Racing at such a young age - Page 6
 
 

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Racing at such a young age

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        09-16-2011, 10:42 AM
      #51
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BCtazzie    
    I'm not spinning it, I tell you how it is.

    As for not having a choice but to train them hard, you don't, you bring them on slowly. I can tell you owners will not send there horses to a trainer that has a rep for destroying bubbies. You want to build up the horses strength slowly or you have problems.

    Someone that pushes a horse till they brake down isn't a horseperson, they are a moron and should not be allowed near one. I've lots of dressage horses screwed up in my time.

    We have big 2yr races as well, the Goldern Slipper and the Blue Diamond.

    I wish I was still in Oz and still working as foreperson. I would invite you out for a week to see how a nursery stable is ran. How the horses are conditioned, the level of care they have. Nothing is taken to chance.

    Just the other week I had someone from a non-racing background, tell me I need to push my horse thru his lameness, I wouldn't do this on any horse. I have seen trackriders fired on the spot for not pulling up a horse that was slightly lame, or was feeling right in the front.

    Yes there are clueless people out there getting into racing for the money. There are people in the industry today I wouldn't let near my horses. On the other hand some of the kindest riders I know ride trackwork, some of the best horse handlers I know are stablehands. The best horse wisdom and knowledge I have received have been from my old boss's. Who happen to be in the top 5 trainers in Australia.

    Yes there are bad ones out there but, painting EVERYONE with the same brush isn't fair.
    Ok, so the the none race connected equine vet community is wrong and the racing connected industry is right. :))

    It's ok to race horses that are still developing. Believe what you want. I spent years in the area where Secretariate and other racing greats came from. I've dealt with people in the industry and out.

    It's like the tobacco industry. If you smoke responsibly it doesn't harm you. If we train and race them properly as children it doesn't harm them. I've seen people argue with vets who specialize and are experts in equine medicine and who have the hard medical evidence on what happens to these joints when raced before they've finished forming.

    You believe what you want. I'll go with what I've seen and what the majority of the equine medical community (those outside the 3 year old racing community) have supported.
    WildAcreFarms likes this.
         
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        09-16-2011, 09:07 PM
      #52
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
    Ok, so the the none race connected equine vet community is wrong and the racing connected industry is right. :))

    It's ok to race horses that are still developing. Believe what you want. I spent years in the area where Secretariate and other racing greats came from. I've dealt with people in the industry and out.

    It's like the tobacco industry. If you smoke responsibly it doesn't harm you. If we train and race them properly as children it doesn't harm them. I've seen people argue with vets who specialize and are experts in equine medicine and who have the hard medical evidence on what happens to these joints when raced before they've finished forming.

    You believe what you want. I'll go with what I've seen and what the majority of the equine medical community (those outside the 3 year old racing community) have supported.
    I agree. Say what you want, but 2 year old races are not something I support. The utmost care can be given, sure, but you can't change their internal structure, and the fact that their knees are not closed and they aren't ready for that type of strenuous excersize.

    I do not believe that anyone is overgeneralizing. There are good racers and bad ones. But racing 2 years old? I will never be convinced that is okay, especially since a "2 year old" can really be only 1 year 8 months.

    You know what I don't really understand? WHY is is NECESSARY to race a 2 year old, and not wait til they are 4 or 5? Oh wait, ITS NOT!!
    brackenbramley likes this.
         
        09-16-2011, 09:54 PM
      #53
    Yearling
    Just a bit of information for those who think that you can train horses for racing at 3. You must train them to race while they are 2 and younger. To win, you have to train them hard on joints that haven't firmed up.

    To put the outcome into perspective I'll provide hard, undisputable facts provided by, of all people,....the Thoroughbred racing industry in the three states who's racing boards actually track these things. The US, unfortunately, does not have a national board. If it did, that would likey force the industry to spend more money to keep politicians from changing the system because of public outcry, like the one following Barbaro's death. The industry set out the following year to do as much damage control as they could while preserving the same status quo.

    CA, IL and NY racing boards keep statistics. We'll go with the racing year ending in 2006. The year Barbaro was injured.

    That year the death rate for racing TB in CA, IL and NY was over 740.
    CA over 300 TB
    IL over 275 TB
    NY 140 TB

    This does not include the much higher number of horses who were injured, but lived.

