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After 15 years at the racetrack, I can no longer watch a horse race

I galloped thousands of horses in my life as an exercise rider on the backsides of America’s racetracks. I can no longer remain silent about what I witnessed and what must be done

I have come to a time in my life where I cannot watch a horse race. It evokes too much anxiety and fear, flashbacks of catastrophe, so I close my eyes and pray only for the horses to make it home safely. It is an odd thing considering I spent 15 years at the racetrack and couldn’t have defined myself outside of it. As I write this I sit in a pasture outside Austin, typing and watching my 20-year-old former racehorse graze. I took him off the track when he was five and had to be retired because he had already fractured both hind ankles. One carries a pin in it to this day. It would be years before they stopped blowing-up with fluid any time he did anything above a walk.

Related: Death on the track: why are so many horses dying at Santa Anita?

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