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Culture At The Track

Is this the same entertainment value as watching the crashes in car races, difference is the drivers have a choice.

People paid money to see this type of entertainment.  Until the “tree huggers” got it banned. (You’re a “tree hugger”, til it becomes common sense, don’t you know)

This is the “culture” that is developed at a young age.

Being a “hotwalker” at the backside of Rockingham Raceways in New Hampshire was a summer of learning about horses, the culture of the track and so much more, that I shouldn’t write about.  In 1975, decided I wanted to be a Veterinarian Technician.  Thing was, you sort of had to know about large and small animals.  I had no horsey experience.  Gerry Cheevers the goalie for the Boston Bruins had a string of racehorses.  Some of his horses had names related to hockey. 


Now if you are a regular watching Coaches Corner, you know how Dad loves two things for his defensemen, “around the boards” and “off the glass”, which were   the names of two of Gerry’s horses. I guess he heard this a lot at practice.  So with this connection I got a summer of seeing the backside of the track.  I not only learned fast about horses, but more importantly the culture.  There is always a culture in most activities.  You have to be immersed in it to learn the real world of its reality.


Going to the races, and placing bets, is not knowing the inside of racing.  From the hot walker, grooms, pony girls, workout jocks, the vet and farrier, to the trainers and owners, that is the real world.  I had to learn fast about the hierarchy or in simpler terms the “pecking” order.  I look back at those days, and everyone at the track would undeniably say they “love” horses. It was their life, and livelihood.   Same with the professional jumpers, rodeo people, and all sports related to horses.


My question is this: Do they really love the horses, or do they love the culture and the world that they generate via the horse?  To question people’s love of animals when they have immersed themselves so deeply into their passion, is me being on thin ice to question such a thing. 



Once again, am I knocking these fields of passion?   What I am doing is asking what do these people give back when these horses are no longer functional or serve a purpose?  I hope these people look at the big picture.  Now there are some people that you do not have to ask this question to.  Such as Kathy & Mike Bartley, founders of Bear Valley Rescue, to whom we have donated to. Click here to read their story:


These people see the used up, cast offs of so many horsey endeavours.   Their passion is without monetary reward, prestige, plus a lot of heartache.  They know there are only so many horses they can save from the horsemeat market.  Because of these horse rescue organizations in Canada, I now wonder when I hear someone speak about their passion for horses, and the sport that their passion relates to, is it really about the horses or the fun they generate? Just asking the question.

EPILOGUE: There are many horse associations, such as the Ontario Harness Horse Assc., Equestrian Canada, plus numerous Veterinary Assc., plus many horse rescuing organizations such as the Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue, that are a working committee, called the Ontario Equine Welfare Info Group, that have developed a document, called the Ontario-Care-Guidelines-for-Equine Rescue.

Check it out if you want more info on the rescuing of horses :