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A day in the life of a racehorse

Kidsday reporter John Ehrmann and his younger brother

Kidsday reporter John Ehrmann and his younger brother Luke with Yes Yes Yes at Belmont Park. Credit: Ehrmann family

Yes Yes Yes stood in the paddock of Belmont Park racetrack on a crisp summer morning. He stood in front of a crowd of about 25 other people and myself as the tour guide explained what life is like for a racehorse like him.

Have you ever watched a horse race in the Kentucky Derby and wondered, “What is life like for a racehorse?” Racehorses wake up at 4:30 every morning and get food and water. Racehorses eat mostly oats. Their grooms brush them down about an hour later. They then have their legs wrapped to keep them strong and avoid injuries. After that, the horses head out to the track for training. They then walk back to the barn to be bathed and cooled down. Horses cool down by walking at a slow pace.

Horses spend most of the day in their stalls. To give the horses time out of the stall besides their training, trainers allow them to walk the stall rows or graze in the afternoon for about 30 minutes. Most days, racehorses are asleep by 9 p.m. Horses sometimes lie down to sleep, but they usually sleep standing up.

That was Yes Yes Yes’ life for many years. Now he works with young horses, teaching them how to race. He is also an outrider horse. His work as an outrider includes leading racehorses out onto the track before they race. He’s still at the track every morning, but he lives a much more relaxing life.

I learned a lot listening to this presentation. If you like horses or horse racing or just want to learn something new, I recommend you check out Belmont Park’s Breakfast at Belmont program when it starts again this spring. For information, visit nyra.com/belmont

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