When an average person hears the term “starting gate,” it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise if he or she is clueless about it. The thing is if you are not an avid fan of horse racing, you may not even be familiar with the term. But if you are in one way or another connected to horse racing in whatever capacity, then you know what a starting gate means.
The purpose of starting gates or starting barrier/stall in some regions of the world is to allow for a fair, safe, and convenient start in the sport of horse racing. Horse racing tracks in the different parts of the world use them for the fact that there are no other means to keep the wild and furiously fast animals right before they strut their stuff, racing with one another in the race track.
If you have been to a racetrack before, you probably have seen one, but you did not pay attention to it since a starting gate is never about aesthetics or visuals. The reason why it was invented in the first place is to keep horses in a convenient and safe position before the race commences. In most instances, the starting gate comes with several stalls all aligned in rows. In Australian tracks, it is common to see at least twelve stalls in one starting gate structure.
Know that in some instances, starting gates come in small varieties, which in turn are designed for training young horses, particularly in making them feel comfortable inside the structure. The reason why horses need early training when placed in starting gates is that you want them to be at peace with the fact that they’d be spending a lot of time in them during races. For the most prominent races out there like in the Kentucky Derby, you will see a starting gate used for auxiliary purposes, or in some situations, serving as reinforcement for the primary barriers used in big-time racing events.
In most scenarios, the starting gate comes in a design where it gets suspended from a welded truss made from steel. There likewise is additional support in the form of a set of wheels with pneumatic tires. The structure usually moves courtesy of a tractor or truck that tows it. The reason why starting gates come with a towing-capable design is that they need to move from one track to another in the most convenient way possible. They even can be dragged to the highway with the right towing vehicle.
In the horse racing industry, starting gates play a crucial part. Without them, it is impossible to come up with another way to get the horses to their appropriate places and position right before the start of the race.