Friday, May 18, 2012

They Show us Who We Are...

Brian Crowley, aboard Arcadius, celebrates with
groom Percy Warner after winning the Iroquois.
The New York Times recently published an article about the unexpected death of steeplechaser Arcadius after his triumphant win in the Iroquois Steeplechase, a Grade 1 race worth $150,000.  The great 'chaser succumbed to a pulmonary aneurysm that caused  a fatal heart attack just minutes after Arcadius left the winner's circle. 

In a quote after the race, his jockey, Irishman Brian Crowley, told The Times: “I don’t get attached to horses, I just don’t, but with him, it’s different; he’s the one horse I would be close to. I’m not being a drama queen, I’m not just going on about it. I fed him carrots every day. I rode him, I schooled him. What a horse. I can’t believe it. I’m crying over a horse. I can’t believe it. You find out what you are when something like this happens, you find out how much you care.”

Seattle Slew's longtime groom, Tom Wade, had this to say about his famous friend, "In a sense, he raised me. I taught him nothing; he taught me everything I know." 

Another thing Wade said about his feelings for the Triple Crown winner was this, " I wanted to live my life for Slew to be proud of me."

I get that.  And isn't that bizarre, in a way?  Trying to live in a way that would make our horse's proud?  Try telling a non-horse lover that and tell me what reaction you get. In all honesty, though, there absolutely are times when I don't do something because I know Sug wouldn't approve, just as there are times I will do something because I know she would.

Mr. Crowley is right.  You do find out what,and who, you are with horses. I was mentioning this to a (non-horsey) friend and she found this hard to believe. "What about your family?  Where do they fit in?  Don't you try to make them proud?"

Well, I guess there you have the difference between those who love horses and those who don't.  If you are a horse lover, the horse IS your family.

Anyway, that's just what I was thinking this morning.

Thanks for reading! 



  1. I think Pippi tends to show me who I want to be, and I find in moments with her that I am those things; patient, clued in, and caring. With her I am all my best, and at times all my worst as I can also lose it, and become impatient and disconnected. It's "a work in progress". I wrote that poem about it in my blog a few weeks ago, and it really summed it up for me. Pippi helped me find the carefree, brave, happy girl I used to be. You know before life took hold and obligations and time stole my ability to rule my own life.

  2. Great post! Love it! And I absolutely consider my horse's opinion of me MUCH more important than most humans' opinions.

  3. Spot on Amy! Nice piece.

  4. Great post. :) 100% agree and understand.

  5. Great post! I completely agree. I try to ride my current horse in a way that my old horse would be proud of—if that makes any sense!

  6. Wow! I have to commend you on an awesome article! Having worked personally with Arcadius and Brian Crowley (as he is one of my room mates), THIS is what people should be taking away from this entire situation. There are some pretty horrible things floating around out about this situation, people saying how wrong it is, how horrible everyone that works with the horse in - all of them failing to see what big picture is - and that is, that they show us who we are. After trying to argue with the non horse lovers and telling them that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent his death, I realized that they are the kind of people that will never know what the outside of a horse does for the inside of man and woman. Brian and I thank you for understanding.

    1. Hgregorek- Please tell Brian my thoughts are with him in this difficult time, and that I hope to see him at the Far Hills meet this fall. Thanks for reading, and for sharing your comments.

  7. Horses are honest and vulnerable and noble and they love. No wonder why we would look up to them!