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  #21  
Old 05-11-2014, 01:13 PM
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I worked at the track as a groom (decades ago), and it was for a young trainer just starting out, so I think there was one allowance horse in the bunch, the rest were claimers. We took darned good care of those horses, and that trainer did his best to get them ready to run and pick a race they could do well in. The idea is to win races, and if you abuse or run those horses into the ground, well, that kinda defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Saying these horses are forced to run is kinda like saying Huskies and other sled dogs are forced to run as well. So why can dogs love to run, but not horses?

I do wish TBs weren't raced so early but some of that is the government's fault. Used to be horsemen could write off their expenses in raising these thoroughbreds but now they can't and owners want to see some return for all the money they sink into their horses. If they don't show a profit within seven years, the IRS can declare their business is a hobby and they can't write off anything.
This.

Most race horsemen take better care of their horses than the majority of private horse owners IME :/. There are some who run their horses into the ground, just like there are some guys who don't care for their pony horses very well, there is this one guy who is always using other people's horses because he doesn't take care of the two he has :/, and he is always cycling through horses, selling them after about a year because he overuses them and breaks them down.

I HATE people like this because they make the public think that ALL people in the racing industry are bad people who are bad to their horses. We treat all our horses (yes even our claimers) like they are living creatures with thoughts, opinions and feelings of their own. If they just don't "have it" and we try everything to see if its something we are doing (or not doing) and they still don't respond, we advertise to the horse community that we have some horses who aren't working out, we have lots of feelers out in the general horse community and some of them are picked up to be outriding or pony horses, some to be barrel horses, and in the case of TBs, hunters, hunter jumpers and even dressage horses.

I have never worked with a TB trainer, but I know people who train TBs and TBs require a LOT of care (if you are doing it right). its not unusual for TB grooms to be at the barn until 6pm in the evening, sometimes later. Some don't even get a break at lunch.

QH's are easier, since they don't run as far or train as much, they are lower maintenance than TBs.
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  #22  
Old 05-11-2014, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Snark View Post
I worked at the track as a groom (decades ago), and it was for a young trainer just starting out, so I think there was one allowance horse in the bunch, the rest were claimers. We took darned good care of those horses, and that trainer did his best to get them ready to run and pick a race they could do well in. The idea is to win races, and if you abuse or run those horses into the ground, well, that kinda defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Saying these horses are forced to run is kinda like saying Huskies and other sled dogs are forced to run as well. So why can dogs love to run, but not horses?

I do wish TBs weren't raced so early but some of that is the government's fault. Used to be horsemen could write off their expenses in raising these thoroughbreds but now they can't and owners want to see some return for all the money they sink into their horses. If they don't show a profit within seven years, the IRS can declare their business is a hobby and they can't write off anything.
This has been my experience as well. It DOES get to me that my step-dad can so easily let his horses go, as they are claiming horses as well. We always go visit them at the barns and then I get attached and one day the horse won't be there anymore. THAT part makes me very sad, as I know for my step-dad it's more of a business than anything.

BUT like I said the horses I've seen have all been taken really good care of no matter what and they seriously LIVE to run. I've seen them before just dying to get out there and run and a lot of times they have to hold them back so they don't wear themselves out.

