Equestrian sports, especially horse racing, places significant physical stresses on rider and steed alike, necessitating the use of a diverse range of equipment to ensure safety and protection. This equipment varies across the different disciplines of racing such as flat racing, harness racing, jump racing, and endurance racing. The essential equipment required for any form of racing include the following.
Jockey’s racing helmets are the foremost of all racing safety gear and are mandated by horse racing associations from around the world. These helmets are usually made from a high-density ABS polymer and are secured with a breathable or Coolmax strap and a cushioned neck guard to minimize injury in the event of a fall.
Bridles & Reins
Racing bridles are designed to be as aerodynamic and as light as possible, allowing a jockey to control and direct the horse. Professional racing bridles comprise several elements including the noseband, a headstall, cheekpieces, a browband, the reins, and the bit. Traditionally, these elements are crafted from ultra-light leather, but some trainers prefer the use of breathable and durable nylon net bridles for greater comfort.
A saddle is the primary and most important element of horse racing equipment and forms the seat for the rider. Saddles comprise several auxiliary elements such as the stirrups for the jockey’s feet. Racing saddles are distinct from those used for dressage, endurance or training in that they have short stirrups, a longer seat, and are as flat and light as possible. These saddles are equipped with a single surcingle and are designed only for short rides.
The humble martingale is a set of straps that are designed to prevent a horse from lifting its head too high. Racing or running martingales are restricted the horse’s range of head movement and when used with blinkers, helps to focus the animal’s gaze directly ahead.
A complete racing tack comprises a wide range of individual elements that are usually connected to the basic set of horse racing equipment, all of which are essential to ensuring a safe and successful race.