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Friday, November 13, 2009

Iver's Book Review: Part 4 Capabilities, Icing, Conclusion

Iver's Book Review Part 4 and end!

I especially appreciated ti's stance on the capabilities of a horse. Rather than waiting for that one brilliant horse that has such a mass of raw talent that they are going to succeed dispite the training technique, ti takes the stance that any (mediocre) horse can be developed and trained to perform at a superior level than most other horses on the track, if you condition correctly, because most do NOT optimally condition for performance. The entire book is devoted to developing this mediocre horse to be a winner, rather than how to recognize brilliance. My Endurance take: A properly conditioned mount could be a better 100 miler horse than a horse that shows promise through raw talent that is exploited and overridden early on. Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions if your prospect isn’t brilliant early on.

There is a fascinating section on icing and cooling the legs post workout, including data that shows that ice continues to cool the interior temperature of a leg long after the ice is removed and the leg feels warm again. Icing is so important to preventing damage, second only to good conditioning. My Endurance take: Renewed focus on cooling the legs after endurance rides with ice, soaked polo wraps, etc. I may experiement with adding rubbing alcohol to ice water (which is colder than ice) and soaking polos. Yes, it’s more work than my ice boots, but I have renewed faith in the importance of a good leg cooling.

I must thank my aunt Sharlene (and fellow endurance rider) for lending me this book (as well as countless others). She jokes that I read the books for her since she doesn’t have the time. Hopefully by me doing reviews, she gets as much enjoyment out of her books as I do!

Although the book is a bit repetitive, it is overall entertaining as he frequently makes disparaging comments about the state of racing and horse exercise physiology in general. I especially enjoyed his "Dictionary" near the end of the book. I will leave with a few of my favorites:

Auction Sale: A place where things aren't quite on the up and up but you can't figure it out how. Until it's too late.

Bar Shoe: A shoe with the rear portions connected by a bar of metal usually used in correcting the idicies of the previous farrier. Supports a foot with no heel.

Bolt. v. to bolt.: Horse decides to ignore rider and head for greener pastures at maximum speed. Like an automobile with the pedal to the floor, no brakes and no steering. Integral part of the color and pageantry of thoroughbred horse racing.

Castration: Another tranquilizing technique used with whole colts with exhibit behavior embarrassing to the inept trainer. Breeding ptoential severely compromised.

Clocker: Fellow who records thoroughbred workout times in the morning, sometimes by actually timing the horse, sometimes by timing another horse and posting that time to your horse, somtimes by taking the trainer's estimate of the breezing time, and sometimes by thinking up the time all by himself.

Prepurchase Examination: A ritual dance performed by veterinatrians designed to please all parties, at least for the time being.

Standardbred: Once was any horse that could trot or pace a mile in 2:15 or better. Now a horse registered with the United States Trotting Association. The other way was better.

Stewards: Three racetrack officials with myopic vision, impaired hearing, and known for never making a decision that could possibly have a shadow of a negative impact on the mythical image of horseracing. Slow as molasses in January.


  1. I *love* his definition of a Standardbred! (it's soooo true)

  2. Going back as far as the 2001 XP, I iced both horses legs every single day on that trip.

    I still do ice the horses each evening after riding an endurance ride.

    I miss Tom! He helped me a lot over the years.

  3. What does everyone use to ice at rides? I currently use ice boots. At love, I wetted down the boots and added icecubes in addition to the gel packs (behind the gel packs to keep them cold, not directly on skin). I'm contemplating using very cold wet polos.


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