Monday, June 22, 2009

Canterbury Park

I was back in Minnesota a week ago and went to visit my father at Canterbury Park. For those who don't know, my dad trains and races horses at tracks across the Midwest. For me, visiting the track is always bitter sweet. I love the horses, the sounds, and the community that makes up the backside. On the other hand, I hate seeing horses bound to stalls unless they are working on the track or going in mindless circles on a hot walker. I hate the drugging, I hate the running of horses younger than 4, and I hate watching people handle horses that have never looked into horse psychology as a way to help train. Still, I go because I love my dad and I want to support him. I have learned to pick my battles. I cleaned his tack room out for Father's Day and left a quote tacked to the wall, "Horses jump higher and run faster out of heart and desire." I wonder if he has seen it yet:-)

Here is an updated picture of Bri. I posted about her back in 2007. She is 15 now, still working for my dad and still dreaming about training horses. She is sitting on "Jessie." There was another addition on the backside...little Cadence. The story is his mom drove up from Nebraska and dumped him at the track and took off. His father works for my dad as an exercise rider. Everyone has been helping to watch him while Eddie rides. It broke my heart to see this nice little boy just abandoned by his mom and left here. Granted people on the backside find ways to pull together and make things work, it is no place for a two year old. They are getting creative and taking turns with babysitting. Someone rigged up a harness to attach to the hot walker and he goes around and around like a swing. I have a picture of Cadence napping on a tack room couch and you get a sense of how little he is. Also, one pic of my dad holding "Ground Candy" before a race...ran 4th.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like an interesting visit. I'm with you on the whole horse racing thing, wonder if your Dad read the quote you left.
I feel sorry for the little guy who was left at the track, it's really no place for a child. Nice mom.

Molly said...

Cadence is darling. "Abandoned by Mother" is not acceptable.

I am with you about the trackside business. A complete love/hate relationship that I cannot turn away from. If I had a relationship with someone on the backside I'd be there brushing and talking to all the ponies.

Drillrider said...

I receive a newsletter from Rick Lamb's radio program. This was in the last one:


Race Horse Age

Racing is notorious for the way it stresses young horses, but some get out and have a successful second career.
The typical riding horse is not started under saddle until its two year-old year. But by two, the average race horse is already being run hard and often, a practice that shortens many racing careers. Top race horse trainer Blane Schvaneveldt has noticed a change in recent years.
"There used to be a lot of horses around here nine or ten years old, but anymore I'd say the average age of a horse around here now is five or six years old. They just don't run them as long as they used to. They just seem to go by the wayside. They run 'em hard as twos and threes and fours and they just don't last, or they're gone doing something else."
That something else could be barrel racing, dressage, eventing, or trail riding. All of these activities are well suited for a good-minded and sound, retired race horse.


They start them B4 they are two, admittedly run them hard and wonder why there are no older horses around? Hmmmmmmm?

My sister-in-law trains horses for the race track here in Boise, ID. I've been here 1-1/2 years and already she's offerred me 3 different horses, two of which had soundness issues. I have four horses and don't need anymore though!

Callie said...

Cute little boy! I say, "What a great way to grow up!". It takes a village. Nice photos!

jacksonsgrrl said...

I have read your previous posts on you and your dad and his career. Loved your posts as always. I love that while you don't support the sport, you support your dad, which of course you should. Very cool that you have a mind of your own and strong opinions too. I wager that without your dad and his career you wouldn't have the horse experience that you do? Racing is not a sport that I am interested in, mainly b/c they start them too young, too fast....and other reasons too...but I also LOVE XC which also has controversy surrounding it.... Poor little fella' left by his mom. Not a good place to be left I agree, but I do believe that if his dad has LOTS of help (sounds like it) and his dad is a GOOD dad, it is a much better situation than being with a mother who can't or won't take care of him for whatever reason. Since we don't know her story; well, judging is easy, especially when you don't know the why. I was abandoned at 3 weeks of age and my adoptive parents are the best... I'm sure I won out there....

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