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Racing too young

This is a discussion on Racing too young within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        01-13-2013, 11:28 AM
      #11
    Started
    I agree completely with Maple. Its not just racing that pushes young horses hard. I also agree that the level of demand on some young started hunter jumpers is just as damaging if not more damaging then racing.

    That said there are leg injuries that occur. Harness racing does have its negatives, horses do get injured and break down. It would be great if horses could not start racing until 3 or 4. I think it would also be great if weight limits on jockey's could be adjusted.

    I think the horse industry is imperfect. We get in trouble when we start to make assumptions about the industry based on one or two people. This is double dangerous when you have never been on the backside of the track. Heck we have a coming 3 year old who never made a race as a two year old because he was growing. That's not a good financial decision, to send a horse for a year of training and never see a race much less a paycheck. It was the right decision for the horse. The trainer sees that and we agree with that assessment. If this horse does not make it as a 3 year old he will come home and be broken to saddle. We will try to find him a pleasure horse home. So, please don't say that those in the racing industry don't care about their horses.

    As for long term soundness issues. We have 9 horses on property. One 28 year old has arthritis in her hocks after racing to the peak and being a broodmare. We have a 24 year old gelding who has some arthritis in his hocks. He was retired at age 14 and is still upset about that. He was the king of the world at the track with people fussing over him 18 hours a day. We don't have the time to fuss over him 18 hours a day because we have other jobs. Neither horse is significantly lame enough to warrent NSAIDs or hock injections. My good mare interferes so she did not last at the track. The 5 year old was too slow, the 12 year old liked to canter, 8 year old not eligiable to race in other states due to breeding, 10 year old did not like to pass other horses, 19 year old never made it to the track due to bad hocks and traumatic leg injury, 14 year old raced but then was brood mare (now retired from that). So, where race horses end up when they retire or don't make it at the track. In my family, they end up at the house. We may not be the conventional normal; however, I know a number of racing families that do their best to make sure their retired race horses end up in good homes when they retire.

    At one point, we had a horse that had been pushed to his limit. He ended up with a stifle problem and was put down as a result of that injury. His care and treatment was after winning his million dollar race, setting a track record that would stand for 10+ years he was loaded up into the trailer (not cooled off, not hot walked) and turned out in a field with a flake of hay. Once he could no longer race he was sent to slaughter where a fan of his career rescued him and then he ended up with us. His owners were not good race people. They are the kind of people that give racing a bad name.
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        01-13-2013, 11:40 AM
      #12
    Green Broke
    I just want to add.. if human children were all cared for as well as the race horses and brood mares I have worked with, there would be no "third world..."

    Round the clock observation and removal of any manure every stall check.. water buckets topped off (and this is at NIGHT folks!) and always a little hay in front of them.

    There have been studies of bones in 2 year old race horses and the remodeling of the bones to withstand the pressures of race training. I used to think "wait until they are older" but after reading some of the studies and finding that horses brought to racing older were more injury prone I am not so certain. That bone remodeling when training at a young age has its impacts and those impacts are not altogether bad.

    An older horse started in race training apparently does not have as much ability to remodel its bones and structure to withstand race training.

    Like everything else, it is not always all it seems to be.

    That being said, I used to back a 2 year old then wait until they were 3 and bring them back to train. But that was me.. and I did not have the same over head as a race horse trainer.
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        01-13-2013, 03:32 PM
      #13
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maple    
    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.
    Unfortunately, for every owner/trainer like you describe, there are hundreds of others who neglect and mistreat their animals. You stating "The majority of people involved in racing have all ended up there for one reason - their love of the horse." is just as big of a fallacy as saying "all racing people don't care". I understand what you are trying to say, but your wording is just as bad as the wording you are protesting.

    I am not in the racing industry, but I have first hand knowledge of some of the worst of the worst. I have boarded at many facilities through the years where the neglect is just painful to see. At the backyard, low rent places where nobody sees what's happening. No big names there, just stupid people who want to make money from the industry however they can. Horses that never see the light of day, because "they'll never make it, why bother with them, just let them starve".

    It is happening way more than you are admitting.
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        01-13-2013, 03:59 PM
      #14
    Foal
    Thanks for all your opinions! And I didn't know they did that with barrel and other competition horse >=( From the sounds of it, you should start their training at 4, right? And they're retiring some at 4.....
         
        01-13-2013, 04:24 PM
      #15
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FaydesMom    
    Unfortunately, for every owner/trainer like you describe, there are hundreds of others who neglect and mistreat their animals. You stating "The majority of people involved in racing have all ended up there for one reason - their love of the horse." is just as big of a fallacy as saying "all racing people don't care". I understand what you are trying to say, but your wording is just as bad as the wording you are protesting.

