A Bloodhorse article titled "Public Can Visit Maximum Security May 18 at Monmouth" starts with these sentences:

Maximum Security, whose popularity has soared since he was disqualified from first in the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), will make a public appearance for racing fans May 18 at Monmouth Park when he schools in the paddock.

The Jason Servis-trained colt will be brought to the paddock area with the horses for Saturday's fifth race at approximately 2:20 p.m. local time before being led around the walking ring.

FYI, Maximum Security is a famous racehorse.

What does the intransitive verb 'school' here mean?

I've consulted all the dictionaries that I can access, but couldn't find the right definition for this use.


The use of the intransitive verb schools is because the author is speaking of the horse in the third person.

The horse is schooling in the paddock. While the horse schools he wears a saddle.

The usage of jargon is not always straightforward in sports terminology. This usage is fairly standard in horse racing.

From an online glossary of horse racing terms presented by Daily Racing Form.

SCHOOLING- Accustoming a horse to starting from the gate and to teach him racing practices. In steeplechasing, more particularly to teach a horse to jump.

PADDOCK- Structure or area where horses are saddled and kept before post time.

Horses are very intelligent animals. But, they often do not enjoy being confined within a starting gate. A large portion of their young training is spent teaching them not to rear up in the gate where they can harm themselves, jockeys, and other track personnel.

Racing practices refers to things like responding to the starting bell, having a jockey and saddle on their back, and not getting spooked by other horses running along side them.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a backstretch tour at a race track, I highly recommend it. There is a lot more to horse racing than just putting the horses in a line and whipping them to go faster!

  • If 'school' means 'train' or 'teach', why is it being used as an intransitive verb? When Maximum Security schools in the paddock, is he smart enough to train himself without any help of a rider or a trainer?
    – JK2
    Sep 26 '19 at 1:22
  • @JK2 Maximum Security is a mature horse who is already trained to race. In this particular case, he's walking around the paddock with a saddle on. Probably as a means of exposing him to his adoring public. Not all sports terminology follows the exact rules of grammar.
    – David M
    Sep 26 '19 at 2:24
  • I'd appreciate it if you could explain the meaning of 'school' in the given sentence rather directly quote the meaning of the jargon.
    – JK2
    Sep 26 '19 at 2:29
  • @JK2 therail.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/30/gate-and-paddock-schooling Perhaps this article will better explain it to you.
    – David M
    Sep 26 '19 at 2:36
  • 1
    @JK2 See my edit. And, I don't see that you were given a different answer on WordReference than I gave. forum.wordreference.com/threads/…
    – David M
    Sep 26 '19 at 2:41

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