...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



Varenne: the hypocrisy of a world about which still too little is known


The news of the imminent move of Varenne, the horse that has won more harness racings than any other, is referred by the mainstream media as a story of happiness and beauty as if they were talking about someone who decided to change their life. Instead, we are talking about a horse, which has become the most obvious symbol of the hypocrisy of a world that exploits animals and tells fairy tales to the general public.

To find out the truth (far from happy) about Varenne, we are referring to a comment which was posted a few days ago by Sonny Richichi, the President of IHP.

<<An article that was published yesterday on La Nazione speaks of the judicial dispute related to the ownership of Varenne, the trotter horse that became “famous” for having won more than any other. The article focuses in particular on the mobilisation of the numerous equestrian fans who want to prevent the risk of the horse being moved from the province of Turin to the province of Pavia, should the Court make this decision. On one hand, we have the Varenne Futurity association managed by Enzo Giordano, who has kept the horse in his breeding farm in Vigone for 17 years, and on the other hand the Varenne Forever association, managed by Valter Ferrero, the President of ANACT (National Association of Trotter Horse Breeders).

In the article there is an outpouring of feelings and emotions; it tells the story of a horse that is happily living his old-age and if he was moved from one place to the other, he would suffer the loss of his loved ones, in particular his so called “nanny”, Annamaria Crespo, the groom who takes care of him.
This is hypocrisy at its maximum expression.

Now we want to tell you the true story of Varenne (it is worth recalling that theoretically this horse has precise ethological characteristics). This is possible thanks to the interview, that was published two years ago in the Libero newspaper, with Jacopo Brischetto, the owner of the breeding farm Il Grifone where Varenne lives, and Giampaolo Minnucci, the man who drove him to the hippodromes all over the world.

Well, until 2002 Varenne was treated like a racing motorbike rather than a horse. He spent years of his life between training sessions, races and trips around the world, during which the closest contact with other horses took place only on the race track... to the benefit of its owners with winnings of over 6 million Euro.
One might think: well, at least now he’s living a good life since he’s no longer taking part in competitions or travelling around the world, now he’s finally living like a horse should live.

But no: do you really think that a person who paid over two million Euro to have Varenne in his breeding farm would allow him to live in peace in green meadows? Varenne still has to make money and he’s making more money now than when he was racing in the hippodromes: now he’s a stallion, which in technical jargon doesn’t mean that he’s living in herds with female horses, as nature intended it to be. It actually means that Varenne is “producing” semen, which is then sold for its weight in gold. According the interview, the owner of the breeding farm says that every foal born of the semen of Varenne is worth 12,000 Euro, and until two years ago apparently 2,100 foals were born: now, if we make a quick calculation, we can assume that so far Varenne’s sperm has collected over 25 million Euro.

So one might think (subtle sexist view): well, at least he’s enjoying himself with all these matings! Not at all. Here follows a description of what the job of stallion is about, we will tell you the story using the words of Brischetto: “Varenne is led close to female horses so he gets excited. Can you see down there that leather and steel tool that recalls the vaulting bucks used by gymnasts? Well, the horse mounts it from the back and then we apply this tube, which is an artificial vagina. After a few minutes we have the sperm in it: a small bottle is enough to impregnate five or maybe six female horses" (ref. Libero interview). This takes place three times a week from February until July.
The phials with the semen are then shipped all over the world in special refrigerated packages to inoculate female horses who are made pregnant artificially.

In the meantime, Varenne is taken care of by the groom who prepares his breakfast, lunch and dinner (yet, we are talking here about a horse which by nature should eat grass or hay over 24 hours), and between one meal and the other leads him on the rope for some tens of minutes. Varenne spends the rest of the day in an enclosure of 50 x 50 meters. Alone. During the night he stays in a paddock. Since the owners are worried he could be stolen, besides the various security systems, a big tractor is parked in front of the entrance and a guardian sleeps in the room adjacent to the paddock.

This is the life of a horse who has never really been a horse.
Varenne is the symbol of a world that is lost within itself, where horses are humanized: they like training and racing (tell me another), they like to win (give me a break!), they like travelling all the time in box stalls, trucks and aircrafts (guys, let’s get serious) and above all they like to stay alone and to spend their life exclusively in the company of human beings, and never, ever with other horses.
At the end of this unnatural life, the vast majority of losers suddenly disappear from the scene. The few lucky ones that have been winners as is the case of Varenne, start a second life, which is different, but still unnatural. No matter how gilded it is, it’s still only a cage.>>