Day At The Track

On The Rail with Sydney Weaver

04:04 AM 28 Mar 2016 NZDT
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Sydney Weaver, harness racing Sydney Seelster ultrasound, harness racing Sydney Weaver, harness racing
Sydney Weaver listening to Pinky's foals heartbeat.
Lisa Weaver photo
Sydney "Pinky" Seelster's first ultrasound showing her safe in foal
Sydney with her pink foal blanket given to her from Michelle Crawford
Lisa Weaver photo


When I got Sydney “Pinky” Seelster  in 2012 my life changed forever. Now, because of her my life will change yet again. Pinky is going to have her first foal.

This new adventure was made possible by the kindness and generosity of Joe Bellino. At home, instead of referring to the foal as ‘it’ we have been referring to the soon to be foal as ‘Baby Joe’. No matter what registered name we decide to give the foal, Baby Joe will still be the name we use in the barn.

I know Pinky will be a first class mom to her baby; after all, she does take good care of me. I know she will protect her baby as she has always protects me. She will protect her baby like she protected me in the paddock

I know she will teach her baby to love carrots as much as she does. Whether she shares her carrots or not, has yet to be determined. I know she will teach the baby how to look after me as she does. Above all, I know she will teach Baby Joe to be a great race horse.

Being able to watch the foal grow up and eventually race one day, will be an extraordinary experience. I look forward to teaching Baby Joe all of the important lessons and skills that go into being a champion. I cannot wait to look into the eyes of Baby Joe, eyes full of wonder, curiosity and an eagerness to learn.

I remember faintly hearing the heartbeat of the foal for the first time, it was magical. I became filled with wonder and joy. One day, I even brought my stethoscope with me to the barn.  By using that I was able to hear Baby Joe’s heart much more clearly. The steady thump of that heartbeat, made my heart beat even faster.

Every time I go and see Pinky I get excited seeing how her belly is growing and changing. It was so interesting to see her nipples exposed for the first time. That was when I really knew the time was getting closer.

I do not care whether or not the foal is a filly or a colt. I just want the baby to be healthy but, one thing is guaranteed, filly or a colt, Baby Joe will be decked out in pink.

With any foal their name is an integral piece of the puzzle. It is what people remember them by from the first time they race, to the time they make history.  

I have been thinking of registered names for Baby Joe for a while now. I came up with some cute names. Pinky and I have also loved having our friends on Facebook and people we have met helping us with coming up with names too. I know when the time comes there will be plenty of names to choose from.

Hanging on a hook across from my bed hangs a leather halter fit for a foal. Every night before going to bed I stare at the halter and dream about the day when I take that halter off that hook, and place it proudly on my future champion.

Since the beginning of foal season my social media pages have filled with adorable pictures of foals in their first moments, I cannot help but think into the near future when I will be the one posting the adorable pictures.

I have always thought in my mind, my dad and I would do night watch. We will be all snuggled in blankets. We will watch Pinky lay down and get ready to have her foal. A short while later, the special moment I have waited so long for will finally happen. A few minutes later I will see the foal bravely stand up for their first time.

I am very curious to see what the foal will look like.  What markings will Baby Joe have? Will Baby Joe have Pinky’s back left white foot or will Baby Joe take after Baby Joe’s sire- Pet Rock and have no markings. I have always envisioned Baby Joe as a big solid black foal with the same white sock on the left foot as Pinky. But, only time will tell.   

I have big dreams for Baby Joe. I have dreamed of Baby Joe winning the coveted Little Brown Jug, the prestigious North America Cup and the esteemed Meadowlands Pace; no pressure Baby Joe.

Walking Baby Joe in front of the grandstand as the crowd roars during the post parade will be a very special moment for me. Driving to different tracks with a smile painted on my face and meeting new friends wherever we go is something else I cannot wait to do. 

When I think about Baby Joe racing one big and the important question echoes in my mind. Who will drive my future champion? There are so many great drivers who I respect, look up to and who I really want to drive Baby Joe. But I think I have time to think about that question.  

I cannot wait until the day Baby Joe wins Baby Joe’s first race. I will be standing so proudly in the Winner’s Circle, holding on to Baby Joe’s bridle. I will shed tears of joy and pride. My Baby Joe will not be a baby no more, Baby Joe will be a race horse. To me Baby Joe will always be my baby.  The camera will flash, it will be just like the first time I stood beside Pinky in the Winner’s Circle.

I am looking forward to creating a special bond between Baby Joe just like I have with Pinky. The wonderful thing about me having Baby Joe and me being young is that both Baby Joe and I will be able to learn and grow together.

I know in my heart that Baby Joe and I will go on so many adventures, there will be too many to count. I am just so excited to meet Baby Joe and say “hello” so the adventures can begin. 

As each day passes the anticipation mounts. I wonder when Pinky will have her baby. I wonder if she will have Baby Joe on a warm sunny day in her stall, so that after Baby Joe is born they can go outside in her nice grassy paddock and enjoy the day together. Or will she give birth to Baby Joe in the middle of a cold, windy and bitter night inside her nice cozy stall.

I do not know when Pinky will have her baby, I just hope I am there. If Pinky happens to have Baby Joe while I am at school, my parents have agreed to pick me up early and take me to the barn.

After we inseminated Pinky, I could not wait for the confirmation that Pinky was pregnant. I was so excited!  I have a copy of the photo from her ultrasound, which was sent to me, confirming she was in foal. I was overcome with a warm and magical feeling. It felt so surreal, Pinky was going to be a mom. It took until the next day for everything to sink in.

I am so excited for all of Baby Joe’s firsts: Baby’s Joe’s first wobbly stand, Baby Joe’s first time outside and big run in the field, Baby Joe’s first time walking with a lead shank and Baby Joe’s first bath.  I do not have had a younger sibling to watch grow up and mentor, but I know Baby Joe will be like the younger brother or sister I never had.

With Baby Joe due to arrive soon the only thing I can do now is patiently wait. I have been waiting 11 months to meet Baby Joe and to think my wait will soon be over is so exciting. It is like counting down the days to Christmas.

There are so many exciting times for Pinky, Baby Joe and I that lay ahead. So many memories have been created and Baby Joe has not even arrived! I cannot wait for the new adventures to begin. This will be the adventure like no other and I am excited to see where this adventure takes us.

Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

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