Friday, January 13, 2012

A Conscious Decision

We are reviewing some of our past blog posts that we think are worth repeating. Here is one regarding making a responsible choice when deciding to own a race horse:

"I am a great champion
when I ran, the ground shook
the sky opened
and mere mortals parted
... parted the way to victory
and I met my owner in the winners circle
where he put a blanket of flowers on my back" (from the movie, Dreamer)

How many of us have had the thrill of being in the Winners Circle? Whether your horse is the favorite or a 55-1 long shot, nothing matches the thrill of winning! Your horse, your time to celebrate! The excitement is the same for the millionaires and the syndicate that has 25 people buying into a $ 15,000 claimer, its the victory that we remember most.

But after the excitement, the back slaps and the high fives, the horse that brought the victory goes back to its barn and may or may not ever win again.

When that happens, what happens?

That choice is equally the responsibility of the owner and trainer. Both work in tandem to ready the horse for its race, and both should be responsible in ensuring that when the horse can no longer perform, that it finds a responsible, safe vehicle for retirement.

Becoming involved in horse racing is a choice for every person that participates in it, only the horse bred to race doesn't have a choice in the matter. That doesn't mean that they don't want to run, that's an argument for another day (and one that we won't debate--as we know that horses are bred for and love to run). The choice is made (based on his or her abilities) to become a race horse. If a human can make the decision to consciously breed the horse, break the horse, train the horse and race the horse. Then that same conscious decision should be made to provide a retirement for that horse after it can no longer race.

A race horse is a created, dependant animal for our pleasure and entertainment. Only education and the truth provided by the race track industry will ensure that owners (including new and prospective) and trainers employed by the owners understand their responsibility to their investment....when the finish line is no longer an option.

To learn the process of surrendering a horse to The Second Race or for our assistance in networking to help place a horse go to our website page


  1. I have worked in the horse racing industry for many years and believe I can safely say that the vast majority of owners and trainers do make an effort to provide for retirement. For many years, I was one of the people that trainers would contact to help find new homes and I have placed many over the years. With the changes in the social networking scene and society in general, organizations like the Second Race have become prominent, but they are not new! Private individuals have been doing this for years and the trainers know it and take advantage of it.
    I am often disturbed by the tone of the comments made by this organization because it is implied that owners and trainers don't care about the welfare of the horse after they are done racing. Owners and breeders are bashed repeatedly and with no regard given to the fact that many of the horses that end up in dire straights are years away from their racing careers and were put in their current position, not by racehorse owners and breeders, but the people who "adopted" them. Unfortunately, the adoption of this tone works to alienate the very people this organization needs to work with to make a difference... the horsemen. I know of several owners and breeders that will have nothing to do with the Second Race since certain posts and comments were made. That is a shame because this organization has so much potential to make a difference.

  2. Dear anonymous, I must respectfully disagree with you. Only some not the vast majority of owners and trainer make plans for after the track.I have many years dealing with off the track tb's and I too was one of the people trainers would call to find homes. Most of them didn't care where they ended up as long as they were out of the barn. I would get calls saying if you don't take him he's going to the auction. That was back in the day when that meant going to slaughter.I have been out of the business for over 15 years and had the good fortune of meeting Sharla when I was looking for a new project. I found her to be totally honest, caring and not looking for adoption fess.I have only known her for a few months and have never heard her say a bad word about anyone. I have seen posts about abuse and neglect to bring these situations to light so the public can be aware and informed, this is not bad mouthing anyone but sharing facts so people can be aware. Only news stories not her personal views about anyone. I have been in several barns looking at a few horses with her that were with very well known and respected trainers who had nothing but praise,respect and good feelings for her and what she is doing. Her goals are to do the right thing for the horses in her care.If you are going to attack someone with half truths at least be brave enough to put your name to the allegations and back up what you say.Thank you, Wendy McDaniel


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