Tomorrow we are racing. Our baby – the last horse we bred – is having his first start. I am a lover of the thoroughbred. I used to hunt to hounds – in NZ we hunt hares, with harrier hounds, not foxes, we don’t have them – on a thoroughbred, a good, old-fashioned New Zealand bred, Sugar Daddy, he won multiple races and was a fabulous ride, loved him to bits. I inherited him from TOIL, who no longer hunted when I met him, no time when calving. We had two broodmares, and we had a lot of fun deciding on the stallions they would visit, and it became a fun thing we did together, traipsing around the country following the progeny as they raced. We also bought shares in a couple of good horses, and had a heap of fun with them. Our own breed, not so successful! We got rid of the broodmares a few years ago. TOIL’s lifestyle decision means we earn about a fifth of what we used to. We can no longer afford the luxury of breeding and racing horses. But we have the youngest two stock left, a filly (Spider) who has had three starts, and looks encouraging, and this guy, Louis, just turned three (horse’s birthday being 1 August in the southern hemisphere, he’s not actually three until October) who has been a bit of a character. He was entered in the yearling sales, a cracking, strong, handsome type. Three days before he was to go to the prep farm, he injured himself. Badly. Split a front hoof in two, vertically, right through the meat of the hoof, right up to the coronet band. I thought we would be lucky to save him.
It was a Sunday, and we live about half an hour from our Equine vet practice. They rushed out, and we got the foot cleaned and bandaged, we wanted to let the swelling go down before we “glued” it back together. He was on strong antibiotics, and is needle shy, so we worked out some ingenious ways of getting any injectable meds into him, or choosing oral where we could. He was boxed for three months, and eventually, as the foot grew out, we managed to get a bar shoe on his foot, thinking he would be club footed, at the very least. X-rays were taken and he had chipped plenty of bone off in the fetlock joint, with the impact of what he struck with his foot. One big piece was particularly concerning. Our vet was doubtful we would get him back to racing condition. We nursed him carefully, and I found a fantastic supplement derived from green-lipped mussels, abalone, marine cartilage and plants that had some great data about bone/cartilage growth and support, even anti-inflammatory effects and analgesia. When he had been on this for nine months, and the hoof had grown out completely, into a beautiful shape, not club footed at all (much to my farrier’s relief and pleasure, he did a fantastic job alongside our vet) we had him re-X-rayed. The bone chips had all but disappeared, and the vet was thrilled to announce that he was so thrilled with the result, that he would pass him fit for sale to the lucrative Hong Kong racing market if he were asked (but that he was borderline at that stage, some vets would pass him, and some might not.) Nevertheless, we were thrilled. It meant we had a) saved his life, b) saved him for racing and c) given ourselves a maybe option in Hong Kong. It isn’t cheap to give these treatments, the supplement alone cost around $500/month – and I was getting it at cost through my work.
Long way to get to this point. Louis is racing for the first time tomorrow. We don’t expect much. He is getting fit again after a spell. We chose a small trainer in a small town near us. He has some panicky tendencies, and we both thought he would get lost in a large stable, with different handlers, etc. This is a father/son (and mother/wife) team.
They love him. They only have a dozen or so horses in work at a time, and they just think Louis is a hard case (that is kiwi for funny!) He has thrived.
I never thought we would get him to this point. I don’t care if he runs last tomorrow. He has had one barrier trial, and he ran really well. Most encouraging first trial.
Yep, it was always coming, huh?
Racing lost its gloss for me. I mean, I still love the horses, I still love the good operators out there, luckily in NZ we don’t have too many problems with cruelty, or bad operators. But, our joint passion faded. Why?
Because he fucked a whore around this sport.
The first time he fucked her was the first time one of our fillies won. He didn’t plan it, but if we are honest, he didn’t protect himself from it, he was subconsciously aware that if he WANTED to fuck her, he could, but he hadn’t yet realised that he wanted to.
The filly won. We celebrated with friends. He took her to our holiday home, with her kid, and our three. With my blessing. And he fucked her. And that started the ball rolling for fifteen months of lies and putting my life at risk. I asked him about staying in the same house, and how weird it must have been, was he tempted? He lied, and said she still repulsed him.
Every time we had horses racing for those fifteen months, SHE seemed to show up. It was weird. I had no idea about their affair, but I do recall thinking it odd that she kept showing up. I mean, we had tickets to the posh inner areas at premier racedays, and SHE would show up. They were in her city, okay. But when they were closer to home, often SHE would show up. I shouted her so many drinks. I went out of my way to find tickets to access owner’s areas, etc, for HER.
So, we are going to watch my baby, Louis, run tomorrow. I don’t get to see many of them race anymore, with work and uni. This race meeting is in the town they met for coffee in, two days before he fucked her again, two YEARS after D-day, when I had had enough and kicked him out for the third (and I thought final) time. He met with HER for coffee less than twelve hours later, in a neighbouring town. This is the town we will be in tomorrow.
He doesn’t connect the dots.
But I always do.
Triggers are the pits, even when you know you are done.
And, now for something completely different (well, maybe not, my favourite break up song in the world.) I have wept far too many tears to this gem over stupid boys! (Even though it is only two 😉 )