We went to the horse track last weekend in true Phoenician spirit.
“We have to embrace every possible outdoor activity because the weather is perfection and it will be 120 degrees in four months.”
I’m not a big horse racing fan, but I know enough to equally appreciate and despise it. The Phoenix track oozes 1950s charm and nostalgia – a giant equine-themed time capsule. Patrons can’t help but question whether they’re within the confines of a vintage relic or outdated eyesore.
In the third race of the day, a horse stumbled coming out of the gate. It was severe enough to unseat the jockey, but the horse quickly recovered and didn’t miss a beat. It continued the race, expertly navigating to the inside edge of the track, and sailed ahead to win by several lengths.
Without a 120-pound rider, a horse is not only disqualified from a race, but also at a tremendous advantage. This still begs the question as to how critical the jockey’s role is, and how much heart these animals have to do what they’re raised to, to perform unfailingly, seemingly on autopilot. Even without any coaching, whipping or spurs. They just know how to dig in and give it their all.
Some horses, not all horses, love to run. But domestic animals have an innate desire to perform and to please. This is why my border collie passionately herds us around the house and why a rider-less thoroughbred will commit to winning a race without any encouragement.
If I’m being honest, this partially comical event really got me, goosebumps and all. It was beautiful to see something – animal or human – perform with such unbridled passion. It made me pause to consider if there’s anything I do that passionately. I need to find more situations where I can throw every ounce of my heart and soul into what I’m doing, even if it’s only for a minute-long race.