Getting reminders

There’s a phrase that’s common in the particular lingo of horse racing: “Getting reminders”.

All sports and hobbies and games and pursuits have their own language.

Cricket is maybe the most wonderful example. There is a long list of phrases that seem to make no real sense outside the world of cricket.

“Silly mid off.”

“Leg before wicket.”

“Leg spinner.”

“In-swinging yorker.”

Horse racing is another example. Anyone who follows horse racing learns a new language of words and numbers and symbols and abbreviations.

One phrase that’s common during race commentary is “getting reminders”.

It’s shorthand for what a jockey does when his mount’s concentration or commitment has started to waver, and he flicks or smacks the horse once or twice with the whip to bring his mind back to the job.

It’s a different act entirely to that which sometimes gets jockeys in trouble with race stewards. “Excessive frequency” is when a jockey is deemed to have hit his charge too often, usually in the closing stages of a race.

Reminders, on the other hand, are often required. A quick sharp shock to stop the mind from wandering and get back to the task at hand.

All of us need reminders.

We seek reminders in great books, or quotations, or inspirational social media memes.

We know what we need to do. But sometimes we just need reminders.

Just like a racehorse.