Dr. Geoffrey Hutson's breakthrough book Watching Racehorses is out now! Learn about behavioural handicapping: how head tossing, pawing, salivating and other behaviours provide telltale clues about a horse's readiness to run.
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Flemington Chester Manifold Stakes Day

January 12th, 2013 0 comments

Here we go again. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a New Year!

I love going down the back and I like horses to be settled in their stall. Some horses bring their stable stereotypy to the races, which is a bad look. I mark down any repetitive behaviour, including head tossing, nodding, bobbing, swaying, or rocking and lump it in the general category of weaving. Pure weaving, which is lateral swinging or swaying of the head, usually seen over a stable door, is rare at the racetrack. Today, Over Quota came pretty close to the real deal and was waving his head over an imaginary stable door. You will also notice him picking up his front legs. I managed a very brief grab of the behaviour on video:

I regard horses that weave as not being completely settled. In fact they are probably worth a lay. Over Quota started favourite and pinged out in the middle of the field, raced mid-field, and finished mid-field. A veterinary inspection after the race revealed the horse to be suffering from respiratory distress.

I’m off and running.



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