I am a videographer in Portland, Oregon with a love for all things horses. Originally from Minnesota, my childhood was spent on racetracks across the Midwest. I am currently training my dream horse with hopes of excelling at dressage and Parelli. I have a Cairn Terrier, Ellie, and an old cat named Winston. I am fortunate to have a pretty nice boyfriend who understands and supports my love of horses. My blog helps keep a record of my successes and failures and helps friends and family enjoy the journey with me.
I have a love hate relationship with horse racing. As I sat and watched Big Brown and Eight Belles come down the stretch, I couldn't help but start to cry. To me the thunder of hooves and the sound of breathing as they round the last turn incites goosebumps. I am overcome with emotion and this sense of pride that I know and love these animals. They blaze down that homestretch, glorious athletes. I almost hold my breath as they cross the finish line. This is how I feel watching every race, the Kentucky Derby is no different for me than watching a $500 claimer at Portland Meadows. I grew up on racetracks as most of my readers know, so I have seen the good and the bad. On Saturday, I was cheering for 8 Belles. I wanted her to show up the boys. As I watched her come down the stretch, I knew Big Brown had it, but I was so proud of her. That is when the tears of joy started, minutes later they were tears of sadness. We all know what happened. This sport needs to change. We have horses running too young, we have trainers pumping any and every kind of drug into these horses, we have a broken test barn policy, we have minimal fines for huge infractions, we have sanctioned starvation of jockeys, we have inhumane gate practices, we have no mandatory vet checks before racing, we have uninsured jockeys who refuse medical treatment because that can't afford it, and the list goes on. The sport could be good again. I really believe that. I know for many, they don't agree that horses "like" to race. I believe that they do. A horse knows when it wins on the track and a horse knows when it has been beat. You can see it. They know they are athletes. The Racing Commission needs to make it a drug free sport. Currently test barn results come back after a week and if there is a positive test...trainers pay a wimpy fine that doesn't effect the mutuals for the outcome of the race. It needs to be a HUGE fine and possible racing license revocation. If a horse can't pass a vet check, it doesn't run. If a horse breaks down on the track...HUGE fines for the trainer and owner who put it in the race. If the commission tackles the drug problem and changes maidens to at least 3 years, ideally 4 instead of almost 2, we would see major progress. This week I read an article equating horse racing to dog fighting. I understand the analogy. The savageness comes from human greed and suffering for our entertainment. For horses, death is not assured but the possibility these race horses end up on a table in Europe is quite high. This can be a good sport, but right now it is as ugly as dog fighting. Please write the racing commission, email, complain, have dialogue. Make your voices heard. I am tired of staying silent.