Sunday, January 23, 2011

And The Award Goes to....

The last week has just been full of award ceremonies, some you know and some you may not have known about...

I'm starting off with the Golden Globes and the attention for the HBO Movie, Temple Grandin. If you haven't seen it, you so totally should. I mentioned it last February in my post "I'll Take One In Every Color, Please..."; the story of an Autistic woman who becomes an animal scientist. I don't think I'll be spoiling the movie for you because it's not any big secret that she invented a humane system to calm cattle headed to slaughter. The movie about her life & work is simply amazing. It gives you a captivating look into how Dr. Grandin's mind works and how she came to adopt the (not then) retro cowgirl shirt look as her "uniform".

So Monica Bretherton & I were shopping for items to use in her upcoming Winter Sparkle project of taking some very Western-a-fied photos of SAFE horses to expand their portfolios in hopes of attracting some potential adopters who might want to take them in a Western Direction (as in riding discipline, not necessarily the compass point!).

While at Country Square Western Wear we found several "Blingy" shirts that would be perfect for the shoot & I was calling them "Temple Grandin" shirts. One shirt in particular made a huge impression on Monica, so much so that she carried it around for quite awhile. Can you imagine her excitement while watching the Golden Globe Awards and actually seeing Dr. Grandin wearing that exact same shirt?!?!?!?

From the red carpet of the Golden Globes
For the WIN Collumn: Dr. Temple Grandin for just being an advocate for animals, Claire Danes who won Best Actress in a TV Movie for her portrayal of Dr. Grandin and Country Square who donated the use of three shirts, blingy belts and jewelry for the upcoming shoot.

Thank you Country Square, btw, your support of SAFE helping horses in need touches my heart...and if you're looking for BEAUTIFUL western wear, please go see the very nice staff there ...and tell them I sent you!! ( my other friends with major boot addictions...this is boot heaven!!!!)

The following night were the Eclipse Awards broad casted live on TVG...which thankfully we get during football season when Les upgrades to the sports package!! While it didn't have the showmanship of the Golden Globes, overall, I was much more interested in the categories and winners of this lesser known event. It's big in my world but your average person might think it has more to do with the Twilight series than horse racing. And even some of my equestrian friends may not know about it or it's significance. So it's like the Oscars of horse racing and Zenyatta has been the subject of much anticipation and speculation in regards to this years award for Horse of the Year.

There were some who thought Blame should get the big award after his Breeders Cup (very close) victory over the Super-Mare but there was quite a lot of fan campaigning for Zenyatta. If nothing else, she was winning the public opinion poll...whether the voters from the Daily Racing Forum agreed remained to be seen, but I still had the Hollywood Park crowds chanting "Zenyatta, Horse of the Year!!"  in my head. I couldn't be derailed in my total belief that she'd win.

From the paddock at Hollywood Park during Zenyatta's farewell party

Among the honors was a Special Eclipse Award given to Team Zenyatta for their " unfailing generosity of her connections..." and " ... for making Zenyatta so accessible to the public during her encore year in 2010." according to the DRF website. Next Came The "Older Female" Award, which went to Zenyatta and I was hoping that was an indicator that she was also going to win the Horse of the Year award and not some lower crown title (as happens to those kids on Toddlers & Tiara's who don't win the Grand Supreme titles...and yes, I admit it's somewhat of an addicting train wreck that I just can't stop watching!) as a consolation. I kept my fingers crossed...and then Blame won the Older there they were, neck and neck, just like the Breeders Cup Classic...but this time ZENYATTA won!!!!!

As if the award was not wonderful enough, her owner, Jerry Moss gave a beautiful speech in thanks. He mentioned the other horses and how great they were & thanked his own team for their roles. Then he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket: a clipping from the 2011 In The Presence of Champions Calendar put out by Tranquility Farm, a Thoroughbred Retirement, Rehabilitation & Adoption center, written by Priscilla Clark, it's President:

If you love Thoroughbred horses you go through life hoping that you can see just one more in whose presence the clouds fall away to reveal the mountaintop. It can take a generation or infinitely longer for such a horse to arrive, a horse that is capable of carrying the human heart. For the last one hundred years we know them all by name, but Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible, and it was the light of her being as much as the thrill of her races that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative."

 Just before he read that he also mentioned that Tranquility Farm is one of the many great programs for retired race horses & further endorsed " We all have to really contribute and help these people because they do the most important job of retiring Thoroughbred horses once they're finished at the race track."

My heart got so full it spilled from my eyes. Although he wasn't speaking directly to me, he was supporting the very thing I feel to the core of my being....that we owe it to these athletes to take care of them, regardless if they win multi-millions or maybe never make it to the track. The simple fact that they're bred for racing, even the chance of racing, makes it the responsibility of every breeder, trainer, owner, vet, farrier, jockey & groom....anyone who makes their living from racing...and lets throw in the racing fans, the tracks & the folks who are on the entertainment side of this as well...each one of us has a responsibility to those horses.

And one other important mention from the Eclipse Awards: Marylou Whitney when receiving an Eclipse Award of Merit, told the racing community that “We have to try more to improve their lives and advance their dignity,” and “As owners, you should be accountable for horses from the beginning of their lives to the end.” I hear from folks who don't like the racing industry for various reasons but I am not ashamed to say that I LOVE the sport and there are some truly amazing folks in it.

So into the WIN Collumn: Zenyatta, Team Zenyatta, Marylou Whitney, Priscilla Clark & Tranquility Farm and Horses!

And my final award subject actually MY Award!!!

On a much smaller level & venue, Maeve & I attended the award banquet for the Equestrians' Institute this evening in Bellevue.The night belonged to riders and drivers who achieved outstanding results last year and along side them,  I was among the many volunteers that E.I. honored for their service at those events. Some of you might remember my posts: Dressage Days and Home of the Brave...In The Rain!  about my adventures in dressage & being a Ring Steward for E.I.

So tonight I received a beautiful etched glass(with my name spelled right even...impressive!) stating that I was a 2010 Dressage Volunteer Extraordinaire. I am both proud and honored!

The best take away, however, was the inspiration to get back out there and work with my horse...and perhaps to take advantage of some of the 2011 events that the Equestrians' Institute has planned including some events at the new Washington State Horse Park!

And the final add to the WIN Collumn: Me & my fancy new glass, Maeve who was likewise inspired, the Equestrians' Institute, all of the amazing equestrians who get out there and DO SOMETHING with their horses & Coconut who seems to like goals.

Yes, it's been an Awarding Week, in deed!