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Lisa

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For those who would like to discuss the ethis of horse racing. Please feel free to do so on this thread!
 

Fanch

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I not a big one to put my foot out, but me and my friend both believe something needs to happened. When Eight Belles went down, but they kept talking about Big brown, both of us said we wanted to hear more about her.

My friend bring up the point that she thinks the horses are being breed to thin, the legs can't handle the pressure. We haven't had a triple crown winner for some 30 years, and horses have been getting smaller and light for the last 20, does anyone else see the connection?? I love racing, and feel for the horses that go down. But when horses keep going down, and they're alot that aren't so mainstream, there must be something wrong.

I hate to ramble on but my point is that it may be impossible to change, but I think we need thinker horses. If you look back at past winners, from the 70's back, they look thicker than todays horse, don't they??
 

HJF

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I not a big one to put my foot out, but me and my friend both believe something needs to happened. When Eight Belles went down, but they kept talking about Big brown, both of us said we wanted to hear more about her.

My friend bring up the point that she thinks the horses are being breed to thin, the legs can't handle the pressure. We haven't had a triple crown winner for some 30 years, and horses have been getting smaller and light for the last 20, does anyone else see the connection?? I love racing, and feel for the horses that go down. But when horses keep going down, and they're alot that aren't so mainstream, there must be something wrong.

I hate to ramble on but my point is that it may be impossible to change, but I think we need thinker horses. If you look back at past winners, from the 70's back, they look thicker than todays horse, don't they??
I agree, all the horses look so fragile now and people think these are improvements in the breed? I didn't understand why they didn't put more focus on Eight Belles as well after the race was over. It just showed a horse down but didn't even say who unless I missed it at first.
 

crponies

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I also think a big part of the problem is the way they push these horses so much at such a young age. They start riding them as yearlings! They are still growing. Are their growth plates even closed by Kentucky Derby age?
 

kaykay

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I have never been a fan or the racing industry. They chew horses up and spit them out. We all know those horses are way too young to race!! IMO its horrible
 

anoki

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Not to mention the fact that Big Brown's feet are crap. They even admitted it before the race. There is a reason the horse has only started in 3 races before the Derby.

HJF, the coverage I was watching did say right off what horse was down.

I too was waiting to hear more about what happened to her. BUT on the other side of things, the owners, trainers, vets on scene, etc, have the right to know what happened first and foremost. And I did like the fact that whichever commentator said 'I don't like to speculate' and declined to comment on what *might* have happened. The fact that it happened after the race, when many people weren't really paying attention to anything other than the fact that Big Brown won, probably played a part in why it did take time to get the info down the lines. I'm not saying I wasn't mad that there wasn't more info sooner, that I wasn't on the edge of my seat wondering what happened (and feeling sick to my stomach because I had a bad feeling about it) but you can't take anything away from the fact that Big Brown did win, and he does deserve his moment of glory.

as for the breeding end of it, well that is just a whole other can of worms. I mean look at ANY breed, and you can find weaknesses that have been BRED INTO them. A fad comes in and everyone breeds to make them look a certain way because 'that's how they have to look to win', when in looking at the big picture, it's something all together different. I mean maybe it's different in the racing industry because it's based more on performance records, I don't know. I'm not going to get into it, but it's no different than what is going on in the dog world either. There is a tremendous amount of physical and mental pressure put on these horses. If they don't win, they're outta there, end of the discussion. I love to watch the big races, but what many people (and I say many, not all) put their horses through to get them there....well I couldn't do it....

~kathryn
 

Charlene

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I also think a big part of the problem is the way they push these horses so much at such a young age. They start riding them as yearlings! They are still growing. Are their growth plates even closed by Kentucky Derby age?
that's pretty much it, in a nutshell. i have always felt this way and today just reinforced my view. what's worse is that these people have so much money, they'll just bring another horse up and do it all over again.

when barbaro went through the agony he went through before they finally wised up and put him out of his misery, all you heard was how much they loved that horse, blah blah blah. what they loved was his potential for making them millions of dollars. had they loved him, and had they known ANYTHING, they would have spared him the unbearable pain WE all know he was in.
 