    That's only for 3 states. The numbers for the entire US is much higher, but without racing boards in each state keeping the statistics it's hard to give hard facts on the entire US.

    Granted these numbers are from 5 years ago and different years will have different numbers. I picked 2006 because it was the year Barbaro went down and it created a huge public stir. Still, the numbers say a lot.

    There is no reason why we can't wait until 3 (when the leg joints finish firming up) before we start the race training for horses. Race them at 4 and over. We'll have faster races and fewer injuries. We'll still have injuries. Injuries are part of athletics, but there won't be as many and they won't be the result of pushing animals to train and race to young.
         
        09-16-2011, 10:01 PM
      #54
    Yearling
    In defense of CA, their numbers include horses that died from things other then an injury on the race track as well as those who died as result of an actual race.
         
        09-16-2011, 10:21 PM
      #55
    Yearling
    Also not saying that training only for the purpose of developing strength in the tendons and bones should not begin until 3. Horses run from the time they are foals. They can be run. Running and short sprints to help build up stronger bones and tendons with a greater flexibility. The problem is that if you want to race at 3 and win you have to train to win against horses that are being trained harder. They might be more likely to suffer an injury, but if they don't, they will have a better chance to win than the horse that wasn't pushed to hard.
    Remember, it's about money, so you have to win. Restrict racing to horses that are 4 and trainers can then afford to do the better, less stressful training at the young, formative age. Training harder for the actualy race after the horse is a stonger, more capable 3 year old that is now able to take the thundering pace in legs that have been strengthened and conditioned without being damaged by a more demanding early training.
    It's not being trained to race that does the damage. It's the need to train to hard in order to win against other horses that are trained to hard. It's a system that forces trainers to train for competing against the horses that train the hardest. I like to think that many trainers would welcome being able to train properly form a young age and have that extra time to build the horse up and keep it sound.

    Make the Derby's, etc, open to 48 month old horses vs 3 year olds (get rid of that 1 Jan age measurement).
    thesilverspear likes this.
         
        09-28-2011, 03:40 AM
      #56
    Foal
    Some stats...

    Joined just to talk about this topic. Doing a paper on it for law school actually. Found it interesting that in the last several years there has been a huge increase in studies done to improve the safety of horse racing. One of those studies went over surfaces and which is best, etc. The study also found that 2-year-olds have the lowest ratio of breakdowns. Here is the quote from the study:

    The Jockey Club released statistics that show the breakdown of fatalities according to age of the racehorse. Two-year-olds had the lowest incidence at 1.51 per 1,000 starts, and 5-year-olds the highest at 2.45.
    So, how do you remedy the fact that the younger horses had the lowest incidence while 5 year olds had the higher? If so few 2 year olds are breaking down then it is hard to say that it is really hurting their growth and if they aren't breaking down within a year then it is really hard to say that it is because of the soft bones. Instead they often break down 3 years later. I am not convinced that 2 year old racing is as cruel as many make it out to be.

    Also, you mentioned Ruffian... I think that horse really is the counter-argument for banning racing or even young racing. Ruffian loved to run and was a true competitor. She was never behind at any pole in any race she ever ran in. She couldn't stand to be passed. She won, at a record setting pace, despite having an injury to her hind leg. Then in her match race she pretty much refused to stop running despite her injury. If that doesn't show that many of those horses love to run and compete then I don't know what does. So many people argue that the owners of horses don't care about them, but I don't know how you can read the stories of trainers, jockeys, and owners and pick up that vibe. Maybe there are some that don't, but you don't dedicate your life and money to something and not care. Read the story of Ruffian again and tell me her owners, trainers, and jockey didn't care about her. Read how they all cried about losing something that they knew was so special and amazing. They weren't crying because they wouldn't win anymore stakes races with her. They were crying because they knew they lost something special that they all loved.
         
        09-28-2011, 06:17 AM
      #57
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Comebakatz    
    Joined just to talk about this topic. Doing a paper on it for law school actually. Found it interesting that in the last several years there has been a huge increase in studies done to improve the safety of horse racing. One of those studies went over surfaces and which is best, etc. The study also found that 2-year-olds have the lowest ratio of breakdowns. Here is the quote from the study:

    The Jockey Club released statistics that show the breakdown of fatalities according to age of the racehorse. Two-year-olds had the lowest incidence at 1.51 per 1,000 starts, and 5-year-olds the highest at 2.45.

