Thoroughbreds don't cry
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Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry

They carry us throughout this lifetime, both literally and figuratively, upon their backs— brute bodies artfully sculpted; every last hair painted by some all-knowing source of divine craftsmanship. Below spiked ears lie a set of eyes, brilliant with flecks of amber and shades of mahogany— small, transparent windows into souls which reside deep beneath the surface. They are souls abundant in spirit and wonder— ones which know not of contempt or judgement, but of resilience and unwavering courage unparalleled. They are the souls of the Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

A colt unbeaten—he moves with purpose— each stride taken, more powerful than its predecessor. Finely forged legs— brilliantly strong and feeble simultaneously, reach forward, ever hungry for the ground beneath. They are limbs clothed in colors of rich caramel and sand, traveling skyward to his head painted with a beaming white star, finished with a snip unmistakable. He wears proudly, colors of blue and green and white behind his withers. He carries upon his back, where just two weeks ago sat a blanket of roses red, the hopes of a nation— the future of a sport. Another stride, and another— hearts pounding; blood pulsating— and then, there beneath a roaring stand, he steps once more. All the world fades into a muted background, his present encompassed by an aching in his leg— a pulling on his reins— a stop, unexpected. He stands once more, now sidelined, surrounded by faces he knows not. Breathing deeply, he remains statue-still, as his field turns for home— uncertain of his present, or his future. But still, he stands— because it is what is asked of him. He is a Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

A filly unprecedented— she moves with dominance— each stride taken, reaching further than its predecessor. Finely forged legs— brilliantly strong and feeble simultaneously, reach forward, ever hungry for the Earth beneath. They are limbs clothed in rich espresso and hazelnut, traveling skyward to her head painted with a broken blaze unmistakable. She wears proudly, the colors of mustard and port behind her withers. She carries upon her back the adoration and hope of a nation— as she’s done so many times before— thirsting for one final triumph, before her ride into the sunset commences. She’s dethroned kings— left them helpless in her wake. Certainly, she’s poised to provide one final thrill. But there, beneath a grandstand alive with electricity, she fades— silently, into submission. There was no victory—and no white flag. Defeated she was, surrender she didn’t. It was not in her nature to recant. She crossed the wire, a little beaten— a little battered— pride intact after a job well done. She is a Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

The colt once unbeaten— stands quietly. His days, once sprawling with excitement and promise, now confined to a stall— a white cast encompassing an ailing limb. He no more eyes the passersby— he no longer listens to the songs of cameras clicking— frame to frame. Instead, he’s come to know new sounds— new sites— new strangers-turned friends. He’s all too well acquainted with the point of a needle— the blade of a surgeon. He’s come to see what most of his kind, will never have to. The days of romping in the early sunrise far behind him, he now looks to a rare few moments in the light, and an occasional pick of grass when his strength permits such activity. These are the moments in which he finds peace and tranquility— these are the moments for which he lives. He thinks not of the past and the future he was promised, but of the day ahead— not of its troubles, not of its length— but of the sheer happiness a pat on the head, or a mouthful of bursting greenery brings. He does not dwell, he does not fret. He is a Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

The filly unprecedented— now grown and wiser— lies quietly in a barn neatly tucked away from the world she used to know. The roaring voices now a distant memory, her mind fills with the privilege it is to be a mother to a filly much like she— painted in espresso and hazelnut— brave and steadfast, navigating the world from a set of wobbly legs. Her new role is one she’s taken to seamlessly— as if her calling was all the while in the field of motherhood. She stands to feed her child, as any good mother does, ignoring altogether, the deep ache within her belly which the miracle of birth has left her. She too, is no stranger to the point of a needle— the blade of a surgeon. The change of pace was an abrupt one— green fields of frolic, to a bedded stall. She’s come to know new sounds— new sites— new strangers-turned-friends. The days of romping in the early sunrise far behind her, she now looks to a rare few moments in the light, and an occasional pick of grass when her strength permits such activity. These are the moments in which she finds peace and tranquility— these are the moments for which she lives. She thinks not of the past and the future she was promised, but of the day ahead— not of its troubles, not of its length— but of the sheer happiness a pat on the head, a mouthful of bursting greenery, or a nuzzle from her child brings. She does not dwell, she does not fret. She is a Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

The colt once unbeaten— braver now than then— stands quietly. His days in the sunlight, mouth bursting with greenery, are no longer. He shifts his weight— more burdensome these days— side to side. He now wears two white casts, instead of one. Though they ever compliment the white star and snip adorning his refined face, they are an accessory he would gladly do without. He listens patiently for the voices he has come to know— for these melodies bring him joy. They most often signal a pat on the nose is imminent— and even, perhaps, a carrot or two. But, on this day, the songs of his companions are absent of joy. They are, instead, accompanied by a tone of regret. Their arms find his neck— their faces, wet, bury into his overgrown mane. He feels their sadness—he feels it down to his very bones— to which he responds with a nuzzle in return. No words are needed— for the colt understands all too well, the sorrow in goodbyes. He follows his friend unquestionably— to a room in which he has never stood before. His friend’s sobs grow stronger still, to which he responds with a low and quiet grumble of comfort. Once more, his neck is met with a trembling hand, before his eyes grow tired and weary. He rests his head gently— peacefully— as he drifts to a reverie of roaring grandstands and rolling pastures aplenty. He does not fight the sleep which calls him home— he instead, goes willingly. For he is a Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

The filly unprecedented— grown and wiser— stands quietly. Her days, again sprawling with excitement and promise— rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. Still a queen, she surveys her queendom— dotted with mothers and daughters and sons alike. She beckons to her own filly as she steps too far for comfort— a restless little spirit, wild with hunger for adventure. The light bluegrass breeze blows gently through her own mane, carrying with it the scent of tomorrow’s promise, as well as the echoes of the champions not as fortunate as she— blessed with a future not promised to all. She worries not of the past— but is entirely present in the moment unfolding around, and the life ahead which awaits her. She does not fret, because she is a Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.

They carry us throughout this lifetime, both literally and figuratively, upon their backs— brute bodies artfully sculpted; every last hair painted by some all-knowing source of divine craftsmanship. Below spiked ears lie a set of eyes, brilliant with flecks of amber and shades of mahogany— small, transparent windows into souls which reside deep beneath the surface. They are souls abundant in spirit and wonder— ones which know not of contempt or judgement, but of resilience and unwavering courage unparalleled. They are the souls of the Thoroughbred…

and Thoroughbreds don’t cry.


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Article written by Nicole Schiveley

Chief Creative Officer

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alex Reply

    Very moving.

  2. Robert Reply

    Moving. And true. Very well written.

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