Once upon a time, the horse ruled the world. We needed horses for all aspects of life. Workhorses ploughed the fields. Mongolian horse archers rode across the steppe to terrorize Europeans nearly a full millennium before modern immigration would threaten the old continent’s sense of self. Horses were used for entertainment, as well, in a variety of forms, from trick riding, to putting peanut butter in a horse’s mouth to make it look like it’s talking. During this time period, which lasted from the dawn of humanity until the invention of the tractor, equestrian competitions would have made since, as a way to hone the skills necessary for a life filled with horses. But those days are long gone, yet horse racing remains. Why? Read the rest of this entry
When I first moved to Australia, one of the first things that struck me was the obsession with betting on sports. Sports betting in the United States is condemned to winos and the 1950’s caricatures that inhabit the horse tracks or weekend trips to Vegas. But here it is a part of every day life, completely normalized.