Smile And Wave Boys, Smile And Wave

It would seem that someone, including Hollywood and Disney are trying to give horse racing a good name.

With movies like Secretariat, for instance, and this new movie about the Danish trotter Tarok.

I feel sick, every time I see Tarok advertised. The movie has it premiere this month, it’s kind of huge in Denmark. How we all loved that horse, didn’t we?

Let’s review shall we, how we all loved that horse?

We sat by and let him be broken in as he was only a year old, we cheered him on as he was being raced, when he was only two years old, we turned a blind eye as his head was tied up, his tongue was tied down so he wouldn’t swallow it, from the unnatural position his head was forced into, we watched, applauded, cheered… he had fan clubs, he was nicknamed Danneborg on four legs, which is the name of the Danish flag, I mean, how much more could we possibly love this horse???

And Secretariat, I mean come on, what a Disney movie! So sweet! What a horse! Can you believe it, he won all his races as a two year old! Isn’t that fantastic? They did wonder if he could go the distance as a three year old, but of course he did! Even with an abscess in his mouth, being sick and all, he was still raced, and by the way, in the movie they didn’t know he was sick…

Because you never notice that your horse has an abscess in its mouth… in the book though, they did know, and raced him anyway… but that wouldn’t fit in a Disney movie would it?

I don’t know… I could spend the next hour, tearing this movie apart, bit by bit, but actually, aside from the fact that it openly condones the animal abuse that goes on on the race tracks every single day, it’s a nice movie…

So, aside from accepting animal abuse… And we do accept it. Don’t we?

That’s the way it’s done, everywhere. My very own Marble, being a race horse, should have run her first races this summer, if I hadn’t bought her. Two years old. I had to sign her off, because all thoroughbreds are signed up for the two year races at birth.

marble girl 2

(Imagine riding this baby?)

How ridiculous is that? How do we accept that year old horses are broken in and ridden? How do we accept that they are beaten, broken, scared senseless, beaten some more, and then released on the track so they can run for their lives?

Oh, how we love those horses… how we sure need someone to make some glorifying movies about the race track…

How we need even more, a revolution.

I mean, I don’t mind racing. (Trot should be forbidden, that is just plain animal abuse no matter how you twist and turn it.)

trot

(I didn’t make that picture, thumbs up to who ever did!)

But no, racing grown up, well trained horses, I don’t mind. Let the race horses have the same rules as every other horse. It can’t compete until its four, and then only in the low levels. Once it turns five, its allowed to jump as well.

Why does an ordinary horse have to be five before it’s allowed to jump, when a race horse is forced to run at top speed, on a stone hard track, at two? Why is it that no one cares how often these youngsters break their legs on the track, because their bones are too weak to handle the pressure of the hard ground and of being ridden? Why is it that an ordinary horse must be five, before it is allowed to jump? Because we all know that until it’s about six, it’s not done growing up, and its bones will injure easily?

Why then, is it any different for a race horse?

Because it’s expensive to keep a horse for five years, before you can use it. Five years you have to tend it, feed it, shoe it… and you don’t even know if it can run…. Much easier to just throw it out in the tracks at two, and find out if it is worth your money.

If it runs, you’ll keep it.

If not, it will have a few options. If it’s a mare, it might end up breeding, having foal after foal, year after year, until it becomes uninteresting.

If it’s a gelding, its either slaughtered, or sold at a low prize, mostly to some poor fool who have no idea what they are buying.

Buying an ex race horse, is a complicated matter, for a lot of reasons. I see them, over and over again, for sale. Often the same horses, changing hands, time and time again, always with the same words in the add…

Nice horse, hot tempered, looking for someone who can handle the ghosts he has…

Very nervous. Has been mistreated. Needs a patient, but firm hand…

Came off the track as a three year old. Lame, we don’t know why, but nice horse…

For sale because we can’t handle him…

For me, looking at those sales adds, I want to buy every single one of them. I know. I know what happened to them. I could handle it. I know how they were beaten, how they were locked up in a dark room and attacked, I know what they have been through… I could work with that… I may even be able to turn one or two of them into decent horses…

But I don’t. I can’t afford it. Not emotionally, not financially.

Those horses are cheap, you can buy them for almost nothing, but they are not cheap to have. A horse that has run since it was a year and a half old, will be damaged, mind, body and soul.

Mind I may be able to mend, soul will always be scared, and the body is most likely broken to some extent. I dare not bring them home, for fear of ending up with another horse like Legacy, that turns out to have a broken bone in one of his front legs.

There are a few things I haven’t talked about with Legacy, because I can’t be sure. Legacy was paperless, but he sure was an American trotter, no question about it. I was told too, that he had never raced.

If I had been told that he had raced, I would never have taken the chance on him, that I did.

IMG_8345

(The dark one.)

His trotter name was Bravo.

I am pretty sure that he had been raced. I am pretty sure that he had been beaten, locked up, tied up and attacked, I am almost certain that the kind of injuries we discovered on him, were from the race track.

The fact that he was paperless, can mean a few things. Either he was stolen, illegally imported, illegally sold, or his papers had been sold along with another horse at some point…

Or it can mean that I am wrong of course, he was not a trotter, and he just happened to look exactly like one, walk like one, and suffer from all the same kind of mental and physical injuries you find in every single race horse in existence…

Oh how we love those horses…

Let’s make another movie about the one horse that didn’t die on the track, or lived a miserable life forever after, haunted by what was done to him.

Let’s all sit down and watch Tarok as it airs this Halloween. (Incidentally, Legacy’s unofficial birthday was on Halloween…) Let’s smile, applaud and love the one horse that lived.

And let us try not to feel sick about all the other horses, who dies on the track every year…

I know you won’t find me in any cinema, watching any movie about any trotter. No matter how sweet the story of Tarok may be, no matter how much we love him, I couldn’t sit through it.

There are only so many things you can turn a blind eye to.

So what’s the point to this post then? Why does the world have to know that I am not going to the movies to watch that film?

It’s just that, I needed to say it. I needed all of my friends to know, just how sick they make me feel every time they share that movie trailer on face book, and I come across it.

There, I’ll stop now, and join the crowd, waiting for Tarok the movie to air…

Oh, how we loved that horse!

“Smile and wave boys, smile and wave…”

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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