Of Horse

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The Price of our Desires - Horses Dying for our Pleasure
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The Price of our Desires - Horses Dying for our Pleasure

Admire Rakti and Araldo are two horses that people most likely have heard of, following their deaths at the Melbourne Cup this year. One having to be put down following an accident after the horse spooked, resulting in him kicking out and injuring his leg and the other fatal heart failure. 

Broken legs and heart failure are unfortunately a common thing for the horses that become collateral damage in this huge industry where many horses do not even make it to training and even more then fail to make it to the race track.

Racing is probably the worse end of the scale in terms of the cost of life and the terrible implications when our desires, overrule the basic rights of another. In an industry so heavily led by money, the cost of life becomes so little. Over breeding is rife in the hope of a 'winner' being born and over training of young, undeveloped horses common place.

Most people know there are issues with the racing industry but very few know of the full scale of the impact that it has and how many horses end up being slaughtered due to injury, or because they simply don't make the grade.

It makes you wonder how far we are willing to go; how much we are willing to push and risk for our own gain?

On the other end of the scale the domestic horse owner will tell you how much they love their horse but ask many of them if they would keep their horse if it became unable to be ridden and many will answer that they wouldn't or couldn't keep their horse if they couldn't 'use them'.

It makes you wonder then if horse racing industry is just the more severe end of a distorted relationship where horses lives are only as valuable as the usage that we can get out of them.

If we all as horse owners and horse lovers changed our view does it not then become possible for the horses lives as a whole in every country and in every discipline where horses are worked or competed to improve? Racing shows us there is an issue but it is one that runs through horsemanship as a whole and one that we can all take steps to change.




