A tiny speck of hope has been ignited in the danish stables after Danske Spils yearlong monopoly on horse track betting has been broken. Danish trotting is buried in a crisis that started 30 years ago. Old men race the horses, and old men bet on them, all the while trotting has moved from national sport to niche. The culture is fading away, but the trotting community keeps on fighting.

Old timer. Birger Jørgensen is a busy man. He jumps from one horse to another and on race days Birger can have 9 out of 10 races all on different horses. Some owners he always races for, others book him from race to race.

Bundle of muscles. Dream of Succes has just been washed after the first race on Jydsk Væddeløbsbane. It is only the second time that Dream of Succes races and Birger drove it to a second place. The cash prize amounts to 3750 danish kroner, of which Birger gets 5 percent.

Sulky. In trot you strap a waggon behind the horse. The race waggons are called sulkys. These are training waggons and are called longwaggons, which are heavier and more stable if the horse is new and nervous. When using the longwaggons it is basically weight training for the extremely strong horses.

Echo. In the main building the speaker comments on all the races and echoes all over the grounds. Speakers are everywhere, so the races also can be heard by those working and getting ready in the stables.

Winner. Birger Jørgensen is the most winning sulky driver in Denmark ever. In the back room of his stable at Jydsk Væddeløbsbane lies an old, dusty winners wreath between the coffee maker and trotting equipment. Birger doesn't even remember where the wreath was won.

Drive-in. Bjarne Søgård is taking notes in the program for the races. He has parked his car so it aligns with the last turn on the last stretch before the finish line. “Back in the day we had a table in the restaurant. But then my buddy died, and then i didn't want to sit there all by myself. I’d rather walk around in the stables”. Bjarnes father was one of the founders of Billund Travbane, and when he died, Bjarne inherited his part in the race track.

Performers. Henrik Lunds has a strict working relationship with the strong horses. His job is to make them perform as best as possible and he is good at it - multiple derby winners proves that. Henriks girlfriend Helle has a more the gentle and affectionate relationship with the horses.

Henrik Lund. On his land behind the house Henrik has his own training track. It is deeper and heavier to drive on and it makes the horses stronger. “If the horse knew how powerful they are, we wouldn't be able to work with them” he says about the strong animals in the low stable.

HORSE GYM 2000

. In Henrik Lunds barn is a treadmill for horses. Chardonnay is getting 24 minutes today. “Trotting horses has to train in the same way as top athletes. So these animals are being treated amazing”.

Wash. The tracks surface cover the horses in grey mud, so after each run the horses are thoroughly washed. At first they are hosed down, then a flat aluminum bar is pulled over the coat to get all excess water off. The majority of the horses does not like getting water in the face.

Flag and rope. When the first horse head is aligned with Martin Jørgensens shoulder he raises the flag and the race has begun. If Martin's grandfather is in the race he can’t be in charge of the flag or the rope pull. The rule is to prevent him from being accused of favoritism.

Live. Before Dansk Travsport went live with their own tv-channel ‘Fast Track’, every race was transmitted live by Dantoto who had the monopoly on danish horse track racing.

Darth Vader SM. Bent Nørskov cheers for the horse Darth Vader S M, who runs in the first race today on the track in Skive. The horse is owned by Bents good friends Dennis, Jesper and Jørgen Gertsen.

Superstition. The totalisator takes people's bets. Rikke Madsen works on Jydsk Væddeløbsbane and had the same job back home in Skive. “Some guests are so superstitious, that if i make a wrong ticket, i cant cancel it, because then the wrong ticket probably wins” says Rikke Madsen behind the blue machine that looks the same all over Denmark.

Sausage Mountain. Every race track has a small cafeteria in the vicinity of the stables. Thats where the locals and everyone who works in the stables comes. Jens Hansen is retired and volunteers in Staldsvinget in Billund. It's freezing outside but the grill is still running outside and the mountain of sausages is growing.

Fingers crossed. Its raw and chilly and most of the guests stay inside in the long building at Fyens Væddeløbsbane. The races doesn't last that long, so the ones who bets, goes out to see the horses and riders perform and crossing their fingers for the possible prize that may follow.

Cafeteria. The bottom part of the long building is a cafeteria. In the one end guests can bring their own food. A four legged visitor has sought refuge under a table.

The local. The locals call him the hot-dog man, because he owned a couple of local grill-bars for many years. Now Poul Erik Sørensen gives tours on the racetrack and has not missed many race days.

V5. Poul Erik Sørensen gets the programme in the mail and makes his V5 coupon at home, and then him and his play buddy bets at the racetrack. “In Sweden they put 10.000 on a winner. If you put down hundred here, that’s a lot”.

The comet. In the beginning Marc Bæk Nielsen drives with some yellow sunglasses. But as the raceday proceed and the weather worsens he puts down his visor. The other drivers call im ‘The Comet’, because he is storming forward in the trotting community.

Volunteer. Marc Bæk Nielsens sulky needs some adjustments so it fits a larger horse. Marc has only one full-time employee. The rest helps out voluntarily on both farm and racetracks as Viktor Henriksen does here.

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