A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message.
It was a screen shot of a status itself, and simply a cutout of a comment. A comment written in a lot of rage. A comment about me.
The woman commenting was stating that I was a horrible human being due to the fact that I falsely spread stories about thoroughbred breeders and owners who cared. That I constantly wrote of how aftercare organizations existed. And that I believed in the programs such as CANTER, RRP, TIP, and others that promoted and supported this breed that I love.
She was saying that I was a horrible person because it was all lies. She claimed that thoroughbreds are all too often ran until they’re broken and then shipped to an auction house. She wanted me to retract my comments, and get on board with the facts. The facts that stated that racing should be banned and outlawed, and that the industry that I loved was full of animal abusers.
She wanted to address the bad, while I wanted to promote the good.
And she is wrong.
I feel as though this blog finds a good balance between uplifting stories of the good guys, and downtrodden stories admonishing the bad. I have outed just as many industry insiders or aftercare organizations for neglect as I have showcased the breeders who do whats best.
And I will always keep is that way.
Because there are enough Facebook pages, websites, and organizations which only showcase the bad. That are so focused on the subpopulation of this industry which is negative that they are unwilling to admit that there is a majority who give a damn. Who care. Who do the right thing.
And I will keep telling those stories because they often go unspoken. Unknown. And that is due to a variety of things – both because these owners are often very private in their affection for these horses, as well as in their attempt to not burn bridges with the trainers and other owners which may have owned the horse along the way.
But even moreso, I have seen that these stories aren’t told because they don’t become clickbait. In our current state of affairs, in our current political climate – we love to see the world as glass half empty, and ignore the good in the world.
But I saw the good this week.
I live on Mt. Brilliant Farm. A beautiful and historic land, which has raised and nourished so many grandiose equines. The barn that Man o’ War lived in during his stud career is a stones toss away from my backyard, and Creator was born just across the polo field. They breed about 20 mares a year for racing, and another 5-10 for polo – as they support both of those equine sports with their efforts.And yet I have never worked for this farm. I am the girlfriend to the broodmare manager, and keep a relative distance as such. But occasionally, I watch a mare foal or a bandage be changed. I cheer on their yearlings at the sales and their racehorses at the track. The attachment and fondness is there, simply because I want my super significant manfriend to succeed. To do well in this job; on this farm.
But a few months ago he mentioned a horse. There was a 6 year old gelding that they wanted to retire and retrain, maybe even potentially with my assistance. The only problem with this amazing plan was that they didn’t still own this horse. In fact – they hadn’t owned him in almost 4 years.He had been born and raised on the lush Bluegrass that adorns these 700 acres, loved on by all of the staff as well as the owners. Hutton Goodman said the he had become more of a pet than an entity, and was affectionately nicknamed Shrek due to his massive size and frame. He was the farm favorite, and was the one that they all loved on for an additional few minutes at the end of the day.
And then when he was almost 2 years old – he was taken to the sales where he sold for $350,000 – a great price as far as everyone was concerned.He ran in New York for a while, and then moved out west. But he ran well, and he ran hard. He won a few stakes races, and earned almost $350,000 during his long and storied career over 33 starts.
But then he dropped in class. For the last year or so he ran solely in claimers, and this eventually dropped into the lower levels of claiming races. The farm owner knew that he wanted this horse when we was finished with his career, and reached out to the current connections to let this be known. He eventually offered some money as incentive, but his phone calls fell on deaf ears.
And so he rerouted. And last Sunday, he entered a claim on the 6 year old gelding, won it, and shipped the beloved farm favorite halfway across the country to return to the place where he was born.
Shrek arrived yesterday, and the entire farm hopped into their vehicles to meet him at the barn. It was a reunion that no one ever mentions, and very few see. A smile was plastered on Hutton’s face as he reached up to pat the massive geldings neck, acknowledging that there was no more worry of where this “pet” would end up.
Because, he was finally home.
I do not know what the future holds for Shrek. As of now, he is simply going to be a horse. Have his shoes pulled, his belly let down, and enjoy some time on the same Bluegrass that he was bred on. That he was born on. That he was raised on.These are the stories that are so often untold, or looked over. The good guys doing the right thing, and the horses within their care. We hear of the higher caliber of horse – the colts retiring to stand at stud and the fillies to be bred. We learn of the first foals for the big race mares through announcements in the TDN or the Bloodhorse. But we often never hear of the gelding. The hard knocking horse who ran hard, and ran well, and the farms, owners, trainers, grooms, and managers that backed them.
Those are the stories I will keep telling. I hope you enjoy them.