Miriam’s Musings

His name was Morgan and he was only a baby…

The so-called ‘Sport of Kings’ is one of our country’s most popular and oldest spectator sports. It could be said that attending a horseracing event or placing a bet on the ‘gee-gees’ is an integral part of our culture; personally I’ve never done either. However, given disgraced trainer Gordon Elliot’s abhorrent and disrespectful behaviour concerning the body of a deceased horse, racing has now become one of our most talked about industries.

While enthusiasts and supporters are whimpering and whining that the controversy surrounding the sickening image of Elliot sitting astride a deceased horse has damaged the industry’s reputation, I for one believe it has placed a spotlight on it, and that can only be good.

Before we go on, this poor deceased creature had a name – he was called Morgan. Morgan was seven years old, a baby, and he allegedly passed away due to ‘an aneurysm on Elliot’s gallops in 2019’.

As an animal welfare advocate (and former officer working in Dublin and surrounding counties), I’ve lost count of the number of times that colleagues and I attended horrific scenes, where former racehorses that could no longer make money were abused, abandoned and left to starve to death in a field. To this day, I still suffer from acute psychological trauma directly related to the calibre of animal/horse abuse I’ve witnessed. In fact, such is my passion for animals and my zero tolerance for those who treat them cruelly, I refused to attend for an emergency hysterectomy because the date clashed with a court case where I was providing ‘expert witness’ testimony regarding fifteen cases of equine cruelty involving a racehorse owner.

Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting Mr. Elliot is inhumane or abusive to the horses in his care. Neither am I suggesting that all those involved in the horse racing industry are cruel – I’m simply relaying my own personal experiences to you in the context of this scandalous incident.

Mind you, I have absolutely no sympathy or compassion for Gordon Elliot. Indeed, I don’t even feel a smidgen of empathy with him; what he did was unpardonable. However, I have to thank him for raising awareness of the plight of many racehorses and racing greyhounds in this country.  This one mindless act alone, committed by a high profile trainer (who I’d assume is possibly an otherwise highly intelligent and decent individual) has strangely done more to raise awareness of the need to improve equine welfare than any carefully crafted publicity campaign.

I’m someone who stops my car to move a deceased animal off the road in an effort to try to provide its remains with dignity and respect. Therefore, I cannot imagine what was going through Mr. Elliot’s head when he decided that sitting astride a beautiful, sentient being’s dead body – essentially stripping the poor creature of his dignity – would make for a great photo-op moment. Neither do I care that due to the fall-out, Mr. Elliot’s world has ‘imploded’, his reputation has been damaged, and his livelihood has been negatively impacted. He made his choice, chose poorly, and is rightly paying for his actions.

That being said, if I were Mr. Elliot’s PR person, I’d be advising my client to use his appalling behaviour to turn things around and become the poster boy for equine welfare. In addition, if I were the animal welfare inspector investigating this incident, my conclusion would be that the poor horse was sadly deceased, so technically Elliot’s act was not one of cruelty per se, but rather one of acute callousness and disrespect for the broken body of a beautiful creature. For that, he deserves his comeuppance! I could go one further and say he should’ve been made to donate a substantial sum to a rescue charity that rehabilitates and rehomes abused horses, but hey, that was never going to happen.

Nothing will bring Morgan and all of the other deceased horses back, however instead of sullying their memories, Elliot can instead take his punishment, move on, and earn the forgiveness of animal welfare advocates by becoming a future ambassador for the humane, ethical and compassionate treatment of these majestic creatures.


Reliable Rossies to the rescue!

In Belgium, it’s known locally as ‘the British gourmet store’, specialising in providing typical ‘English’ fare to the UK’s ex-pats.  However, due to delivery problems relating to Brexit, ‘The British supermarket’s’ shelves have lain bare since January, causing it to face an uncertain future.

But not anymore, because, as the old slogan goes, ‘England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’ and in this case, Roscommon’s opportunity – one which we’ve apparently grabbed with both hands to supply thick-cut rashers of bacon to those hungry Brits abroad!

Yes folks, when the chips (and the bacon) were down, and our friends in the EU found themselves faced with two choices – shut up shop or look elsewhere to source a trusted supplier – the reliable Rossies stepped in, delivered on schedule and stocked those shelves!

It may seem like a strange thing for a vegan to say, but er, well done to all. Who’d have thought that Brexit would prove to be an unexpected boon to our lovely county!


Give mammy the gift of time this Mother’s Day

It has been the longest year of our lives: we’re fed up staying home, fed up sanitising our hands, fed up scrubbing delivery packages, wiping down grocery/cereal boxes and spritzing every surface in the house. We’re tired of working from a cubbyhole, wearing nothing but our ‘lounge wear’. Those of us who have young babies/toddlers are sick of hopping into the shower to wipe off baby-puke, glitter, jam and chocolate stains, only to have our few seconds of peace, soon interrupted by panicked screaming, eye-poking and hair pulling… and that’s just the hubby!

We’re tired of being the home-schooler, the dog-walker, the poo-picker-upper, the list-maker, the nose wiper, the doctor/dentist appointment scheduler, the food shopper, the meal planner and the cook!

In short, we’ve had enough of being the primary point of contact, the ‘glue’ that holds our families together. We’re also weary of being the ones who have to ‘power through’, even as we’re being pushed to our very limits by this pandemic!

Yes kids, you’ve got it – there’s a lot of pressure on your beautiful mammy right now. Therefore, if you haven’t yet bought the angel who gave you life a decent pressie, then please consider giving her the gift of time this Mother’s Day. Allow her to take a breather to have half an hour in the shower; let her sit and paint her toenails, shave her legs, shape her brows and blowdry her hair, because God knows this saint of a woman so richly deserves it! Besides, she’ll love you all the more for it. Happy Mother’s Day ladies!


Dear Oprah…my in-laws are driving me nuts

How long before Meghan and Harry just go away? We all have in-laws (or at least one) who drive us nuts. Indeed, according to psychologist Terri Apter, ‘three out of four couples experience significant conflict with their in-laws’. However, three out of four of us don’t have a saccharine-sweet, filthy rich auntie Oprah to whinge to in a ‘tell-all’ expose… now do we?