Sunday, May 17, 2009
The "New" Breed - Out Into the New World
Taking a short change from riding, riding, riding, let's talk about college graduates. I spent the weekend in Morrisville NY attending my nephew's graduation from College - nothing unusual there. The normal family stuff - hurrying up and waiting a lot. It was a 4+ hour drive, stopping a lot to pee, getting wet in the rain, sitting and waiting in the graduation, fighting crowds of people, getting a kick out of the kids. You know -- the norm. But the part I found interesting was the degrees these kids are getting today. When I was young... (here we go), we went to the school of hard knocks and learned the hard way -- through hard work. A kid would graduate from high school and be thrown into the world to fend for themselves without a piece of paper to say they can do this or that. A kid could easily get a construction job building houses, or pitching horse shit and eventually work his way into training and driving the horses. Today? There's actually a degree in "Equine Race Management" which is the fancy name for pitching that horse shit. And there's a degree for "Residential construction" and "Horticulture" which of course is the gardening part of the world. And speaking of those Equine Race Management graduates, I learned something new about the Thoroughbred vs the Standard bred horse industry. I used to subscribe to PETA, and I'd get e-mails about the abuse horses take in the horse industry and I used to think no way, my dad and family doesn't abuse their horses! They are standard bred people. The thoroughbred people are the abusers! They don't condition their horses before that Kentucky derby or Preakness. I found that appalling. Its just like you or me getting on the bike and racing as hard as we can and not really getting any training prior to it. Imagine how we'd feel. That's what the Thoroughbreds do -- they light run them a time or two, or they "breeze" them (walk them) prior to races -- never going out for an "opener" prior to a race. Its all about bloodlines and breeding, not the training. The racing life of a thoroughbred is only 2 years. So the horse that broke his legs (or had some sort of leg trouble last year) and was put to sleep? In my opinion, abuse -- he wasn't trained and he broke down. I'm told they throw dead horse on a pile a Penn National -- what!!!??? True, they are run to death, literally. I have to do a little more research in this arena -- I'm appalled at what I learned about thoroughbred racing. Standardbreds racing is nothing like that -- they train their horses like you and I train -- a lot - before racing. I watched my dad for many years jog horses everyday for miles, upon miles, upon miles, to get a horse ready for a race. And he trained them too -- a mock-race a time or two before a "real" race. Funny how we train like horses , or vice versa. Interesting stuff.