As the world tries to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation we are currently facing world-wide not only impacts people but also the horses (and other animals) in our care.
Not long ago people rushed to stock up on items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and food. Today, line ups continue to be a common sight outside of retail locations as social distancing measures are put in place. Out of sight and miles away from the urban communities are thousands of livestock owners in rural settings who during this COVID-19 pandemic not only have their personal needs to care for, they need to ensure they have enough feed and other essentials to care for their animals during this time of uncertainty.
For the 36 drivers on the WPCA Pro Tour, those animals consist of over 1,000 thoroughbred race horses. Horses know when May rolls around each year they should be training and racing and following their regular routine.
Every driver has their own story. After 37 years on the road, WPCA driver Obrey Motowylo feels a big change not racing and the horses are feeling it too. "The horses are climbing the pens as much as I'm climbing the walls" he said, "They know it's spring time and they are wondering why they are not going." Every time Obrey leaves the house the horses look over at him as if to say "when can we start training?"
This scenario is not exclusive to Obrey Motowylo. There are 35 other WPCA drivers who go through the same daily routine of feeding and caring for their horses 24/7 - 365 days per year regardless if they are racing or not.
Motowylo who has titanium plates in his head and jaw as a result of a non-racing injuring years ago has a 11 new horses. He has made the decision to continue training some horses during the summer. "The horses are in the corral and they still need regular feed and care" he said, "I know a couple of other guys who are training so maybe we can get together and race each other at a track somewhere if restrictions allow."
Obrey Motowylo recently shared some of his thoughts during the Outside the Wagon podcast. Motowylo talked about his history in wagon racing, the key horses behind is 2009 success and more. Click on the photo below to hear the 45 minute interview.
The affects of COVID-19 and health risks associated with the pandemic caused the Province of Alberta to put restrictions on mass gatherings for the foreseeable future.
The health and safety of the general public, fans, sponsors, staff and volunteers is the number one priority. On April 29, 2020 the World Professional Chuckwagon Association officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 WPCA Pro Tour.
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