TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Horse racing
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Horse racing

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, being Melbourne Cup day in Australia, once again I was the only person sitting at my desk while everybody else was in the boardroom watching the horses running. I used to love it - thought racing was very exciting - but now I'm not so sure.

I started this thread because I'd like to learn more about this industry from people who know a lot more than I do, of which I assume there are many here.

I know that the horses look and seem happy and well looked after - particularly in high-stakes races like the Melbourne Cup - but are they? The allegations of abuse, drugs - all kinds of things - are chilling. And what about in the majority of racing where they're not all big events like this one? Are the horses just chattel?

And what about the whipping? A study published regarding whipping in racing found that horses who are whipped in a race are less likely to perform well, and horses whipped from the start are almost never likely to win. I watched a re-run of the race because I have also heard that the horses aren't actually whipped, but the sound of the whip rushing past their ears is what is used.

I was happy to see that none of the horses at all were whipped until the last 250 yards or so, and only very minimally even then, with what looked like not much effort at all from the jockeys. But still - why whip them at all? I also read that thoroughbred horses are bred to run too fast, with too-big frames and too-thin legs, so they are in danger regardless of the whipping or other abuses such as performance-enhancing drugs.

I have also read that races like the steeple-chase are notoriously vicious and dangerous for the horses.

Thoughts, anyone?
post #2 of 16
hmm all i know about horse racing is they make left hands turns.
kinda like nascar. Accept in horse racing they have legs not wheels

as for steeple-chase, i remember seeing that a few time on TV, And yea did not look nice
i think like 3 horses had to be shot after the race. So i think they stopped showing in the states.

lol so i guess i cant really say.
i like to ride them does that cant?
post #3 of 16
I can understand letting a horse who was bred to run, who wants to run, run. But whipping is unnecessary. All it does is teach the horse you suck. I don't like horse races that much because of the fact that so many are injured because they are pushed too hard.

I avoid steeplechasing, IMO it's cruel.
post #4 of 16
I hate the Grand National over here because it's known as a long and cruel race
post #5 of 16
I don't really have a problem with horse racing in general.
Most owners provide their horses with the best care money can buy and the horses live very, very well (there are always exceptions).
Horses that do race are the ones who have shown that they have the heart for it, it's something they love doing.
Same for show jumping and dressage.

Steeple chasing and endurance races though, they just turn my stomach, as I don't believe the horse's best interests are given more that a passing thought.
post #6 of 16
from what I understand, the horses are treated pretty well. You do have an animal worth thousands or even millions of dollars. But as with any thing dealing with animals, there are cases of abuse. But I don't think that is very common.
post #7 of 16
My ex-neighbour (still friends) and his wife co-own several race horses. I've often been invited to the track with them on nights their horses were in the line-up and even got my picture taken with them and the horse in the winner's circle.

From my experience and knowledge, these horses are treated extremely well. As someone else said, these animals are very, very expensive so the owners aren't going to take a chance on them getting hurt or pushed too far. I'm sure there are some wealthier owners that aren't as concerned because the money isn't an issue, but for the average race horse owner, I do believe the horses are well cared for and as someone else also said, these horses love to run. Down the road from us there is a horse farm whose horses are sulky horses. When I drive by I often see them in their individual pastures running around looking free and happy.
post #8 of 16
I've been to a racing farm, and the horses lived better that I do. Their stalls were temperature controlled, they had messages, round the clock vet care, and they even had a stud service.

I'm sure there are exceptions, but heck, this place made me want to die and come back as a horse at that farm!
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
I've been to a racing farm, and the horses lived better that I do. Their stalls were temperature controlled, they had messages, round the clock vet care, and they even had a stud service.

I'm sure there are exceptions, but heck, this place made me want to die and come back as a horse at that farm!
Mmmmm, temperature control, round the clock health care, stud service - all sounds good. I'm curious though what sort of messages they get.

Sorry, I couldn't resist, especially after the grammar and spelling thread. I'll bend over now so you can kick me.
post #10 of 16
We have racehorses and I can assure they get treated extrememly well Now I'm sure just like anything there is good and bad people who do things they should not do, like drug the horse etc. I also have had a horse go down in a race and it was devastating

These thoroughbreds are BRED to race and run...they Love it
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Mmmmm, temperature control, round the clock health care, stud service - all sounds good. I'm curious though what sort of messages they get.

