Backside, hot walkers and more American horsey jargon that leaves us baffled

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  • When H&H's racing editor Hannah Lemieux set off around Kentucky in search of the best equestrian attractions, it was the American jargon and terminology that left her a little confused...

    1. Backside

    No, this doesn’t refer to a person’s rear, it is actually the phrase used to describe behind-the-scenes at a racecourse — usually where all the resident racehorses are stabled — and tracks will offer ‘backside tours’ to visitors.

    2. Off-track racehorse

    The phrase they use to describe a thoroughbred who has finished his racing career — in other words, an ex-racehorse.

    3. Hot walkers

    Racehorse trainers employ people specifically to walk-off the horses after exercise and racing, to allow the racehorses to cool down. Those hired are usually paid per horse they walk-off.

    4. Work out

    Not a reference to a sweaty session in the gym, this is the term used for ‘riding out’ racehorses as we would say. Although, depending on what horse you’re riding out, it could be a work out in itself I guess…

    5. A colony of jockeys

    The phrase commonly used in the American racing industry to describe a group of jockeys — which makes them sound more like some kind of tribe…

    6. Horse

    If a racehorse is no longer a colt (over the age of four) and is still entire but it is yet to begin his breeding duties as a stallion, he is simply referred to as a ‘horse’.

    7. Trailer

    Long, awkward-looking things that are used to transport horses and are pulled by big American trucks. You would be pushed to find a horsebox (as we know it) in America. You certainly wouldn’t catch me attempting to drive this beast of a vehicle.

    8. Tailgating

    Many racegoers will enjoy a ‘tailgate’ party during big race meetings in the USA. It is a popular social occasion and takes place in racecourse carparks around the open tailgate of a vehicle. People bring food and drink to share among friends.

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    9. Prep race

    The name given to qualifying runs for the big races, for example the Kentucky Derby.

    10. Wagering

    A term used instead of ‘gambling’ — at the races they have wagering windows where racegoers can place their bets.

    11. Grits

    Popular in this area of the USA, grits is a main-course side dish made from corn. It is boiled to create a texture similar to mashed potato.

    12. Bluegrass region

    The northern area of Kentucky that was nicknamed so because of the blue-flowered Poa grass that grows there.

    Don’t miss our horse riding holidays special in tomorrow’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (16 February 2017), where our racing editor Hannah Lemieux travels around Kentucky to suss out the best equestrian attractions

    Hannah travelled with ‘America As You Like It’, which has a seven night holiday to Kentucky from £1,535 per person, including return flights from Heathrow to Louisville with United, seven days fully inclusive car hire, two nights at the 21c Museum Hotel, two nights at the Gratz Park Inn in Lexington and three nights at the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg. Visit: www.americaasyoulikeit.com

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