I saw a picture on my Twitter feed just now of Team Contessa stretching out Rydullic’s legs while giving him a tour of Keeneland’s paddock a day before the Blue Grass Stakes (I):
Seeing this stuff inspires me on a wordy, athlete-speak rampage. No I’m not an expert, but I have opinions and personal experience when it comes to racehorse trainers using methods that originate from human track and field.
As soon as I hear about it happening, I’m all over that horse like bees on honey. To me, it just makes logical sense and while a horse’s anatomy is much more complex than a human’s, the same principles ought to apply. I can see so many methods doing a horse a world of good in training for a big race, and many of them HAVE already been used on prior champions:
- Intervals - Short spurts at a given pace… similar to how many horses currently work/breeze
- Fartleks - (Dumb word I know, but it’s actually Swedish for “speed play”) These are “fun runs” where you run at whatever pace you feel like, then go faster briefly, then back to running at will for longer distances.
- Hills - This would be PERFECT for sprinters who need more power [read: powerful hindquarters] to get away quickly. Short fast spurts running up a hill builds muscle fast. I recommend this to virtually every runner I meet that needs to get race-ready or get faster in a short period of time.
- Varied surface training - Phar Lap did this… don’t run in the same places. Change it up! Though I can see why a lot of people don’t want to risk letting their horses gallop around in the woods or on a bumpy trail
Trainers already use a lot of methods they learned from track and field athletes years ago like soaking in ice water baths and stretching out their legs between activities. Runners in turn copied racehorses in bandaging their legs to guard from injury.
Somebody please try this shit.