OPINION: Racing lasts longer than spring cup carnival
THERE's no denying I'm a fan of horse racing.
If the horse racing industry didn't exist, I wouldn't have my two horses TimTam and Magic - they're both former racehorses.
But it's this time of the year when activists come out of the woodworks, just in time for Melbourne Cup.
I'm not going to sit back and pretend the horse racing industry is perfect. I know it isn't. But no industry is.
What people should know is the vast majority of these horses get the best care they possibly could - sometimes, even better than their owners.
Horses have annual dental appointments, their feet cared for, the best food money can buy, some also have specialist treatments such as acupuncture and physiotherapy.
Why? Because they are elite athletes.
Like human athletes, you need to eat well, exercise and take care of your body for peak performance.
And horses, like us, have a mind of their own. If they don't want to race, they aren't going to. Take the stunning Chuatauqua for example - I recommend googling 'Chuatauqua fails to jump'.
The horse simply would not exit the barrier despite the jockey's best effort.
My newest thoroughbred, Northern Magic, came to me because he no longer wanted to race.
Despite his trainers best care and attention, Magic, at 110 starts with 15 wins, no longer wanted to be a race horse - which suits me just fine.
He made the treck from Blackall to the Lockyer Valley and is being re-trained as a dressage and showjumping horse - and he still gets prime care - quality food, bowen therapies - you name it, he gets it.
But there is more to the industry than the horses.
There's farriers, equine dentists and importantly farmers who grow fodder and grain for horse food. The list goes on and on.
If the industry didn't exist there would be thousands of people out of jobs - stablehands, jockeys, track caretakers and all the volunteers that put in countless hours behind the scenes to provide a day out for patrons.
The point of my message, horse racing runs all year round, not just Melbourne Cup day.