Friday, September 11, 2009

Mis deseos han sido siempre caballos

A final post before I head off for my Andalucian adventure traveling up Catalonia's Costa Brava on Spanish horseback. I will be spending a week stopping over in coastal haciendas, sampling local wine and cuisine, and galloping verdant hillsides atop los caballos espaƱoles. I anticipate dreaming tonight of big-hipped white horses with lush silver manes cantering across the sunny southern Spanish coasts.

But first, a check into this week's goings on in the rest of the horseworld.

  • Good news for the racing industry this week, as the Associated Press reported that the number of equine deaths on tracks in 2008 diminished by an (albeit slight) 3% since 2007. This news comes as a positive indicator that the wide swath of reforms instituted by Thoroughbred track and racing authorities over this past year is starting to prove effective in saving equine lives. Unfortunately an astonishing 1247 horses were still lost to track related deaths during 2008. It's clear that work on the issue needs to continue.
  • The FEI issued a report last week recommending reforms necessary to curb the now widespread problem of medication and performance enhancing drug abuse in equine athletes competing under the governing body. As this article from Practical Horseman's Nancy Jaffer reports, among the recommendations suggested by the commission: "better stable security; an “integrity unit” geared to keeping things corruption-free; review [of] anti-doping protocols" and paying judges and stewards for their effort to promote professionalism in those ranks.
  • The National Reining Horse Association has signed a deal to sponsor next year's World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. As a sponsor of the competition, the NRHA will promote reining's continuing expansion into the realm of accepted international horse sports, and will showcase it's unique set of talented competitors by hosting the WEG's first freestyle reining exhibition.
And with that, it's off to Barcelona to bask in the richness of Spain's legendary equine heritage.

¡Rastros felices!

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