Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sharing A Bit of Knowledge and My Opinions by Danny Warrington

This is my first blog ever, so I will now join the rest of the world with instant communication. My goal is to give incite as to how I think about horses, riders and the sport. I was asked to write about three paragraphs, my plan is to share my opinion about each one. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments at


Let’s start with what I have come to realize about the reins. I have paid close attention to how much riders struggle with the bridge, half bridge, changing the two, switching the whip hand, sliding the reins and using the neck strap. In my early years of being an apprentice jockey, I would spend hours on a straw bale with a bridle fixed in front of me, practicing my finish ride (pretending I was Angle Cordero). This was before the equicizer ( I would ride the bale switching sticks changing crosses till there was straw everywhere. When I finally got to start breezing racehorses, it was much easier to change holds, switch whip hands with out looking down at 30+ miles per hour. Point being, I don’t ever look down to find my reins, make a bridge, grab my chicken strap (which by the way is like American Express to me “I don’t leave home with out it”). So over the past few weeks, I have really started to emphasize exercises to my students to try to get them more comfortable with the “simple” process of a bridge, half bridge, slipping the reins, grabbing the neck strap and changing whip hands without looking down.


As I travel around the country more and more, one big thing that stands out to me is the younger and older inexperienced riders mounted on off the track thoroughbreds. No one in this sport loves race horses more then me. I would also challenge that most first time horse owners don’t fully understand the complexity of the young race horse or off the track thoroughbred. I see young teenagers on these types of horses, if this is their first horse the odds are, the rider is over faced. I think somehow we must educate (honestly educate) people who are first time owners what they are buying or adopting. These horses for the most part have one or two speeds….. And stop and reverse are not it! Go and go faster is more likely. The racing game has changed, the two year old dollar is what is most profitable. The fastest yearling at the sale brings the most money, the early races are easier, and if they can win a graded stake as a 2 year old breeding potential is multiplied. The start of most race horses is brief and fast at best. The one thing that I say to parents all the time is….. Would you put you child in a car with out brakes?


First let me start by saying that I’m an advocate for education, better riding, and safer thinking. I must say out loud that I am not a fan of the dressage helmet rule. I know that I am out numbered by a lot and also by being on the safety committee I should applaud this new measure to add more safety to our sport. However, I do believe that there is a class element, dressage is to be an elegant picture, and really, on the danger scale, this is a pretty low risk sport. In my personal experiences with some, not so quiet horses, I have worn a helmet with a strap, sometimes I have worn an approved helmet in warm up then switched before going into the ring. Well, I guess that’s just me using personal responsibility again and I bet somewhere someone is in the “think tank” dreaming up an integrated airvest shadbelly!

Photo Courtesy of Katherine Rizzo


  1. great article. i could not agree more with young people riding off the track race horses and the new helmet rule. they are all connected...rider responsibility.

  2. Great blog written with common sense.