"Dignity After Racing" is launched for our retired harness racing pals. They are bred by us, and taking care of them, since they allow the participants in our sport to earn a living, seems like a no-brainer. However, (although I have not many anyone who thinks horses are expendable after they stop racing) we do not spend enough taking care of them.
"An Organization of horsemen, breeding farms, racing centers, and horse lovers devoted to seeing these wonderful horses that so many of us benefit from have a life of dignity and love after their racing, breeding or days behind a buggy have come to an end." says the mission statement.
That's good news. The participants need to help, and many of them do, but the more we can get to jump on board, the better.
I have always wondered why we have not done more in this genre. With the slots money coming in, why didn't we allow for a very small slice to go to retirement? In Ontario a portion of wagering goes to it, but in many jurisdictions with slots, nothing does. A lot of it goes to breeding, which is fine, but when I think of stories like Pickle, who was born to be sold as a racehorse yearling, but had a facial deformity and ended up one step from death at a meat sale, it frankly, makes me mad.
Can we not do something to fund an initiative? Drivers/jocks and breeding farms make their money by breeding and sitting on and behind them. Can a small slice be preserved for the horses to make sure they are taken care of later? We can't save every horse, but we can save some.
Since I am fired-up, as I usually am on this issue, and I have so many east coasters visiting here (the east coast is a harness racing hotbed, as you can see here, for those who do not know), can I share a story?
A place with a big heart and who I have fostered for is called Beagle Paws. Beagles are great pets. They have a dog that needs a little help. He has a really bad disc condition and he is a rescue from hunters. You can see how bad he was here in November:
After some care he has blossomed:
But he needs surgery so if you click the above link and want to help you can.
The province of Newfoundland has some laws that are old and out of date on animal protection. These dogs are used for hunting and can be pretty much thrown away if they are not good hunters (some of the dogs Beagle Paws have rescued there were found abandoned on the side of the highway). Ads like this in a local paper are completely fine (from their website):
"I am looking for an excellent hunting dog, I don't want JUNK. Will pay right price for a really good Beagle.
If you got JUNK I don't want it."
Talking about a dog like he is a piece of junk makes me ill, as I know it does you too. With this kind of ad I suspect the paper had to correct about nine spelling mistakes when they received it, because no human with an IQ higher than a popsicle could possibly write it. If you live out there and are looking for a wonderful pet for your family (they are amazing pets) please contact them. You won't be disappointed.
Like horse retirement here, we need some new policies in a lot of places, in my opinion.
I have deep respect for everyone in racing who is helping in this selfless regard. It is so nice to see places like DAR popping up and I applaud every trainer, driver and breeder who gives it the help they so deeply deserve.
Off my soapbox now. We'll be back to racing and betting tomorrow. I thank you for reading if you got this far.
All hail the Admiral
He was a superstar.
It was announced this week that he received the Cam Fella Award, which is a once a year award that goes to someone (or some horse) who goes above and beyond the call of duty in harness racing.
I was so very happy to see him win. We are all sad he is not out there enjoying retirement by barrel racing, bouncing in a paddock, or meeting children and introducing them to the wonderful breed that is a standardbred; but this is a nice award.
He deserves it and we'll miss him.