Now that I have your attention … some specific and unusual pieces of tack and accessories have come to my attention lately that piqued my curiosity. While doing the research for this piece, however, Googling terms such as “equine jockstraps” and “horse butt plugs” led me to some really disturbing websites and imagery that I can never un-see. Such is the plight of the serious investigative journalist. You’re welcome.
Certainly not a new phenomenon, ‘stallion supports’ have been around for years. Used mostly in the standardbred racing industry, they are made of soft rubber tubing and a breathable net ‘hammock’ which can provide relief to well-endowed studs whose equipment banging around affects their gait, making them trot wide behind and decreasing performance. Stallion supports (forgive me, can I call them Nut Bags? Nut Cases?) can also prevent chafing in hot weather (which can also be achieved with an anti-chafing balm such as Body Glide, just sayin’). This equipment can provide an option to castration (good news for the stallion) and allow his owner to share his horse’s talent as a breeding animal when it comes time to retire.
Stallion supports are also seen, albeit rarely, in the jumper ring. The stallion Coco Bongo, owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable and ridden by Canada’s Eric Lamaze, wore one at a couple of competitions, but it did not prove very effective in his case and he was gelded in June of 2016. Katharina Offel’s mount Quebracho Semilly was seen sporting one in 2014, and Abby Stables’ world champion trotter Triumphant Caviar, an Ohio-based stallion, wore one during his lucrative racing career. He did set a Canadian record for stallions four years old or older at Mohawk Racetrack in 2010, so in his case the accessory did the trick.
Stallion Supports cost about $70; Greenhawk sells a similar Stud Support for $96.99, touted to “provide support without restriction.” Rebecca Roy, Greenhawk’s director of marketing, commented that there is not a lot of demand for them and any sales are at “track heavy” stores, so it appears that they are not often used outside of the racing industry.
Then we come to some other standardbred-centric pieces of equipment with names so provocative I just had to check them out. The Filly Suspension Butt Plug is designed for horses, especially fillies, who suck air into their rectums during a race. It attaches to the girth with a snap hook and to the crupper by buckle attachment. And finally, the Butt Flap With No Shitz (!) does, I assume, exactly as the name indicates ‒ covers the butt so the driver does not get a faceful of hot poo coming down the home stretch.