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Family races towards the unknown

I was asked to put on paper what losing the horse racing industry would mean for my family and I. And 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 horse people. I was picking out hooves before I could pick out my own clothes. Our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and our one-year-old son have also been exposed to horses since birth.

Knowing that they have already felt what joy and tranquility these kind-hearted animals can bring to one’s life and knowing they may not have the privilege of working alongside them is what pains me the most.
The past eight months have made us realize how truly lucky we are.

Every morning, we wake up at 4 a.m. in our warm, comfy beds. We have a sturdy roof over our heads. Coffee in hand, we head to the work – the stables, where we muck stalls, and lug water pails. We do this day and night, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year no matter what Mother Nature throws our way.

This lifestyle may not appeal to everybody. However, a horseman 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.

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 thinking about what to buy for their loved ones this Christmas, we worry about whether or not we can feed our children, pay our utilities or our rent and whether we’ll even have a Christmas tree this year.

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.

Christine Arlidge
Cambridge

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