Racing at such a young age - Page 3
 
 

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Racing at such a young age

This is a discussion on Racing at such a young age within the Sport Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeding category
  • How hard is racing on a horses joints
  • The pros of racing 2 year old thoroughbreds

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    09-08-2011, 01:49 PM
  #21
Yearling
Quote:
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.


However, I don't think any animal should be abused for profit or any other reason.
Agreed. There are good and bad horse racers, just like eventing, rodeo, dressage, etc. However, no one here has seemed to mention Nurse mare foals... That I definitely have a problem with. Plus the stats on these horses are ridiculous. Breed, breed, breed. Then you train them at 2? And everyone knows what happens if they don't succeed at racing... Hopefully there are rescues open, because they are dumped.

I had a thoroughbred cross. It took her 4 years for just her knees to close. I find it ironic that the breed that takes longer to mature (the thoroughbred) is the one that is raced at 2-3 years old.

I don't care how much vet care is put into the horses before or after they race, or how much money you spend. The amount of money put into a horse is not equal to how well they are treated. If they are 2, they should not be racing. Period. Just because you treat the injury (you created no less) does not mean that you are a responsible horse owner. To me, it's like hitting someone with a bat and then taking them to the hospital. Sure, its great to treat the injury but putting the horse in danger for your profit knowing they are young and fragile is not what I consider good horsemanship. (And yes, I know there are risks to every sport, but this is asking for it).
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    09-08-2011, 01:53 PM
  #22
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
You just get to see more of the stable horses than you do the racing horses.
If you take a tour you are going to see the "better" sides of it.
Want a true picture? Get the registrations of every horse that has been put into any race. Trace that horses history and where it is now. What you see on a "back stage" tour of racing is going to show you the best picture they can. They are not going to start telling you about the horses that aren't there because the broke down and had be put down unless you happen to be at the right place to witness it. If you see an injured horse on the track they will be treating it and it will look like things are being taken care of. If it's a horse that's never lived up to it's hoped for potential (never placed, etc...), and has an injuring that will take "too long to heal" then it's canned off somewhere. IF it's very lucky it will be adopted. If now, well, it's a business and it's about making money....so do the math.
Still back to the real point. Don't care how you spin it. These horses are being raced hard during their formative physical growth years. Doing damage to there joints.
You might find a larger number of horses outside the racing industry that are damaged or abused, but that's because you have so very many more horses outside that industry (in stables, on farms, etc...). As a percentage, the racing industry damages a much higher percentage of it's animals.
There are more dogs abused, injured, neglected and killed by people who have them as pets then there are injured and killed by people who do illegal dog fighting. But as a perctage the dog fighters do far worse than the rest of the dog pet owning world. The same holds true for race horses vs pet or "non racing" competition or work horses.
I can agree that the tour showed me very little of what has gone on behind the scenes. But my ride alongs with the vet? I saw at least 3 horses that had raced the day before, and at least 3 before and after their race on the day of of my visits. Now as helping out as a vet assistant I don't think anything was hidden from me. The vet I worked with was in charge of about 5-6 racing farms on the facility. (Somewhere around 200 horses) If I'm pursuing a career as an equine vet and under the fact that I might be considering working as a track vet, there is not point to hide any bad because I'll see it sooner or later. I was there following the vet on his duties from 7am to 7pm.

Everyone talks about the races as they're happening and what goes on with the horses. I know that the few times I was there I saw NO breakdowns on the track or behind the gates. The worst I heard of was the one horse I explain above, it had raced earlier that week and was all sorts of messed up. But the vet explained that the trainer was known to not take as good care of his horses. I saw a few sore horses that were on rest, but nothing major.

Tons of horses go to horse slaughter, most are heavier riding horses. Honestly the kill buyers don't want race horses as their meat is too tough and not enough of it. I agree that there is a huge overpopulation of racehorses. Way too many horses are bred for racing that will achieve nothing in their lives and will go to slaughter for it. Overpopulation is out of control, and severely needs to be cut down.

Maybe its different outside of southern california, but I'm just saying what I see. I'm a little off topic here, as I agree that racing them young is detrimental to their health. Yet I think the level of damage is one that needs to be considered, its a fuzzy grey zone. It gets this horrid reputation with people screaming about abuse that they have no idea about. I am more inclined to send my efforts to completely stop steeplechasing. I personally dislike all animal activist groups because it is extremely rare for them to actually have correct/relative facts. Most people base their emotional opinions on what is fed by peta and sharkonline.

I guess in that aspect we will have a difference of opinion.

