Browsing School of Social Work by Title "The backstretch: Some call it home"
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The backstretch: Some call it homeThe purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between resident horsecare workers and the backstretch. The backstretch is a community that is hidden from the public view. It is a "backstage" of the horse racing world. Data were collected from informants using a grounded theory approach. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method of analysis and working hypotheses was developed. As on-site counseling programs continue developing interventions for resident horsecare workers it is important to understand the backstretch from an emic perspective. Resident horsecare workers view their life as having improved living and working on the backstretch. This improvement is a result of basic human needs being met. The backstretch is a pre-industrial work place setting. Meeting human needs beyond the most basic is blocked on the backstretch by low wages, isolation, boredom, lack of upward mobility, few days off, company housing, and having a limited future. When opportunity is blocked, resident horsecare workers adapt by developing independence, practiced rituals, and using their genuine love of horses as a substitute for other satisfactions.