Like great cham­pi­ons be­fore him, Amer­i­can Pharoah of­fers in­spi­ra­tion for us to do bet­ter with our own lives.

EQUUS - - NEWS - By Glo­ria Schramm

A role model

The ac­com­plish­ments of Amer­i­can Pharoah---win­ner of the Triple Crown in 2015 ---are well known. He’s a mon­ey­maker, a stud horse, a cover boy, a char­ity fundraiser and the gen­er­a­tor of a tremen­dous amount of pub­lic­ity and good­will for rac­ing.

I was ex­cited to meet this mod­ern rac­ing icon when we planned a road trip to Ken­tucky this past May to co­in­cide with a tour of Cool­more Amer­ica’s Ash­ford Stud in Ver­sailles. I first en­coun­tered Amer­i­can Pharoah when I got sep­a­rated from the tour group and walked into his barn. He was fac­ing the back of his stall munch­ing on hay when I spot­ted him. I ut­tered a click­ing sound, and he backed up and made a wide turn to come and face me at the screen. He looked into my eyes and held my gaze. As starstruck as a 16-year-old groupie, I could only say, “Hello! Hello!” in my soft­est voice. The fact that this su­per­star stopped eat­ing hay and came to stand qui­etly with me, a stranger, is some­thing I will never for­get.

Later, when Amer­i­can Pharoah was brought out so we could be for­mally in­tro­duced on the tour, I had the op­por­tu­nity to stroke his nose. We’ve all heard of Thor­ough­bred stal­lions who were high-strung, in­tractable, even vi­cious. Not this guy. He was alert---he seemed to no­tice ev­ery­thing---but he was ut­terly calm. He co­op­er­ated with his han­dlers, and he greeted each tourist with in­ter­est and po­lite re­spect.

I had heard it said that Amer­i­can Pharoah brings peo­ple to­gether in a spirit of joy, peace and love, and now I un­der­stand why. It’s just the at­ti­tude he seems to elicit from oth­ers. In a world of con­stant bom­bard­ment with bad news and hor­rific im­ages, this horse is an oa­sis. His body lan­guage and at­ti­tude con­vey his gen­tle de­meanor and kind­ness and re­spect for oth­ers. I wish more peo­ple could do that.

In fact, I think we hu­mans could learn a lot from Amer­i­can Pharoah:

• Live in the mo­ment. Stay fo­cused on where you are and what you are do­ing.

• Stay calm. When you are ex­plod­ing with ner­vous en­ergy, oth­ers will pull away from you. But if you project calm­ness, oth­ers will come closer.

• Give love. Peo­ple will be more likely to love you back.

• Be hum­ble. No mat­ter how ac­com­plished you are, other peo­ple still de­serve ba­sic cour­tesy and re­spect.

• Al­ways try your best. As gen­tle­manly as he is, Amer­i­can Pharoah is still one of the top race­horses of our time--an ac­com­plish­ment that took ded­i­ca­tion, train­ing and heart.

My visit in­spired me to make one last­ing change in my life. Amer­i­can Pharoah and other horses at Ash­ford live in lux­ury. But I left that day think­ing of all of the re­tired race­horses who are some­times aban­doned, ne­glected and for­got­ten.

Now I make reg­u­lar vis­its to lo­cal Thor­ough­bred re­tire­ment farms--- Old Friends Equine at Cabin Creek near Saratoga Springs, New York, and Bait­ing Hol­low Farm Horse Res­cue and Vine­yard in Calver­ton, New York---armed with good­ies like car­rots, mints and ap­ples. There are no Triple Crown win­ners here, and no ad­mir­ing throngs, but there are many sweet horses who need our help and sup­port. Old Friends also has two lo­ca­tions in Ken­tucky, and there are other res­cue or­ga­ni­za­tions across the coun­try who need do­na­tions and vol­un­teers.

We ad­mire the hu­man he­roes in our world---and we can be grate­ful for the in­spi­ra­tion they of­fer us to do bet­ter with our own lives. Why not cel­e­brate equine su­per­stars for their best qual­i­ties? If we could all be half as res­o­lute, kind and cour­te­ous as Amer­i­can Pharoah is, we’d all be ex­em­plary hu­man be­ings.

FIRST CLASS: On a visit to Ken­tucky, Glo­ria Schramm pets 2015 Triple Crown win­ner Amer­i­can Pharoah.

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