IMO you can't compare dog fighting to horse racing because the horse owners have no intentions of hurting their animals. They are instead risking a high chance of damaging the animal, but it is a chance that they take steps to avoid. Out of all of the animal abuse in the world horse racing would not be high on my personal list to worry about. Now they could avoid a huge majority of the step by raising the racing ages to starting at 4-5yo, but that is going to take years of work if possible.

Its a vicious cycle, people wanted to race young, races for young horses were made, those races became famous with very large purses, people wanted the highest amount of money and must have the horse ready to enter in the high stakes which are mostly reserved for 3 year olds. So now even is people wanted to race later in life, the chances are that they have less chance for growth. There is no kentucky derby similar race for those over 3. We idolize the three year old races.

I hope you don't mind the debate, I understand we have a difference of opinion but I love discussing things through.
     
    09-08-2011, 03:33 PM
  #23
Yearling
To say that they don't intend to hurt the horse = they don't know much about horses. You cannot put a 2 and 3 year old horse through what is required in our futurity and derby races without hurting them. Injuries don't have to always show. If the damage done to horses was as visable as what was done to dogs, there wouldn't be anymore futurity or derby racing. In fact much of the damage done to dogs (if they survived) was more cosmetic. Bloody, but quicker to recover from. Major difference is that with dogs it was a blood sport. With horses is clean looking, but no less damaging.

Now, I'm not against racing. I think endurance racing is incredible. The riders I know are overly concerned about the condition of their horses before, during and after. Someday I may compete in them. But these are grown horses (have to be 60 months old the compete in a full endurance race) with vet checks during the actual race, not just before and after. If your horse shows distress, doesn't drop their heart beat in time, does lower it's temperature, or any other items that might be a flag, they are pulled from the race. I've even know riders who pulled their horse out during the race just because they didn't think their mount was feeling right. For some, the win they want is to be in the top 10 with their horse in the best condition of the top 10 horses.
Now that is horse racing as it should be. Grown horses, showing what they are made of. Cost more though.

Even the horses they race too young could run better races after they are full grown. Just cost too much to get them there.
     
    09-08-2011, 03:42 PM
  #24
Yearling
As for riding with the vet (who's paid by and who's job is tied to this "sport"?).
3 horses? Come on. That's what, about .06% (or .0006) of the 2 and 3 year olds that start racing each year.
     
    09-08-2011, 03:53 PM
  #25
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    

I hope you don't mind the debate, I understand we have a difference of opinion but I love discussing things through.
I agree, friendly discussions are the best way to gain insight.
I am curious though, have you ever heard of Nurse-mares, commonly associated with thoroughbred racing?
     
    09-08-2011, 04:10 PM
  #26
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
To say that they don't intend to hurt the horse = they don't know much about horses. You cannot put a 2 and 3 year old horse through what is required in our futurity and derby races without hurting them. Injuries don't have to always show. If the damage done to horses was as visable as what was done to dogs, there wouldn't be anymore futurity or derby racing. In fact much of the damage done to dogs (if they survived) was more cosmetic. Bloody, but quicker to recover from. Major difference is that with dogs it was a blood sport. With horses is clean looking, but no less damaging.
Hmm, there is a difference between abuse and negligence. What you are explaining is negligence in relative terms. Interacting with animals in general puts them in dangerous situations. Almost every riding horse will get a riding related injury in its lifetime. Jumping a horse has high possibilities for joint damage along with tears to ligaments and tendons, on top of the horse falling and breaking damaging something. Barrel racing is extremely hard on the horses hocks and stifles. Endurance horses have potential for a lot of damage as well from the exhaustion of the miles. The only sport that honestly walks away without further damaging a horse as far as I know is Dressage.

Fighting dogs do so to the death. Two goes in, one comes out. Most horse races, if 8 go in 8 come out. Yes, people get more effected by things they can see over things they can't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
Now, I'm not against racing. I think endurance racing is incredible. The riders I know are overly concerned about the condition of their horses before, during and after. Someday I may compete in them. But these are grown horses (have to be 60 months old the compete in a full endurance race) with vet checks during the actual race, not just before and after. If your horse shows distress, doesn't drop their heart beat in time, does lower it's temperature, or any other items that might be a flag, they are pulled from the race. I've even know riders who pulled their horse out during the race just because they didn't think their mount was feeling right. For some, the win they want is to be in the top 10 with their horse in the best condition of the top 10 horses.
Swelling and limping has always bothered me more than plain cuts. Most injuries do show, and the racing world looks for them. It is now becoming popular to do thermal scanning on racehorses to detect heat in areas that may have pain. They look, and if they find they pull out. If the horse is able to pass two vet checks (Full on lameness tests) and get onto the track the horse won't be barely making it along. If the horse is off after start running, the jockey will pull it up. If the horse hurts itself in gate, the horse will be scratched....these people do not intend to harm their money earners and want them to stay healthy. Race horses go through a very similar process. [/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
Now that is horse racing as it should be. Grown horses, showing what they are made of. Cost more though.

