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Kathy Wade's Blog


How Do You Define Success?

Published: February 8, 2017 9:20 am ET

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The O’Brien bronzes are now handed out for another year! By now, many of the recipients of the iconic bust of Joe O’Brien will have found a new, comfortable place to proudly display their awards.

On Saturday, January 28, at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala, we celebrated the great Canadian harness racing success stories from 2016. Finalists in 17 different categories were recognized and celebrated and O’Brien Awards were presented to 18 national champions.

The majority of us in this industry will never have a horse that is a finalist for national honours. However, most of us will have a horse or horses that give us moments and experiences to enjoy and celebrate. So when you have some success, whatever that looks like to you, you need to enjoy it in the moment, because like anything in life, you never know what’s coming next!

My personal bar for success isn’t very high right now. About two weeks ago, I wanted a flat line for my “bumpy” banana-loving trotter. Another friend of mine wanted his horse, who we will call Mr. D. to school. Another just wanted a cheque. Not a very demanding group, are we?

Success in racing, as in anything in life, is relative and personal. It’s relative to where you are at, at that moment in your journey as a horse owner, trainer, driver, breeder, or groom, and what success is to one person may be totally different for another.

For some, getting a horse to the races after a long layoff or injury equals success. Picking up a cheque for a fifth place finish after weeks of being out of the money can equal success. Trotting a mile without making a break can equal success. For others, the bar is a bit higher.

Whatever success looks like to you, make sure you enjoy it and celebrate it!

We should celebrate when our foals are born healthy, when our horses successfully school or qualify, when our horses race well, when they get cheques, and especially when they win a race, no matter the track, purse or time. And celebrate when they win awards!

These are all accomplishments and milestones in an industry where so many things are uncontrollable. Why not celebrate and enjoy these “successes” when we can, and share them with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, especially during this 250th anniversary of horse racing?

If you don’t it’s a missed opportunity.

Congratulations to all of the O’Brien Award Finalists and to every horse owner, breeder, trainer, driver and groom who had some type of success and reason to celebrate in 2016! And the very best of racing luck to you in 2017!

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