Monday, September 13, 2010

Training a Horse For the Love of the Horse

Today, in the mainstream racing media, it seems almost every story is about a trainer doing something untowards, or suspected of such. Don't get me wrong - this is not a bad thing. Sugarcoating what happens in our sport does not help it, it hurts it.

However, there are so many trainers out there who are doing wonderful work. The problem I guess, is they rarely get good stock it seems. If someone is looking for a quick buck they going to a guy with a 44% off claim percentage, or who wins races like magic; it appears that most do not even care how they are achieving it, they want the cash. I do not think it is a stretch to say that racing has attracted that type of owner over the last several decades.

One such trainer who is in this sport for the horse, in an interview on VFTRG that I was enthralled with, is Anouk Busch, a 35 year old horse lover originally from Holland. The interview, which is long but worth reading, shows she does not pull punches, and she puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to horse retirement. Additionally, going to a honest horse loving trainer does not mean you will lose races; she does quite well.

Some quick highlights of the pull-no-punches interview:

On helping horses:

AB: I found Trolley, a quarter horse, at Camelot on June 30th with a sock superglued to her skull. She had a gaping hole underneath from a bashed in skull. What amazed me is how calm she still was with what happened to her in the past (I wish I knew for sure what happened). I kept coming back to her. So did Daniel Dube who was there that night since he was recuperating from an accident. When the other local rescues were unable to take her in and they talked about possibly having to put her down, I made some calls and decided to take her myself.

On getting stock:

Is there anything which should be done to make it easier for a trainer to attract additional owners?

..... if the cheaters are banned, the trainers who don’t cheat and the smaller trainers will get a better chance to attract new owners. That being said, the easiest way to get more owners is to have that one big horse.


On whipping:

PG: Since you mentioned it, is the whipping problem as bad as people think, or is it just a perception issue?

AB: I think it’s a big problem for sure. I hate it when my horses come back with blood or big marks. I tend not to use those drivers again.

PG: Have you ever ‘fired’ a driver because a horse came back with fresh welts or cuts?

AB: Yes.


In my opinion, some of the deep pocketed horse owners could do this sport some good if they throw a person like this a couple of horses. We need to support this sport in many ways when we buy a horse and it is entrusted in our care. She puts her time and money into it; maybe we should all do that in return.

More here.

1 comment:

Pacingguy said...

For those who say the slashers are only at the smaller bush league tracks, this trainer races at the major tracks. Whipping is an issue no matter where we are.

As to the trainer involved, somehting I neglected to mention in the article is this person has had zero violations of the rules. Not one.