I’ve always loved Cup Day. My great-grandfather was a farrier, and I’m pretty sure there’s some genetics at play to determine whether you’re a horse person or not. Plus, wearing hats and drinking copious amounts of alcohol are two of my very favourite things, so any chance to combine them is alright by me.
In the last few years though, I’ve started to look at the horse racing industry through different eyes. Through Cai’s eyes. And I haven’t really been all that down with what I’ve been seeing.
It’s a hard thing to explain to kids. We whip these animals so they run really fast and earn (or lose) people heaps of money. Sometimes the horses die. Sometimes the jockeys die. Sometimes people bet their rent or food money on the outcome of these races, and then have nowhere to live or nothing to eat.
I’m not down with the Melbourne Cup anymore. But yesterday, old mate came around with a sweep. “Clare will be in that” said Matt.
I’d decided that I wasn’t taking part this year (I hadn’t last year either) but I felt obliged. So I put my hand in my pocket to the tune of $7 and had a couple of entries in the sweeps.
Yep, peer pressure at 38 years old.
Anyway, race time drew closer and we wandered over to a neighbouring campsite to watch the Cup. That was a bit of an experience in itself, as our fellow traveller had penned a bit of a bush poem that she recited to us all about horse racing. It was about a horse named My Face, and I pretty much could have lived my whole life without hearing her scream “COME ON MY FACE” at the poem’s, well, climax.
There was also the race goer in the hat who, after I complimented her on it, informed me it belonged to her dog.
And the generator dying resulting in the TV losing power less than 30 seconds in was something even Murphy would be shaking his head at.
As it turned out, one of the horses I drew ran third, netting me a big $13. The kids thought that was pretty ace and promptly started hitting me up for new scrapbooks and maybe an iceblock.
Until they heard that one of the horses had collapsed and died shortly after the completion of the race.
And another was undergoing surgery.
Then, my little animal activists had a different view of that $13 altogether.
We’d like to donate that $13 to an animal charity, preferably equine, so if you are one or know one please get in touch.