Even the horses they race too young could run better races after they are full grown. Just cost too much to get them there.
I agree. But a change in attitude is what is needed to get there. If people run around with signs screaming like children saying 'this is abuse' then we get grouped in with Peta as the animal crazies. I don't know how we do it professionally but that is how it needs to be done. People need to understand what goes on before they can understand exactly what needs to be changed. That is the point I have been poorly trying to make.

People focus so much on thinking that everything is abuse. That these horses are shoved into tiny dark boxes, whipped every time they twist an ear, and never see a vet. They see OMG the jockey is hitting that poor horse with a stick to make it run. Poor horsey.

We have to be able to recognize the attempts, and the good before we can start tearing apart the bad. Otherwise we will see that no one is willing to listen.
     
    09-08-2011, 04:12 PM
  #27
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakotababii    
I agree, friendly discussions are the best way to gain insight.
I am curious though, have you ever heard of Nurse-mares, commonly associated with thoroughbred racing?
I'm always open to new ideas and opinions and never fully set in my ways. But I also try and see for myself if I can and witness myself before I have any strict idea or opinion.

I actually haven't and after you mentioned it I was going to try and find out about it.
     
    09-08-2011, 04:20 PM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
As for riding with the vet (who's paid by and who's job is tied to this "sport"?).
3 horses? Come on. That's what, about .06% (or .0006) of the 2 and 3 year olds that start racing each year.
The vet loved his job, almost cried about the three horses he did have to euthanize this year, and watched him love on many different horses. He really loves those horses and isn't in it for the money. He knew most of the horses personalities, and would randomly grab a horse's head as we walked by to give it a hug and kiss it on the nose. I can't explain the feeling I got, but I could just tell.

I said at least 3 because I was being honest with the least amount of horses. I went with the vet three separate times. If I was on one facility, I didn't get to see tons. But that puts all the race horses I have seen before and after up to around 15. Not tons, but 15/15 I saw were sound, happy and fine before/after their race. For the tracks that are Santa Anita and Del Mar, (Same horses move around the three southern california tracks for the most part.) I'm trying to say what I saw, what I myself has experienced, not some random statistic or other person said.
     
    09-08-2011, 05:00 PM
  #29
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
Interacting with animals in general puts them in dangerous situations. Almost every riding horse will get a riding related injury in its lifetime. Jumping a horse has high possibilities for joint damage along with tears to ligaments and tendons, on top of the horse falling and breaking damaging something. Barrel racing is extremely hard on the horses hocks and stifles. Endurance horses have potential for a lot of damage as well from the exhaustion of the miles. The only sport that honestly walks away without further damaging a horse as far as I know is Dressage.
I agree, they can all hurt the horse terribly, accidents happen. But I would say the same to someone who is barrel racing or jumping a 3 year old all the time: It is NOT good for them!! It is true that a horse can hurt themselves doing anything. In fact, many die out in the pasture (That's how mine went). Anyways the point is in ANY discipline, the horse needs to be started slow. There is always risk, but the chance of injury goes up by a lot when you start a horse that is not physically ready for the amount of activity you are asking him/her to do.
     
    09-08-2011, 05:34 PM
  #30
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakotababii    
I agree, they can all hurt the horse terribly, accidents happen. But I would say the same to someone who is barrel racing or jumping a 3 year old all the time: It is NOT good for them!! It is true that a horse can hurt themselves doing anything. In fact, many die out in the pasture (That's how mine went). Anyways the point is in ANY discipline, the horse needs to be started slow. There is always risk, but the chance of injury goes up by a lot when you start a horse that is not physically ready for the amount of activity you are asking him/her to do.
^^
Agreed. The next horse I get will be young, I have been considering an OTTB or OTTQH . My first plan? Throwing it out to pasture with a few other horses and waiting a few months to a year to rebreak. Then no strenuous work until a vet has clarified that the horse has finished growing and is up for it.

Still, Horse racing doesn't cripple every horse it gets a hold of, and then send them all the slaughter. <---This is the idea that some people have that I am always trying to get rid of. Don't understand the real problem and the facts, you can't solve it.

I am not under the impression that horse racing is all fine and dandy. I am aware it has a high potential to put out injured horses. I know this, as it is supported by numerous studies and facts. BUT I'm just trying to be realistic, and I don't see it as the devils sport. =P
     

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