Five Things Movies Get Wrong about Horse Racing

It’s easy to think that a lot of people don’t know that much about horse-racing since it’s a sport that doesn’t get broadcast as much as others such as the NFL, MLS, NBA, or MLB, but there are still plenty of people around the world that know something about this sport and could tell you just what the movies are getting wrong. In some cases, the movies are on point, but in a lot of ways, they do manage to misrepresent a lot of little details that aren’t usually that important since leaving them out would degrade the overall story and make it too much like real life for a lot of people. The fantasy aspect of a movie is needed since it keeps people entertained and is able to tell a compelling story that reality doesn’t always accomplish. Admit it, when you finally read up on some of the real histories that have gone into your favorite movies, the wind goes out of your sails just a bit, even if reality proves to be every bit as interesting. The fantasy that movies deliver is still preferable to a lot of people since it’s undeniably attractive to the senses.

Here are a few things that the movies get wrong about horse-racing.

5. You can take a broken-down nag and make them a champion. Good luck with that.

Horses aren’t quite like humans. You can’t simply take a horse that has a bad leg, tape it up, rehabilitate them, and then make your way to the championships of the desired sport in order to become the best. Racing horses are bred to be strong, swift, and come typically come from the finest stock available. It sounds cold and clinical, but there’s a lot of money involved in this sport, and it’s not the type of arena where an underdog is going to excel as the movies would state. While it’s always possible that there’s a diamond in the rough out there, it’s more likely that the broken-down horse will be less than likely to bear a rider, much less compete at this level.

4. A person can become a jockey in a very short amount of time. That’s not only impossible, but it’s also dangerous.

It’s also irresponsible if anyone attempted to make it happen since there is a process to becoming a jockey that people need to go through in order to ensure that they’re not going to get themselves hurt, or worse, killed. Horses aren’t light little creatures that will only lightly pummel a person if they fall off. Those hooves are thundering upon the ground as they run around the course, and anyone that does manage to get thrown is in for a world of hurt since if water can feel like concrete at around 20 to 30 mph, just think what hard-packed dirt is going to feel like.

3. Wild horses make great racing horses. Have you ever tried to tame a wild horse?

Breaking a horse, as bad as that might sound, is tough to do even when you’ve helped to birth the horse on a ranch. Horses are living, breathing, and thinking animals after all, and they don’t like being kicked in the ribs to get them going any more than a human might, but they become used to the directions given after a while due to their training. Finding a wild horse that’s been on its own for a while and has had no human contact isn’t a reason to think that you’ll be the one to bond with them and immediately command them to do anything. In fact, you might find out how hard a horse can bite if you try, or what it feels like to be beaten and kicked by a wild horse with an attitude.

2. Horses are always even-tempered during races. Have you ever watched a horse race?

Due to their training, many racing horses tend to be fairly well-tempered during a race. But horses can nip, they can bite, and they can give a healthy heaping of attitude that isn’t really needed when the goal is to go racing along a track at high speeds. Not only does a horse’s temper throw the jockey off, but this can disrupt the other horses around them and really cause a problem that only gets worse until it’s finally taken care of. It might sound shocking to some folks, but the corrective behavior that might be taken could be kind of brutal, but it will usually be done in a way that reinforces their training.

1. Jockeys are just weak little guys that hold onto the horse. Don’t tell them that, they’re usually tougher than they look.

Jockeys are usually pretty small guys that don’t weigh much since the point is to give the horse as little to carry when racing along the course so as to give them the chance to get up to speed instead of lugging forward with some heavy individual that’s weighing them down. But don’t discount smaller guys because of their looks, they have to be tough and extremely fit to hold onto a grown horse that’s speeding down a track at around 30 mph. Try riding a horse just to get the feel, then think about what happens when the horse speeds up and you have to hang on for dear life.

Horse-racing is no joke, for real.

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