July 20, 2015

Love of Horse Literature Leads to the Race Track

American Pharoah made history last month when he won the Triple Crown. While I don’t know much about horse racing, when I was younger I loved the idea of it. I read “The Black Stallion” by Walter Farley over and over and then read many more of the Black Stallion books by Walter and his son, Steven Farley; I even still have a collection of the books. Inspired by the book, I had my 7th birthday party at the Laurel Park racetrack in Laurel, Maryland. My invitations were written on bookmarks inside copies of the book, so that my friends could enjoy it too! You can watch The Black Stallion movie’s race scene on YouTube:

My 7th Birthday
My party was on St. Patrick’s Day, so it was quite a festive day at the track. There was even an Irish band playing in the lobby! The party included a private tour through the jockey silks room and a visit to the jockeys’ quarters plus a chance to ride on the Equicizer.


A real jockey teaching us how to use the Equicizer--it's harder than it looks!

Then we got to go to the paddock to watch them check the horses’ tattoos. We watched the race standing right at the rail, and I even presented the winning trophy! Our goodie bags were filled with lots of cool stuff including real jockey goggles, which I put to good use for Halloween the next year.


Presenting the trophy to my race’s winner - #7! – for my 7th birthday party at Laurel Park on March 17, 2007

This summer, Laurel Park will host Sunday Family Fun & Kids Zone every Sunday through August 23rd. I think this could be a fun way for kids to connect with, get to know, “the sport of kings.”

University of Maryland (UMD) Racehorses
In 2013, the University of Maryland Equine Studies Program resumed the thoroughbred-breeding program after more than 30 years, and their foals may run one day on Maryland race tracks. I will write about the Equine Studies program at UMD in an upcoming blog post.

What About You?
Many of us equestrians have loved horses from a young age and loved to read inspiring stories about them. And these stories helped us aspire to one day ride these amazing animals, and to create our own stories with our horses. So what horse books have you loved and were you able to connect with the subject off of the pages?

Photo credit: all photos courtesy of Holden Rafey


Holden with ribbons

My name is Holden Rafey, and I am honored to be serving as the Maryland Horse Council’s Youth Correspondent. As the MHC Youth Correspondent, I will be posting monthly to this blog about horse-related topics in the state of Maryland to give a youth perspective and share information on topics of interest to MHC youth members. I live in Montgomery County and attend Walter Johnson High School, where I play softball and field hockey. My equestrian trainer is Melinda Cohen, and I ride at her barn, Dream Catcher Farm, in Frederick County. In addition to being the Youth Correspondent for the MHC, I am also serving on the Washington International Horse Show Junior Committee and hope to see lots of Maryland barns represented at Barn Night!

Read 3959 times Last modified on April 9, 2018