Horses and Ravens
Sometimes we fail to remember that life is about partnerships. The popular theme of today seems to be me, me, me. We can push our way around partnerships with people, but the horse will only bend so far. I commented after the Kentucky Derby that I would have questioned the jockey’s decision to whip so aggressively when California Chrome was so obviously in command of his race. I did not see the Preakness, so I do not know how that race went, but I do know that the insistence on the nose strips for the Belmont confirmed my suspicions that CC might have lung stress. Excessive whipping can exacerbate lung stress because the stride lock phenomena in horses necessitates them finding the optimum stride pattern that fits their anatomical design. An occasional whip stroke can be a reminder to seek this optimum, but excessive whipping can drive beyond the natural optimum which is why so many racers become bleeders.
During an interview with Victor Espinoza this past week I heard him comment something along the lines of California Chrome could be moody, but when he rides him he shows him he is the boss and he is in charge and he has to do what he says. I remember reading that he could be cocky and I know it to be common amongst jockeys and he certainly has had a successful career. However, the comments weighed heavy on my California dreaming for a new Triple Crown icon. I went back and watched the Derby run after hearing those remarks and I began to worry that the partnership element might not be the priority required for the crown. As I posted in my pre-race comments I was trying to hold to the dream, but I was not feeling it because I sensed a communication breakdown on the horizon.
Armchair jockeying is really not a fair game because there is no way to know all the elements that intertwine, but I know the heart of a champion and I know respect is an integral fuel. In my knower I saw the mutual respect bridge that creates the needed partnership between man and beast was hampered by the weight of control lust on the part of man. I saw the shadow of the raven set in flight by the power grasping words that some would label confidence. Horses bred to race love to run and to win. A good jockey learns to partner with the dance born of that fire. Chrome was not dancing today. Something damped his fire and no amount of rejected whipping could stir its embers. I believe his champion’s heart would have gladly danced in partnership with skilled urging from freeing hands pumping in rhythm with his heaven ordained heart and lungs.
Our words come from what rules in our hearts and they often proceed the results of that rule. The raven is the symbol of the power of the spoken word. I don’t know when the music stopped for Chrome, but it stopped short of the crown and that dance will not come again. Quote the raven