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…