Here in the United States, this coming Thursday (November 28th) is a holiday we call, Thanksgiving.
I'm sure that every country in the world has a similar holiday: a day set aside to thank God for all we have--for all whom we love--for health, joy, life and peace. (Theoretically, that's the idea, anyway.)
The Race Track Chaplaincy of America / New York Division once again will do two really wonderful Thanksgiving-ish things for the people whom they serve with great love, 365 days a year. I've just taken the NYRA (New York Racing Association) press release that I received a few minutes ago--jijjed it up a bit--and highlighted contact info for both donors and media.
No fancy pictures--not even NYRA or RTCANY logos in this one: my computer had a cerebral hemorrhage this week, and I'm using a loaner until or unless my laptop can be fixed. So this is a bare-bones article--I hope that you don't need pretty pictures or logos--I hope that words are enough to convince you to care. And if you care...perhaps you'll decide to help.
Thanks for reading, folks--have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving, wherever you are. And if you're not in America on Thursday, November 28th--heck, celebrate with us, anyway! Have a turkey, tofurkey or sprouts sandwich, and thank God for all you've got.
I'm searching for some new adjectives. I know so many equine photographers--some are good; a few are great and a handful have talents that are otherworldly. Heaven-sent. God-given talents.
So I'm sick to death of hearing, reading or writing that so-and-so is "gifted." "Passionate," or "talented." All are adjectives that have been used to death--either because all are words that perfectly describe the abilities of an artist--or because the writer doing the describing doesn't know all-that-many big words.
If you come up with any better adjectives to describe a photographer who approaches every horse as if s/he is sacred...every moment of life as if it's precious...please share. I need some new describers. That said, I'd like to introduce you to the works of an equine photographer with whom you may be familiar already. Forgive me if you're already a fan, or friend of Juliet Harrison.
But if you are not-yet familiar with her works, her art and her heart--allow me to include you in this invitation to a par-tay on Saturday. This par-tay will celebrate the launch of 92 pages of Juliet's gorgeous, soulful photographs and the words of some pretty terrific--dare I say, "renowne"--writers.
You should meet Juliet if you don't know her already. Ergo, you should head on out to Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York this Saturday, the 16th, for the launch of Juliet's first coffee table book with her new Publisher.
More on that in a minute. First, about the artist:
I laud Juliet, for she is a strong, warrior woman spirit--she's had trials and tribulations, as do many of us--but instead of lying down, rolling over and surrendering--she picks up her camera and her heart and finds a horse in whose soul to nestle, and records that experience, to share with the rest of us.
Juliet Harrison is an artist's artist--and her first coffee table book, "Track Life: Images and Words" will launch this coming Saturday (November 16, 2013) at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York...
Two topics are banging away at the top of my brain today.
Both must be addressed if I'm to get any sleep tonight. (I have a laundry list of articles to write in the next two weeks--even as I work on f!lly Magazine; teach and tackle the myriad other projects on my desk. If I let these two topics sit there on the list with the other stuff, they'll lose effect because they're time-sensitive.)
So let's talk about them: rather than writing two articles, I'm going to write one piece and divide it into two parts.
At first blush, you're going to think that I'm just confused. Surely, these two things have nothing to do with each other. But trust me--stay with me--these two things are most definitely connected.
But if you think that I'm confused--you will be wrong. For the tragedies, the fierceness and the raw emotions that are evoked by these two topics indeed are related.
Read on, o horse-loving race fans, and soon you shall know what I know...
Happy Breeders' Cup Friday: November 1, 2013. I could write an entire book about how the BC has become bloated--about the fact that f!llies and mares--like women in horse racing--are tossed into the back seat. Again.
But that's another rant, for another day. (And believe me, I WILL rant about it at some point in the very-near future.)
But today's column is my effort to get you, the race fan--the betting public--the lover of horses, and of the sport of racing them--to watch a race that will split your hearts wide-open. A race on which you can BET your brains out. A race of beautiful, elegant, historic horses--the very foundation of the Thoroughbred breed.
