After spending the summer driving past the Century Mile site on Hwy II, it was an absolute delight for members of the press and industry representatives to be invited on site to watch the first horses step onto the freshly laid surface of the homestretch. For the longest time, what appeared to be another dirt field with some non-descript frame work off to one side, now resembles an actual racetrack.
After what seemed like a never-ending winter, spring has finally sprung in Alberta. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the season of Harness Racing is well underway at Century Downs in Balzac, just outside of Calgary. The backstretch is buzzing with the start of stakes season, and the return of many horses who spent the winter away in either California or BC. Despite this, there is one topic that remains constant through all the chatter – how can we give back?
When the going gets tough the community surrounding these amazing horses has never failed to come together. The global Thoroughbred community was there to support Classy Lane and the Standardbred community when we were faced with an unimaginable loss, and now they need our help.
I’d like to introduce you to an amazing community of people. A community you’ve probably heard of, but probably do not know very much about. They are some of the most resilient, hard working people you will ever meet. They are opinionated, they are honest, they are a little eccentric, and they know hundreds of ways to fix any problem you can think of.
There are a number of stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding the race horse industry. These range from race horses being crazy, to them being untrainable, through to them all going for dog food once their careers are over. For as long as these stigmas have existed there have been people fighting to change them. No one has fought as strongly as those directly involved in the race industry, or those who have come to love these horses as their partners after their racing careers have ended.
They were bred to work, and their trainers, owners, and drivers put a lot of work into them. And they deserve the credit for that. So while Standardbreds come with their own set of challenges, they come with a wide range of benefits that people frequently forget to acknowledge.
The skills he learned before I got him and that kind of attitude, enthusiasm and approach he has to his job I fully attribute to him being a Standardbred and a race horse.
Horses, like people, sometimes have bad days. Sometimes they just don’t feel like giving that 110% we so often celebrate as a marker of a true athlete or teammate. And that’s okay. People are allowed to have off days, and so are horses. And sometimes the best thing for both horse and rider is to write it off as a bad day and try again tomorrow. But, when is a bad day not just a bad day? Generally speaking, horses aren’t badly behaved for no reason. They tend to like to do what they’re asked. When they don’t, it’s often not Read More
Hey guys, previously, I’ve written about what I want to write about. But I wanted to know what you wanted to hear about! So for this months blog, I opened things up for questions from you! Here are the answers to some of the questions I received: Is there a reputable organization that re homes OTTSB’s? Where would you recommend first time potential Standardbred owners go to purchase a horse? Love this question. There are a number of organizations across Canada that focus on rehoming Standardbreds post racing. For a first time owner I would recommend a place like Go Read More
STIGMAS & QUESTIONS Naturally, when you take a horse bred for one very specific discipline, and ask it to do something else, there are going to be a number of challenges associated with that change. With Standardbreds there are a surprising number of stigmas you’ll run into especially when making the transfer from racing, to other competitive disciplines. Where I live, Standardbreds are very rarely seen being used outside of trail riding careers, so most judges and officials haven’t seen them before outside of racing. Here’s a few of the stigmas and questions I’ve run into, or heard about personally: “Is Read More
We see it in harness racing, and we see it in eventing. They’re two very different sports, but both with their own sets of risks. While these moments are frequently outweighed by the amazing, breathtaking moments that everyone in the horse world strives and lives for, they still happen. And they suck. There’s no way around it. Sometimes it’s just a terrible situation, and you’re left wondering how exactly it happened, and what your next step should be.