Racing too young - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 25 Old 01-11-2013, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Racing too young

Do you think that they race racehorses too young??? I do! I think you should wait until 3. Does racing them at the age they do cause bone formation problems??? Do you think they're too young????

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post #2 of 25 Old 01-11-2013, 05:37 PM
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I think they should wait till 4 years old to race

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post #3 of 25 Old 01-12-2013, 03:04 PM
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It isn't only in the horse racing industry that starts horses and has them performing that young. It is in the show world, barrels, roping, ect.

Does it bother me...not so much the AGE but how hard they are pushed. Which is one reason why I am not a fan of barrel futurities even when they are the 4yr old ones...they are pretty much throwaways because they have to push them harder and some of the horses can't handle that kind of pressure and lose it.

So it truely happens in almost every corner of the horse industry...not JUST racing. And I am not saying it is ALL bad because their are cases where people KNOW how to do it correctly. A family friend races QHs and he does the 2yr old futurities then lays them off until their 4yr old year to start them back up.

There is a point where you have to know when to back off.
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-12-2013, 03:19 PM
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IMHO, I would like to see the ages for pretty much everything moved up. Perhaps don't start racing until they are 5 and have the futurities for horses that are at least 4, maybe 5 for them as well. That way, they have plenty of time to grow and mature before being asked anything under saddle. Right now, racehorses and many futurity prospects are started at 18 months...sometimes younger to be ready for the 2-3 year old races/futurities. If they aren't racing/showing until they are 4 or 5, then they can be started at 2.5 or 3 and still have plenty of time to train them slowly and correctly without completely blowing them up.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-12-2013, 03:20 PM
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Yes they are too young, I'd like to see them race at 4 as well.

However, it would pretty much close the racing industry as they would be sitting with horses that are not bringing in income for so many years.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-12-2013, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BarrelRacingLvr View Post
It isn't only in the horse racing industry that starts horses and has them performing that young. It is in the show world, barrels, roping, ect.

Does it bother me...not so much the AGE but how hard they are pushed. Which is one reason why I am not a fan of barrel futurities even when they are the 4yr old ones...they are pretty much throwaways because they have to push them harder and some of the horses can't handle that kind of pressure and lose it.

So it truely happens in almost every corner of the horse industry...not JUST racing. And I am not saying it is ALL bad because their are cases where people KNOW how to do it correctly. A family friend races QHs and he does the 2yr old futurities then lays them off until their 4yr old year to start them back up.

There is a point where you have to know when to back off.

Thank you!

I say this has been debated a million times, and quite often I make a show of myself by sticking up for racing

Alot of people are going to say yes, some are going to say no. I work in racing, and any trainer I have ever worked with has allowed any horse who shows signs of immaturity and not being up to the job at hand, the time to grow both mentally and physically. Half the two year olds in training with us last year didnt make it to the racecourse yet.

Obviously I will have to state the normal disclaimer that obviously I am aware that everything is not rosey in the garden and I am aware there are plenty of dodgy trainers.

I'm not going to repeat what Barrelracinglvr has already said, but I do agree 100% with it.
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-13-2013, 04:37 AM
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GodGirl & others who don't know what the developmental stages of horses are, look up Dr Deb Bennett & also Sharon May-Davis(aka the Bone Lady from Oz) for more info on the damages done to immature bodies.

No, 3yo is not much better, as far as that's concerned - their spine, pelvis & hocks aren't 'closed' until closer to 7yo, so I personally wouldn't start a horse lightly under saddle before around 4yo & wouldn't ask them to do anything like hard work until around 6-7yo. *mind you I think training & low impact exercise is beneficial from day 1...

I agree with SMRoms mostly, agree with Barrel that it's by no means just the racing industry, but I suspect the lack of care on that note in the racing and futurity industries - they don't care about long term soundness & wellbeing of the horse, only prizes & $$$ - has given a lot of people who haven't looked into it further, the idea that it is fine & dandy to ride(or work hard - harness racers suffer too) babies.
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-13-2013, 06:35 AM
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, but I suspect the lack of care on that note in the racing and futurity industries - they don't care about long term soundness & wellbeing of the horse, only prizes & $$$ - has given a lot of people who haven't looked into it further, the idea that it is fine & dandy to ride(or work hard - harness racers suffer too) babies.
Sorry, but they don't care?? Seriously? The majority of people involved in racing have all ended up there for one reason - their love of the horse. We care about our horses as much as anybody else. In my time with the current trainer, we have had ONE horse breakdown and need to be euthanised; of 90+ horses in training at any time. We have horses in training that are 9 years old, and all of them are rehomed/sold to jumps racing when they finish with us.

And lack of care?? Our racers have daily turnout. Chiro, dentist, vet and blacksmith on call. They have use of a state of the art equine spa and their beds are that deep and clean that I could quite happily lie in one myself. They all have rugs, warm beds and full bellyies.

Please don't make blanket statements, I can tolerate people disliking and not agreeing with racing as we are all entitled to our own opinion, but incorrect statements like the above do annoy me slightly.

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post #9 of 25 Old 01-13-2013, 07:39 AM
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Sorry, but they don't care?? Seriously? The majority of people involved in racing have all ended up there for one reason - their love of the horse. We care about our horses as much as anybody else. In my time with the current trainer, we have had ONE horse breakdown and need to be euthanised; of 90+ horses in training at any time. We have horses in training that are 9 years old, and all of them are rehomed/sold to jumps racing when they finish with us.

And lack of care?? Our racers have daily turnout. Chiro, dentist, vet and blacksmith on call. They have use of a state of the art equine spa and their beds are that deep and clean that I could quite happily lie in one myself. They all have rugs, warm beds and full bellyies.

Please don't make blanket statements, I can tolerate people disliking and not agreeing with racing as we are all entitled to our own opinion, but incorrect statements like the above do annoy me slightly.
Out of curiosity, when one of the horses in your particular program are rehomed, do you know the statistics of break down for those? I mean do you keep tabs on leg/joint/back issues with these animals after their racing career to know exactly what the effects are?
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-13-2013, 10:50 AM
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Out of curiosity, when one of the horses in your particular program are rehomed, do you know the statistics of break down for those? I mean do you keep tabs on leg/joint/back issues with these animals after their racing career to know exactly what the effects are?
I'm not in a particular program - I work for a trainer. Any good trainer will not want to waste the owner's time or money on a horse who isn't going to be any good and if the owner has no means of rehoming, we do it for them.

I don't know the long term situation, I havent worked with this particular trainer for 15+ years to hear about horses when they hit their late teens. Alot of the new owners do let us know how they are doing - some are now playing polo, others showjumping, eventing, dressage and some out hacking. The majority of the horses who have left our yard are still jumps racing. It is not uncommon for new owners to contact us to ask about the horse; we are always happy to tell them as much as possible.

To be frankly honest, I have as much concern for the hundreds of 3 year olds advertised as seasoned hunters. A girl I know spent 4 hours hunting with her 3 year old last week. As several others mentioned above - its not just the racing industry.

I have owned several horses since coming to Ireland - and one with the worst legs was a cob gelding who had hunted/show jumped his whole life... yet the 16yo OTTB who ran in point-to-points til he was 12 had the cleaned legs of the lot. Damage can be done regardless of the sport the horse is involved in.

I'm not attempting to say that racing couldnt be altered/changed to make it better or safer, but realistically many spheres of the horseworld could be as well. To insult those of us who are involved in racing is like insulting anybody who takes part in any other part of the horseworld - it's uncalled for.
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