Grand National

Because The Times online subscription policy is probably one of the most ridiculous business decisions (in my opinion) known to man, I am unable, yet again, to share a comment by Simon Barnes, their Chief Sports Reporter. In a world where online content is king, people constantly sharing articles and opinion, why The Times would want close down any content is beyond me. Anyway enough of that, I'm sure they would say that Mr & Mrs Smith in Derby love it on their iPads along with a few other thousand.

In his article Simon Barnes describes how 2011's Grand National would be his last. That, although he had no "beef" against the sport he couldn't continue to watch it because of the deaths.

What I find personally digusting is that winning jockey Jason Maguire has been given a 5 day ban for excessive use of the whip on the winning horse, yet still wins the Grand National? What sort of message does that send out?

I am involved with the equestrian community. I'm luckily to have been involved with it through Becky, and through the years with 3 beautiful horses. Becky and her Mum won't watch the race, however I did and got involved with the sweepstake at work. Needless to say nothing hurt me more than to see the camera pan across two fences being missed and seeing two corpses covered over in green sheets.

The excitement of the day immediately left me, I had no feeling for it anymore. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach.

Horses are beautiful, part of God's mysterious work. Wierd, quirky, four legged creatures that even after 4 years of being around them, I still can't quite understand their nature. They aren't like dogs for example who love you to death. Horses don't show affection very well. There doesn't seem to be any loved lost, until tea time anyway. That's not to say they don't have personalities, they all do: be it bubbily, quiet, impatient or grumpy.

I'm sure those that ride horses would say different however. I think the relationship becomes apparent once you ride with them. You build this relationship and understanding with the horse. I've only ridden twice (Becky's horses tend to be highly strung showjumpers and not for the novice) however when I have had the opportunity to ride I've been taken away to another world. I've never been so relaxed as I have when sat on a horse.

There is something about a horse that relaxes you. Even just watching them, they are intriguing creatures, so big and strong yet inside their heads they are vulnerable, nervous things. Their only fight is to run and jump.

When you work with them, and love them as you do, nothing is more saddening than to see them being worked to death for the owner looking to make a few bob. The jockeys are no better as seen with Maguire's ban.

I have nothing against the Grand National, it is a wonderful event. I just feel there needs to be more care taken over the course (especially in hot conditions as it was) and more caution taken on the choice of horses and especially the jockeys being entered.


Unknown said...

What can I say, I totally understand what you are saying and agree with it. I was horrified by the National, I can't even use Grand. I also have Simon Barnes aticle, Thank you for writing your views as well. Helen Barnard

Woody said...

Thanks Helen :-)