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Hey everyone. I'm bringing up controversy.

So I'm not an authority on the subject of racing, but I don't necessarily disagree with it from what I can gather. There's a lot of talk about the amount of deaths/year on racetracks, but I think what people don't realize what percentage that is of the whole picture. For example that could only be 1 or 2 % out of a whole group of racehorses at a certain track.

I think another thing to keep in mind is that people seem to carefully track the breakdowns in horse racing, while not really paying attention to what could be a similar amount of danger in other disciplines. All equine sports are dangerous and require safety measures, no matter the sport. So what people about and spreading about racing specifically could be dramatized or over exaggerated.

This isn't to say there isn't bad in racing though. Drugging happens. Breakdowns happen. Electric shock devices happen. But I think that the vast majority of racehorses don't break down, aren't drugged, and aren't shocked with devices.

The point is that as long as horse and rider are happy and healthy, they can do anything. Just have integrity when riding and be considerate of the horse as a partner and not just a machine :)

Again I could be wrong about this, so please let me know if you have worked in the racing industry or know a ton more than myself, who is just trying to learn lol. Thanks :)
 

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“as long as horse and rider are happy and healthy” doesn’t really feature in any professional sport, horse racing included. Just look at other pro sports where it’s just human health and happiness on the line.

I personally don’t enjoy racing (well, excluding Zenyatta for some reason - I must have watched all of her races twenty times, go figure). I used to keep my horse next to a race track and I really, really didn’t like the way those horses (and riders) were treated - very disposable.
 

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I have worked on the perimeters of the racing industry in e UK Racing here is very different to the USA which does leave a lot to desire.

Drugs of any kind here are prohibited and testing is rife.

Majority of racing is done on grass which, in dry weather is watered to keep the going 'giving'

Horses are raced far less often.

Horses are trained away from racecourses and their work is varied.

There are very few deaths of young horses from broken limbs to break downs.
 

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I worked in the Standardbred Racing industry - both on the breeding farm/training farm and at the track.

We all worked for one trainer who only trained for one owner - said owner had a lot of money, so in most cases the horses were actually treated pretty good. They would get breaks from the track to go home to the farm for turnout, etc.

We still saw breakdowns though - and I attribute that mostly to these horses being worked too hard at too young an age. Lots of bowed tendons and chip fractures. I don't believe any of the horses had to be put down b/c of these injuries, but in most cases they were career ending.

My biggest beef with the industry aside from horses being started too young, is the poor breeding and over breeding. I have no problem with racing itself, but I think if breeders were a little more selective and started breeding for a sounder horse, there would be less breakdowns.

Any discipline once you are competing for prestige & money can get ugly though - not just racing.
 

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I agree with @cbar. If you are asking do I enjoy watching horse racing. The answer is yes - I like races with jockeys, cart racing and actually the carriage racing too (which I wish they televised more of)

Do I like the practices that go on behind the scenes. Nope - as others stated - starting horses too young, over breeding, removing mares from dams and using nurse mares. In any sport equestrian or other there is corruption and greed. Long gone are the days when if you had a good horse you may have races it a little on the side. Big business means get a paycheck no matter what.

The UK standard sounds so much better but I am sure there are still areas of abuse etc.
 

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I disagree with racing done in the United States - other countries are doing it better, and we are late to yet another game.
 

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I stand by my comment on nurse mares. Whether in the racing industry, medical industry or in the breeding industry. It obviously happens as there is no way there are that many orphan foals around. And I live near where Rita Crundwell raised her AQHA horses and saw first hand her surrogate mares and there high bred babies. The condition of those mares was appalling.
 

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@carshon - interesting on the nurse mares. The farm I worked at was an all-encompassing operation. Meaning he had his own mares he bred, but he also kept many of the babies to continue on their training and racing at the same farm. He also went to the yearling sales in the US and Canada.

At the farm I was at, there were no nurse mares. Since this is Standardbred racing - the mares were most often bred via AI, and carried their own foal, then I believe foals were weaned at 6 months (although, this might be off...it was a long time ago).

The use of nurse mares is completely foreign to me.

I do know of one local vet clinic which utilizes Standardbred mares off the track as nurse mares, but I'm not sure on details. And more often than not, they try to find good homes for these mares afterward (is my belief).
 

