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In the United States, race horses are led to the starting gate by mounted riders on a 'pony' horse, to help keep the racer calm and reduce the risk of injury to a person on foot leading the race horse.  Also, a handler on foot may have difficulty staying with the race horse as it trots to the starting gate.

Ponying a race horse

Credit: Cara O'Conner

Digital Credit: NULL

Publisher: MyHorseUniversity.com

Rights: Name must appear as a credit whenever the image is used -

Description: In the United States, race horses are led to the starting gate by mounted riders on a 'pony' horse, to help keep the racer calm and reduce the risk of injury to a person on foot leading the race horse. Also, a handler on foot may have difficulty staying with the race horse as it trots to the starting gate.

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