Horse Sense

I had the chance to spend about two years in the harness racing world many years ago. I was often overwhelmed with the degree of care and horse psychology that trainers and owners would share with me. For instance, on race day one owner allowed no one in the barn in the afternoon, set lights to dim and played classical music so all could rest up.

I was told by many that horses should never train alone, that at least one other should be on the track to help both learn to pass one another, get competitive and get left behind. The trick of this was to urge the horse to race past its partner, but equally to let the horse know that it can relax at times and let another pass. The thinking here was that a horse that always beats out its training mate would be so discouraged if passed in the race that it would give up. 

Races are won, I was told, when a horse could handle the jostling and passing and then when urged could reliably dig deep for the natural talent, energy, and speed it had, not worried about the others around them.

Isn’t that just like our days and weeks, there are always people and situations, lifting us up, sometimes knocking us down, trouble and triumph each in their measure. The trick is to know what we have for ability and energy, and run that race like we were on the track alone and rested up, every time, win or lose.

Photo by @coldbeer on

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