A Beautiful Story About a Man And a Horse

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A story in Trot magazine demonstrates why horses and people are good for one another

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It's been a few months now since I've written about horses. The poor wild horses of Wyoming, a subject which I spent so much time on this summer, were rounded up. You can read about all that here, here, here and here. The Obama Administration's Bureau of Land Management, led by a rancher, continues to do the bidding of the livestock industry. And a recent online poll says that more Americans spend their time playing chess than watching horse racing.

Winston Churchill once said that there was "something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Word. In this season of reckoning for horses everywhere, I offer a story, a beautiful story, about a brave man and a good horse. Written by Dean Hoffman, one of the premier journalists and historians within the world of harness racing, it is a story that transcends the Sport of Kings.

He's been in a nursing home for five years now, since illness made it impossible for him to remain at home with his parents. His mother died a few years ago at age 88. Ralph's father, now 93, continues to live at the family home and cares for another son with developmental disabilities. All too often in our telephone conversations in recent years, Ralph has said: "If I have to stay in a place like this for the rest of my life, I hope it's not a long life." But then there came a horse.

Here is the link to the piece, which recently appeared in Trot magazine, a Standardbred Canada publication. I defy you to read it and come away with anything other than the warm feeling (which really is a universal truth) that horses are good for people and people are good for horses. Trust me on this. This story deserves more play than it has so far received. And I hope that everyone at the Interior Department, and in Wyoming, reads it.

Image Credit: Dean Hoffman

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Andrew Cohen is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, 60 Minutes' first-ever legal analyst, and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. He is also chief analyst for CBS Radio News and has won a Murrow Award as one of the nation's leading legal journalists. More

Cohen is the winner of the American Bar Association’s 2012 Silver Gavel Award for his Atlantic commentary about the death penalty in America and the winner of the Humane Society’s 2012 Genesis Award for his coverage of the plight of America’s wild horses. A racehorse owner and breeder, Cohen also is a two-time winner of both the John Hervey and O’Brien Awards for distinguished commentary about horse racing.

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