHEN WET WEATHER HITS THE TRACK.

“IT JUST GETS SO MUDDY THAT IT SLOWS THEM DOWN”, SAYS GRAY. “SOME HORSES- LIKE OURS- DON’T LIKE STUFF HITTING THEM IN THE FACE- JUST SOME HORSES DON’T PREFER IT BEING WET… AND IT’S NOT SAFE WHEN IT’S SLOPPY- NOT AS SAFE.”

BUT EVEN THOUGH MOTHER NATURE HASN’T FULLY COOPERATED SO FAR, BELINDA AND DROP OF THE HAMMER AREN’T COMPLAINING.

SHE SAY, “WEATHER’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS YOU CAN’T CHANGE… BUT IT WAS GOOD- WE HAD FUN!”

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