The breeding and training of trotters for harnessing racing is presented. The movie focuses on one such trotter, Dixie Dan. His official training begins at age six months in such basic maneuvers as leading. At one year, he gets his first experience with the bit, reigns, and eventually the training cart, which is different than the sulky as the training cart sits back further to protect the rider from the actions of the inexperienced horse. Apparatus are placed on the horse's legs both to make him trot properly while protecting the hind legs from being hit by the front legs. The rider also has to prevent the horse from breaking into a full gallop. Dixie Dan is then seen in a series of competitive races, where the two and three year olds are in different classifications. Dixie Dan's training seems to have paid off with one success after another on the track, setting a first for movie horse racing history. Written by
The training of a young trotter is observed from the time he's a colt until he competes in his first Grand Circuit race.
This interesting little film explains the basics of harness horse racing, with emphasis on the trotter. The difference between diagonal verses lateral striding is discussed and the various leg & body accouterments are shown.
This was one of the first directing assignments for Jacques Tourneur, who would later make his mark with stylish horror films at RKO. Pete Smith supplies the quirky narration.
Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the Studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front & behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something like writing a topnotch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget & schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the Studios' feature films.
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