Horse Racing Equipment
Whether you're the owner of the horse or the rider, shopping the right horse racing equipment and gear is an important part of horse racing. Not only do you want to make sure the jockey and horse are comfortable at all times, you want to maximise performance to win races. Gear for racing is similar to that of what is required for regular horse riding, and there are a few key things you should have on your list when it comes to racing.
Hopples are a type of bridle made specifically for racing. These pieces are used in the actual race itself, and not always in all aspects of training. Some hopples are distinctly marked for training or racing, so you want to make sure you purchase the right one for your needs. Meant to be comfortable for the horse, hopples are often constructed out of PVC, and are made in bright colours so they're easier to see.
When it comes to training (and some racing), you'll need a selection of different Western horse bridles and headstalls. These work well to train the horse to prepare them for the race. There are different types of bridles. Some are made specifically for trotting, while others are meant for training or racing. Bridles usually come as a set with a headcheck for the horse, and may also come in bright colours, similarly to hopples.
Bits, Forks and Yokes
Making the right connection is important as you begin to train, so you'll want all the smaller accessories as well, such as bits, girths, forks and yokes. A yoke helps to pull the horse back, and these can be made of anything from plastic to nylon to leather. A bib fork is a part of the attachment ensemble that is part of the racing hood (the mask that goes over the horse's face) and a bit is for the horse's mouth. You may also want to consider blankets and covers for the horse's nose, as well.
What a jockey wears is extremely important, so they can race in a streamlined fashion. Look for particular types of chaps that work well for racing, such as short chaps made of suede and leather. Also, you'll want to wear some type of protective gear while on the horse, usually in the form of a vest. JRA-approved jockey vests are a great choice, for example. You may also want to consider equestrian riding gloves to have a firm grip during racing.