    So, how do you remedy the fact that the younger horses had the lowest incidence while 5 year olds had the higher? If so few 2 year olds are breaking down then it is hard to say that it is really hurting their growth and if they aren't breaking down within a year then it is really hard to say that it is because of the soft bones. Instead they often break down 3 years later. I am not convinced that 2 year old racing is as cruel as many make it out to be.

    Also, you mentioned Ruffian... I think that horse really is the counter-argument for banning racing or even young racing. Ruffian loved to run and was a true competitor. She was never behind at any pole in any race she ever ran in. She couldn't stand to be passed. She won, at a record setting pace, despite having an injury to her hind leg. Then in her match race she pretty much refused to stop running despite her injury. If that doesn't show that many of those horses love to run and compete then I don't know what does. So many people argue that the owners of horses don't care about them, but I don't know how you can read the stories of trainers, jockeys, and owners and pick up that vibe. Maybe there are some that don't, but you don't dedicate your life and money to something and not care. Read the story of Ruffian again and tell me her owners, trainers, and jockey didn't care about her. Read how they all cried about losing something that they knew was so special and amazing. They weren't crying because they wouldn't win anymore stakes races with her. They were crying because they knew they lost something special that they all loved.
    Always love statistics. So easy to tailor them (what's more popular, cats or dogs?.....there are more cats in the US, but more dog owners in the US. Cat lovers say cats, because there are more cats. Dog lovers say dogs because more people own dogs)
    Yes, older horses in the racing industry have the higher number of breakdowns and that's because we start racing them young.
    We'll use a human statistic to point out why.
    How many 21 year old people suffer from bulging disks or other back problems?
    Now consider how many of the older people have back problems because of the damage they did to their backs by lifting improperly when they were young. (a bit over simplified, but it's just for pointing out)
    Some degree of damage is being done to every horse that starts racing too young. They might not break down, but damage is still being done.
    Using the racing industries statistics, explainations, etc... is a bit like using the tobacco industries information on smoking. Do you honestly think they are going to admit that they are wrong. And if they have to, they will go with the easiest, and least damaging for them, course of action (complete with their own least damaging information for, or against, whatever they have done, or will do). Never add any truth that's damaging
    That's why, when compared to most of the medical community, both the tobacco and horse racing industries medical "experts" are in the minority.
    Not saying that the link you provided was in support of the racing industry. It only provided a limited level of information about the statistics gathered. And if you wanted to you could use their information to make a better argument for not racing until a horse reaches 72 months, since injuries started declining at that age.

    As for Ruffian, and so many other horses that love to run. Most light breeds love to run, but not as often, as far or as hard as they do in the racing industry. They do it a lot when they are young because it's a survival trait that kept them alive for longer than recorded history...preparing for escaping from danger. But a colt or filly running across the pasture on it's own does not maintain a full speed run for over 1/2 mile as hard as they can go. They'll only do that for two reasons. One is to escape a perceived danger (and they'll stop when they feel it's safe, so distance would usually be shorter). The other is because we ask it of them to, have conditioned them to it, and if the psychological connection is there....because they want to do what they believe we expect of them. I can't imagine any equine medical expert that's going to tell you that, if left to her own devices, Ruffian was going to go racing across a field for over a mile as hard as she could run just because she liked to run and not slow down if something hurt. She was taught, trained and conditioned to run as hard as she could when she was on a track with a rider on her. Just like my mare was taught, trained and conditioned to stop cattle from breaking away from the herd when we moved them, so that if one did she needed no encouragement to cut them off and force them back. We train horses for what we want them to do. If we do it well enough they in turn will do what we ask.

    If you look at the growth rate of the horse's skeletal system (and all horses develope at the same rate within a few months...colts take a little longer) they don't finish growing until after 5 years of age. The back is the last to firm up.

    If you want a true test of the what the industry is trying to say about older horses breaking down more then young....you can't get one. Why? Because to make an accurate comparison you need to compare horses that where raced at 2 vs a horse that was trained and conditioned slowly up until it was 5, so that there was not damage done from overworking too young, and then raced. Well, no one is going to spend the time and money to do that. It's a lot of money for 5 years of preparation on a horse that still might not be a winner. This in an industry that expects to make money before 5 years or they're out.
    You also have to add to these statistics that a 6 year old is stonger and faster than a 3 year old. So you have a horse who is having damage done at a young age from being run very hard. Then that same horse, if it's able to, is still racing as it grows older. Running harder and faster. Things that suffered minor damage earlier can then become major.

