Roadster Horse Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
The Roadster, or Road Horse, is a Standarbred prized for speed over the tanbark. Road horse exhibitors show their Standardbreds at three distinct speeds at the trot and are to show high knee and hock action, as well as a good headset.
Roadster classes in shows arose from a time when these horses were the “sports car” of their era: the best high stepping trotters took their owners to work and church in high style and great speed.
Such classes are often offered at shows where Saddlebreds and Hackney ponies are shown. If Saddlebreds are the “peacocks of the show ring,” then Standardbreds are the Nascars! No other breed comes close to equaling the speed of the Standardbred at the trot, on or off the track!
IN THE SHOW RING
Today’s roadster horse is shown in three basic ways:
1) under saddle, where they are ridden 2) hitched to the “bike,” a small two-wheeled vehicle very similar to the jog cart used at the racetrack 3)hitched to a wagon, a small, 4-wheeled vehicle commonly called a doctor’s buggy.
Three speeds are asked for by name during the class:
1). The “jog” is a slow trot. 2) The “road gait” is a modestly rapid trot, performed at a speed designed to cover long distances without unduly tiring the horse 3) A “Trot at speed” command calls for the fastest trot, during which the horse must not break or lose form. It is as exciting as any race at speed, heart and courage are combined with attractive appearance, balance, and show ring style.
Road horses are penalized if they break out of the trotting gait. Pacing and breaking into a canter, particularly when the horses negotiate the often narrow turns of the arena are the easiest faults for a novice spectator to see. To win, a roadster horse must have excellent form, excellent speed and control, plus true, straight trotting action coupled with show presence, attitude and style.