The Five-Cross Files is back from a lengthy sabbatical. I promise many fun and informative posts will again steal your attention for a few minutes a couple of times each week -- but I wanted to start out with something considerably more serious.
As you've probably read, 27 horses were killed in a barn fire Labor Day morning at a property adjacent to the Charles Town racetrack in West Virginia. Details are still forthcoming, but it appears that most or all of the horses stabled in the three burned barns were Thoroughbred runners.
As pedigree enthusiasts, we all love to study bloodlines and to espouse our own breeding theories... we examine conformation, we watch race video... we expend sweat and tears on top of hard-earned dollars--all to enjoy the thrill that horses bring to us as they thunder around the track, running faster than they ever would in nature, at man's bidding. We worry about breakdowns and colic and quarter cracks, we safeguard against airborne diseases and parasites--but unforeseen tragedy occasionally will strike, as it did yesterday morning.
Our responsibility as guardians of horses is to ensure their safety to the best of our ability. What happened in West Virginia appears to have been a terrible accident. Once the investigation concludes, let's hope we learn from it lessons that will help us avoid future barn fires.
I would like to point you to an important article that offers some basic tips to avoid barn fires. The Topic No One Wants to Talk About is an older post on one of my favorite equine blogs -- fair warning: this forum is not for the faint of heart! -- and was rerun yesterday following the news from West Virginia. Read it. Ask yourself how well your barn complies. Take action where necessary.
Later this week, we'll get back to pedigrees. For now, you have an important assignment.