A question that troubled his parents when Arnold Roth was growing up has been answered in Roth's mature years by drawings like the ones on these pages. His view of harness horses, as of all things, is distinctively his own. When Trainer Delvin Miller gave Roth a jog-cart ride behind an amiable nag, he was sure that the artist had never before seen such an animal. But Miller was wrong. "I got to know a lot of horses when I was a boy in Philadelphia," Roth says, "and they were harnessed—to milk wagons, bread wagons, ice wagons.... In fact, I learned plenty from being around harness horses. Mostly I learned to watch where I walk. But they do give us excitement on the track and attract many sparrows to their barns." Proceed, dear reader, while watching your step.
In scenes Roth describes as being taken from real life, he portrays a horseshoeing parlor and a walking ring in Florida after a chilly morning workout. Roth defines reed life as a "magnacosm of sport" but also says, comfortingly, that it "cannot be trusted."
Stallions which perform brilliantly on the track are put out to stud, where every prospect pleases and only monogamy is vile.
During winter competition up north the backstretch provides the real test of a horse's fitness and will to survive the rigors of racing.
July 25, 1971
A horse that performs poorly on the track is "sold to the Amish," who use losers to pull surreys or, it is said, for other things.
Grooms are responsible for the well-being and appearance of their charges. No one is responsible for the appearance of the grooms.
All training leads to the paddock, where Roth's hitched horses reluctantly head out for the next race. Those in the foreground have just finished and are thinking about trying another line of work.