There are different types of equipment to help the horse concentrate during a race and not be distracted by its surroundings. Blinkers are attached to the bridle so that the horse can only see straight ahead. This helps the horses focus if it is susceptible in being influenced by its surroundings and it makes the horse move better and faster if the head is facing forward. There’s also an equipment used called “Norwegian bridle”. This is a bridle with blinkers which can be lifted up from the eyes.
This is done in order to give the horse a surprise and an extra burst of speed near the finishing line. Some horses can be worried or bothered by different sounds. To ease their nerves big wads of common cotton can be placed in the ears and work well for those horses frightened by sound. There are some ear plugs which can be pulled out by the driver to again give a surprise effect – “turbo effect” – to create an extra speed near the finishing line.
There are different types of shoes used in Swedish trotting and also to improve race balance of the horse. For example shoes can be made in iron or aluminum. The basic rule is the lighter the shoe the better.
If one takes off the shoe completely so the horse is barefoot one often receives a positive effect! Spikes are used for the horse shoe when it needs extra special grip, for example on a winter track.
Use of whip
Use of whip in Swedish trotting is very restricted and whipping must always be done with care and with unreasonable pressure to the horse. The whip may be used up until 400 meters from the finishing line. It can be used for correction and light spurring.
After that it is allowed a few times for light spurring. All spurring or correcting should be made with the driving whip turned forward and with one reign in each hand. Driving with only one hand is prohibited.
The sulky is of course extremely important to trotting success. It is the racing speed cart used by the driver. A sulky is extremely light; it weighs no more than 25 kilos. The stirrup placed over the horses back weighs around 4 kilos and has a padded cushion so it doesn't hurt the horse. A sulky must be as light as possible so that the horses speed should not be hindered.
There are two types of competition carriage and the most common in Sweden is the sulky and the other one is the cart which is a little longer and which is used on horses whom are young and can kick backwards. Other alternative to sulky is the jog carts which is a long sulky used in warm ups and only used for training purposes.