Looking at Horses-part one



In January I look at horses. That’s when the MMSC campus is empty (or almost empty- Zeke and Louie, Sam and Jasper are still in residence) Come March, the barn is a bustle all day with clopping incoming and outgoing hooves, jovial chatter amongst interns and volunteers, tractor gears grinding, weed-eaters whacking, and curious, questioning visitors ambling from office to barn and back. It’s hard to leave.

I have never been able to get firm numbers from those who seemingly are supposed to know how many former race horses are out there: The Jockey Club, The Blood Horse, Churchill Downs, and the like. That’s because the sum is exponential. Give or take thirty thousand Thoroughbred foals registered every year. Multiply that by 28 years, a reasonable life span for a horse. Do whatever math you are supposed to do, subtracting some here and there if you must, and the answer is:  A LOT OF HORSES.

The MMSC has 14 acres of paddocks and ten stalls. Books say that you should allot about 1.5 to 2 acres per horse. We have had as many as 18 horses at one time. Books aside, I can tell you that is too many. That's 200 hours of  grass consumption, 500 pounds of manure production, and umpteen hundred new divots unearthed ON A DAILY BASIS! 

Divots, demolition, and excrement aside, none deter me from looking at horses. Why?  One: Because that is what I do at the MMSC. I seek out the best, most athletic exemplars of the Thoroughbred breed whose racing careers are over-or never began- put them into a 90 day training reschooling program (those of you over 50, think Berlitz) and then exercise my matchmaking sensibilities to find suitable homes for MMSC graduates. And, two: Looking at horses is fun. 

Today particularly so, as it was my first “road trip” of the year. To put that in perspective for non-horsey readers: I am a chocoholic. I could probably dine on chocolate mousse for a long time before I grew weary of it. But the first bite of the first mousse of the year is nothing short of heavenly. And so it is with my first trip of the year to look at horses: It makes me out of this world happy. My heart starts swelling, first with a chirp growing louder, building to Alleluia chorus proportions with a joyous song of PURPOSE. And at that moment I know am doing what I was put on the planet to do. What could be better than that?

Cheery bye,
            
 Susanna