Giving Thanks from the Heart

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 2, 2022 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Giving Thanks from the Heart

The time where friends and family gather and share a meal to enjoy each other’s company are typically thought of during this time of year. But, after the day of celebration came another form of giving thanks that didn’t involve a big spread of food, but one where good friends opened their hearts and told me what they really have to be thankful for.

The world of racing spins in a trajectory of 20-minute intervals. That is just about the time in between races. Horsemen bring over their runners, grooms tend to them and prepare for the race as riders come out of the room to receive last minute instructions from the trainer who excitedly awaits the outcome. – That is racing in a nutshell. The barns prepare to do battle for the purse monies on the track, but on the backside return to being some of the best of friends and family.

I reached out to some folks on the local racing scene in Ohio and Kentucky. Many were opening their hearts with all things good while others were a little hesitant about letting anyone know their secrets. – As with the many blogs over the years, I will leave out the names and just let you know what they are truly grateful about. Real people, real gratitude.


Ed, I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. – I was taken over by drugs and alcohol so many times it took away my ability to be a jockey. I lost my family, and the respect of others in racing that has lasted generations in my family. Hard to believe I’d give in to these demons, but I did, and I fell hard. – I started going to meetings at another track far away and slowly I was able to work horses out again. Felt great just being in the saddle. – My daughter would come out and watch her old man slowly shed the desire to be high and be out of control to finding my way back slowly to becoming fit. – We started going to breakfast every Saturday, and now we are building back what horrible decisions took away. This makes me the happiest. – Finally, after working out some nice horses, I decided it was time to try my hand at riding again. – Hard to believe what a long hard road it was, but it was definitely worth it. – When the jockey crossed the finish line with a perfect ride, his attitude of gratitude was in full force. I asked him for a pair of goggles. This is a long-standing tradition of celebrating with a signed pair and the date marked. – He asked me why I wanted them. He’s ridden thousands of winners in his past, why do I want these? – After he looked into my eyes with tears streaming down, he said this was his best and he’d send them up to me shortly.” 


She was the darling of the morning jogging horses and laughing with fellow pony people. – A pony person is one who climbs aboard in the morning and works the horse per the instructions of the trainers. – She had a nasty demon that has haunted her every day and eventually led to some trouble with the law. Prison was her next stop as she was involved in more than a few DUI’s that only got worse over time. – After a period of time she was still fighting her demon but found the love of her life. – Still fighting, but her attitude is changing. – She wants more than anything to climb back into the saddle and that is a goal that only time can cure. But her life is slowly changing, and for that she is grateful at another chance at finding happiness and change. Good luck, gal. We’re all rooting for you.

Usually, stories from the backside entail families gathering for the feast and sharing good company. But these stories are about regular people who have fallen. – Life has picked them up once again, and what they make of this opportunity is all in their hands. I surely wish them the best of luck and may the “attitude of gratitude” surround them and keep them on the right path.


There are many backside charitable organizations that help and support the many who make this way of life. Many are in need and could use a hand off the floor. But this takes money. – If you have it in your heart during the season of giving, please reach out to your local racetrack and chaplaincy program who can better direct you in getting your helping hand to theirs. – Everyone can use a second chance and the gratitude may make a difference in the lives of folks who just need a helping hand.