Why do I love horse racing? Let me count the ways…
The history - The stories and traditions. The record breakers and the trailblazers.
The diversity - The rich and the poor. The movers and shakers. The heroes and villains.
The celebration - The glamour and elegance. The champagne and socialising.
The people - The boss and their team. The office workers. Friends. Family. Community.
The dedication - The highs and lows. The laughs and tears. Rain, hail or shine.
The passion - The love of the sport and of the animal. The thrill of the punt.
The Horse - Majestic. Powerful. Gentle. Exhilarating. The athlete and the therapist.
There is something really special about being in the presence of a horse. Introducing yourself, allowing them to sniff you out then nuzzle in for a pat is instantly calming. A look in their dark eyes has your first-world problems melting away. Watching them frolic in a paddock makes you smile the way you do when you hear a toddler laughing. I last experienced this feeling in January with my aunt’s retired broodmare, who patiently stood still as my son practiced how to groom her. A month earlier, three curious foals at another farm had the same affect.
Recent headlines have been dominated by animal activists. We are now in a society where animal welfare and environmental issues are at the forefront. Where people are questioning where we’ve come from, where we’re heading and if the processes along the way are the right ones. This isn’t a bad thing; these topics deserve, and require, attention. However it becomes a bad thing when misinformation is circulated as fact. When the people who see this misinformation fail to research it or its origins further before confirming their own stance. The anti-horse racing voice is getting louder and it’s high time our industry voice does too.
Whilst racing media do promote the feel-good stories, our industry only seems to gain mainstream attention when there’s either a negative story or a champion breaks another record. Winx will no doubt retire after her run this Saturday – what will be the next racing story to grace the front pages?
When she races, Channel 7 regularly highlight the beautiful bond Winx has with her handler Umut. Trainer Udyta Clarke raised her horse Rich Charm back from the brink after a difficult birth. Sam Phillips, strapper to Trapeze Artist, shared a heartfelt tribute to the horse after his retirement last week.
Brands such as I Am Horse Racing and World Horse Racing are actively sharing the stories of participants here and around the world, whilst last Spring Carnival, Racing.com asked Victorian stable staff what they loved most about their horses.
These campaigns and brands, as well as this blog, were created with a common goal in mind – to share and promote the stories of those who dedicate their lives to racing and have the welfare of their animals as their first priority.
After a 12 month hiatus, my Racing Girl blog is back! If you’re new to Racing Girl (welcome!) or you’ve forgotten why I’m here, you can read my original introduction post HERE. And as always, connect with me on social media and let me know your thoughts!