I owe a horse a favor
– and the finest 22 minutes of television ever produced
Friday, February 4, 2011 - by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association
Do you owe a horse a favor? I owe quite a few of them. As kid, the food on my table, shirt on my back and roof over my head were paid for completely by the money my dad made breeding, raising, racing horses -- nothing else.
My college education was paid for by horses and now I pay my mortgage, my light bill -- heck, everything -- with the money I make on the backs of horses. I most assuredly owe a lot of horses a favor. Today, I enrolled a few of them in the USTA’s new Full Circle program. I enrolled a few of my dad’s trainees that stand out in my memory, as well as the horses I bought at grade sales with friends and retrained for adoption.
Through Full Circle, I’ll have their backs. If they ever get to the end of the line, have no value or can’t be maintained by whoever’s got them, I want to help. The Full Circle program is modeled after a similar program at the American Quarter Horse Association. It provides a means for people who want to provide assistance to a specific horse or horses in the event that horse ever needs it.
If you enroll a horse you bred, trained, owned, drove, or just liked, in Full Circle, there is no cost and no obligation. Here’s the form.
You provide your contact information and the horse’s name. Very simple. We put it in their PATHWAY record. If that horse ends up in the hands of someone who can no longer care for them, they call us and see if the horse has a Full Circle contact. If they do, we call the person who enrolled the horse in Full Circle and put them in touch with the person who has the horse in question. Then we’re out of that loop.
If your life has changed and you can no longer help the horse you enrolled -- that’s OK. Your involvement is 100 percent voluntary and revocable. Whatever’s worked out between you and the person who has the horse is up to the two of you. Our role is limited to putting together two people with a self declared, shared interest in a horse. Maybe you have the resources to take the horse back. Maybe you can help find a home, help with a bag of oats until the horse can find a more secure home, whether they are in a private home or with an adoption program.
To date, there are about 1,100 horses enrolled by 36 people in Full Circle. Some people enrolled one horse, some have enrolled every horse they ever bred or owned. For this program to be useful and meaningful, we need to grow the database of horses enrolled in Full Circle. Forms are going out with foal applications and renewals.
Finally, as a reward for reading my blog today, I’m sharing with you possibly the finest 22 minutes of television history and an inspiration for enrolling a horse in Full Circle. Click here to watch the video
On this episode of “Taxi,” Jim Ignatowski buys a racehorse on which he wins a $35 bet at 300-1. Jim feels such a sense of gratitude that he buys “On Dasher,” who he renames Gary and tries to set him loose on the streets of Manhattan, “so he can have his freedom.” He takes him for walks in the park, where, “the poodle people have stopped acting like they own the place.” Gary, who Jim notes, “didn’t have an enemy in the world,” lives out his life with Jim. It’s funny and, to horse people like us, validation of how a horse can touch your life.
As Jim says, “Right up the last, you could see that he thought if he could get out there on a fast track and warm day, it would all come back to him. When your legs give out, it’s nice to know there are people out there that know what’s in your heart.”
If you have questions about Full Circle, or any other question, comment or suggestion for a future blog, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org