Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Equine Resolutions for the New Year--What Are Yours?

Photo by John Chun

Why a photo of Einstein's saddle clothe? Because as his name would infer it doesn't in fact take a genius to know that resolutions need to be made in horse racing to protect race horses.

Some inroads were made in 2009. We saw the public announcement by the NYRA that a "zero' tolerance stance was going to be taken at all New York racing tracks. The message was clear, knowingly send a horse to slaughter and your stalls would be pulled and denied in the state. The Second Race and many other organizations collectively applauded the stance. The question will be, will there be any real teeth to the announcement?

And yet today news from Florida stated that an investigation into an illegal slaughter house has begun after two race horses from Calder Racecourse where found there on Christmas Day. Three steps back....

Arizona has a problem, Kentucky has a problem, California has a problem....and on and on. Several tracks have recently been accredited by the NTRA Safety Alliance, however what do the tracks have to do to be certified with respect to a plan to safely protect the race horses? Who is regulating? And who is minding the people at the race track that provide the means and access to the gate to let in the trucks in the middle of the night?

Racing fans have asked why isn't more being done? Unfortunately with the current system of racing, each state has it's own groups, and then within each state again, there is a maze of regulatory bodies governing those same groups. If racing had one shared entity instead of so many factions, like the National Football League, or National Basketball Association does, would racing be able to do a better job of protecting the very horses it needs to exist?

The needs for resolutions in 2010 abound....let's hope that the racing industry collectively, actually does something in the New Year.

As for The Second Race our resolutions are:

1. To more efficiently and effectively network to assist the transition of race horses from the race tracks throughout California, western states and the Southwest. To work more closely with horsemen's groups, trainers, and race tracks---networking for adoptive homes and new careers.

2. To market everywhere the service that The Second Race can provide and to visit race tracks outside of California (Arizona, Washington, Kentucky, New York, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida--invitations await) over the next 18 to 24 months.

3. To begin lobbying efforts to help those that do not want to give up their ex-race horses because they can no longer feed them. Often times the difference is a month or two of hay, and care in order for a situation to turn itself around. Wouldn't it be better to allow a horse to remain with their owners who want them, instead of looking for an already over burdened rescue to take them in?.

4. To look at ways to partner with existing groups/volunteers in a POSITIVE manner on behalf of the horses. The pettiness, egos and games only hurt the horses and the hard work of many when we do not work as a co-operative for the horses and create "hubs" of The Second Race at race tracks and surrounding areas.

5. To KNOW in my heart that The Second Race did all it could THAT day on behalf of a race horse ( be it Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian, Paint or Standardbred) before I close my eyes at night.


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