April 23, 2014

My Neutral Stance on Horse Racing

I had a small thing to think about this weekend (my neutral stance on horse racing) that has inspired me to… well 1. to write this post and 2. to bring back to life this website/blog.

Dom, a sales rep from an internet marketing company, emailed me and offered to write a guest post for this blog in exchange for a link to his client’s website and $120. Amazing to me, since my site has been dead for the past year and a half! You want to pay me $120 to have a post on here? I have to say that Dom was very polite and only mildly pushy and it seemed like a legitimate good deal. So why didn’t I accept the deal?  The site he was going to be linking to was a support site for the horse racing industry and more specifically it was a site that gave good information on how to bet on horse racing.

So now my ethical side didn’t blink at all with the gambling aspect – if someone wants to have fun spending their money on gambling it is not of my concern. However the support of horse racing did give me pause. I was just unsure if I wanted that type of stigma belonging to my website. I’m sure in the past I wouldn’t have thought much about it. If I look back at the posts on this site I may even have a post pointing to horse racing websites – I don’t remember. However now I do care. I have decided to remain neutral on aspects of horse racing.

What do I mean about being neutral? In a previous post I explained my position on horse racing -

There are many reasons for horses not to be racing at 2 years of age. The main one is that the skeletal structure of the horse is still growing and is incapable, in the majority of cases, to handle the stresses that racing places on the it. As for why horses race at 2 years of age, I have yet to hear a good reason that they have to race at that age. Obviously the industry has big money and investments are made. Having a horse wait another year or two before it possibly starts making a return increases the risk of the investment and slows the business of racing dramatically. Also traditionally horses have been raced at this age for many many years. So are these good enough reasons to continue racing at 2 years of age? Personally I do not think so.

As for is horse racing inhumane? I do not believe so and heres my reason..horse love to run, it comes naturally to them. If you have ever ridden a horse, especially one such as a thouroughbred, they love to go and they love to go fast. Interestingly, many of them actually love to race, they are not forced into it, they really want to do it. Ask any jockey or horseman that has been around the racing industry for even a short amount of time, they know when a horse just is not into it. They know if the horse really does not like it, that horse is not going to win and will be removed from racing very quickly. Now this does not mean that all of racing is humane. I believe some things need to be changed such as the age at which they are allowed to race needs to be raised. More turnout should be allowed, more rest and recovery needs to occur, and less pharmaceutical enhancements.

Because of my opinions I choose not to support the horse racing industry, however I am not going to bash them either. Many advancements in medicine have come from horse racing, many of the ideas we have for treating injuries, taking care of illnesses, and new uses for pharmaceuticals have come from the horse racing industry. As with all aspects of life there is good and bad, thus to remain neutral makes sense.

The good of horse racing is watching those magnificent animals charging down the track, true beauty in motion, such powerful animals! The upper echelon horses are well cared for and provided the best in medical care and the best care in general given the constraints of the industry. They are treated like kings, even most of the other horses are cared for in a proper manner because a horse that is not well cared for is not going to run very well and certainly is not going to make any money. What I really do not like with the horse racing industry is what I call the “backside of the track”. I have been there and seen it. I have seen the desperation in the owners and trainers that are not doing so well and the treatment of the horses to try to get them to compete at a high level, the attempts at glory of trying to be at the top and it’s not pretty.

The early training of horses that are not yet even fully grown is the worst offense and the fact that it takes 100+ horses to make 1 winner and at the upper echelons 1000+ horses to make a winner, some farms breed for years and never have a top echelon winner. The majority of horses do not make it to the top, do not make it to glory, do not make it to be a magnificent animal in the big three races. There are a lot of horses used up, broken, and beat down in attempts to make it to the top and for that reason I do not wish to support horse racing.

To be honest there is bad in almost every aspect of the horse world and in every discipline. The “backside of the track” in the other disciplines – Dressage and rollkur, Arabian show horses and gingering, Tennessee Walkers and soring, Jumpers and poling, Saddlebreds and their shoes and tail sets, Quarter horses and their shoeing and tying their heads up, etc, etc. Horses in all disciplines also are broken down by bad training, excessive competition, improper medical treatment, and owned by desperate owners trying to win blue ribbons. It is almost no different than that of the horse racing industry with the exception that it is usually for self indulgence and self glory, rather than a business and money. I do not wish to support these bad aspects either.

I wish to remain neutral. I work in the horse industry and there are good people, there are people doing the right things and caring for their horses in the best way they know how to care for them. I wish to provide information about ways to improve the health, welfare and movement of horses no matter what their discipline. If a website is devoted to health care or welfare of horses I will be glad to promote the website. If a website has an article about health care (even a racing website) I would be inclined to promote the article, but on my own terms and pointing specifically to the page/post I choose. I feel better about myself and my conscious will be clear.

What do you think? Did I make the right decision or am I just sitting up here on my soapbox blowing smoke looking like a fool?

  • RepubliChiqui

    Found your “dormant” blog doing a background search for an article on Equine Chiropractic Therapy. (Your comments were very succinct.)

    As a non-clinical person and former healthcare marketeer who sits on a community advisory board for a state organization that monitors animal legislation, while wearing another “hat” when writing about some of specific breeds that may be impacted by said legislation, I know the “DMZ” or your neutral area is hard to maintain.

    Many of my days are colored with work in canine rescue and transport, yet I know that my friends who are responsible breeders have detected serious faults and worked to correct canine lineage improving a specific breed.

    Do not be discouraged. There is always room for expert advice and thoughtful second opinions. Animal owners are hungry for less hype and more practice-oriented information.

    “What do you think? Did I make the right decision or am I just sitting up here on my soapbox blowing smoke looking like a fool?”

    No, you made the right decision. You are parsing educational information, and while the few dollars offered by your friend might have been fun “walking around money” it is not worth tarnishing some very solid and easy to understand information.

    Get back to blogging! Too many vets are complacent and look at each patient/client as another routine case. It is hard for most who are established clients for one practitioner to call another vet for a second opinion in many communities. Even still, some clients are sheepish about asking care questions to begin with.

    Carry on!

  • http://evetclinic.com/ Daniel Beatty

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your feedback.

    I believe you most certainly would have a more difficult time remaining neutral when it comes to legislation. :-)