“Why do you close during the winter?”
That’s a “why?” I get a lot.
There are several reasons:
2. Cold weather and frozen footing. One of the lovely things about getting older is that you have made so many mistakes, some of them, alas, more than once, that you have an idea of how to behave in certain circumstances. There was a time you couldn’t keep me from getting on a horse, no matter how foul the weather--North Pole temps, rain, or snow. No more. Aches, pains, and stiffnesses have set in to my body with a predictable familiarity. Like the irascible elderly relatives at the holiday dinner, I do my best to humor them to avoid unpleasantness. That means I stay inside when the temps drop below 40 or the wind or rain picks up. I want none of riding at these times, most especially not on a cocky youngster bursting with joie de vivre or naughtiness. Nor am I alone in this predilection: volunteers and interns, I have found, are scarce come winter.
4. There’s a business to run. The MMSC is blessed with supporters who give their time and their services and when they can, their goods, without which we simply could not operate. I am very grateful for these gifts. But although the MMSC is, in many ways, a dreamy place to work, in the light of day, there are bills to pay, everything from the equine dentist to the water bill, the copier lease to the garbage pickup. You think a teenage boy can pack away food? Try feeding a young Thoroughbred! Your family footwear bill is steep? MMSC shoeing invoices run $500 a month! Therefore, until genetically modified plants start growing US tender or I reach the end one of the rainbows I have had the privilege of glimpsing, I must garner cash the old fashioned way: fundraising, one letter, one phone call, one visit at a time.
5. Last, but not least: There are new friends to meet. I have told you about the vortex and survival mode. Neither lend themselves well to friend-raising. Yet there are so many kindred spirits out there: in and beyond the racing industry; people who love Thoroughbreds for all the right reasons--their beauty, nobility, strength and vulnerability. I want to invite these people to become friends and family members of the MMSC and I need time and freedom to find them.
Which is why the MMSC is “closed” during the winter, although it could be argued that our dormancy is when we are most open to what the new year will bring.