Sorry, I couldn't resist, especially after the grammar and spelling thread. I'll bend over now so you can kick me.
Sorry about that! But I wouldn't put it past this barn. The horses lived the high life!
post #12 of 16
What's truly heartbreaking is the fact that the Omak Washington Suicide Race is still being run.
21 some horses have died in the last 25 runs and I believe three died in the 2004 run.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post

And what about the whipping? A study published regarding whipping in racing found that horses who are whipped in a race are less likely to perform well, and horses whipped from the start are almost never likely to win. I watched a re-run of the race because I have also heard that the horses aren't actually whipped, but the sound of the whip rushing past their ears is what is used.

I was happy to see that none of the horses at all were whipped until the last 250 yards or so, and only very minimally even then, with what looked like not much effort at all from the jockeys. But still - why whip them at all?

I wanted to respond in regards to the whipping. It looks vicious, but you have to remember that horses have thick hides, and in the middle of a race, they're surrounded by NOISE (pounding hooves, yelling jockeys) and chaos (being bumped around by a jock/horse duo that wants the rail more than you) and not to mention adrenaline. When you factor that in, being hit by a whip isn't as bad as you'd think. Yes, some jocks to overuse it, but they get punished for it as well (you get hefty fines if you bring your horse back with welts). And some horses need it, and some horses don't. The horse that was highly touted to win the Kentucky Derby in 2003, I personally believe he was one of the latter. In his last race, the Jim Dandy, he looked like he should have won it, but every time his jock brought the whip out, he'd slow down a bit. When the whip got put away, he'd speed up. When it came out, he'd slow down again. He ended up losing by a nose or so (I think?). When I looked back at the Derby, I noticed that he probably could have won if the jock hadn't used the whip. Funny Cide won, but Empire Maker was making a nice run but I noticed that every time the whip came out, his rush would slow down. When the whip went away, he'd focus again, but when the whip came out again, he'd slow. It makes me wonder, really. And there was one filly in 2001, Exogenous, who didn't like the whip. In her last race before the Breeders' Cup (the Beldame), she was running against two VERY fine mares, one of which was Spain, the 2000 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner. Spain and the other mare were fighting on the rail and on the outside, here came Exogenous. Her jock brought out the whip and bam, Exogenous slammed into Spain (who slammed into the other horse). The jock brought her back out, steadied her, the filly put on another burst, and then he brought the whip out again. Another bam, of Exogenous veering in away from the whip and into Spain. The jock figured it out then and put the whip away, and Exogenous pulled away to win easily. An inquiry was put up (to make sure the riding was fair to the other two mares), but it was upheld, and the connections of Spain and the other mare said that they believed Exogenous was the better winner that day (sadly, when she went to the Breeders' Cup, she got spooked coming onto the track and she reared up and flipped over, hitting her head and getting her leg caught in a gate. They detangled her after 10 minutes and took her back to her stall, but she started having seizures a week later and was put down. A sad story, especially when you look at pictures of her laying on the ground on the track, leg stuck in the gate, jock cradling her head, owner/trainer bawling with his head in his hands).

And some horses do need the whip. Case in point is the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic, won by Tiznow. He was battling with Giant's Causeway, and I think he would have won anyway, but during the stretch, Giant's Causeway's jock dropped his whip and the horse immediately slowed down and Tiznow got his head in front at the wire. I think I even remember reading at one point that Tiznow was a whip-needer as well. He loved to win by close finishes (he'd run a VERY similar race in the 2001 BC Classic, winning by a nose again against a different horse), but he needed the whip to get started on his run. It might have been Tiznow, it might have been a different horse, but I read a story once about one of the great jockeys of our time once needing the whip for a horse (because this horse wouldn't lift a hoof in the stretch until you gave a slap with the crop), but he'd dropped it. So he swung his hand back and smacked the horse on the rump and the horse took off (and I think ended up winning). The jock came back with a sore hand, though, lol. Without the whip, I think the horse would have finished 5th, but I don't remember. The whip isn't meant to be punishment, it's supposed to be encouragement, just like in other disciplines. The whip is an extension of your arm, another training aid. You have to remember that jocks can't use their legs (much) during a race, as they're all but sitting perched on the horse's back. The whip is meant to be a final cue given to the horse to tell him that now is the time to go.

