I have been a member of the racing club for over sixty years, forty-five of which I was actively involved. No wonder - we have had horses in our family for as long as I can remember.
My grandfather was a coachman, owned up to 350 horses and was responsible for the haulage, the construction and the military horse business. All hotels had their own stables where some of the horses were stabled.
When I was a child, the horses came to the horseraces in St. Moritz on the Rhaetian Railway and were then also stabled in the stables at the various hotels. My father was the manager of the racetrack, which was then prepared with a roller pulled by horses. That was not without danger, and it once happened that a pair of horses drowned in the lake.
As pupils we always sold the programmes on the streets and in the hotels during the week; on race Sundays, we sold them on the racecourse. Later I drove the starter sledge with my two Icelandic ponies. On 6th January 1960 the first caterpillar machine was introduced, unfortunately it sank in the lake - my father was pulled out at the last minute! Every now and then, these track machines went through the ice and had to be painstakingly pulled out using tripods and tackle.
When I took over the job of racetrack manager, I did not want to accept such dangers. The safety of people and animals were always of utmost importance to me. We therefore developed machines with integrated floats and recovered machines that had gone through the ice with helicopters. In all, I was responsible of the racetrack for 17 years, my last time being in 2001. I have no idea how many night missions we had. When it was snowing, I set the alarm every two hours. If more than ten centimetres of snow had fallen, I went down to the lake and rolled down the fresh snow.
In the past, the Racing Association did not have enough money to build large grandstands. There was a stall that sold sausages and mulled wine. It was all very simple and unglamorous, just a local fun fair really. Then times changed - tents appeared with catering for the noble spectators and even an old army field kitchen was set up. People came wearing fur coats and were often accompanied by dogs in matching coats with little boots.
For me personally, one thing was of major importance at White Turf - to prepare the best possible racetrack. This went so far that I once laid a small red carpet at the beginning of the track as a joke, asking the gentlemen who had come for the inspection to first clean their shoes. I was only able to relax once the Grand Prix was over without incident. I am still most grateful to my fire brigade colleagues from those days. Whenever I asked for help, they came. We were all volunteers because savings had to be made. I will never forget their willingness to help.
Nowadays I only visit White Turf as an honorary member.