Originally Posted by its lbs not miles
Don't care how you slice it, or what spin you put on what they spend to keep the horse "healthy". Racing a horse or even doing excessively hard training before the age of 4 is unhealthy. And even at 4 it should have limits, because their back hasn't finished it's growth. These horses are finished before they've completed growing.
All the medical attention in the world is not going to change the damage that is done by racing them young, or even possibly the pre racing training they've been put through.
Look at some of the incredible horses that were making big money winning races that suddenly broke down. Almost exclusively from leg problems, because at 3 years old they're still developing, so damage could break them down an anytime. Then or in the future from damage already done.
A few of the more famous examples:
Ruffian (an exceedingly horrible story)
Not to mention the 1,000s more that you never hear about.
Taking care of them amounts to the same as starting an 8 year old human in training and at 13 they start working unthinkable hours, under the worst possible conditions, hauling excessive loads of coal on their back all day, but you're giving them proper medical exams. Medication to ease their pain and to increase their ability to work more and treatment for injuries, provided they are profitable with the amount of work they do.
It might be thrilling to watch these equine athletes pounding around the track. Giving it all they've got. Doing what they've been bred and trained to do. But when you're watching it keep in mind that these are leg joints that are still trying to develope, but are being forced to take a pounding and absorb the shock intended for a fully developed horse. Not an equine child who is doing what he's required at a risk to it's life.
If we subjected humans to the same treatment, there would be laws passed and people would be going to prison.
I'm not some PETA activist. I love meat and don't have a problem with animals being killed. However, I don't think any animal should be abused for profit or any other reason.
The more I find out the more I lean away from this idea of absolute abuse. I think the problem can be with horse people in general. Many people start riding horses at 2, not just the race world. I myself would never put a horse that young through that kind of work because it is hard on the body. I don't think anyone is going to argue that it is damaging for these horses to work that hard while still developing.
The reason why I take it on such a light note is because I can find a fault with almost EVERY discipline, except light trail riding. Honestly, I have seen many more horses that are being rode lame at my boarding stables then I saw out at the racetrack. (1 lame out of 20 horses) while my stables has around 7 lame horses out of 20. In perspective I see the lame horses on the track getting sent back to the farm on grass pastures while the horses st my stables are still having kids strapped to their backs and limping around the stables. I would choose the race life.
1000s of horses out of millions. Percentage wise its more uncommon then people are led to believe. I see high level cross country just as dangerous to the horse, and I have heard of quite a few being euthanized. There are far less race horses than cross country horses population wise, that's why we always hear about race horses.
I saw only painkillers given to the lame horse that was given strict orders for no exercise until cleared by a vet. The rest of the injections given were to help prevent rupturing blood vessels in the naval cavity, joint supports, and west nile vaccinations.
Most of these horses are not running for their lives. A very small percentage actually goes to slaughter. They all seem rehoming friendly. I heard several times from the trainers who were complaining about slow horses, "what are you going to do with him then?"
"Send him off to be a jumper!"....."He'll be a great kids horse."....."some gamer is going to love her."
I was shocked by how many times I heard this. They have no intentions of sending any of their horses to slaughter.
Honestly I just heard today that kids in school shouldn't carry more than 10% body weight for backpacks, yet most carry over 25%. Kids do work carrying those books around.
I hate sounding like the devils advocate, but everything needs to be seen without blinders. It is far from an ideal situation, but it is no where near the abuse that it gets the rap for. I'm by no means a know how of everything behind the track, but with the vet ride alongs and private tours behind the scenes at both Del Mar and Santa Anita....this is what I have seen and heard first hand.