Dear Mz. Manners: Horse Edition

Photo by Jessica Spengler via Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo by Jessica Spengler via Flickr/Creative Commons

As part of the Thoroughbred Aftercare movement, CANTER has watched the transformation of endless horses as they leave the racetrack to embark on new adventures. Some horses make the transition seamlessly, others find the sport horse world foreign and ridiculous. For those horses, Mz. Manners is primed to address their questions and concerns.


 Dear Mz. Manners,

I recently shipped to a new track and have found myself in a delicate situation. The people are nice and all, but the riders are colossal in size. There’s no way these jocks are making weight. I swear to you, these riders are so large, no one will offer them a leg up; instead they bribe me to stand beside this huge wood block just to get their Amazon feet in the stirrups. It’s like carrying two riders on my back; is this what handicappers mean by a “daily double”?

Weighed Down in Wilmington

Dear Weighed Down in Wilmington,

On behalf of those riders who have not weighed 116 pounds in a very long time, I apologize. However, I think you will find numerous benefits that go along with your “gigantic” lifestyle. Have you noticed nearly everything in your world is bigger – stalls, paddocks, treats? I am certain within a few months you, too, will be letting your girth out a few holes and join the category of “colossal.” Enjoy it!


Mz. Manners,

I have this sweet new owner who purchased me off the track; she found a huge green paddock for me to live in and life is good, mostly. However, she has a dark side. Every day she pulls me out and tortures me with what she calls “grooming.” She has these special made brushes that are made out of nails; I’m telling you if she pushes any harder my skin is going to rip off. I wanna kick her in the gut. Please explain this barbaric practice?

Bald in Buffalo

Dear Baldy,

Transitioning a human to OTTB etiquette takes patience; you may wish to study up on different types of negative reinforcement to address unwanted behavior. I would start with some fair, but firm nipping. Aim for any loose or flabby skin; you’ll get double impact of causing physical pain, as well as mental anguish in the realization that she’s been consuming far too many Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappachinos. If her uncalled-for conduct persists, you may progress to the next step, an old-fashioned foot stomp. By swishing your tail prior to aiming, she will assume there is a fly and will immediately forgive you. If all else fails, kick her in the gut – people need rules and boundaries.


 Mz. Manners,

Since leaving the racetrack, my owner rides me ad nauseam. Six days a week, round and round we go. I try to coach her on aerobic fitness, randomly scooting forward and sideways, but she always goes back to that incessant jog, circling until I’m too dizzy to object. Didn’t anyone tell her that at the track we only have to make two laps and we’re done for the day? To rub salt in the wound, she tells all her little friends I’m a RETIRED racehorse. I don’t think that word means what she thinks it means. Help!

Overworked in Orlando

Dear Overworked in Orlando,

People talk about racing being strenuous, but many after-track careers are no joke. While the day in day out training may be more monotonous than you are accustomed, with consistency comes results. For instance, have you taken a glimpse of yourself in the dressage mirrors lately? SCRUMPTIOUS BOOTY, don’t you think? You will need a strong caboose to fight off all those advances in the pasture. So rest up, my friend, you have several decades before you can cash in on that pension!

To all the ex-racehorses who have bravely made the career change from runner to sport horse, we applaud you. If you or your human have any questions to be addressed by Mz. Manners, please feel free to e-mail her at [email protected]

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