One of my stepdads recent horses just injured her foot running the last race, which she won. We are moving to a new house in a few weeks and are going to have a barn so he is going to keep her now that she can't race anymore.
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  #23  
Old 05-11-2014, 07:46 PM
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I have no experience in the horse racing industry and only a little about the greyhound racing industry. However, what I can say is that when people say "oh poor dogs, being forced to run like that" when they meet my dogs... I kind of laugh. Force them to run? There is no forcing these dogs to run. If that were the case they wouldn't run once retired. But most greyhounds continue to love to run for the rest of their lives. Summit is 9 and so far as we can tell from his records he never raced for some reason, but he still rips it up every day. I feel like horses are very much the same. The rest if the industry I know nothing about... Good or bad. But I feel like it's pretty clear that horses were made to run and love it.
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  #24  
Old 05-11-2014, 09:01 PM
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I think it's also worth mentioning that MANY "regular" horse owners consider their animals disposable. There is an auction barn in our area and there are never any shortage of horses being taken there for a quick sale--enough to have weekly sales year round. Twice a year they have HUGE sales there that are an all day event, and that's with ponies being auctioned off in a separate building. While a seller at an auction can call a no sale if say, a known meat buyer is the high bidder on their horse (for a fee), ultimately at an auction you have very little control as to what kind if home your horse goes to.
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  #25  
Old 05-11-2014, 09:47 PM
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I think it's also worth mentioning that MANY "regular" horse owners consider their animals disposable. There is an auction barn in our area and there are never any shortage of horses being taken there for a quick sale--enough to have weekly sales year round. Twice a year they have HUGE sales there that are an all day event, and that's with ponies being auctioned off in a separate building. While a seller at an auction can call a no sale if say, a known meat buyer is the high bidder on their horse (for a fee), ultimately at an auction you have very little control as to what kind if home your horse goes to.
I recently remember a thread, pretty sure it was right here on chaz about horse meat/slaughter, where horse owners defended the right to ship horses off to meat buyers when the time came and how non-horses owners just "don't get it" and euthanasia for horses is expensive etc..etc..etc..

I just don't understand how it's so much unlike any other pet ownership where you are responsible and save up for vet care ( /euthanasia) when the time comes instead of such a gruesome, scary alternative for an animal they supposedly love.

Anyway, the thread and the whole idea stuck with me and I just...I dunno I can't even put myself in that kind of horse owner mindset I guess where I would sell my animal off to be auctioned off to WHO KNOWS WHO because hey it's part of the world.

I went to UCONN where horse auctions were held and I was horrified to hear anyone with a trailer could just pay/go. Still am.

I don't even know why this is relevant but I just don't think it's just a race horse problem...it would seem that for some reason unlike owning any other pets (even exotics) horse ownership is just...different to some people, and maybe not in a good way in plenty of circles.

I mean plenty of pet owners are BAD, but no GOOD pet owner of any other kind would send their animal off to be auctioned off to the highest random bidder and still be considered good, you know? It's just so strange to me that it's so common
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:37 PM
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I recently remember a thread, pretty sure it was right here on chaz about horse meat/slaughter, where horse owners defended the right to ship horses off to meat buyers when the time came and how non-horses owners just "don't get it" and euthanasia for horses is expensive etc..etc..etc..

I just don't understand how it's so much unlike any other pet ownership where you are responsible and save up for vet care ( /euthanasia) when the time comes instead of such a gruesome, scary alternative for an animal they supposedly love.

Anyway, the thread and the whole idea stuck with me and I just...I dunno I can't even put myself in that kind of horse owner mindset I guess where I would sell my animal off to be auctioned off to WHO KNOWS WHO because hey it's part of the world.

I went to UCONN where horse auctions were held and I was horrified to hear anyone with a trailer could just pay/go. Still am.

I don't even know why this is relevant but I just don't think it's just a race horse problem...it would seem that for some reason unlike owning any other pets (even exotics) horse ownership is just...different to some people, and maybe not in a good way in plenty of circles.

I mean plenty of pet owners are BAD, but no GOOD pet owner of any other kind would send their animal off to be auctioned off to the highest random bidder and still be considered good, you know? It's just so strange to me that it's so common
Fran, please keep in mind that at the end of the day horses are livestock, not pets, even if society seems to believe otherwise. Livestock auctions happen everyday around the country.
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  #27  
Old 05-11-2014, 10:53 PM
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Fran, please keep in mind that at the end of the day horses are livestock, not pets, even if society seems to believe otherwise. Livestock auctions happen everyday around the country.
I get that horses are livestock. I also understand they are very expensive, there are space constraints, on and on. I totally understand why people need to rehome working dogs, horses, etc.

I think the bothersome part is to be so unconcerned with their well being once they are out of your care.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:55 PM
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Fran, please keep in mind that at the end of the day horses are livestock, not pets, even if society seems to believe otherwise. Livestock auctions happen everyday around the country.
I guess I just don't understand the live stock mindset when it comes to "pet" horses and people who buy these animals for pleasure... they ride them, train them, show them, work with them and do bond with them.

