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Old 05-04-2014, 11:55 AM
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Default Horse racing

How do you feel about it?

I uses to hate it and think it was cruel. And honestly sometimes it still bothers me a bit.

But my stepdad owns like 10 race horses and honestly? These horses live a great life, are treated with the best veterinary care, and once they retire they live on farms and I know a few of the people that now have the ex racers.

I guess I'm just kind of somewhere in the middle. It's my stepdads passion and hobby so I'm only really hearing his side.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:03 PM
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Like most animal sports I think there a fair chunk of good and a fair chunk of bad....

When it's good it's really good, and when it's bad it's horrid.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:15 PM
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I wish they didn't race them so young... I've heard that causes a lot of problems.

I've heard a lot of racehorses get sent to slaughter (haven't checked out facts) and I don't like that much. If no one has a use for them as a racing/riding/competition animal then sure use them for meat, but especially now that the US has banned slaughter, to send the poor creature on a tractor trailer ride to another country just to kill it isn't very humane. Even where it's legal, the horses usually have to be trucked a ways. It would be better if there were many small local slaughterhouses, like we have for cattle.

Overall though I'm not against the industry. I used to go to the local track when I was younger.

We don't really have steeplechases here, I've wondered if that's a better way to race in some ways... surely the dud horses are more usable by the public if they have experience jumping (and I'd imagine they're raced a bit older?)
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:30 PM
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I really dislike the entire horse "industry". If horse sports were like dog sports (competitive, but not SUPERUBERSERIOUS, with the exception of greyhound racing) then I would have no problem with them. Even watching Rolex (super big equestrian 3-day eventing competition) I just get pissed off. Most horse riders and trainers haven't the slightest clue about animal behavior and it is sickening to watch. Watching the riders yank on those poor horse's mouths is gross. Your horse isn't throwing his head around because he's "crazy", he's throwing his head around because you are yanking on his bit and that hurts, and riders literally don't get that and look at me like I have a second head when I say that.

I kind of went off topic here

But for real, the horse industry is all kinds of messed up. I am so glad the dog world at least has a basic understanding of dog behavior and what causes pain.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:42 PM
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I think there is good and bad. As a "horse person" I have just casual knowledge of thoroughbred racing, but have a but more experience with harness racers (Standardbreds). I have very mixed feelings about that particular sport. I used to own an off the track standardbred, and hung out in the barns/saw him race a few times before they sold him too me. He had suffered a ligament injury and the owners decided to give him MUCH less time off than was recommended for the injury because they didn't want to lose the whole racing season resting him (their explanation, not my assumption). He performed poorly after they started racing him again, despite them dosing him with NASIDs before the race. These owners were not bad people, and they seemed pretty well respected in the barns at at tracks I spent time at, but this just seemed to be the norm.

After getting my gelding home we started attending to his leg (the ligament in question had bowed out sideways), and with about a year of recovery and treatment he was sound, and now spends his days as a pleasure riding horse for a lovely family. His alternative would have been to be sold to the Amish, used as a carriage horse until his injury caught up to him, and most likely sold at auction to meat buyers-most of the Amish are not going to feed a horse that's just sitting in recovery for a year.

Also, it doesn't seem that Standardbreds have the same post racing opportunities that thoroughbreds do-TBs are more popular as sport horses and much of the horse industry is not well informed about STBs. After buying my gelding I had numerous people who had years of experience with horses express surprise that I intended to turn him into a riding horse, and had a well established trainer tell me, "You know those horses CAN'T canter, right?" (they are discouraged from cantering during race training so extra work has to be out into cantering when training as a riding horse, but they are certainly capable of it).

The bottom line is that in any animal activity were money and egos are on the line there are going to be abuses. The hope is that responsible people within the community step up and self police before said abuses cause outside entities (federal government) to become involved.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Like most animal sports I think there a fair chunk of good and a fair chunk of bad....

When it's good it's really good, and when it's bad it's horrid.
That's kind of where I stand, too. Honestly, I don't know enough about it to have a real opinion.

Also, I think horse slaughter is legal again in the US? (Ack, nevermind, in January it changed again. Which I think is stupid. But that's a whole 'nother can of worms.)
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picklepaige View Post
I really dislike the entire horse "industry". If horse sports were like dog sports (competitive, but not SUPERUBERSERIOUS, with the exception of greyhound racing) then I would have no problem with them. Even watching Rolex (super big equestrian 3-day eventing competition) I just get pissed off. Most horse riders and trainers haven't the slightest clue about animal behavior and it is sickening to watch. Watching the riders yank on those poor horse's mouths is gross. Your horse isn't throwing his head around because he's "crazy", he's throwing his head around because you are yanking on his bit and that hurts, and riders literally don't get that and look at me like I have a second head when I say that.

I kind of went off topic here

But for real, the horse industry is all kinds of messed up. I am so glad the dog world at least has a basic understanding of dog behavior and what causes pain.
Eh, both the horse world and dog world have serious issues going on. In my experience dogs are FAR more likely to be owned by people who have zero clue about dog behavior than horses. Yes, you do see idiots at high levels if horse competition, but I get the impression that high levels of dog competition are not immune. In addition you have breeding issues--entire breeds of dogs in such a physical state that they cannot breed or give birth naturally, have what are essentially physical deformities being bred for, etc.

Also, horses and dogs just tend to be viewed differently in general. You rarely "sell" an adult dog sold for money, it's "rehomed" for a "rebooming fee."
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:01 PM
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I grew up on the race track and I very much dislike horse racing. There are some good trainers out there that are good to their horses, but the vast majority of racing is pump them full of drugs, run them young, and use them up till they break.

98% of my horses growing up were ex-racers. It'd take us a while to get them sane and sound again and then they were amazing horses. But it takes a lot of extra work and there's more horses than homes willing to put the work in. Just makes me sad.

It's not really the racing that's the problem, it's that money is involved so it gets perverted. Just like everything else when money gets involved.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by xpaeanx View Post
It's not really the racing that's the problem, it's that money is involved so it gets perverted. Just like everything else when money gets involved.
^ This is pretty much what I was going to say.

There are a lot of good people in horses, and in racing, but there are also a lot of people who have no business being in charge of any animal's welfare.

There are also some really great things being done on the transitioning of ex-racers front.

I grew up as a big fan of horse racing but while I still like the racing of horses, the industry surrounding it needs serious work.
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:15 PM
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Thanks for all the insight.

It was something I was never 100% comfortable with, like I said, but I know my step-dads horses seem to be very well taken care of. We keep up with the retired horses too, I'm FB friends with a few of the people that have the ex-racers and they lead great lives, but I realize this might not be the norm.
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