Friday, April 27, 2012

Oscar (not his racing name)

Despite what most people may think about Thoroughbreds on the track, most are incredibly well-mannered and are handled with great care. They are curious babies who know their environment and jobs quite well.  

“Oscar” is one of the horses I massage at the racetrack. I work at the track one day a week and massage a variety of horses, whomsoever the trainer picks out for that particular week. I love working there. I grew up with racing Thoroughbreds and I find the environment quite soothing.

“Oscar,” his trainer admits, “is his own worst enemy.” His flighty habits have gotten him into some physical trouble lately that I am there to help. Yesterday was his second massage and during his first one I was warned to look out for his hind feet and teeth. Sure enough, he tried to cow-kick once or twice and strike. (Fortunately not only I was knowingly out of reach, but since my own horse Percy was once a much more accurate cow-kicker, I have developed some high-level dodging skills!) The biting was forestalled by his trainer who put on a lip chain. But this week Oscar seemed very glad to see me and though he still wore a lip chain, the beastie stood quietly and didn’t raise a foot. (Well, he did paw once but what I was doing surely was painful.) I was proud of his good behavior and decided to sketch him for my journal when I got home last night. Here he is, sketched in watercolor pencil and Neocolor II in a Stillman and Birn Gamma 5.5" x 8.5" sketchbook. Well done Oscar!

From my journal...

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