In for the Chase Breaks Tradition

Aug 02,2018 Lauren Zandee

Traditionally in Western Canada, most Standardbred horses use hopples. To better understand why hopples are used, experienced trainer and driver, Ryan Grundy volunteered his time.

“Hopples are the straps that go around the front and rear leg of the horse to help them stay pacing. The straps are also adjustable to the gait of the horse and can be weighted differently. Mostly these straps are used to steady the horse because pacing is a funny gait for most horses,” said Grundy.

Grundy was also chosen for this interview specifically for his decision to remove the hopples from his own horse IN FOR THE CHASE, a three-year-old who has been racing without hopples since the Winter of 2017.

“It was really just a chance thing, he [IN FOR THE CHASE] was training really well without the hopples so I continued to keep them off while he’s racing,” said Grundy.

As hopples are used to steady the horse and give it confidence, there is always a risk of taking the hopples off a horse and having the horse break more often. Grundy, however, is confident that IN FOR THE CHASE is steadier gaited.

Grundy was also adamant about the importance of horse hydration on hot summer days like the ones we are having right now.

“Horsemen are always worried about hydration with these horses at this time of the year. We keep a close eye on electrolyte intake because horses can start to feel sluggish and week if they are dehydrated,” said Grundy.

Thankfully, Grundy and all of the other trainers at Century Downs are on top of every horse’s care and needs before every training session and race! 


Join us for the 2018 Calgary Racing Festival from Saturday, July 28 to Monday, August 6! Celebrate the horse racing industry with various events such as:

#YYCRACINGFEST Money Madness draws every night from July 28-August 6 for $500 at 7 and 8 p.m. If a winner is not found, the amount will roll over to the next day!

Our 3rd annual Libations Fest on August 4 where you can enjoy free samples of over 30 local craft beers and international wines and ciders.

Industry Day on August 5 where you can learn about the different aspects of horse racing from the experts. Sign up for a free barn tour by emailing

A high-fashion and high-stakes day of horse racing on August 6 at the Mid-Summer Classic.

See you at Century Downs!