racing

The Head and Not The Heart: An Interview with Natalie Reinert

“Our lives as horsepeople are exciting and sorrowful and wonderful and tragic on a daily basis, and I want to write about that.” — Natalie Keller Reinert

The Head and Not the Heart by Natalie Keller Reinert

Natalie Keller Reinert is the author of the novella The Head and Not The Heart, a story about a young woman who experiences loss and romantic confusion in the horse world. The heroine, Alex, lives and works on a Thoroughbred breeding and training farm in Florida with her boyfriend, Alexander, who’s a respected race trainer. After losing two young horses that were dear to both of them, Alex begins to question her involvement in the business and her relationship with Alexander. Alex takes a trip to New York City to check out a new horse and finds much more than she expected.
Natalie took a moment away from writing about OTTBs and working with horses in Central Park for the NYC Parks Department (what a job!) to answer a few questions about her first book.
                                                      — Kristin Berkery

Lava Man at Del Mar Racetrack in 2006. Photo by Matt Brockmeyer

What personality traits do you have in common with Alex? How are you different?Alex and I are both dreamers. Dreamers that pursue their dreams relentlessly… but keep dreaming new dreams all the time. And never forget their old ones. Getting pulled in multiple directions: that’s our biggest problem. I’m a city girl with a country passion; that’s hard to reconcile.
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Celebrities & Horses: William Shatner, Queen Elizabeth II & Patrick Swayze

by Kristin Berkery

Sussim osim nissim — translated from Hebrew, “horses make miracles.”

William Shatner driving his famous Saddlebred stallion, Call Me Ringo, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. AP photo

William Shatner
During the 1983 filming of a T.J. Hooker episode at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, William Shatner noticed a black Saddlebred stallion he couldn’t stop thinking about. The horse, Sultan’s Great Day, was a coal-black son of the legendary Supreme Sultan, but that didn’t matter to Shatner. All he cared about was buying the beautiful horse, which he paid a premium for because of his inexperience in the horse business.

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What is an OTTB?

An OTTB is a brave soul, an animal with movement in his bones, an athlete of tremendous power; but most of all, an OTTB is a horse to love.

The Head and Not the Heart by Natalie Keller Reinert

I’m honored to welcome author Natalie Reinert as ilovehorses.net‘s first guest blogger. One of Natalie’s passions is Off-the-Track-Thoroughbreds, or retired racehorses that go on to other careers. Check out Natalie’s novel The Head and Not the Heart, which has 5 stars on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. — Kristin Berkery

by Natalie Reinert

You’ve heard of OTTBs, of course. You have a friend with a friend who bought a horse off the track. She told you they’re those hot, crazy, fire-breathing dragons you see leaping onto their owner’s heads at horse shows. They’re those mad, spooky animals that take off when a branch snaps beneath a hoof, turning a trail ride into a tantrum. They’re those fragile, sensitive beasts that break out in hives when they’re touched by a butterfly.

Neville Bardos Thoroughbred horse

Neville Bardos, an OTTB who avoided slaughter and survived a barn fire, pictured with Boyd Martin. He is a possible candidate for the 2012 U.S. Olympic equestrian team. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld/USEA

But wait, that can’t be the whole story. OTTBs are making the news these days, from the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge to the high-profile stories on miracle horses like Neville Bardos, the Australian OTTB whose will to not just live but get back to work as a 4* event horse has made headlines in equine and mass media.

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What is Il Palio?

by Kristin Berkery

The winner is the horse that crosses the finish line first, regardless of whether it has a rider.

The starting line of Il Palio di Siena.
Photo by Janus Kinase

Held twice every summer, Il Palio di Siena is the wildest horse race in modern times. The jockeys ride bareback on mixed breed horses they may be unfamiliar with at blinding speeds through dirt-covered streets in Siena, Italy. The whips they carry are used for interfering with other riders and horses in addition to encouraging their own horses forward. It’s common for riders to be unseated and their mounts to finish the race without them.

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Who Won the 1968 Kentucky Derby?

by Kristin Berkery

Dancer's Image after winning the 1968 Kentucky Derby. Photo by George Featherston, Thoroughbred Times

A Trick Question
Who won the 1968 Kentucky Derby? If you look at most listings of Derby winners, Forward Pass is shown as the winner — but you’ll see an asterisk (*) or the words “via DQ” next to his name. What’s that about?

It’s a story mostly unknown to racing fans born in the 1970s and later. At one time, there was a different horse listed as the winner of the ’68 Derby on shot glasses and the sign on the back of the grandstand at Churchill Downs. The horse that time has almost forgotten is Dancer’s Image, a son of Native Dancer who was nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” by his many fans.
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