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Friday, January 08, 2016

Season 9, Ep 1 "Barn Fire!" #171 01-10-2016


An overnight/early morning barn fire January 4/5th in Puslinch has killed over 40 horses.
In Sunday’s episode of hoofbeats we will mourn, pay respects, and discuss offering assistance and donations.

Our guest is Bill O’Donnell, President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association — a harness racing organization representing horse people who race at Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Racetrack.  It is not every day we get a chance to meet a member of the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame!

He will describe what it was like to see the devastation, after arriving at the familiar stable where he owns a horse, to see the fire in full force. Was there a smell? I can't imagine what it sounded like.  We'll also discuss some of the individuals that have been lost. Have you already heard the name "Apprentice Hanover?"

Is it true there was no sprinkler system or fire detectors?  Would that have made any difference?  We'll talk about the investigation results as well... I know that hoofbeats listeners would like to know how it happened and how we may avoid such horror in the future. We need to learn from tragedy to better protect our partners--in every way possible... some things I am thinking about are: do you  have any household/office equipment/extension cords in the barn? What can you tell us about hay and bedding, fuel and vehicle storage at your facility?  Could frozen water sources impact a rescue effort at your place?

We will ask him about the debate about if there was insurance or not - as if having insurance makes it OK… And he’ll tell us about the fundraising efforts, and what the money will be used for. Is the fundraising is because mostly the horses were uninsured, and in this business "your bank account is basically standing in the barn" and now their source of future employment/income is also gone?

The "multimillion-dollar" blaze has been called "the highest dollar loss that we've experienced in our township."  We'll also need to discuss the impacts to the human survivors of the tragedy. I think, overall, this show will reveal some realities of being in the standardbred business, as so few know what it is really like to be an owner or a trainer or even a groom in this horse world today.  "The Classy Lane fire was just the latest in a series of major setbacks for the Ontario horse racing industry, starting with the Ontario government’s decision in 2012 to scrap the slots/revenue sharing program. Horse racing is suffering big-time right now and the people involved are wondering how many more blows the game can take."

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One reason I think hoofbeats is a good RADIO program, is because of the copyright issues for podcasts, and the show's history with a strong musical component.  Almost every season on this show, we have a different musical theme. First it was horse songs, then it was totally spoken word, then it was jazz, then it included a "Pure Guelphishness" playlist, etc. etc. This season, the musical programming is going to be driven by what I am listening to in the car, driving back and forth to and from the barn each week. Today's track comes, not from The Horse They Rode In On, but from the only Soul Asylum album I currently own.  Do you think Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum wants to tell us about his thoughts about horses?

5) Never Really Been, live in Austin, 1992
6) Runaway Train, live in Ventura 1993
1) Somebody to Shove, live in New York, 1993 (acoustic)

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