I don’t fall in love easy: with men or horses.
Sure I like a lot of what I see, but it’s the rare one that gets under your skin and you can’t help but want more.
Some would say it’s easy to fall in love with a horse: they’re gorgeous creatures born to be the best athletes on the planet.
We’ve all seen the dappled out, well-defined muscles of a top class Thoroughbred unfurling a long stride or unleashing a powerful closing kick: when it’s done right, it takes your breath away.
I suppose I issue a silent challenge to each and every horse I see: make me a believer. The trick to watching horses day in, day out is to do more than develop an eye for a nice worker: you have to train your gut to know that what you’re seeing is special. That takes time and sometimes can be different than what you see on paper.
Take Force Freeze: at last year’s Breeders’ Cup, obviously he had the talent to belong in the Sprint field, but his past performances didn’t scream “love me!” in my book. He made a fan out of me with his gritty runner-up finish, but it wasn’t until we all shipped south to Gulfstream that I really got to see what the big near-black horse was all about. He showed up on the Miami oval one day and you couldn’t help but notice him: he was like David Beckham walking into Kroger – he stood out.
But it wasn’t the times he turned in that had me drooling: it was the effortless way he worked. Every time he came out – for a work or just a gallop – he made being a racehorse look easy.
Tyra Banks talks about this concept of top international runway models having “wind in their hair” even when they don’t have a wind machine to walk at. Force Freeze had that, Animal Kingdom certainly does, and so does Shackleford most days. It’s this aura, this internal glow that sets them apart from everyone else.
Learning to spot the horses that make your heart sing is a lot like dating: you’re going to see a lot of junk before you realize what’s right. And no two people will have the same shortlist of favorites: some people are partial to the more J-Lo booty’d sprinter, others the leggy’d lovely like Heidi Klum.
Me? I don’t have a type. All I ask is they catch my eye and keep my interest… and you can do that on sheer talent alone.