As the Race Season fast approaches I thought we should take a look at what it takes to get to that first race. In all honesty for every minute that these Drivers and Equine Athletes get to race in front of a crowd; there are several hours of work put in behind the scenes. I’m going to tell you about some of the key things that get done.
Most drivers bring their horses in to the barn on April 1st so the horses need fed 3 times a day plus turned out and put back in twice a day and the barn will need cleaned once a day. All the horses will also need brushed to get rid of their winter hair and feet will get trimmed and eventually shoes put on.
Then once the weather permits truck training will begin. These are not fancy trucks that you see going down the road ~ some of them may or may not have windshield wipers and you can guarantee at least one side mirror has been ripped off. A metal pipe style frame is attached to the truck and 2 horses will be tied on each side. They will find a dry enough place to drive and as the horses get their lungs built up the speed will increase. There will usually be some old country music blasting out of the speakers (if they work) or possibly even a cassette tape of George Strait or Allan Jackson ~ yes I said cassette tape.
Once the snow melts and the local tracks or home tracks dry up the hooking and driving will start. This is where the new horses will get drove with some of the old campaigners to show them how it’s done. Keep in mind thru this process most of the drivers are still working a full time job; so weekends and good family and friends are required.
An average Racing Family will go down the road with a Semi and Liner full of horses; a Truck and Camper; and often another Truck that will haul the Wagon and Extra Feed, Bales, Water Tubs etc. Each driver likely hauls at least 20 horses down the road but likely have another 10 plus at home that they are trying to work in to the string.
This just gives you the fans a small taste and a little humor of what goes in to getting a Chuckwagon Team to the Races. So the next time you’re watching maybe wave a little harder or cheer a little louder!!
CPCA Social Media Manager
Photo: CVM Photography