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Equestrian Girl, true, even with babies raced so young, that the number of catastrophic breakdowns on the track are small - tho I wouldn't say that's negligible - but those catastrophic breakdowns are but a very small percentage of the 'wastage' in the *industry*. As mentioned, over breeding, and not breeding for strength is rife, and even with all other factors aside, there are simply far & away more 'throw away' horses than there can possibly be homes for, even if every horse owner took one. So the TB industry is also a big supplier of the petfood industry.

And that is ignoring the multitude of other issues. I know that racing, like other sports, can be done well, with care of the horse etc(& yeah, from what I've seen, as a rule, the UK & Ireland do far better) but as a rule, it is a money making *industry* that just uses horses, to their detriment. So no, I don't support racing at all.
 

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From a welfare standpoint horse racing should be eliminated or some sort of limit placed on the number of horses bred each year. If you limit how many are bred each year, it would ensure that they only breed the best, and perhaps more care will be placed on keeping the horses sound in training.

Putting aside catastrophic breakdowns, what happens when these horses don't make it and are thrown away?

I don't want a ex-racehorse because of the extra costs involved. They need a bigger trailer because they are bigger horses, they need to be completely re-started, may have behavioral issues, they may need to be shod due to thin soles...

They often have physical issues or joint arthritis started and may need a significant period of rehabilitation. They may need extra feed to maintain condition because they are bigger horses... they may need ulcer treatment. X rays to check for joint damage before you purchase.

All that adds up to possibly thousands of dollars and the uncertainty of whether the horse will ever be sound enough to perform at the level you want.

That's a huge investment in time and training and there's no guarantee the horse you take on won't have serious health issues and need euthanasia sooner than expected. I've read many sad stories of people who have taken on former racehorses and have had to put them down.

There are the official statistics on breakdowns on the track during races, but what about the breakdowns during training? Those horses that are quietly euthanized and the public will never hear about it. Those numbers will never be published. What about the former racehorses that get shipped to Mexico? Again that number is unknown.

That said, many in the quarter horse industry are doing just as much damage- futurities, and think of the damage the halter industry has done as far as breeding horses with physical limitations. The diseases like pssm type 2 that aren't being genetically tested for. Or the people who breed their hypp horses anyway.
 

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I think equestrian sports are risky. Always. Because you are dealing with a big and sometimes unpredictable animal. Add in speed and stress to the mix and... whoppa. I think working with horses is okay if the practices are ethical and the horse is considered.

Yes, I like horse racing and I like to watch it. I would love to try it one day myself. :) Off course I condemn unethical practices.
 

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Finally, a peacful horse racing conversation.

Anyways, I've worked in both the Thoroughbred and the Quarter Horse racing industry. Quarter horse racing is most common where I live (western U.S). I currently own racehorses, but I've put the majority of my time to my barrel horses. Might sound weird, but I "follow" the TB industry more than the AQHRA (news, horses, etc.)

Personally, I found that there is a big difference in what goes on. Yes, thoroughbreds breakdown more on racetracks compared to quarter horses. As for drugs, Quarter horses are most likely to come out positive compared to TBs.

On top of that, quarter horses are most likely to be raced illegally. Last year, I traveled to Phoenix, AZ to race some horses. I went to the office to ask something and the lady told me that 1 in every 3 quarter horses were being raced illegally, while 1 in every 40 TBs were being raced illegally. I wondered why it still hasn't been reported to officals, and I still wonder that today.

During illegal races, horses are drugged untill their dead. During the race, I noticed that the favorite horse had a terrible track record. His odds were 1-2, and I wondered why he was so favored. Turns out, the only reason why his odds were so high (and so was the attendance) were because he had made a name outside of the track racing illegally and all of Arizona had come to see his race.

Changing topics now, I honestly find no need in racing horses at such a young age. Yes, it is proven that it could be better for their overall performance but it can reduce the amount of breakdowns dramatically. As for the quarter horse racing, I think that they really need to do something about all the illegal activity.

******

Not trying to get off track, but have you guys heard about the Kentucky Derby Boycott?? I'm really upset about it tbh...
 
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