Film ID:
YFA 5636

SULKIES

1970

Visitor Tabs

Description

This short film shows a day at a trotting race. A jovially narrated commentary explains the history and practice of racing horses with sulkies, the single-seater carts seen in the film.

Title – Sulkies

Title – By J Eric Hall

The film opens with a trotting race in Brough, Cumbria. Horses pulling sulkies, or lightweight carts with a single seat for the rider, are raced around a track in a grassy field while crowds of spectators look on. A sign in a car window advertises Brough (Westmoreland) Athletic Sports Committee Annual Open Trotting Races, Monday, 31st August, 1970. The commentary observes that trotting was already flourishing in Britain 200 years ago, and that there are as many as 30 races each summer in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

Horse boxes are parked and the sulkies unloaded. The seat and wheels of one are shown, and the commentary explains that a sulky must be light and strong. A horse is walked out of its box while others have bridles fitted.

Bookmakers put up chalkboard signs to advertise the odds. They take bets and spectators line up along wooden fences around the track to watch the race.
A judge makes notes on a small pad as the horses go past and the commentary notes that 3 judges check the result of each race. Each jockey wears their own individual colours.

A young woman climbs into the seat of a sulky and rides onto the track, with the commentary observing that there is “always a good sprinkling of lady competitors”. People place further bets and queue up at a burger van for refreshments.

The film ends with a winner receiving a prize cup, as a sulky is seen to one side with a bent wheel and a woman unloads a pram from one of the trailers. The commentary notes jokily that it is always good to have a spare.

Title – The End