The third most popular story at This Is Horse Racing in 2014 wasn’t labeled as a second part of a multi-part series, but it easily could have been.
Joe Clancy’s update to his The Outside Rail blog titled “Of hidden cameras and no easy answers” and published Friday, April 4, came less than a week after the first analytical response to the allegations from PETA about animal abuse in the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen. Much of the information gathered for PETA was done using a hidden camera, thus the name of Joe’s blog post.
Joe wrote about his experiences working with horses, experience that goes back to his childhood growing up the son of a trainer. The piece covered his own trials and tribulations working around horses, pointing out both the frustrating and rewarding moments.
“If you work with horses, closely and for long, you like them,” Joe wrote. “You aren’t an animal abuser. You appreciate horses’ innocence, their fragility, their mortality. But you also manage what you do. They can hurt you and themselves if you’re not careful. They can be afraid of things less than half their size. They can be difficult to figure out. Some come with hidden self-destruct buttons. Ultimately, you’re responsible and that’s the hardest part. Just as ultimately, somebody else is frequently calling the shots and all you can do is the best you can. But at it’s core, it’s very core, any animal sport must take care of the animals to the best of its ability. Racing can never be made 100-percent safe. There will always be risk and racing will always have to work to manage that risk.”
The piece went on to identify some “things to think about,” and they included the acknowledgement that “Thoroughbred racehorses are athletes, not pets. They’re going to get hurt, they’re going to need medicine, treatment, supplements, remedies, surgeries, diagnoses, veterinarians. To think otherwise is foolish.”
Check out the whole post, our third most popular story of 2014.
Other stories in the 14 for 2014.
No. 4: Tom Voss dies
No. 7: Dedication Personified
No. 8: Be prepared
No. 10: Snowbirds
No. 11: Goodbye Dominic
No. 12: For Madison