Someone asked me to put onto paper what losing the horse racing industry would mean for my family and I. For the first time in my life I struggled to find the words.
I have been around horses my entire life and so has my husband. Both of us are second generation. I was picking out hooves before I could pick out my own clothes. Our 2 1/2 year old daughter and our 1 year old son have too been exposed since birth. Knowing that they have already felt what joy and tranquility these kind hearted animals can bring into ones life and knowing they may not have the privilege of working along side them is what kills me the most inside.
This past 8 months has made us realize how truly lucky we were. Waking up every morning at 4am in our warm, comfy beds with a roof over our heads and heading off to work with coffee in hand. Mucking stalls, lugging water pails, jogging in the rain, sleet and snow. Working day and night, seven days a week including holidays. This may not appeal to the average Joe, but for a horseman, we wouldn't have it any other way. The way jogging on a crisp morning feels, a nuzzle on your neck with a muzzle on your shoulder, a nibble on the small of your back when you're tacking on a shoe, the exhilaration and adrenaline rush of a training mile and the thrill of watching the product of your hard work brush past the leader in the final strides of a race make it all worthwhile and will be the feelings I'll miss the most.
The not knowing what will happen to our life long companions and our families is hard to take. While the ones that put us in this situation are sipping lattes in the confines of their big, cozy office, eating prime rib dinners, and swirling brandy...we'll be worrying about whether or not we can feed our children, pay our utilities or our rent. They'll be worrying about what to buy as Christmas presents for their loved ones and we're left wondering if we'll even have a Christmas tree. Who knew that with one swipe of a pen our lives could be turned upside down.
We'll keep on fighting for what we've worked so hard for until the bitter end but at this time next year, if you drive by a farm with an empty field where the horses "used to be", please remember it didn't have to be this way.
Posted with permission from the author, Christine Arlidge: http://www.facebook.com/OntarioHorseRacingTheSoundingBoard