I GET livestock auctions. Animals raised to eat or whatever, I get that. I even get it when it comes to horses and animals that people really don't care about.
I GET people rehoming them, they are expensive, they are for sport etc..ect..it's not the new home thing that bothers me as much as the total disregard to where they are going.

But haven't horses (and not all horses, but I'd say A LOT owned by people) kind of become more than livestock at this point? People sure put more money into them than a cow or sheep or chicken...and sure seem to like them more in most cases.
I mean people LOVE their horses. I'm not a horse person but I know that much, people do love them in the same way we love our pets...I just don't understand taking that and still being ok with the various methods of their selling/disposal.

auctions and stuff, they happen everyday I just can't imagine those who love these animals being OK with it. I really, truly, do not understand.

Even if my expensive, trained bonded animal is classified as "livestock" I just can't imagine being like, Oh well, GOING ONE GOING TWICE SOLD TO THE RANDOM DUDE IN THE BLEACHERS I HOPE HE ISN'T PLANNING ON FEEDING YOU TO HIS PET WOLVES BYE ....and then that being widely accepted as responsible.

I also know It's not my world and I don't know much about it as I've only been to one auction, so I don't know much at all. the whole thing just strikes me as so strange
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  #29  
Old 05-12-2014, 03:22 PM
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Part of it is that if you're selling a horse for 5000-10000 it's unlikely that the new owners are going to butcher it or let it waste away. They may not train it or go to the lengths to save it that you might, but they probably won't mistreat it.

There are people who have pet-like feelings towards their 22 year old frumpy horse but they're delusional and disingenuous and tell themselves that their horse will be auctioned off as a dead-broke kids horse or something (like people who take their black pit bull/lab to a high kill shelter telling themselves that it will get a good home).

There are many people who don't sell their horses at auctions, and people who don't sell them at all. I don't think you'll find many people who really think of their horses as we do dogs and then send them to slaughter.

I dunno, I think attachment towards animals can be pretty nuanced. I think many riders love their horses but they love the sport more. They go through the time and expensive to be involved in the sport, not to have a pet horse. I mean:


Getting a horse to compete in riding, then selling him later doesn't seem any stranger to me than 4-Hers who raise, train, groom, show and otherwise worry over a steer and then auction him off for meat. Actually raising a steer with that level of diligence/bonding/interaction, then sending him to slaughter seems more brutal to me than bonding with a horse and sending it on to what you have reason to believe is a good home.
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:59 PM
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I think it is important to realize that sending a horse to "auction" (which can mean a lot of different things), is, as Xandra pointed out, kind of the equivalent of taking your dog to the humane society/rescue. It really isn't how most competition horses change hands. Those are generally private sales, either owner to owner, or with trainers acting as agents.

There are also a variety of auction types. In Europe, sporthorse auctions are a huge deal. No, you can't dictate where exactly the horse goes, but when someone is paying hundreds of thousands of Euros (or more), you know they are a certain type of buyer. I assume it is the same with the large Thoroughbred auctions. The meat buyer isn't going to Keeneland sales.

And horses get sold/traded/rehomed for a lot of reasons, just like dogs. If you have the greatest pony ever for teaching kids to jump, it may be something you have for a year or two. Then your kid starts to advance, and either you hold your kid back for life to keep the pony, or you push the pony past its comfort zone and try to force it to do more, or you sell it on to the next kid in line. And plenty of times, it is the right thing to do for that pony. I think when that sort of person sends a horse to an auction, it is with that delusional belief that they will find a great home. They are burying their head in the sand, and we see it with dogs as well.

Whether via auction, trainer, or private sale, the fact remains that once the horse is out of your possession, you have zero control over what happens to it. People find that out the hard way frequently. A lot of people will put "first refusal" rights in their sales agreements, but my understanding is they really can't be legally enforced.

So no, Tristan will never be sold. He's 18, he has chronic health issues that are difficult and expensive to manage, and could quickly get out of control if not kept on top of. Even if I could find the best new owner in the world - nope. I will euthanize him before I would sell him, and plenty of people would hang me out to dry for that.
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