    If the industry really believed it's own line, then explain why Colts that are big winners are retired early. They know the truth and their actions show it. Winning colts are retired so that they stay sound enough to breed. They know that everytime a young horse races damage is done and the risk of a breakdown increases. If the colt's a winner they can make money breeding, so they pull them out. Otherwise they would keep racing, because they could make the purse money as well as the stud fees. The onlly horses that are kept racing even as winners are geldings, because their only value is to win a purse, and fillies, because you can't breed her 50 times a year and collect 50 fees. Although if the mare is a big winner like Ruffian you can look at breeding them to a Secretariate and if the offspring is sound and well formed it could command a staggering price, because of the potential present for the bloodlines.

    There is no shortage of statistics out there for every position. Common sense would make the industries statistic suspect. The same common sense would make the anti-racing statistics suspect.
    Unless you can find one that matches the major medical information. While I've found some of the anti-racing positions a bit radical, I have to concede that more of their information is sound and taken from the general equine medical community. There are also more people who have left the industry as a result of what it does to horses. Like former smokers, they can at times be the very outspoken opponents of TB racing.

    (too long...to be continued )
         
        09-28-2011, 07:06 AM
      #58
    Yearling
    (continues)

    Racing and making money from it is not a bad thing. The industry turned TB racing into a bad thing (long ago...it's not something new). Not just because it's all about money, but also because it's at the expense of the horse. We hear about the winners. Sound, broken, or destroyed it's the winners the public sees. Not the roughly 5,000 horses the industry chews up, spits out and replaces every year. It's a business and in that business horses are nothing more than a means to make money. If anyone doesn't believe that just look at the number of one time TB race horses out there for whoever wants them. Their usefullness to the industry they were bred to work in over before they finished growing.
    Personally I'd like it to have regulations that were geared soley for the protection and well being of the horses. The TB racing industry would be prohibitively expensive and would have to be the "sport of kings" again, since only the extremely rich (not just the wealthy) would be able to keep and train non money making horses long enough to race. It would better protect the horses. We'd have faster races and the icing on the cake would be a HUGE reduction in the number of unwanted horses caste out annually. But the industry would shrink dramatically, with fewer tracks and, by default, fewer races. Fewer broken down or unwanted horses though

    As for people loving their racing horses. Racing car drivers love their cars. They still get crashed.
    If everyone who owned these horses loved them so much there wouldn't be so many of them dumped on the market. I can promise you there wasn't a dry eye on the farm when Ruffian or Barbaro had to be put down. If you had multimillion dollar asset that was lost in an instant. Gone forever. Complete and total loss. You'd cry too. And that goes for everyone connected with that asset. You see, a winning horse equals more money for the tainer, rider, everyone. As an example, we'll use a trainer's interest. I don't know the actually fee arrangement that Ruffian's trainer had, but if it was the standard % then on Ruffian's final race, had she not been injured, the trainer would have stood to make over $20,000 for that one race. In 1975 that was a substantial amount of money. Well over a years salary for most working people.

    As for it being cruel. I guess that depends on what you think is cruel. It can be argued that these horses are bred for this (is bull fighting cruel....those bulls are specially bred for that) and they must love it, because they keep running as hard as they can (the bulls keep charging). But as I already stated, they are trained to do that. Psychology as demonstrated in so many different ways that animals can be conditioned to do things that are not what they would normally do or how they would normally do it, but it can become something that they do as a result of training and conditioning. I taught my mare not to run when I fired a gun. That was not her natural behavior. The loud noise hurt her ears and her instinct was to runaway. Over time, with conditioning, she learned to accept the noise and not bolt from it. Because she would not bolt if a gun was fired did it mean she liked to hear guns go off. No, but she had learned that it was what I expected of her and she likely rembered all the pleasant things that resulted from her not bolting when I was training her. Horses love rewards and usually learn very well from the use of them.