Just Us N Texas

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First and foremost, let me say that I am a racing fan, advocate and whatever else you may want to call me. I have been involved in racing and TB's since I was 17 years old, and was a fan long before that. At 17 is when I married into a racing family. I love the sport, I love the horses! I have seen many put down on the track, and at home when an accident (same as your horses) happened. One of the most important things you should know is that a TB is born with the instinct and will to run, and most enjoy it as much as any of the minis enjoy driving, jumping, or whatever you chose to do with them. No, the owners don't have so much money that when one breaks down, they just go out and buy another one without a thought that the other one died. I have been involved with owners, trainers, jocks, grooms, hot walkers, and since I was in the industry for so many years, know most of the people you see on TV during the triple crown races. I know that the majority of the people do love and care about those horses. Do you think that tomorrow the people that owned Eight Belles will be out shopping for another? No, they will be crying, the same as you would. Please, before you make such broad statements about another breed's joys and disappointments, please make yourself a bit more knowledgeable. As for bashing the breeding, just what the heck are we doing with the minis? Are we not trying to make a more "horse like" looking horse? Are we not having genetic problems in a lot of areas with the minis? What about upside down necks? What about too many teeth, and too large teeth for such a small mouth? You think we haven't done that? Yes, I watched the Derby today, and knew the filly was in a lot of trouble, and yes I grieve for her and her owners. It was a freak accident that a horse rarely ever happens to have the same injuries in both front legs as she did. Would you want people saying that if one of your minis were to break a leg, or have any other kind of accident and had to be put down, that you didn't really care, you would just go out and buy another, and you were a terrible person because you let that happen to your horse?

Please, just have a little compassion and understanding for other breeds and the owners!

At age 3, Ky. Derby Age, a growth plate on a TB is closed, and no one will race one till the knees have grown together as well. I've seen a lot of two year olds put back to pasture to finish growing. There are bloodlines in TB's that are early developers, and there are those that are known to be late developers. But accidents still happen to everyone, including you and me.
 

RobinRTrueJoy

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I wonder if it would help if they would wait till the horses were more mature before racing them. I know injuries happen, but to me.... theses horses's bones are not mature yet. Are their growth plates fully closed?

Robin
 

Sonya

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I will post exactly what I did in the other thread, adding to it a little:

I never got much into horse racing which was odd since I was always such a horsey person. All my other horsey friends would make plans to watch the big races, some of my friends would even attend Preakness. I over the years maybe watched enough races to count on less than two hands. I've always been impartial to it. Of course I love to watch the power and beauty of a horse running, but I'd much rather see it in a pasture or field, not on a track and especially not horses that are so dang young. I will admit, I know very little about racing because I've never really been interested enough to research. I know that the horses do "love" to run, and some of that comes from instinct, but I believe most comes from what they are taught, as in any animal. I mean no disrespect to the owner, trainers, or jockeys. It's just not my cup of tea, never has been.
 

Bunnylady

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It's easy to point fingers and say "you shouldn't do this or that," but does anyone really know why many horses break down? Is it the surface? They race on a variety of surfaces, is it more common on one surface? How about distances? Are there more horses injured in long races, or in wide-open sprints?

I've long heard that TB knees close earlier than other breeds. Doesn't it follow that the rest of their bones may mature earlier too? As to the weight, every horse in the Derby carries the same weight, I think it's 126 pounds. That's rider and saddle. I bet most of us aren't that light (I know I haven't been since college days!!) On a thousand pound horse, that's not a whole lot. BTW, Eight Belles carried five pounds less that that, an allowance made because she was a filly.

Are racehorses lighter than they used to be? I don't know. They may be. They certainly seem to be faster. Where speed is concerned, there is a razor's edge between lightness and power, and the TB as a breed dances along it. Not all of the horses that break down are physical lightweights. There was nothing dainty about Eight Belles, and Barbaro (who broke down in the '06 Preakness) was compared to a football linebacker. No one breeds racehorses for their looks, it's all about performance. Form follows function, as they say.

The decision to race a horse, and how often to race a horse, is made by the people most concerned in the horse's welfare. Horses at any age require a certain amount of recovery time after the maximum effort of racing. Never mind injury, a tired horse can't run as fast. Part of the reason the Triple Crown has proven so elusive is the turnaround time between the races (two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, three weeks between the Preakness and the Belmont) is pretty tight. There have been many years when there was no chance at a Triple Crown winner because the people surrounding a top colt felt it was just too much to ask. Yes, money plays a part in the decision, but you don't get paid for coming in last place. "2008 Triple Crown also-ran" probably isn't much of an endorsement in the breeding shed. The whole thing is a gamble, each team has to weigh the odds, and not just at the betting window!

Are more horses breaking down now than in bygone years? I have no idea. There are an awful lot of racehorses and racetracks out there. It's possible that things really haven't changed, percentage wise. It may be that the media is making more people aware of the ones that happen. I'll bet most of the people who know that Eight Belles was euthanized yesterday had never even heard her name 24 hours ago.

