Yay, We Won!!

Yay, We Won!!
Now Where's My Carrot??

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Part II - The Carriage Horse's Worst Enemy

Allow me, gentle reader, to introduce to you the carriage horse's worst enemy - the "humaniac":

A humaniac is a person who identifies him/herself as an "animal rights" advocate. Now, a humaniac differs greatly from the average, normal person who is concerned with animal welfare - the everyday concern that most of us have in caring for and enjoying our pets, seeing that animals are not wantonly harmed, etc. No, the humaniac disdains the term "animal welfare" as a human condescension; the humaniac (to varying degrees depending on which organization they belong to) wants to outlaw all human interaction with animals. Their life's work is to harangue and lie and spread misinformation about any pursuit they deem not in line with their agenda (just why they feel compelled to do this is fascinating - we'll get to it in a future post, I promise ;-)

Unfortunately for us and our horses here in NYC, we are one of the humaniacs' primo targets, as we fit the bill perfectly: a small, high-profile industry with very limited resources. You can see what an excellent opportunity our industry is for these maniacal misfits. They would rather see a horse dead than have a job. To them, a carriage horse doing what it was bred to do, and living a comfortable, content existence alongside his driver, is no different from Michael Vick and a pile of mutilated fighting dogs or undercover horror videos revealing grotesque cruelties at factory farms. Indeed, humaniacs have made public statements comparing the carriage horse trade to the enslavement of people of African descent, and the Holocaust of the Jewish people during WWII.

What?! Surely it should be easy to defeat people who rave and spout such outrageous lunacy!
Yes, one would think.....

Part I - Hay There!

The soaring price of hay & animal feed of all kinds has made headlines more and more lately. There has even been an epidemic of people abandoning their horses all across the South due to what is being called a "perfect storm" of a slow economy, sky-rocketing feed prices, and the recent national outlawing of slaughtering unwanted horses. This is a mammoth crisis - thousands of horses being left to waste away in fields and paddocks across the country. Google it; it will tear your heart out.

Meanwhile, here in NYC, the carriages carry on. Our horses have the same high standard of feed, shelter, and vet & farrier care that they are used to. But things are getting increasingly difficult. Surely, you say, the carriage rides are as popular as ever? Thank goodness, that is true; however, the NYC carriage industry has not had a rate increase in almost 20 - that's right, 20 - years. While the cost of everything from gas to groceries to health care to hay and oats has gone up and up and up, the cost of a trip through the Park has remained the same as it was when ladies with big hair and shoulder pads climbed in a carriage after a matinee of When Harry Met Sally in 1989.

Why, you ask? Why wouldn't the city powers-that-be grant an obviously needed rate increase to a beloved and iconic industry?
Why indeed.....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Off-Topic: Condolences to Those Who Knew Eight Belles

The filly Eight Belles sustained a double injury at yesterday's Kentucky Derby and had to be euthanized. We at The Whiffle Tree NYC extend our sympathy and prayers to the jockey, trainers, owners, and all who worked with and loved Eight Belles.
Horse people love their horses. It doesn't matter the capacity - from trail riding to barrel racing to jumping to the circus to racing to carriage driving - any horse person feels the loss of a beloved horse deeply. It's maddening and outrageous that people choose this sad time to malign and rail against the very people who lost the most. The blogs are abuzz with calls for everything from suspending the jockey to outlawing horse racing. Cynical sneers and accusations of greed and mishandling abound as these ghouls exploit the death for their own ends.
The fact is, Eight Belles would never have even been born if it weren't for horse racing - she was born and bred to do just that. So the argument is pared down very quickly to an almost existential philosophical question: is it better to be born, live a good life with risks while delighting people - or never to have been born at all? We think the answer is clearly the former.
ALL equine pursuits have inherent risks, as do most pursuits in life generally; eliminate anything with risk, and there would be very little left.
Here's to you, Eight Belles, you were all heart.