Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘retired racehorses

Two Minutes

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It sure seemed like the fastest two minutes. Yesterday afternoon, Cyndie and I watched the Kentucky Derby with a new perspective. We have four horses living with us now who started their lives as racehorses but went on to become neglected and ultimately taken on by a rescue organization.

Ultimately, we are not supportive of the breeding of animals for the purpose of racing them for a few years. At the same time, we recognize the fascination with the power and speed of Thoroughbreds.

The Derby is referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” The 2021 winner was “Medina Spirit” with a time of 2:01.02.

Check out the images posted on kentuckyderby.com. The beauty and athleticism are mesmerizing.

It’s intoxicating. Until we consider the rest of the lives of all the horses at all the racetracks around the world.

We are giving our hearts to four rescued Thoroughbreds with the hope of allowing them to reclaim their wholeness as equine beings, living safely and comfortably for the rest of their lives.

If they choose to run, it’s a brilliant spectacle. Given their own choice on our property, it has never come close to lasting two minutes at an all-out sprint.

We’ll probably watch the next two Triple Crown races to see what transpires, but it is with conflicted hearts. After yesterday’s race, we walked out into the field with our four Thoroughbreds to recalibrate. There was nothing but walking and grazing happening, but they were no less impressive creatures.

Zodiacal Light, Pleasant Mix, The Yellow Sheet [Mia], and Gate Swinger are all champions in our eyes.

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Grazing Big

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It was a big day for the horses yesterday on the front hayfield. The sun was out and they had already scouted the perimeter on the previous day, so now it was nothing but calm grazing in the increasing warmth of the morning rays.

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Their precious energy is such a treasure to experience. The impressions conveyed by the photos offer a mere fraction of what it is like to actually stand in their presence long enough to feel like you’ve become a member of their herd.

 

Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2021 at 6:00 am

Hay Delivered

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One of the best parts of our relationship with This Old Horse is that they provide all the support needed to care for the horses, and the greatest relief for us is that we don’t have to find and transport baled hay. Yesterday was magical in that a trailer full of small squares was delivered right to our hay-shed door.

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Since I was conveniently an hour away at the day-job when it arrived, the work of helping to unload and re-stack it in the shed landed on Cyndie. [monotone fake concern…] Too bad I wasn’t able to be there.

Despite the fact it was wintery-cold outside, all I wanted to do when I got home was go hang out with the horses. They were out on the back pasture, so Cyndie and I picked the chore of clearing out two years of overgrowth from within, and around the outside perimeter of the round pen. We were standing where the horses could clearly see us.

Our previous herd would quickly move their grazing to get very near wherever we happened to be, but these mares are much less connected to people at this point. They randomly appear to adjust their positioning with respect to us, though it usually involves maintaining a distance that reflects their understandable caution.

We look forward to showing them plenty of reasons to develop a special connection with us over time, starting with the fact we will be the primary ones serving up their rations of hay.

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Written by johnwhays

April 20, 2021 at 6:00 am

Racing Memories

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On their second day with us, the horses showed another side of themselves. After they had their morning feed, Cyndie sat with them as they took some naps and generally lounged around the paddock.

There weren’t many signs they were having any trouble with the amount of green grass available in the paddock, and areas that hadn’t been munched yet were dwindling fast. They had already communicated interest in getting onto the back pasture by demonstrably posing at the gate, staring into the field longingly, so we decided to open the gate.

We anticipated the possibility they might frolic into the field with enthusiasm, since our previous herd of Arabians often did, but we had no idea how much of a transformation back into racehorses we would witness.

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They raced hard around the perimeter and then raced back into the paddock so they could race out again and take another lap. They raced so much they worked up a sweat that they then tried to wipe off by rolling on the ground. Then they raced some more. The video above was the third blast of about five, broken up with pauses to roll or go get a drink.

It was thrilling to witness how they came to life and appeared to revel in the freedom to go full speed again for a little while and to stop whenever they wanted. It was also a little bit scary to stand somewhat exposed to the thundering herd when neither we nor they knew for sure where they were going to go next.

By the time my sister, Judy, and husband, Scott, stopped by to visit, the horses had calmed considerably. When we opened the gate a second time to let them see some of the excitement, the entrance was entirely subdued in comparison. I suspect the mares may be feeling their age. I worry about the body stiffness they might be feeling this morning.

Taking extra caution while we are getting to know each other, Cyndie responded to Mix’s invitation for a little post-workout brushing by reaching from our side of the gate.

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She turned around so Cyndie could get her neck, too. None of the other three have shown more than the briefest of interest in being touched by us yet.

They have shown total acceptance of the chickens, who are slowly closing the distance of proximity with the new tenants.

Since the mares seem to remember how to race, we are confident they remember how good it feels to be groomed, too. It gives us plenty to work with as we slowly, but surely, warm up to each other evermore.

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Written by johnwhays

April 19, 2021 at 6:00 am