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  1. Archippus
    Vote #8 Andreana! This is not the first race horse to die this year. I wrote about another one earlier in the year. I hate to hear it and have some very mixed feelings about the racing industry. There are horses that love to race and there are some very good horse owners and trainers. Your profile is very interesting!
    1. Andreana Dorrs
      Andreana Dorrs
      Thanks for your comment. It's a hard balance and there is good and bad out there certainly, Imjust hope we can make it safer for them.
      1. Archippus
        Congratulations for making Top Posts, Andreana!
  2. PonyGirl
    A heart attack in a horse can happen at any time, just like in a human. They are not however, very common in horses. When they do occur, they have nothing to do with racing, greed, or anyone's pleasure. Likewise, an accident like the one mentioned above could happen to any horse anywhere, even one alone in a pasture. These two incidents do nothing to further your point. However it is true there are too many deaths in racing, both of horses and of people as well. Many things are being done to try and find the causes of breakdowns and ways to improve safety. The first blog I wrote for Of Horse,(An Insider's View of the Racetrack) addresses those issues as well as the issue of unwanted horses. It is true that people who breed racehorses hope for a "big horse"- a Breeder's Cup winner, or even a Triple Crown winner, but everyone in the industry know those are extremely rare. Breeders mostly try for horses that are competitive in the middle ranks- usually in State Bred races. They try to breed for sturdiness as well as speed. Each baby is carefully planned. The parents' bloodlines are studied extensively before a match is made. The breeding, mare care, and cost of feeding and care of the baby for two years entail considerable expense. Most breeders take pride in their stallions or mares and their offspring. They want to see their horses do well and thrive. The vast majority of young horses do make it to training, and the majority of those go on to race. Although there are some people who are callous and unfeeling in the industry and some who are driven by greed, these do not represent the majority of the people on the track. There are things that need to change in our industry, but there are many people inside the industry who are searching for solutions and are pushing for needed change.
    1. Mark Calvo
      Mark Calvo
      Well stated PonyGirl.
    2. Andreana Dorrs
      Andreana Dorrs
      I didn't reply initially to this comment as, I beleive everyone is welcome to their opinion and there will always be different views. We are all brought up differently, our hearts and minds are not the same and so our views will differ. I will say though that it is my adamant belief that racing is not in the interests of the horse, ever, period. It was not created for the benefit of horses and it is, on the whole an industry that causes horses in one way or another distress, pain and death. Of course there are many other things in this world that does the same to horses: we live in an imperfect world and there is still a way to go till we find a way of being with horses the is truly respectful and loving.
    3. James Kenway
      hey pony girl. i would just like to express that in a way, i undestand why you say that hearth attack not does have anything to do with horse racing... but there is times thoug where doctores, vet, and sienze report had showed, that on many of the racehorses it DOES happen to, 79% of those FEW exeptions could had lived up to 3-6 years longer had they not been used in a race... allso, when thats said. true, its not only race horses that is an issue. experts document and sign, that at all all compatetion like jumping, polo, drassage compatetion, fox hunting, all all equestion sports is detrimental to a horses well being... to go thrug them shortly. bits couse pain and damage to horses moute, lips, teeth and jaw, nick, and all parts in the horses head. even with good gendel rider's, it couse pain in the horses gums, as the lower jaw is as sharp as a knife's backside, and with a pull in the rein that is attact to a bit, it couses pressur from the bit on thise gum's, thus press the gums down on thise sharp lower jaw, that in reality is what made the horses turn there head, or oder way do as they are told. becouse they fast learn, that in doing so. this pain is realised again. thus it's controling the horse trough pain, and therefore a rider who rides with the use of bit's. breaks the most fundemental reason we wish to be with horses... love. to expiriance a natual, real, magical friendship and partnership with a horse.... the one question one only need to ask themself is.... why do i want to ride horses? if the answers sounds like, i want to compete, i like to have fun riding out with friends on a trailride, or its good exercise. then the information above will have liyyle or no impact on what you do, and your curround path with industry's, horse magasins, and all the things like thise, will have plenty of information in how to follow your goals.... if the answer is more like. i love horses, or. i wish to learn how to have a good realationship with horses, or even. i think horses have something to learn me. then your allready started seeking, by seeking alternative way's of being with horses then only for riding them. or atleast go bitless... but one who have to force there horse to anything, can never hope to athive the real sort of partnership we fantasise abute, before one is ready to give up everything we THINK we know abute horses, and made space for what is.... think of your favorit trainer... what was the first think you was touth to do, to make the horse go forward??? properly squeeze with your leg's. og that does not work, kick, if that does not work, kick harder, if that does not work, whip or spur your horse. what are thise exempel of? negative reanforcement! :) the horses reward, is that the rider properly will stop, once it goes forward. what does this mean in plain english? that means that one is learned from the begining, that one have to couse pain or descompfort, in oder to get the horse to what what one self desire, regardless what the horse you ride on feel's abute it. and what of if the horse bug? one most normaly guess is its do to the horse being nutty, as it would be a child, beating up on a school mate. or behaps it get's too muts grain, too muts alfalfa, to cold, to windy, or a huge numbers of oder countless guesses. if we start on the premus, that the horse have a perfect good reason to bug, and it's our job to find out what that is. she will start leading us on a path... now, if you are a horse trainer, and allways have been blessed with horses who seem to get on with the program, then with all likelyhood you haven got into any dubt of what you do. you've found something that works, and you stick with it. but if your fundemental desire is to have a relationship with a horse, where none of you is in pain of any kind. then you will studie the horses anotomy and fysianoligy, untell you know them, menivtly, and can say with authority, what your doing thats not harmfull to horses.... this is just my opinion. and before i descoverd some truth abute the tools used for horse traning like whip, spurs, bits, and even sadel. i was a horse trainer too. but i was so lucky, that i only had trained in all 14 horses. and i praise me lucky, as if i had not, i would have many more horses to regred i ever trained them to accepth and tolirate a bit in there moute....
  3. Mark Calvo
    Mark Calvo
    I have one hard rule concerning my two boys, Wings and Duke. They are going to be with me until the day they die. They are more than pleasure horses for riding, they are my family and I would no sooner get rid of one of them than I would my own child.

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