****Public Equine Service Announcement- Not Feline related at all**********
OK, so I know I'm not allowed on the blogs much because yes I have large hooves and I can make a mess in the house. However, Kaze alerted me to the fact that Captain Jack & Sir Dante's mom had a lovely post about the filly, Eight Belles. I'm not here to debate, just give the perspective of a former race horse. A perspective as the boss mare of many future race horses.
Eight Belles was kind of my cousinish. Well, we have similar breeding at least, both having Mr. Prospector as a Grandhorse and having Native Dancer on both sides. Plus she's from one of our home race tracks; Delaware. This is where some of my minion horses go when they go test if they'd like to be racehorses. I'm sure some of my past minions rubbed shoulders with her on races.
Don't get me wrong, I HATED being a race horse. I sucked at it. I ran in 4 races and I failed to finish anywhere near respectable. In fact, I was last in most races. Its not my "thing". My thing is to be totally spoiled and barely asked to do anything beneath me. I'm a queen of course. But some horses- some horses LOVE running in races. These are the horses who make it to the Kentucky Derby. Their passion to run makes them spectacular.
My barn is filled with racehorses-to-be. The Woman-In Charge is amazing. You know how humans generally fail animal needs? Not her, she rocks, she knows when we need a half-flake more hay, an extra water bucket, or when we need to stay in the barn in the winter. We trust her completely because she's proven herself time and time again. She is the woman who teaches the young horses how to be ridden and accept the things in life that will come at them when they try to be racehorses. Our babies (I say mine because I teach them older mare stuff in the field like how to avoid being captured hehe) are happy and LOVED. Truly loved. The vet care is incredible and their owners and trainers care for these horses and know their personalities and likes/dislikes. Training progresses at the speed of the filly or colt, not on an arbitrary schedule.
I would like to share a story of one horse in our barn and his love of racing. "Jack" as we called him was 3 years old when he was shipped out to our barn from California. The Woman-in-Charge took him in to see if she could get him re-trained to be a pleasure horse which is what I do (and I LOVE it!!). Jack did not want this. Jack spent a winter out in the field to "chill out", he was ridden lightly, he was ridden out in fields, he was given every chance to "calm down" and find joy in being ridden. Even my Woman (Kaze's Lap Lady) rode him. Scared the poop out of her because Jack only wanted to RUN. Anything else was not cool with him, he just was an unhappy horse. So Aunt G finally suggested maybe Jack should run again. He was put back into training at 5 years old and do you know what? Jack was laughed at and ridiculed for trying to get back into the sport. He showed them- he won his first race. Yup, Jack loves to run. This isn't even an old story- this race happened 2 weeks ago.
Please don't try to debate me, I'm a chestnut thoroughbred mare and I'm ALWAYS right. Just ask my human. My intent here was to give hope to those who feel that racehorses are not well cared for. This is true in some truly sad circumstances but the vast majority of humans who take care of us deeply care about our welfare. Sure things need to change in racing but totally stopping racing would not fix anything. We are fragile yet strong animals who are very well loved by the humans around us. Of course there are exceptions (as there are with kitties too) but the majority of race people have a good heart. As for race horses- we let you know pretty fast if we like our jobs or not- hence the reason I got this sweet gig with my Woman and Jack is back at the track.
************Now back to your regularly scheduled Feline Topics***************