04/26/2013 5:00PM

Kentucky Derby: Special bridle keeps Vyjack under control

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Barbara D. Livingston
Vyjack has been training in a special bitless bridle, known as a hackamore, which enables his rider to exert more control of the 3-year-old.

Although he worked Friday in a conventional bit at Churchill Downs, Vyjack has done all his training locally in a hackamore, a head piece that does not contain a bit but has a special type of noseband that helps a rider exert a little more control over a horse.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

“We started using a hackamore after his first race this year,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who was also aboard Vyjack during Friday’s work. “He became a little more aggressive than we wanted him to be in the morning and felt if he was going to compete at a high level, we needed to teach him not to go crazy the whole way around each day. A lot of horses start like that, they go too fast and begin developing physical problems. We tried a lot of different bridles and I think this was our last option. The hackamore fit him perfect and he’s galloped like a pony in it ever since the first morning we tried it.”

Rodriguez said a hackamore can be a bit too harsh to use during workouts.

“If you don’t know how to take a hold of it just right, it can cut off a horse’s airways and could be a problem during a work,” Rodriguez explained.

Clive More than 1 year ago
He might not win but he will definately beat a couple of the top contenders.
D Lange More than 1 year ago
How much does that pay?
Alex More than 1 year ago
Chances of Vyjack winning the Derby are slim to none and slim just left town.
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
Same as YOUR chances of PICKING a winner.......
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
dont rock the boat joel.we need jinxes like alex to trash vyjack.god forbid you put some sense in his head.then if he jumps on vyjack.the major overweight sign goes up
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
and none lives in a convent