Saturday, 9 January 2010


There will always be people in your life who you will like from the moment you meet them

I have been involved with harness racing for far too many years but had the luck to be involved with some very knowledgeable horsemen. Horsemen who taught me to watch and listen---taught me to actually see what a horse was doing and to know why they were doing it.

I met Colin a good few years back----his personality was infectious---his horses not very talented----but he had a love for his horses and for what he was doing.
He was always willing to listen when someone gave him some advice and was always willing to try something new.
You just couldn't help but like the guy and be infected by his love of life and his lifestyle.

He laughed at me when he got up and beat my horse in a photo finish after trying something that I had suggested----I was pleased for him and he understood that I was just as pleased that my advice had worked as I would have been if my horse had beaten him.

My horses beat him home in a lot of races and he was gracious about it, but always reminded me of his conquest.

Colin had to stop driving horses after suffering a heart attack at a very young age.
His interest in harness racing never wained and he put his heart and soul into pony racing, with his young son driving the family's team of ponies.

The years passed and Colin's son outgrew the ponies so Colin established a team of horses the lad to drive.
His health had improved and he was passed to race drive himself.
He did very little driving, preferring to give his son as much experience as he could get.

Just before Xmas I watched one of his horses race----the horse was a pacer and intrigued me the way that he went---he was not rough in his stride but unusual----
I couldn't stop thinking about the horse and drove out to Colin's property early one morning to watch the horse work----the more I watched, the more I saw it and I had to tell him.
"Mate, that horse is trying to trot in his hopples----take them off and I'll bet he doesn't pace"-----he took the hopples off and the big horse trotted but needed balancing in his feet and shoeing.
Two weeks later, after a few visits and Colin's son following my shoeing instructions, the big former pacer was really starting to look like a racing proposition as a trotter.

Colin took the horse to the racing trials and in a field of 10, the big bloke behaved himself and finished 4th
It may have been a bit soon, but Colin couldn't wait to race him and nominated him for a race last Friday week.

I had to go to watch it happen----Colin's son had to work so Col was driving the horse himself.
He was like a kid with a new toy----he was excited about the horses prospects in the race.
I helped him harness up and sent him out----you could see the life in the man---he was proud of his horse and had a pride in himself to be back race driving-----it was his life, his enjoyment.

It might have been a fairytale
We will never know
There he was---the big horse and Colin running fourth with a lap to go----the horse was going well---maybe it could have been----but the horse slowed dramatically, Colin slumped forward in the cart and tumbled to the track.
The track attendants raced to his side----the paramedics were there in seconds----the race went on, the big horse was lose on the track.

Colin died that night----a massive heart attack.

No matter how sad, I can't hep but think that it was a great way for him to go---doing what he loved and with a chance to win that race.

He will be missed by a lot of people


Jimmy Bastard said...

Let's look through the grief for a moment. Is it better to depart doing something you have a passion for, something that makes our blood race and our souls sing?

Or is it better to go whilst driving to work, taking out the dustbins, or paying income tax to the greedy bastards at the government?

Simple really pal, huh?

Think of all the good memories you shared, forget the shite ones Clyde...

phishez said...

Colin is kind of lucky in an unfortunate way. Lets hope he's at peace now.

Clyde said...


It was almost like his fairy tale came true
Very sad but he went while enjoying his passion
Plenty of great memories

Clyde said...


If there is such a thing as another life, I have no doubt that Colin is chewing someones ear off about how he was about to win this big race
He was one of those rare people who seemed to enjoy everything in life.
Oh, he wont be at peace---he will want to know what would have happened if he lasted another lap

savannah said...

i am sorry for your loss, sugar.

to me, your man finished that race, he knew it was his and that nothing would ever surpass that win! that would be jockey heaven, anything else would be hell. you have my heart.

St Jude said...

I am sorry that you have lost a dear friend, but what a way to go... full throttle, passion and with a light in his eye. We none of us know when our time will be, but if he could have chosen, then maybe that would have been it.

mapstew said...

My condolences pal.
Colin went out on a high!

I'll raise a glass to you both tonight.

Dutch donut girl said...

What a way to go, yet still very sad. But as long as you cherish the memories, he will never be forgotten.

Clyde said...


Colin is a loss to the world---just one of those guys who make life a pleasure.
Oh, I think he had the race finished in his mind and was smiling

Clyde said...

St Jude

I think it would have been close to his choice---maybe actually winning the race would have been the complete finale

Clyde said...


You dont need an excuse to raise a glass.
That was Colins only fault in my eye----he didn't drink----but he was drunk on life

Clyde said...


Yep, I keep thinking that he did it his way

Sister Christian said...

Aw, that's terrible. But like you said, he died doing something he loved. I think very few of us get to do that.
I think very few of us get to even have a friend as infectiously drunk on life as Colin.

Ponita in Real Life said...

Definitely the right way to exit... so sad that you lost such a great friend... but even the horse was trying to look after him by slowing.

The memories will always live in your heart... he'll be remembered with huge smiles and wonderful tales to tell. ((hugs))

Clyde said...

Sister Deb

No, that's not terrible----he was out there enjoying himself---, the horse was going well, ---he had a chance
Sad, but he was doing what he wanted
Great description----he was always drunk on life

Clyde said...


The night after he died, every driver wore black armbands in their races----everone respected, if not loved him and his outlook.
Oh, I'll alway remember him and his outlook

Macy said...

Ah Clyde, see the way I'm looking at it is, it wasn't that he didn't finish that race, so much as he went on out there ahead of all you - way on to the other side.
Good way to go out indeedy.

Clyde said...


He is gonna be very pissed off if there is no Trots there.
Hmm, and I'm still not sure on this other side concept

-eve- said...

Like you say, it might've been a fairy tale - and in some ways, it was...

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Clyde: Stop making me cry.

How sad...keep the memory of him in your heart clyde.

Bye honey. XXX

mapstew said...

Hey pal it's like this!
Either you're buying me a pint here, or you're buying me a pint there?
I have three kids to put through college, so are ye comin' over or wha?
I'll make sure that Glesga bollix will be here!


Clyde said...


I guess there is the two ways to look at it.
Would have been that little better if he could have finished the race

Clyde said...

Miss Jones

It hasn't been a good start to the year.
Hey, there are plenty of good memories about this guy----too many to ever forget

Clyde said...


I thought a Scotsman might make that suggestion and being of scottish blood, I should ignore you but mate, it would be my pleasure

fingers said...

Well, well, well !!!
Firstly let me say I'm sorry for your loss, mate. I know all you cheats-on-seats are a close-knit community.
As you say, Colin went out doing what he loved doing best.
Let's just hope you don't go out doing what you love best; it might be very embarrassing for the family.
BTW, it was that overweight Lab and the trademark -----'s that gave you away.

Indigo said...

Death is amongst every one. He died doing what he loved, keep that picture alive. If when my time is up I wanna go whilst riding extremely dangerously on my Yamaha FJR 1300 oh whilst being chased by a blue light.. now they gotta make a movie about that one!

Clyde said...


A surprise visit
I wouldn't say that all people in the trotting community are close---this bloke was one of the good guys----\
I like the "cheats on seats"---I've had a few of them drive for me.
Hey, I have no family to embarrass
---'s ? ----pint ?-----
But if I owe you one, I'll be pleased to pay

Clyde said...


It would be nice to think that we could all go, doing what we like---
I'd just like to know when

Venom said...

I like this thought as well - and when I've died and my body left behind, scatter my ashes to the winds over my pastures that I might be forever with my horses.