Friday, December 10, 2010

Zenyatta - Inspiration from the Queen of the Racetrack

There are few things I enjoy more than an afternoon of watching horses.  Maybe a day in Yosemite or Kings Canyon.  To watch a herd of horses frolic on the open range, or thunder around a track, to me, is a thrill.  To see a great horse honored is an immense joy.  I am not an advocate of gambling and I don't support practices that demean principles of good stewardship of God's creatures.  I do enjoy seeing the results of a horse being brought to it's full potential, and a rider who respects and admires that horse in a way that the team reaches a greater success than either would individually.  Such are the examples of Mike Smith and Zenyatta, Ron Turcotte and Secretariat, Red Pollard and Sea Bisquit, to mention a few.

I do not follow horse racing, but my daughter does.  She was born to the saddle.  At the age of 2, I turned my back on her for five minutes and found her across the street with her older brother, trying to climb a fence into the paddock of the boarding stables, to pet the horses.  At a big boned five-eleven, she never had a hope of becoming a jockey, though she did quite well at gymkhana.  She is currently working towards her bachelor's degree in equine studies.  She has a scrapbook - more like a database - on Zenyatta.  She has studied her and followed her for the horse's entire career.  Her excitement at being able to meet and talk with Mike Smith and John Sheriffs (Zenyatta's trainer) was contagious.  To have her share her passion with me is an honor and a priviledge.  To know that she finds inspiration and motivation to pursue her life's dream, even when her own horses are so far away from her for the time being, makes me glad.

For myself, I enjoy watching and interacting with horses.  Ever since humans became aware that the horse was good for more than just the dinner table, there has been a mystical dynamic between horse and rider.  A good rider can communicate to his horse with the slightest pressure, the softest sound.  An intelligent and cooperative horse will respond to his rider almost intuitively.  How often in history has a story been told of a horse finding his way home, his rider unconcious in the saddle?  How often have I gone out to the paddock in distress and received a comforting nuzzle, an understanding companionship with my horses?

Truly the Creator put us here to find our way back to Him, and help our fellows to do so.  But even when humankind fails us, God gave us a back-up, our animals.  Cats, dogs, horses, all take their turn in our lives, comforting, entertaining, annoying and accompanying us back home.

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