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Disrupted season hurts ponies’ health

The inclement weather the island has been experiencing lately has wreaked havoc on the harness racing schedule and taken a toll on the racing ponies.

The past two race days were postponed due to rain and strong gales, bringing the total of postponements for the season which began last September to five.

“Typically, you hold around 22 races per season and get maybe two to four cancellations due to weather,” Bettina Truran, the Driving Horse and Pony Club spokesperson, said. “We have now exceeded that.”

Weather permitting, to make up for lost time the race committee will stage racing tonight at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre, which was originally off limits to the sport for the weekend.

“We were not supposed to race this weekend because the facilities were being used for a horse show,” Truran said.

The extended layoff has dampened the spirits of drivers and fans alike and put the fitness of the racing ponies at risk.

“This [layoff] is detrimental because you are not training these animals and you are not turning them or racing them to build their wind,” Truran said.

“So, what's happening is because we are having to cancel these races due to the weather people are trying to trailer down to Vesey Street when they can and turning the ponies on their own.

“Just like an athlete, you can't just train at a moderate rate every day without really pushing hard. The horses are the same thing, there's no difference whether it's a human or a horse.

“You can't train every day but once a week, you need to really push yourself hard and typically when you are racing, your once a week is your race day. So unfortunately it's all been interrupted because of the weather, and it's disappointing because you train and then you can't display what you've worked so hard for.”

The recent postponements could not have happened at a worst time of the season as drivers step up their bid to qualify for March's season finale Champion of Champions.

“A lot of ponies are trying to improve their times,” Truran said. “The twelve fastest ponies on the track qualify for Champion of Champions and this is when you start getting those super fast times.

“This is crunch time and we are cancelling. Two weeks in a row we have cancelled and these animals need to run and be turned and people want to qualify for Champion of Champions.”

Rain delay: the season has been hit hard by poor weather

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Published January 29, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 28, 2016 at 10:29 pm)

Disrupted season hurts ponies’ health

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