That was depressing. Well written though.
The one thing he didn’t focus on was that the changing sensibilities don’t just encompass racing. As the carriage people found out, there doesn’t have to be betting and breakdowns to embolden the animal rights types. It’s been awhile but I once hacked my horse through Griffith Park and I was scolded pretty vehemently that I was “enslaving him” and what gave me the right. Given that we were having a relaxing Sunday with the reins on the buckle, I was dumbfounded. Something tells me that this person wouldn’t approve of Grand Prix jumping or a dressage test.
Those people have only grown in numbers and strength. They don’t know anything about horses (but I have noticed that these types tend to be fearful of the horses they allegedly are trying to protect). Racing is the canary. They aren’t necessarily happy about show horses or even pet horses.
Never having heard of Griffith Park, I wonder if it’s some stronghold of PETA people.
Griffith Park is a large, hilly natural park in the Los Angeles/Burbank area. Lots of horses/horse boarding facilities all around it, like LA Equestrian Center and Flintridge. Really, really nice place to hack, but being in the heart of LA can cause exposure to all sorts of crazy, including PETA.
I rode all over those fire roads and trails when I was a kid. We were even chased by creeps on motorcycles on one moonlit ride!
Oh, I disagree. Carelessly written, with a number of typographical errors. And, I think, a major error about Big Brown and the then-legal drug. The article writer implies Big Brown got the drug before the Derby and the Preakness, then was not given it before the Belmont, with the implication that that is why he lost.
But a NY Daily News article says he had not been given the drug since April. So yeah, if that is correct, the drug was wearing off or might have left his system, by June. But he had not been given it since April.
So no, not a well-written article.
It’s LA’s Central Park but far wilder in places. When I regularly went up there on horse back, I ran into mule deer, coyotes and rattle snakes. Never saw a mountain lion or a bear but they are there. Lots of humanity on the flat sections but half an hour into a ride, you can be totally alone and listening to bird song. Crazy that it is in the center of one of the biggest cities in the world.
The person who came up to us that day next to the golf course was pretty strident but there are nice people too. I always considered myself a horse ambassador and I made a point to be welcoming if anyone was curious or friendly. Of course I had a pretty friendly calm horse at the time too. He actually enjoyed the Bongo Guy (our name for him) who would practice in the section with the picnic tables most Sundays. I swear my horse would perk up and strut to the beat.
The only reason horse racing exists today, and for the past decades, is because the legislative branches of the state and federal governments have protected its almost-monopoly on gaming. Those representatives are elected by the people, most of whom don’t know or give a rat’s ass about horse racing. The more people involved in/defending racing call PETA and the general public who may feel queasy about racing stupid and refuse to consider anything they say as possibly valid, the more you alienate the very people racing relies on for its future: people who know nothing about horses and racing but who vote for elected officials. Which is why so many industry leaders have been working with PETA, and trying to change racing for the better and clean up its public image. Good for them. Insulting those who deign to think racing has problems and blaming PETA for everything is not helping racing.