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
Pete Smith narrates this MGM short about Dixie Dan, a horse that we see from the age of three months all the way up to three years as he becomes a champion harness racer. As you'd expect from a short narrated by Smith, there's quite a bit of comic tone thrown into this but for the most part you get a pretty good idea of what it takes to get a horse ready for racing. We see how they break the horse to get it prepared for racing and then we get to see what it takes to train him. We also get a slow motion look at the harness itself and how it's constructed to make sure the horse races the right way. I'm going to guess that some animal lovers might not agree with this but there's certainly nothing graphic or harmful here. For the most part I found this to be an entertaining entry in the Sports Parade series, which kept up a good pace for its 10-minutes. The film manages to have a couple good laughs, a great bit of educational purpose and the finale gives us a pretty exciting race.
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