What is a road horse?
Before the automobile became the primary source of travel, the streets would be filled with horse drawn vehicles of every kind. Ladies could be seen driving high stepping carriage horses, the delivery man’s express wagon pulled by a commercial horse, or freight being transported by large dray wagons drawn by two or quite often four or six large draft horses. But the favourite among most was to have a fine driver, also known as a Road Horse. The Road Horse was able to trot distances quickly, with great ease. It was the choice of the doctor who had to get to a sick patient quickly, the farmer travelling to the l local village, or the preacher going from church to church.
As roads improved, the challenge of who had the fastest horse could not be denied. Informal road races were held most anytime two drivers met. This led to the development of the present day Standardbred horse most often associated with harness racing.
Today, the tradition of the Road Horse continues. Instead of impromptu races, the competition for the best Road Horse can be seen at fairs and horse shows throughout North America, and exhibitors are always on the look out for their next showring star. Today’s ideal Standardbred Road Horse is pretty, with good confirmation, well mannered, and can trot al all times at a free and easy trot gait. In the showring Road Horses are required to show at three different trot speeds, the jog, road gait while travelling counter clockwise in the show ring, followed by a change in direction or “reverse” to travel clockwise at the jog, road gait and then at speed or drive on. The class is then lined up in centre ring for final judging of conformation and manners, after which the judge’s ranking of the entries is announced.