If you love horses and follow horse and horse racing pages on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve heard about the fires in CA that struck San Luis Rey Downs recently. If you saw the video of the groom releasing horses while choking on smoke, urging scared horses to run for their lives, you can tell how much these backside workers love all horses, not only their horses. They live for the horses. All day, all night, their focus is always on the horses first. These are the people I write about, and I hope to capture some of their spirit in my books.
In the past few days, we’ve gone from horrific scenes to scenes of miles and miles of trucks and trailers carrying horses away from the fires, displaced backstretch workers (they lost their homes, too!) lining up for fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes, toiletries…and this…this video is a tear jerker, so bring the Kleenex. One assistant trainer finds one of the horses he had to set free on Thursday. He wasn’t sure he’d ever see him again, and I bet the horse wasn’t sure he’d ever see Mr. Alvarez again. You can see it in Worthy Turk’s body language, he was happy to see his trainer.
Nobody can convince me that these huge-hearted people don’t love their horses. These are not abused horses. They’re coddled and well cared for. They’re spoiled, they’re treated for every little booboo, checked repeatedly for anything wrong. At this point, most of the horses are at Del Mar being assessed and treated for burns and smoke inhalation. They are doing everything they can, and sympathize and feel awful for the hurt horses. Backstretch workers take very good care of their horses. They love horses and think of them first, always. Next comes family, and now that most of the horses (sadly, some are still missing…ugh) are reunited with owners, trainers, jockeys, and grooms, the family is coming together to help one another.
If you’re in Santa Barbara and can help with displaced animals, click here.
For more updates, check Facebook and Twitter. Barbara Livingston has great updates. And great photos. 😉
What I see happening from my viewpoint is a family of like-minded individuals, all with a deep love for horses, working together for the good of the horses and for their family. Just the way it’s always been.