Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Maple, my parents bred and sent TB's to the track when I was a kid. The practices here have not changed appreciably. Six weeks training time is NOTHING in a yearling's life. And to say a 2 y.o. is schooled extensively, at least here in the US, is absolutely a farce. Unless you consider 6 wks training sufficient. They are run too hard and breakdown too often.
I handle my horses from the day their born. I get jokes all the time that I've been slacking if my horses aren't "broke to lead" by the time they're 3 weeks old. They aren't but they're working on it.
I have no problem with a youngster wearing a bit, provided he's been TAUGHT how to carry it and when to give to it. There are problems in every facet of the horse industry, so please don't try to paint the track pink.
In turn I could ask you not to tarnish all the racing with the same brush. I am not attempting to paint it pink, all I can offer is my own opinion which I have due to my own experiences.... which I'm sure is all any of us can do.
I have worked in racing in both Ireland and North America. I am not saying for a second that everybody is perfect. I have also worked in both warmblood studs and TB.
The warmblood stud's foals were chucked into a field with no handling. They were left there until they were weaned, when they were all thrown into a large pen and one by one were shoved into a large stall, caught, haltered and dragged to a tie stall to learn to be tied. I witnessed several youngsters break legs and be destroyed.
The TB studs I have worked at: foals are handled from the day they are born. They are haltered, led to the field, caught and brought back in daily.. in Ireland with our weather sometimes a few times a day. They are lead up and down several times. Now tell me which you would prefer?
In my opinion, be it right or wrong, 6 weeks is plenty of time for a yearling to be brought in and taught a base. They are required to stand properly, walk and trot in hand and have respect. This is fairly simple stuff and (IMO) if that takes more than 6 weeks for a large number of horses, something needs to be done differently.
We have horses who trained all of last year who have yet to make it to the racecourse. I had the same experience in NA where we had horses "in training" not run for several months. Again, I am NOT saying that all is peachy and some horses are not pushed, but bad handling is a factor in all areas.