Speaking of the whip being a last cue, I believe that's why no horse ever wins when the whip comes out in the early stages of the race. If that happens, it means the horse is already tiring, and his chances of doing anything in the race are already shot, whip or no whip. The jock just gives a last ditch effort (because you can be fined for NOT trying to get the horse to give a reasonable amount of effort; a way to fix race fixing [holding horse back] I guess. Of course, if the horse is sore or tired or "off," the jock has every right to just bring him back safely, but the jock is expected to try to get a healthy horse to put forth SOME effort, lol). You also have to remember that these horses are running at top speed, up to 44 miles an hour, so when the horse decides to play games, it's DANGEROUS. Running through the rail, running into another horse, running zig-zags, it can spell disaster for everyone involved. If your rein breaks, the whip is an excellent tool to keep the horse on the correct path until you can pull him up and get him away from the other horses (and thus keep them safe). If the horse bolts, the whip is, again, an excellent tool to get him to run in a safe path, rather than towards the outside or inside rail.


And I do agree with you about the horse's physical structure. Once the breeders stop breeding for speed rather than stamina, and breed to sound studs rather than weak-ankled, fragile-kneed studs, our Thoroughbreds will benefit GREATLY. It's just so sobering to look at pictures of the racers of the past and look at their thick legs and stockier bodies, and know that those legends are a thing of the past. *sigh* Those horses were hardier, they could run far more than the "tiring" 4-race seasons that we tend to get now (the old horses could run a full year, sometimes with only a few days rest between the races, though usually they got a rest during the winter and only ran during spring-summer). Nowadays, they don't run until summer, and they're out by early fall, with roughly 4-5 races in all that time. And if they get so much as a blemish, the owners and trainers claim the horse has "nothing left to prove" and he gets shipped off to stud. Pathetic. The claimers are the backbone of the sport, these horses tend to be hardier (or they aren't as valuable as the stakes winners, so more risks get taken), so they deserve a lot of cudos from everyone. Stakes runners are "Pansy Ponies" and even the fans of them don't expect much from them. Most all of us have quite a few claimers that we love to follow and adore, as those horses are reliable and you almost always know where to find them.

I apologize for the long post, but when I find these threads about horse racing on NON-horse racing boards, I just get overexcited and can't help myself, lol
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
That was awesome - thank you! It's the kind of stuff I've wanted to hear about. I have to say that in the Melbourne Cup yesterday the whips really didn't come out until right at the end (it was a very exciting finish!) and the jockeys really looked like they were just waving them around instead of really belting the horses with them.

But of course then I googled horce racing + whipping and found some horrible stories. I would like to believe in this industry though, for the reasons mentioned, that the horses are treated very well. Unlike poor greyhounds - dog racing turns my stomach.

I've also heard that in horse racing, really, the horses pretty much call the shots, and a good jockey will learn his horse and learn about everything the horse likes and what it's best attributes are etc, and encourage those - more about positive reinforcement than punishment. Is this right?
post #15 of 16
I used to like to watch the major horseraces on television, but I have taken to avoiding them. I've seen one too many horses break down.

While many live the good life, I'm sure there is also abuse, animals destroyed for insurance money, etc. Anything that involves people and money is never going to be all sweetness and happy endings.

I've never been involved in racing, just owned a couple horses to ride. While I never had a need to whip them, I can assure you, they were big and strong enough to put me in my place whenever the thought crossed their mind.
post #16 of 16
Ok, I like horses, but I am not a "horse person" with tons of knowledge about them. I can put a saddle on a horse and have also been known to groom a horse or two, but that is about it. I have read (but don't know how true the source was) that one of the reasons for whipping a horse is to stimulate the flight response because a horse will run away from something that it attacking it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Horse racing