Here's the winning video, by Laurie Tuozzolo for CANTER New England.
In this little lull before the third leg of racing's Triple Crown, I'd like to keep focusing on the great work being done by some of the people who may not be in the headlines with Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird as they train (or not, as we wait to hear) for the upcoming Belmont Stakes two weeks from now.
The Thoroughbred retirement/rehoming organization known as CANTER New England has won the Alex Brown Racing / You Tube video contest, which showcased more than two dozen short homemade videos on the very personal side of why horses should be spared from slaughter.
In true "social media" form, the contest was judged not by experts, but by the public. I was amazed at the videos that people put together.
Leading anti-slaughter advocate / exercise rider / journalist Alex Brown came up with the idea of using YouTube to encourage horse rescue organizations to express themselves through video and post their creations for the world to see. Amateur filmmakers and video editors had 60 days to post their creations on YouTube.com. Alex's popular website, Facebook page and articles encouraged the public to view the videos and vote by commenting on the videos they liked. A prize of $1000 went to the winning organization.
The rules were very specific--no gory graphics of horse slaughter could be used to shock viewers, and the length had to be under four minutes. Entrants first had to read an essay on why horse slaughter should be banned, written by Alex Brown, and base their productions as an extension or expression of that document. Brown offers that document as a resource document to anyone writing about horse slaughter.
Even though the contest has ended, the videos have garnered close to 31,000 page views to date and 1,800 comments. So far!
CANTER/New England helps re-home needy racehorses from Boston's Suffolk Downs and other racetracks. Laurie Tuozzolo of Johnston, Rhode Island made the video for CANTER about the ex-racehorse she adopted; Laurie is a big supporter of CANTER New England.
I'd call this project a success, all around. I am very familiar with CANTER New England's work and I know that the prize money will be put to good use. I hope there will be more contests like this so we can see how horsepeople express themselves through video, especially when there's a good cause at stake.
Kudos to CANTER and to Alex Brown Racing for a great idea!