Having received numerous emails from readers and from international publications concerning recent events I wanted to publish something that highlighted how I think we should say goodbye to the horses who have given us so much in the name of sport.
The below article was initially published in Sporting Post, which reported that a race horse, In A Rush, suffered a broken leg during morning training at the Vaal,South Africa on Thursday, 29 January. The bond between humans and horses has always been a mysterious one, but as we all know, once you fall in love with a horse, it’s for life. Mike Louw, whose hands helped pull In A Rush into the world and has never been far from him since, sent in the following moving tribute.
“I have let you down so badly my boy and I don’t know how to tell you how sorry I am. Your friend Gavin tearfully imparted to me early this morning that you had inexplicably shattered a limb in a half pace gallop at the Vaal today and, sadly, had to be put down. You have been so good to me – you have enriched my life and have been, since the day you were born, an endless source of joy and pleasure to me and those around you.
You came into this world at my and Ricardo’s feet and only just survived a placenta previa delivery. Undeterred you grew into a quite magnificent youngster and I silently promised you that, come what may, I would look after you for the rest of your life. How could I have failed you so miserably?
You ran 3rd in your first start and then won 5 on the trot as a juvenile including successive wins in the East Cape Nursery, Dahlia Plate and the Champion Juvenile Cup holding off Variety Club in a nail biter in the latter. You made us so proud. How foolish we were – we had probably already pushed you too hard too early in your promising career – you, however, never complained.
You stood up bravely through a debilitating wind operation and went on to win a hard run mile in Durban, perhaps a furlong or so beyond your stamina capability. Again, you never complained. Back in Cape Town you ran a credible 3rd behind Changingoftheguard.and King of Pain in the Matchem Stakes and held your own against the best of your generation in the 2012 Cape season.
And then you went and did the impossible. In September of 2013 you were shipped up to the Vaal from P.E. overnight to take on the best sand horses in the Gr2 Emerald Cup. No one gave you a chance. You brought indescribable joy to an old man’s heart by beating a gallant Pylon and again words cannot describe how proud I was of you. I once more promised that I would take the best care of you for the rest of your life. Goodness, how I have failed you.
Directly behind my cottage on the Wemmershoek road, near to where you were born, I have set up a lush paddock for your pending retirement. You see I have been preparing to make good on my undertaking – and you have been showing, in your last few runs, that it was time to call it a day. How silly of me not to insist earlier that you come home. Your empty paddock will now serve as a constant reminder of how frail that promise really was.
You gave so much and asked for so little in return. You have taught me so much and how I regret that you have left me to now fend for myself on my own. How I have cried for you today. Forgive me for failing you so badly. Graze in peace my boy – I am going to miss you terribly.