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Running Down a Dream
Bob Carson takes new owners from sales ring to turnout
written by Bob Carson

Chapter 25 – Postscript

Horsemen and Horsewomen,
It’s March.  We have reached the end of our year-long experiment.  Mariko Hanover and Fantail Hanover are back in training.  What effect, if any, did the exercise have in “selling” our sport to outsiders?

On the plus side, all of our new travelers seemed to enjoy the internet powered trip through a season of yearling ownership. They will follow Mariko Hanover and Fantail Hanover as they race through their 3-year-old seasons. One of the couples is contemplating continuing in the harness game.  Another expressed interest in the breeding side.  The other visitors will leave the experiment with an increased understanding of our sport, but have no plans to join our strange little world.  When Jim and I plucked our new yearling out of the Harrisburg sale in November, none of the new visitors pulled out their checkbooks.

It is very possible that none of these visitors will stay.  That’s fine.  Obviously, harness racing, be it ownership, breeding or gambling is not for everyone.  Perhaps these internet postings will find their way to some new fans.  Perhaps you will refer potential owners to an archived version. 

All we can do is plant seeds; try to show what harness racing has to offer.  We can plant honestly and hope some seeds take root.  If ten people trickle into the grandstands or the backstretch as a result of projects like this – that’s ten more than we will grow by sitting still.

It was enjoyable to put the e-mails into a 25 part series.  Explaining our game to new people is a challenge.  Aspects like staking and qualifying, parts of the sport that seem routine to veterans of harness racing, are difficult to grasp quickly.  Having an entire year to answer questions made is easier.  Computers made the project possible.

Also, the fiscal realities are something new people need to know.  While in the long run, it is possible to make money racing harness horses, owners can never count on it.  Still, how many other sports offer even the possibility to make some money.

Hopefully, new readers and new visitors understand the effort needed to get these wonderful horses behind the starting gate.

Hope you enjoyed the trip.

Thinking about jumping into horse ownership?

E-mail owners@ustrotting.com and we will get you more information to get started in the racing game. Click here to share this story with a friend.

Editor's Note: The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

Bob Carson
Hoof Beats Magazine About the Author
Bob Carson's award-winning freelance writing has appeared in more than two dozen national publications. He is a steady contributor to Trot Magazine, The United States Trotting Association and Timeline Magazine. After more than 200 magazine articles and stories, his first novel, The Voyage of Mess (humor) was released in 2009. In 2005 he produced the documentary film, Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). In 2006 he received the Hervey Award for Journalistic Excellence and Best of Ohio Fiction awards. He has published Minor Trips (Minor League Baseball) since 1991. Bob Carson has owned harness horses for more than a decade, including a stint as a weekend trainer. He lives in Strongsville, Ohio, with his wife, Sue, and daughter, Katie.
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