Standardbred Harness Racing - Pacing:

We were having trouble racing. Our young horses were in training and hadn’t started racing and some of our girls were hurt and couldn’t race. We were newbies and others made us feel as if we did not have the talent to train a horse to race. This spurred us on to prove them wrong. We could do it! We knew we could train a horse to pace around a track with a driver in a little race bike behind them.

Some friends had many horses and offered to let us finish training one of theirs. We took Mystical Buffy on lease. If I ever had a decision to do over again, I would have purchased her. The original promise was that if we wanted her, we could have her for $1500.00. We thought this was fair.

She was a feisty girl and floated when she paced. Her daddy was a well known horse named Albert Albert. This impressed the other horsemen because folks in the racing world know every mare and stallion that ever lived. When Buffy was ready to race, her first race was at a fair. She did not win, however, she paced fast enough to qualify to race at the racetrack. Horses wanting to race were required to complete a qualifying race or a race at a fair in a minimum race time so slow horses or horses that were not prepared to race did not risk injury to themselves or others.

The first night Buffy raced at the racetrack, she won. We were elated. We had proved we could train a horse to race and win! Winning gave you the privilege of strutting around like you just won the Kentucky Derby when it was just a small race most never knew was won. It was gratifying though. An added bonus was that the racetrack video taped all the races and offered them to owners. We purchased Buffy’s WIN video.

Victory was sweet, but short lived. We lost the next ten races – we didn’t even finish in the money for any of these races- the first 5 finishers receive money. We were back to discouraged.

One night I noticed my training partner watching Buffy’s only WIN video in our living room. He kept playing it over and over. Others had many win videos, we just had one. A little sorrow swept over me. I wanted to tell him we would win again and have more videos. I wanted to tell him it would be ‘ok.’ I didn’t say a word and he just kept watching the race over and over.

After a long losing streak, I pleaded with a talented driver to drive Buffy. I told him a little fib – that I knew another talented driver that recommended him. He was skeptical, but agreed to drive for us. She won! I was so excited that, when I took the horse from him and went to jump on the race bike to drive her to the win barn, I fell on the track. He giggled. I asked him if he would drive for us again and promised to fall off the race bike again if that would help him decide. He did and she went on to win many races for us.

When we made the offer to buy Buffy for the original price  – after doing the training and the care-  the owners more for her. We were disappointed and returned her to her original owners.

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