    Every person has to make up their own mind about how they feel about TB racing (if they have an opinion at all). Time and experiences moved me away from TB racing. And even many of the anti-racing crowd don't like some of my positions, but I won't get into all that. As a horse lover I just couldn't justifiy what I'd seen and knew was going on. And everytime there was a public outcry (always when a horse went down during a big race) the industry would rush to do damage control and put a bandaid on the problem. For a few years they've been making improvements to the running surface of the tracks to reduce injuries. No one is willling to make the leap to racing only fully developed adult horses. It's all about racing them young, so the money can be made as soon as possible. Sorry, but when I look at my 3.5 year old that I still have not ridden, because I know that even though her lower legs are finished and hardened her back is still forming. After she's 4 I'll put a saddle on her and perhaps at 4.5 I'll get on her for a few minutes at a time for short, light work under saddle. Do I want to ride her now? Certainly. It's not a lot of fun feeding and paying the cost of maintaining a horse (or two) and not being able to ride them yet. Let alone have a racing horse and not able to race it. But there's the difference. People who really care about the well being of their TB race horse are more interested in the horses well being and less in how quickly they can start making money with it.
    Try counting the number of people who train their TB race horse slowly and at the pace of horse's physical develope. Waiting until the horse is fully developed and starts racing them at 6. Don't worry, you'll have enough fingers
         
        09-28-2011, 04:13 PM
      #59
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Comebakatz    
    Joined just to talk about this topic. Doing a paper on it for law school actually. Found it interesting that in the last several years there has been a huge increase in studies done to improve the safety of horse racing. One of those studies went over surfaces and which is best, etc. The study also found that 2-year-olds have the lowest ratio of breakdowns. Here is the quote from the study:

    The Jockey Club released statistics that show the breakdown of fatalities according to age of the racehorse. Two-year-olds had the lowest incidence at 1.51 per 1,000 starts, and 5-year-olds the highest at 2.45.
    So, how do you remedy the fact that the younger horses had the lowest incidence while 5 year olds had the higher? If so few 2 year olds are breaking down then it is hard to say that it is really hurting their growth and if they aren't breaking down within a year then it is really hard to say that it is because of the soft bones. Instead they often break down 3 years later. I am not convinced that 2 year old racing is as cruel as many make it out to be.

    I again have to agree with Pounds here.

    Studies on these things cannot be done by the person who will benefit from the outcome. It makes for a biased study. The fact that this was done by the Jockey Club, the people who would be the most hurt if the study came out negative, makes me automatically discredit it.

    The person conducting the study cannot be involved in it. It just makes for a biased outcome that has nothing to do with truth. As was stated earlier, its money. If the results had come out that it IS 2 year olds that break down, do you know what they would have had to change? They would lose money. So why would the results be any different than they are now?

    If this was done by an independent agency, then I may believe it. But the Jockey Club could have easily manipulated the outcome.
    its lbs not miles likes this.
         
        09-28-2011, 04:33 PM
      #60
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lakotababii    
    I again have to agree with Pounds here.

    Studies on these things cannot be done by the person who will benefit from the outcome. It makes for a biased study. The fact that this was done by the Jockey Club, the people who would be the most hurt if the study came out negative, makes me automatically discredit it.

    The person conducting the study cannot be involved in it. It just makes for a biased outcome that has nothing to do with truth. As was stated earlier, its money. If the results had come out that it IS 2 year olds that break down, do you know what they would have had to change? They would lose money. So why would the results be any different than they are now?

    If this was done by an independent agency, then I may believe it. But the Jockey Club could have easily manipulated the outcome.
    I don't doubt that what the Jockey Club provided is true. In a very strict interpretation of truth. They didn't lie. As you noted, they'll present the "truth" that promotes their position. They'll leave out the rest of the information. (where is Paul Harvey and "the rest of the story" ) Some of which I mentioned....like these older horses already having suffered damage from races they'd been running for years while too young. That's why I do love when they use statistics. You can take all the information and taylor it to meet whatever position you want. Even this information given by the Jockey Club gave can be used against there position if it's presented right. By their own results it's better to start racing at 6 and older. Obviously, since even amoung already racing horses (that managed to not already break down) the number of breakdowns starting declining at 6 and older. If we make it into a bell curve I guess 8 year olds will have fewer injuries than 2 and 3 year olds.
    brackenbramley likes this.
         

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