    I am not in the racing industry, but I have first hand knowledge of some of the worst of the worst. I have boarded at many facilities through the years where the neglect is just painful to see. At the backyard, low rent places where nobody sees what's happening. No big names there, just stupid people who want to make money from the industry however they can. Horses that never see the light of day, because "they'll never make it, why bother with them, just let them starve".

    It is happening way more than you are admitting.

    How do you think those with the ability to handle thoroughbreds started out? As pony mad kids. A lot of them will have climbed the ranks of pony club/4H, alot of them as kids will have spent every waking minute with horses. I said the majority, not all. I'm somewhat confused how that has any comparison to somebody stating ALL. In my time within the industry I have yet to come across somebody who didnt want the best for the horses and have a genuine love for the horse in the first place. The people who work in racing, like other competitive horse yards.. theres no 9-5, theres no Christmas or new years. Long hours in the cold and rain, or the sun and heat - they work long hours with little time off and not for the highest of wages. Why do they do it if it isn't for the genuine love of the animals that they are in charge of? I said the word "majority" because obviously I can not state all; as I do not know every single person involved in racing, so how is my wording bad?

    I haven't said the industry is perfect, all I can tell you is what my own personal experiences have been. I've been in North America and in Ireland working in racing - from backyard tracks to some of the best in Ire. As for the experiences you have - that happens everywhere in every type of equestrian sport - not just in racing. To be frankly honest with you; if somebody isn't taking proper care of a horse, the horse isn't going to run fast, and no money is going to be made. Those people you are talking about starving horses - that can happen, and is happening to any horse of any breed. I hope to god you called the proper authorities if you have witnessed that type of treatment because I don't know of any trainer/owner who would tolerate it by any means.
         
        01-13-2013, 04:46 PM
      #16
    Green Broke
    Unfortunately I think you could make the age whatever you want it to be but when you pay BIG money to show at top levels people are going to start them at the same age anyway. It's all about the all mighty $ and if they push the age back then that's two more years of training they can put on those horses.

    Idk what will get people to not start horses to young, you can't confiscate them and monitor people 24/7 to make sure they do things the better-for-the-horse-instead-of-the-wallet way.
    Posted via Mobile Device
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        01-13-2013, 04:48 PM
      #17
    Foal
    We have a 4 yo rescued standardbred that was retired at three yo and destined for dog tucker because she didn't run fast enough. She never made it to the track. When she came to us at 3 yo she still looked like a filly but now we can see her finally filling out and looking more like a mature mare now that she no longer has the demands of race training on her body. We are spending time with her doing just ground work, grooming, leading, lunging etc. We have also noticed a marked change in her attitude. She is much more responsive to human company, a lot less reliant on the presence of other horses (she was herd bound) and overall you can see she is a lot more relaxed and happy than she was when she arrived here.
    She is still young and we are in no big hurry to break her to saddle, instead concentrating at first on building her trust and relationship with us.
    Our experience with this horse certainly has us wondering about the ethics of the racing industry.
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        01-13-2013, 05:14 PM
      #18
    Green Broke
    FWIW when money is involved (and it always is) it does not bring out the best in people. Not in horses (who can have a horse standing around an extra 3 years when it is a busines). Not in dogs (got to get that Champion breeding). Not in people (got to win that political race).

    Money brings out the need for profitability and the way to make a profit is to have the least you can in expenses over the most you can get in income.. and.. well "d**n the torpedos..."

    Just sayin'
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        01-13-2013, 09:23 PM
      #19
    Showing
    Maple, I understand that you feel the need to defend the industry that you are a part of, and I respect that, but I have a very strong suspicion that the racing industry where you are isn't the same as the racing industry here.


    But, either way, when a horse is being used/trained/worked so hard at such a young age that they have to be retired/culled/dumped before they are 5, then something is seriously wrong in the entire process, whether it's racing or futurities or any other program.
    loosie, themacpack, AlexS and 2 others like this.
         
        01-14-2013, 02:15 AM
      #20
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maple    
    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.
    Yes, pardon, I should have said 'generally' & 'in my opinion', as there are always exceptions. I do believe the exceptions that are truly caring & happy to be in the racing industry either don't understand the damage that is done, or are there to try to make a difference. And while 9yo racehorses are an indication that your boss is likely better than most - the vast majority are washed up by then - that still doesn't say anything much for longevity(especially if they're sold on to jumps racing!), as what sort of percentage could you tell me are sound & healthy into their late 20s & 30's for eg?

    Quote:
    And lack of care??
    I wrote lack of care *in the regard of long term soundness*.
         

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