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Tony Grist

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Back Story [Mar. 11th, 2014|10:10 am]
Tony Grist
Horse-racing comes near the top of the list of things I'm not the least bit interested in.

Having had that thought I've been asking myself what, if anything, might rank higher. Sudoko, perhaps? ballroom dancing? Train spotting?

We weren't a horsey family. My parents didn't buy their first horse until long after I'd left home and made a life for myself. Breeding and racing horses was their retirement hobby.

My father ran it as a business. I don't suppose he made money at it but I don't suppose he lost much either. He was too canny.

In the early years they were quite successful. The house is full of pictures of horses jumping over obstacles on their way to winning something or other. I resist the impulse to sweep them all away and replace them with pictures of family members.

The last ten years have seen steady decline.

Why am I not interested?

I dunno. Just not my thing. Nor my kind of people- rich folk with money to burn, chancers, gamblers, fox hunters, the royal family.

Up until recently I was living 200 miles away and didn't have to take any notice of what was going on. But now I get to see the bills. The two horses my mother still maintains eat money by the bale. One is in retirement. The other falls over hedges.

[User Picture]From: splodgenoodles
2014-03-11 10:22 am (UTC)
IMHO, hedges are overrated. But then so is horse racing.

I generally like horses, but that's because the ones I've met are nice friendly animals, not because they run fast. I suspect I'd find elephants equally pleasant in similar circumstances.

Although I do know someone who owned a miniature horse for a while. She decided to on sell it after it started killing sheep.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-11 10:28 am (UTC)
I've nothing against horses as such. They look quite decorative standing about in fields.

But I wouldn't pay to watch them do it.

I've never heard of a horse killing sheep before. One of horses at the stables my mother frequents has been known to stamp on rats.
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[User Picture]From: splodgenoodles
2014-03-11 11:07 am (UTC)
Indeed. Especially when you throw in some trees and sky.

This one hemmed one in in the corner of the paddock, and kicked it to death. And presumably enjoyed it so much, it did it twice more. It also used to bite people. Stamping on rats strikes me as a lot less anti-social though.

Maybe they just get really sick of being fangless herbivores.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-11 12:28 pm (UTC)
Stupid beasts.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2014-03-11 11:51 am (UTC)
Some of us have a low appetite for risk, others thrive on it. I went to Windsor races once, and deeply resented the £85 I got through for a plastic glass of warm white wine and the chance to chuck good money away.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-11 12:26 pm (UTC)
I have a low appetite for risk. Very low.

We took my mother to Plumpton once and sat in something like a railway cafeteria and ate railway cafeteria-style food. I was glad I wasn't paying.
Then some horses ran past the window- at a distance- and that was that.
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From: cmcmck
2014-03-11 12:43 pm (UTC)
Like you, I don't get it, but then the sport of kings is, it seems, best understood by the nobs and the working class. My collier grandad Snape was a great one for the geegees but it didn't rub off.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-11 01:39 pm (UTC)
There's no disputing about tastes.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2014-03-11 02:03 pm (UTC)
I was once a pony mad child, then I finally achieved my ambition and owned a couple of ponies for just over 20 years. Eventually, I lost my nerve for riding on roads and once my daughter had grown up and moved away, I didn't really have anyone to ride with. A period of ill health gave me the final push to re-home my pony (see icon) and since then I have simply admired horses from a distance.

However, despite enjoying the occasional Dick Francis thriller, I have never been the slightest bit interested in horse racing and in fact have a lot of issues with it. Regarding costs, I kept ponies out at grass and had a shoestring budget; I shudder to think how much it costs to feed and keep a race horse.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-11 04:02 pm (UTC)
I learned to ride when I was a kid. It was quite good fun.

The cost of maintaining a racehorse- at the lowest, humblest level- works out at about £1,600 per month.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2014-03-11 03:05 pm (UTC)
I was definitely a "horse girl," meaning that as a young girl/woman, I loved horses. And when other girls my age were looking at boys, I sought refuge with my horses. I loved riding them. I still love horses, but I have neither money nor time to have one.

I used to really love watching racing, in all its forms. And I still will occasionally watch one of the "big" races, like the Derby. But I confess now, all I can think about is how often the horse gets ruined because of an injury.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-03-11 05:25 pm (UTC)
Racing is a fairly ruthless business. My mother had a horse injured in a race last year- and it was put down on the spot.
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