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Portland Meadows switching to "equine friendly" riding crops


March 4, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Beginning on March 8, jockeys at Portland Meadows will be required to use “equine friendly” riding crops that conform to a new house rule at the north Portland race track. Portland Meadows, with help from local horsemen Ron Sutton and Debbie Funk, have purchased 16 of the new, softer equine friendly riding crops from four different companies. Riders will use these crops in all races conducted at Portland Meadows beginning on March 8.

“I’m thrilled with how Portland Meadows management has worked with the riders on deciding to use the equine friendly riding crops,” said Darrell Haire, west coast regional manager of the Jockey Guild. “These riding crops are safer for the horses and it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Equine friendly riding crops are generally lighter, shorter and feature a softer and smoother flap, which is the part that comes in contact with the horse. The equine friendly riding crops have been used at Del Mar as well as at Arlington Park and Fair Grounds. They have consistently received favorable reviews from both riders and horsemen. The equine friendly riding crops are made from much softer leather and makes a louder popping sound. The horses respond more to the sound than to the contact.

“I’ve used the new crops up at Emerald Downs both in the morning and in races,” said Portland Meadows jockey Robert Burney. “I think that they seem to be very fair and I certainly feel comfortable riding with them.”