Spas, swim­ming and work­outs: A day in the life of a race­horse

Ric­cardo Corona ex­plains...

Friday - - In The Uae -

It is di­vided into two ses­sions. The morn­ing one starts at 5am. First thing, I speak with the night watch­men to find out if the horses ate their food, drank their wa­ter and ev­ery­thing was OK dur­ing the night. Then we check the horses’ well-be­ing, es­pe­cially their legs. Race­horses are like kids with a sugar rush. They are trained to be ex­tremely alert so any loud noise can make them re­act. So even though they wear pro­tec­tive ban­dages, we check ev­ery horse thor­oughly to en­sure they have not hurt them­selves dur­ing the night. We also check their tem­per­a­ture to en­sure they don’t have any dor­mant ill­ness. We then en­sure the horses fol­low the ex­er­cise rou­tine tai­lor-made for each horse by Saeed Bin Surour. We have a 75m swim­ming pool, which the horses use ev­ery day. It helps them loosen up, strength­ens their legs and gets them fit. At around 6-6.30am, the rid­ers come in, they are briefed by Saeed on the ex­er­cise rou­tine for the day and then they take a group of horses that be­long to the same cat­e­gory for their rounds. It gives us an­other chance to as­sess the horse. Be­fore they go for their rounds, we take them through the gates, it’s kind of a re­hearsal for the big race night. The sec­ond set goes around 8.15am. The gen­eral ex­er­cise rou­tine around the tracks takes about 45 min­utes. Then the horses are checked again to en­sure they’ve not hurt them­selves dur­ing ex­er­cise. Around 10am, the watch­men take over again, feed­ing them their break­fast. The sec­ond ses­sion starts around 3.15-3.30pm when the horses go through a sim­i­lar rou­tine. They are fed again around 5.30pm. That is a stan­dard rou­tine. But when the rac­ing sea­son is on, it’s slightly more in­ten­sive.

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