Tennessee is not a horse-friendly state. We’re just not. First we have some bizarre Republican jones to bring commercial horse slaughter to the state, I guess a sop to the local horse farms currently forced to send their horses to Mexico to be turned into steaks for hungry Belgians. Alrighty then.
Not sure how many people are aware that those picturesque horse farms outside Nashville are actually raising horses for food in countries where horsemeat is still on the menu. Ewww.
And then today the Humane Society released video showing a top Tennessee Walking Horse trainer engaged in the brutal form of abuse known as “soring,” prompting Pepsi to withdraw its sponsorship from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
This on the heels of a bizarre story from last weekend where Arcadia, the winner of the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, literally collapsed and died in the winner’s circle. Yes, this happened right here on Saturday.
Here he is as veterinarians and trainers tried to cool him down with ice packs:
He died not long after this photo was taken. And I’m sorry to show this to you but someone had to. I did not see this picture in the Nashville papers. I had to find it at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I wonder if The Tennessean didn’t want to run the risk of offending the bigwings who serve on the event committee?
And I don’t know why I’m fascinated with this story but I am. It’s just so full of irony. I guess it’s like that road-kill thing where you try to look away but you can’t. I just can’t stop thinking about Arcadia and all the fancy people who showed up for their big high society event, all dressed up in their designer clothes and the ladies in their big hats and the fancy box lunches prepared by celebrity chefs. This, after all, is Nashville’s Kentucky Derby. And it was a gorgeous day, it really was.
So you have all of those people feeling so good about their fancy selves and their fancy lives, and the star of the show fucking ruined it by dying.
It’s hard to feel good about the world when that happens. This isn’t schadenfreude I feel, not at all. It’s more like: man, what a great literary device! I swear, if I were writing a modern-day version of The Great Gatsby and needed a metaphor for the decline of high society, I think that scene would be it.
Incidentally, the Steeplechase website offers a heartwarming (cough*cough) tribute to this year’s fallen champion with a touching explanation that his loss was completely unavoidable, could have happened at any time, and totally wasn’t their fault. Don’t hate them, corporate sponsors!
And now the Walking Horse National Celebration, the other mega-event for our horsey set, faces yet more animal cruelty scandal. I tell ya, the irony here is overwhelming.
I don’t know what it means but Tennessee Republicans might want to lay off the horse slaughter thing for a while. Ya think?