As previously mentioned, I volunteer for Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds, Inc. which is a non-profit group that lists horses on the racetrack and helps advertise and network to find their next home and career. Most of the trainers of the horses will really go the extra mile to take care of their horses, but several do not for a variety of reasons. The end of the “meet” (when the track closes for the winter) is often a high stress time for our group. I mostly update the website and post the new horses so I don’t meet many in person and am often grateful for that layer of insulation that most of the other volunteers do not have. By the end of the meet many of the horses are in a bit of a critical period. They are not racing competitively anymore and many of the trainers are transient and need to head to the southern tracks for the winter. So the end of the meet is really crunch time.
Our volunteers took photographs of twenty new horses to add to our listings today (in the snow, wind, and cold). I was uploading photographs that had been emailed to me with my son snuggled next to me on the coach, blissfully watching a Disney movie when he asked me what happened to the horses that did not find homes. (Danger, danger Will Robinson! In addition to trying to not tear up!). Not wanting to lie or scar the six year old for life, I was a bit torn on how to proceed. Considering that last month we had to put our old Lab down (Bailey has slept with Liam most every night for the last year or two), I really didn’t want to venture too far into that territory. I went with a mix of honesty and omission. I told him that most of the trainers will keep their horses until they find them a home, but many we don’t actually know what becomes of them and its probably not always good. Fortunately, my son did not ask questions beyond that and we talked about horses like Fred, Reis, Cos, Rosie, Sky 2, and Chunk who go on to be show horses and pets. I do not really believe that the conversation is over, but after its digested a bit there will be more questions and those I will be thinking about. The end of the meet is always tricky, but tonight just put a bit of an additional weight on my chest.