TUESDAY 4.11.14 - I am thankful for... Enjoying fun festivities at work
Now today has been a very difficult one for me as I have been quite conflicted in my thankfulness topic...
Today here in Australia it was Melbourne Cup Day. The biggest event in horse racing calendar, the "race that stops the nation". I was looking forward to today. Though I was at work, the girls and I wore dresses and bought flower fascinators for our hair. Everyone brought yummy nibbles and soft drink. I'm not a gambler so the only time I ever really take a punt on anything is the Melbourne Cup, and even then it's just the work sweep. So I bought a few draws and hoped for the best. All for a bit of fun right?
The first moment I felt a little uneasy is when I saw about 10 grown men forcing one of the horses into the starting barrier. It did NOT want to go in and fought very hard against them. I thought at that time that it was unusual, seeing as these horses are born and bred to race, they have done this several times over to get to where they are now. So for a horse to not want to race or go in the barrier rose concern in me. But I'll admit once the race started I quickly forgot. We all clapped and cheered and barracked for our horses we had drawn in the sweeps. We congratulated the winners (sadly I was not one), ate and drank a bit more, then returned to our work. Shortly after the race we heard that one of the horses, the favourite to win no less, had collapsed and died on the way back to its stables post race. My heart sank. This poor, beautiful creature had just dropped and passed so quickly. They labelled it as a "heart attack" and he died of "natural causes". Natural causes in unnatural circumstances perhaps? Then I remembered the Melbourne Cup last year and how a horse broke its leg during the race and was put down immediately afterwards. Now, I want to stress that I am not by any means laying blame on anyone or passing any judgement. I do not know the first thing about horse racing or what it means to train a horse. I don't know how these horses are treated or how they are looked after, though the amount of money spent on these horses I always believed they were treated amazingly. I have not grown up in that environment and don't know anyone who has. So therefore I can't point the finger and say that he died because of the race. Maybe there were underlying health conditions or maybe it was just a freak tragedy, I don't know. What I do know is that my thankfulness topic was going to be the Melbourne Cup. So while I'm thankful for dressing up a bit and enjoying a relaxed 15mins or so with work colleagues during it, an animal died today which is connected to the race and, as an animal lover, I can't be thankful for that. Hence why I decided fun festivities at work was they way to go.
Hopefully this will change they way horses are raced, if that's what can be done to prevent such things from happening again. Death of animals to provide food or in defence of people, livestock and crops maybe be one thing, but death of animals in activities that are purely for human enjoyment? Unnecessary and disgraceful, and in saying this there are much, MUCH worse activities than horse racing. What I do know is that I will be wary of supporting such activities in future if deaths like this are linked directly to the activity. Of course this is purely my opinion based on what knowledge I do have, other people may feel and think very differently.
If you are a racing expert or have knowledge in such matters, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter. Please feel free to educate me on how it all works.