I have formed a lovely working relationship with a fellow Blogger, and knowledgeable racing industry participant in the USA, in the form of Abigail Anderson. Abigail's Blog is titled "The Vault: Horse Racing Past and Present". She writes primarily on racing and breeding in the United States, but does do some pieces on Australian racing. Her pieces are beautifully crafted, wonderfully written, and painstakingly researched. Her knowledge of the industry is clearly extensive and it's been an enjoyable association.
Abigail's most recent posting on "The Vault" is actually written about Yours Truly, and my work. I was of course incredibly touched. I cannot hope to rival Abigail's great skill and artistry in writing, but invite you to read her Blog, and enjoy her work.
One of Abigail's points about my work is about the love for a horse, and how this can be drawn out through an image, just as she speaks so evocatively through words. I am often at pains to point out that the Racing Industry is full of people who love their horses, and do not just see their horses as commodities to be exploited. I do not deny that this practice exists, as it does in many livestock industries, but my experience, on the whole, has shown me how individuals form close bonds with their equine charges. This extends to trainers, jockeys, owners, stable hands, equine practitioners such as the Clarke's at Murchison who do so much important work with my darling Nelly.
I recently went to the Victorian premiere of the new documentary film called "Buck", and it was a Q&A session, and after the film finished, Buck Brannaman himself appeared, and was interviewed by a journalist from The Australian. For anyone who is remotely interested in horses, or just people in general, this film is a must see. There is a website: http://buckthefilm.com/
During this session, I was given the great privilege of asking Buck a question. One of which related to the racing industry, in term of how his work could apply to horses within the racing industry, to help thoroughbreds be better handled and behaved, and therefore more tractable and happy animals, and the flow on effects of this after they retire from the track and seek a new home and career. His ending comment, which will stay in my mind forever, was this: whilever there is horse racing, and people wanting to ride and work with horses, this is a good thing, because it means that horses will continue to have a place in our society. There will be times, just as with raising children, that the treatment of individual horses is not always perfect. However the fact that they have a place, and a use, and an importance in our society, and while there are people who not only want to ride, work, and spend time with horses, but entire industries based on horses, this is a great thing. Because this will ensure the survival of the horse in our society, without which, they could end up a creature that could only see in zoos, etc, which would be a great tragedy. I am of course paraphrasing here, but this captured the essence of what he said.
Tomorrow morning I rise at 4am, as I board a plane that will bear me south to Melbourne. My darling Pony, or Nelly, or Black Caviar as I think she is also sometimes called, will be waiting for me. There is free entry to Caulfield, she contests the G1 CF Orr Stakes over 1400m at 3.50pm. I am hopeful that my nephews Jake and Sean will still come along to see her race for the first time, and witness the magic that is a great racehorse. I encourage everyone to come along, and see a mare who continues to astound and delight.
|My Pony, the great Nelly, or Black Caviar, at the beach.|