Horses, Hats, Dresses And A Dormant City

It’s that time of the year again when, on a normal Tuesday, everything is closes, schools are off and you realize: It’s a public holiday! Some people were actually lucky enough to have had off yesterday too. I guess it’s not a normal Tuesday, being a public holiday, and still it kind of is.

I’ve written about it a year ago and mentioned how amazed I am about the fact that a horse race can actually stop an entire city. We have a public holiday today because of a horse race. Amazing, isn’t it.

As much as I love horses, as much as I love watching the races today on TV, I always start thinking about the flip side of the “Spring Carnival” and all the similar races all over the world. We only see the shiny side of the medal. We only see the beautiful horses racing it out, athletes fighting for the title. The beautiful movement of a canter, the jokey in his position, getting the last little bit out of the powerful animal underneath him. Horse, nose on nose stretching their legs, keeping the momentum up and eventually deciding the winner. We watch as the crowd cheers for their favorites, masses of people hoping to make some money from their bets rather than losing too much, drinks in their hands.

We see the beautiful dresses and hats, the celebrities attending and the glasses of champagne. We hear them cheer once more when the winner is decided and then we watch how the horse, the jockey and the owners get celebrated in style.

The shiny bit of the coin…

There is another side to it too. The Cup Day always leaves a little aftertaste in my mouth. I see all those beautiful horses battling it out, hoping that they all make it safe and sound to the finish line and survive everything else afterwards too. No broken legs, no heart attacks. And then I start thinking about all the horses that never make it to the big race. All the horses that are potential winners but don’t succeed. All the horses that the owners then try to sell and don’t manage to sell. All the horses that end up in the abattoir.

It’s the reality we don’t get to see. It’s the reality that hardly ever get out. I was surprised to read this article in the lead up to today. Frankly I was surprised to read something “negative”.

As beautiful as it is to watch horses race, as beautiful it is to see their muscle movement in slow motion, horse racing is not only beautiful. It’s a tough business and often it’s forgotten what happens with all of the horses that don’t make it to the top.

Apparently numbers of people actually going to the race went down massively last year. It was claimed that it was in relation to people being educated more about the flip side of the shiny coin, I have to say though, that I doubt it. I think it was a coincident or maybe people just didn’t wanted to spend the money that you would being actually there.

I wonder what will come out of this years race. Who will be be the winning horse, the laughing owners and I hope that there won’t be any fatalities. What I’m actually looking forward to are the Youtube clips of the well dressed race goers that suddenly turn from classy to… oh, let’s just call it not so classy anymore due to drinking too much…

40 thoughts on “Horses, Hats, Dresses And A Dormant City

  1. Watching the video of the drunk lady was terrible. She was a mess . I liked your post. The day is a big hyped up day and people that don’t normally follow the races all get together for the one day of betting… But once all the fun is over, these horses return to their fate after the race. Something we all need to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, that drunken woman will be a long time living that nasty incident down. It’s such a shame people can’t enjoy the day without going stupid on the alcohol. As for the races, and all the horses that don’t make champion status, I can only say that it’s such a waste, and shouldn’t be happening. Destroying such beautiful animals for that reason is criminal in my book. Thank you for posting this. I’m sure it happens all over the world, wherever horse racing is a sport.

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  3. You are right that many times, especially in the big-name races, there is a negative side to the story. But, that’s not always the case, at least not in “semi-pro” racing. We used to race our horses and they never faced a tragic end. If they won, great. If not, that was fine too. Those who couldn’t hold up to the racing, we just used as riding horses. When it came to racing, they never seemed stressed about it or uneasy. In fact, ours seemed to enjoy it. Just like any “pet”, we could easily tell when they were stressed vs when they were excited. Throughout those racing years, we did have one that got injured, but she healed and went on to live a healthy good life. So their fate really depends on the owner, but unfortunately when it’s only about the money and awards, the end result can be very sad.

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  4. I had no idea that horse recing was such a big event in Australia. It is fun that it’s a day off but as you said not so fun for the animals that try hard but don’t make the grade. It’s just not right.

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    • Not sure if I feel sorry for them… They chose to drink the amount they did… I don’t even feel sorry for myself if I had too much wine the night before and feel not myself… if you can drink, you can pull yourself together and function too…

      Ah, you’re right… I do feel sorry for some.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I recently moved near Saratoga NY and there is an insanity to the town for 6 weeks of summer, and I am sure few ever consider the darker side of glamour … Glad you took a pause to reflect, for if we have dominion over the animals, that should also include compassion !

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      • When I read In The Heart of the Sea, the author talks about the Quaker’s and how, even though they were devoutly religious, they took the phase from the Bible about dominion over the animals, more specifically the fishes of the sea, quite literally. In less than 100 years time, the Quaker whalers of Nantucket had decimated the whale population in the Atlantic Ocean, causing them to push around Cape Horn (?) and into the Pacific. I think the discovery of kerosene probably saved the whales …

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  6. The downside is definitely dark! But admittedly, I was a bit distracted by the upside here in Sydney. I was unaware of Melbourne Cup day but then saw all of these ladies beautifully dressed all over Sydney. If it was such a big deal here, it must really be something to see in Melbourne. But still, now that I am thinking about the darkside, maybe I am not so sorry that I missed the race.

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  7. When I was reading about the downside and drawbacks of events like this for the horses, I couldn’t help but apply those words to people as well. I see that I was not the only reader who had this thought. As far as the drunk and overdressed spectator(s), I also couldn’t help but compare this to crowds who watch other major horse races, like the Kentucky Derby and the Iroquois Steeplechase, which a lot of my moneyed Nashville acquaintances attended every year, as well as car races. The crowds that attend the latter are not as formally and expensively attired, but they do tend to make these individual races into very big events which include a lot of drunk spectators at the finish.

    Liked by 1 person

      • So I guess you would say that the Aussies’ reputation for (over) imbibing is true and well-deserved? Why do they do it? Is it to combat the heat and other “harsh” conditions or do they just like to celebrate heavily every chance they get, no matter how large or small?

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is a good question… Maybe it’s the history… all the immigrants that had to deal with the harsh environment and then they started heavily drinking and that was passed over to the next generations? And they like to celebrate everything…

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  8. Pingback: Tell Me Something Good #28 | A Momma's View

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