I began writing this to a play list I created, a compiled of songs that reminded me of Ink. The horse that started it all. I type in rythm to songs such as, “Fields of Gold,” by Eva Cassidy, “Stairway To Heaven,” and “No Regrets,” by Gary Allan. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t truly feel blessed for knowing Ink. There was nothing like sharing my life with him. There was and never will be nothing like him. It’s because of Ink, that I have nothing but countless amounts of energy towards trying to give people a glimpse into something and a special horse, once revered for it’s heart and courage in the world of international sport, that has sadly been forgotten… The mis-informed, of the greatness which is the Thoroughbred. The uniqueness which is owning and retraining an Off Track Thoroughbred.
I went back and fourth, looked up and down, to make sense of the feeling I had. How could I write it all down, in a way that expressed, how much sense the opposite of what people saw, really made?
Lets go back to that clinic. If you haven’t, read Part ONE to this story before you continue reading this.
I kept looking at the horse’s eyes. The bay OTTB who was 2 months off the track. Everyone always says that a horses eyes at the window into the soul. I believe it. It was almost mesmerizing to a degree, there was nothing more important than watching him through his eyes.. I watched the horse countless times, travel by me, as I sat observing. I was less concerned about the rider or clinician, as I was with the horse. The horse would answer the questions I wanted to know. I was completely reminded of why Thoroughbreds are so special, of why OTTB’s are so neat. As the bay horse passed by me, time after time, his eyes almost spilled out.. the heart, the mind, the depth to his intense desire to please his rider, all these things are so amazing to have together in a horse. Who cares about anything else? There is so much you can do with all of that. The horse could have done anything and it wouldn’t had mattered anymore. The answer to most peoples questions, was answered. You can trust this horse. He’s willing to give you his all. Wow.
So imagine as I sat there and suddenly the words, “ruined” were threw out. In the moment, I was a little offended. I worked so hard, put my all into Ink. The tough, OTTB that many people didn’t believe in. But I did. He never was “ruined” to me, no matter what he seemed to anyone else. What is “ruined” anyway? Is a horse really ruined? If so, it must be from human influence. How could a “horse lover” so quickly write off a horse as “ruined?” Why are people so gosh darn quick to write off OTTB’s in general as some “crazy” horses? I want to scream..
Sure, I was thinking this all in my head. I quickly had lots of questions. I asked myself what about this horse we were watching, the bay OTTB, would come across as “ruined?” People sometimes say that horses off the track are ruined, possibly because of the strenuous demands their bodies are put under during an early age or the mental stresses that accompany the track life for some horses. Some can handle it, others not so much. Some are destined to a life of aches and pains because of their career on the racetrack. But does that dictate them as ruined?
Given the situation, the horse and what was going on, I knew that the assessment given by fellow auditor, was simply because the horse exhibited things, some horse people don’t understand. No fault of their own. But, you know how they say to never judge a book by it’s cover….