Yes, today at Santa Anita, under the banner of the Breeders' Cup--Arabian horses will race in the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup Invitational, and you're invited...
This one will be relatively short and sweet, for the need is urgent.
Monique (Monika) Kierach is a horse-loving woman who possesses one of the kindest hearts on this (or any other) planet.
She cannot stand to see a horse in pain--or neglected, abused or otherwise ill-treated. I know that you all feel the same, or you wouldn't be reading this.
Monika sent around an email, and a request: help her rescue this herd of horses from a man whose just not doing right by them.
You've always wanted a horse? You love horses as much as Monika and I, and want to do something?
The best thing that can be written on your gravestone is,
"I Saved a Horse's Life."
And here's your chance...
OK, so here's the deal. Every year for the last several years, NYRA (the New York Racing Association) has hosted a wildly-successful Fabulous Fillies' Day at Saratoga Race Course.
Fans come out in droves to celebrate women in horse racing. For one glorious day, it seems that we womenfolk take over the track. (News Alert: we're the majority in horse racing, every day of the year. More admissions are paid at horse race tracks than by men, year-in and year-out. Word.)
But on Fabulous Fillies' Day--maybe more people become aware of us. And that's a wonderful thing. Maybe more folks come to appreciate us more. That's really groovy.
And maybe on Fabulous Fillies' Day--there's a sea of pink, and the place looks and feels even-more festive than usual. (And if you've ever been to Saratoga Race Course during the race meet, you know that, even in the pouring rain--it's still The Happiest Place on Earth. Disney be damned.)
So imagine a Saratoga that's all Pretty in Pink for one beautiful day...
It's no secret that I far prefer the company of horses to that of humans.
Horses won't lie to you. And surely, they won't rob you of anything but your heart.
And people wonder why I say,
The more humans I meet...the more I love horses.
Wonder no more...
I've spent the better part of a decade writing, talking and generally being a nuisance in my quest to help bring females fully into the fold in horse racing.
Not that we're not fans of the sport--in fact, we're the majority of all paid admissions and television viewers. Id est, we are the majority of the fan base.
Not that we don't hold positions of authority in many places: NYRA is a prime example of a racing organization that can boast of many women in management.
The reasons why I'm still blowing this horn is that, inasmuch as we are the majority of the fan base, and work daily in virtually every job in the industry--still there are places where women are not welcome in horse racing.
Like, board rooms.
And many racing organizations (we won't name names here, Magna...) still host idiotic, demeaning, dehumanizing events like bikini contests to determine who should be an "ambassador" for the sport.
In other words: there's work to be done, and minds to open.
At least until women are taken off the banquet table and invited to the board of directors' table...
Well, I am up to my retinal orbs with things to write for this column...reflections on the Saratoga meet that was...things about horse retirement and rescue...a slew of thoughts that I must process first, before I commit them to paper--er, to screen.
But in the meantime: if you think that, SOB, racing is over in New York State simply because Saratoga Race Course is closed for the season...you are wrong.
NYRA continues to bring world-class racing in the great Northeast--which, I'm sure, can be viewed by simulcast and therefore, bet upon--virtually anywhere on the planet.
I won't give it all away, but rather allow the NYRA press release speak. (Black highlighting and formatting are mine--you know me by now, it's my way of really, really emphasizing something.) It all begins this coming Saturday, September 7th. A beautiful day for a drive from anywhere, to Elmont, New York...
I've been thinking about this for several weeks now. Like many of you who are involved with horse racing--I spend part of every day of my Life feeling guilty, and thinking that I should just pack it up and take a job as secretary to some corporate moron.
You know--a 9-to-5 gig, in which I never take work home with me, not even mentally. Mindless, spineless--no emotional connection to the job, the work or my co-workers. Get a (slim) paycheck for basically putting up with the control issues of a corporate wonk with low self-esteem.
I know that I can't go back to that--but also I can't justify being in horse racing, unless I DO Something. Horse racing has its detractors--and some of the criticism is justified.
But racing also has its fine, amazing points: chief among those are The Horses...