If you want to talk about a sport that eats up horses, how about Eventing? ABC ran coverage of some of the Rolex Championship last year. I think at least two of the top contenders were injured in the cross-country phase, and I know one of them was euthanized later.

For that matter (and this comes close to home to a lot of us) let's talk about breeding. Thanks to Marestare, I can rattle off the names of several mares (of many breeds) that have died this year from issues that came up during foaling or shortly after. It could certainly be argued that if those girls hadn't been bred, they'd be alive today.

I'm not saying the racing industry doesn't have problems. I'm just saying the situation may not have a simple fix. Racing fans aren't ancient Romans. NASCAR fans expect wrecks on the track, not horseracing fans. The sun shines a little less brightly for everyone after something like this happens. I'm not sure what the solution may be, but vilifying the people and the industry won't solve anything.
 

Lisa

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Just Us In Texas and Bunnylady, very well said. I have nothing to add that has not already been said.
 

Pepipony

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When you race babies there are no ethics nor morals in place. Period. You may THINK that there is care/love, but there cannot be, not truly. The care and love of money/fame is first and foremost. Racing is fine, just not babies for goodness sake. Common sense is gone from these people I daresay.
 

Marty

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I think thoroughbreds are the ultimate breed. I just love them. I should, I've have one in my barn for over 20 years.,well half.

I'm not even against racing. But I am against riding and racing these young ones. I just think they are too young. I think they should give them an extra year or two. I also think there are young horses in every breed that shouldn't be doing a lot of stuff they are doing too. Pushing to breed babies, pushing to train babies to do certain things mature horses do when they haven't even experienced being a baby before man goes and interferes with that, all for a lousy ribbon or some cash.

I do feel for the owners though. All their hopes and dreams were gone in a blink of the eye and they must be crushed.
 

MiniHunterHorseFan

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Why do they race them young? Are they supposed to be faster as a 2 or 3 year old? When they are 5 or 6 would they not be able to run as fast? I think it is a shame they have to be retired young. I wish the horses could run for years.
 

Jill

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Racing has never been something I've had an interest in watching. Not due to any moral issues, just something that I find boring.

However, I think any time there is THAT much money involved, with the racing and the breed, combined with basic human nature, it is bound to lead to corruption. When yearlings sell for millions, and all the financial gains at stake, how could it not be corrupt?
 

Kathy2m

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I worked on a small TB farm for 2 years. I was appalled at some of the things that were done just so they could race 1 more time. They do need some sort of regulations. They were racing a mare who had screws and pins in her hind leg because at the time she was one of their best money makers. I saw my first pinfiring that was just nasty. When it was done I did a lot of research of why it was done, there is no proof that it even works, same with blistering.

These horses who are lucky enough to have big time trainers are treated a whole lot better than like the small time guy liked I worked for.

As far as age they are very young, we started some at 14-16 months old. I did read an article that starting them at a young age but LIGHTLY (not hard racing) actually helps develop stronger bones.

Then there is the surface, I remember reading that there is not nearly the injuries with horses that run on turf.

I agree they are bred to run and some love it. I learned that first hand. I had 2 that I was rehabing, 1 bucked shins the other knee surgery. When I saw the 1 with knee surgery go back to the track for his race, he was all business, he hooked up and pinned his ears and flat out ran, he liked his job. The other had no desire to run he looked like he was out on a Sunday ride, he ended up at a H/J barn.

Something needs to be done to make it safer.

Kathy
 

whitney

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The problem is the SYSTEM of racing YOUNG horses. It cost A LOT of money to keep a race prospect for 5 years before they earn a penny. End of story. I have been a HUGE race fan and even attended the Derby a couple of years back. But I'm DONE. I missed last year because of witnessing Barbaros injury, watched again this year and it happened again with Belles.
 

BigDogs & LittleHorses

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I thought I would give it another chance this year. Won't watch it again.

Horse's bones should not break when they are doing something natural, PERIOD.

I might watch it if slower race times meant that this never happened, if they brought in some structural stability from draftier breeds.

I thought the whole thing was also a tacky commercial for YUM! brands. Yum! was on everything. It was absolutely ridiculous. I am surprised it wasn't branded onto the animals themselves.

Now every time I will see the Yum! brand, I will think of Eight Belles.

Daryl
 

Pepipony

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"Why do they race them so young?"

Because that extra year/two costs them big bucks in feed, training and stabling. Might as well throw them to the track to make the bucks early before they break.


Funny how many a person will complain if a trainer starts a colt at 2 ( for WP etc) but then see's nothing wrong with flat out running a colt at that same age. Just nuts to me.
 
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