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What Is a Horse Walker?

A horse walker must have a love of horses and have experience working with them.
A professional walker might be hired by a large stable.
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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2014
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A horse walker is a person trained in walking a horse for the purpose of exercise or cooling-down after a race, strenuous workout, or activity. These individuals are usually trained and, while much of this type of training may be obtained informally or on-the-job, programs do exist for occupational training for this type of position. The term "horse walker" is also applied to a mechanical device used for exercising horses.

The job of horse walker is an important part of the overall care and maintenance of any working horse but particularly racehorses. Many experts in this field say that cooling down a horse after exertion is important to lower body heat, redistribute blood flow, and to promote metabolizing of lactate wastes from the muscles. Lactate is a by-product of muscle activity that can cause soreness, fatigue and cramping. A proper cool down also helps calm the horse after a period of intense activity like a race.

In many stables, the job of horse walker is performed by a stable hand or a groom. This job, while important, often does not warrant a position dedicated specifically to horse walking. In some larger stables with many horses, a professional walker may be employed, however. In these cases, the horse walker does not provide any other care to the horses other than walking them. Sometimes, a horse walker may walk a horse just to give it a little activity on a day without more intense work-outs, or as part of a rehabilitation program.

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A career as a horse walker is usually pursued as a stepping stone to an eventual position as a horse trainer, a very important job in a stable. Training programs exist for those who wish to become a professional horse walker or groom. These jobs, while seemingly relatively unskilled, require a great deal of knowledge and experience with horses, as well as the ability to relate to the animals and adjust to their varying personalities and needs.

The term "horse walker" can also refer to a machine that is designed to take the place of a human walker. These machines usually consist of a carousel-type mechanism usually driven by an electric motor to which the reins of the horse being walked are attached. The operator sets the machine to the desired speed, and it spins, leading the horse in a wide circle.

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Sporkasia
Post 3

Working with horses takes skill, which you can only get by spending long hours around the animals. I have a friend who rides and trains horses. She loves the horses and the work.

You don't really realize how big and powerful horses are until you are standing beside them. My friend is great with the animals and knows what she is doing. Still, she has been stepped on several times. When a animal that size steps on your foot it is not a small matter.

Drentel
Post 2

Probably one of the problems with the carousel-type electric horse walkers is that they could be dangerous. Can't you see one of these machines getting out of control and injuring horses? Horses are expensive and people care a lot about their animals, so they want to keep them safe.

A human is definitely going to be safer, and a human requires less maintenance than an electric horse walker. Humans may also be less expensive to pay than buying a machine and keeping it in good working order.

Feryll
Post 1

The last paragraph of this article talks about the mechanical horse walkers. I am surprised these have not replaced the human horse walkers altogether. Or maybe that is something that will happen in the near future.

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