You may have noticed while watching Charlie train on Sunday that he had a great deal of white fuzzy stuff on!
We’ll start with his head and go down from there:
1) Shadow Roll: this is a piece of sheepskin that goes on the nose band. The shadow roll partially restricts the horse’s vision, and helps him to concentrate on what is in front of him, rather than objects on the ground (such as shadows). Shadow rolls can come in varying degrees of thickness. This one is moderate.
2) Rings: “rings” refer to the triangle piece of leather with two rings that slide on the reins. The function of the rings is to give the rider more control by influencing the horse’s head position. If Charlie holds his head where it’s suppose to be, the rings are not engaged…they slide loosely on the reins. However, if he tosses his head, then he engages the rings and they correct him immediately without the rider doing anything. Most horses galloping or jogging on the track will have this piece of equipment. It helps teach a horse to carry himself in a balanced frame and gives the rider some added control. Most of the time for a workout, this piece of equipment will be removed to allow the horse to stretch his head out while in a full gallop.
3) Martingale: the rings are attached the martingale. This is also referred to as a “chicken strap” by exercise riders because they will loop a finger or two into the strap to hang on if a horse gets rambunctious. It’s like a safety belt for riders where they can hang on without pulling on the horse’s mouth. The strap goes around the horse’s neck and through their front legs to the girth. It keep the rings in place and keeps the girth from sliding backwards. In the case of Charlie, Sharon has protective sheepskin covering the leather straps to keep them from rubbing Charlie’s skin.
4) Saddle pad. Charlie has a white fluffy saddle pad under the exercise saddle. Sharon will make the determination on what pad fits each horse the best to prevent rubbing and soreness from the saddle. The saddle towel (green) goes under the saddle pad and sits next to the horse’s skin.
Polos – In the photo below you will see what looks like bandages around Charlie’s legs. These are soft, fleece polos that are used to protect his legs. They have little supportive features (unlike race day bandages) but still offer a layer of protection from him grabbing himself or knocking a leg.
Bell boots – On his two front hooves you can see bell boots. Named because they are shaped like a bell, they are rubber and slip over the hoof. A horse with a big stride can over reach with their hind legs and actually grab the heel of their front hoof. This helps keep Charlie from pulling off a front shoe or hitting himself.