Cheltenham

popsdosh

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Exactly, some people just don't get it. In this day and age people are not going to turn a blind eye to this sort of thing.
I love horses and most horse sports. I dont however enjoy watching horses being killed in the name of sport or entertainment.
Well dont watch Racing, eventing ,Polo,SJ or Endurance, im afraid its a fact of life that fatalities happen . Nobody does it to harm horses but accidents happen!
Lets turn cheltenham into a flat racing festival then you wont be tempted to watch it on the telly as it wont be there . It is the top of the sport not a mickey mouse handicap race. I still say on average 1.5 fatalities a day in a champiobship is below average.
 

TelH

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Some plan is not down as a fatality on Racing post in depth results
Neither is my friend's horse who had a heart attack after racing a few years ago. He was gone very soon after crossing the line but his record just shows that he never raced again (that incident did not happen at Cheltenham). I don't know all the details but I would hazard a guess that they perhaps took Some Plan away in the ambulance and made the decision to pts later on, and that's why he's not on the results as a fatality.
 

Sandstone1

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Well dont watch Racing, eventing ,Polo,SJ or Endurance, im afraid its a fact of life that fatalities happen . Nobody does it to harm horses but accidents happen!
Lets turn cheltenham into a flat racing festival then you wont be tempted to watch it on the telly as it wont be there . It is the top of the sport not a mickey mouse handicap race. I still say on average 1.5 fatalities a day in a champiobship is below average.
yes I agree that accidents happen but six deaths in four days?????
Its not about if I watch it or not is it?
I dont actually watch much racing but thats not the point. Are horses so disposable now that six horses dying over a four day meeting is ok?
Yes horses die in lots of sports but would you really expect to see Six die in a four day event of any other kind.
The point is like it or not if this keeps happening public opinion will go against racing.
 

bonny

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yes I agree that accidents happen but six deaths in four days?????
Its not about if I watch it or not is it?
I dont actually watch much racing but thats not the point. Are horses so disposable now that six horses dying over a four day meeting is ok?
Yes horses die in lots of sports but would you really expect to see Six die in a four day event of any other kind.
The point is like it or not if this keeps happening public opinion will go against racing.
These horses are hardly disposable, all you are doing is showing your ignorance of NH racing and sounding like one of the people who only want to comment on what you see as wrong not with what Cheltenham is about. Racing is very aware of public opinion and if you knew what you were talking about you would know the steps already taken to improve welfare and lessen accidents. I think they probably will look at the last race and maybe it is a mistake to have the last race framed as it is.
 

Sandstone1

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Clearly the steps taken havent worked then have they. Im no expert on National hunt racing and dont pretend to be. If the so called experts think horses dying in numbers like this is ok and just one of the risks then im very glad not to be a "expert"

If a owner or trainer sends their horse out to race knowing there is a good chance they wont come back alive what other word you use other than disposable?
 

bonny

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Clearly the steps taken havent worked then have they. Im no expert on National hunt racing and dont pretend to be. If the so called experts think horses dying in numbers like this is ok and just one of the risks then im very glad not to be a "expert"

If a owner or trainer sends their horse out to race knowing there is a good chance they wont come back alive what other word you use other than disposable?
Maybe if you don’t know what you are talking about you shouldn’t comment ! The horses go out to race with a very high chance of coming back alive, the owners pay huge sums to buy and train them and all jump courses have made steps to make the courses easier, what else would you like them to do ?
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Clearly the steps taken havent worked then have they. Im no expert on National hunt racing and dont pretend to be. If the so called experts think horses dying in numbers like this is ok and just one of the risks then im very glad not to be a "expert"

If a owner or trainer sends their horse out to race knowing there is a good chance they wont come back alive what other word you use other than disposable?
Do you turn your horse out on the field every day thinking that it may come back in with a broken leg? No! Same with racing. You don't send horses out to die but accidents happen.

The ground at Cheltenham was softer than it has been for years and because of this the races were run slightly slower than usual (it may not look like it on TV as these are the cream of the crop and can still go very fast!). If you think the ground was bad at Cheltenham (which is wasnt) you don't want to see how Ayr racecourse looks at the end of a days racing at the moment!

The softer ground slows the pace a bit, less jumping errors are made (usually) and less injuries happen. I'm not talking about fatalities but your usual cuts, scrapes, tendons etc.
 

be positive

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Clearly the steps taken havent worked then have they. Im no expert on National hunt racing and dont pretend to be. If the so called experts think horses dying in numbers like this is ok and just one of the risks then im very glad not to be a "expert"

If a owner or trainer sends their horse out to race knowing there is a good chance they wont come back alive what other word you use other than disposable?
The "experts" don't think it is ok but they can only do so much to make racing as safe as possible, horses capable of running at championship meetings such as Cheltenham are certainly not disposable to their owners or trainers, they are a highly valued asset but it is a high risk sport and sadly horses do break legs or have heart attacks, the only way to prevent accidents happening is to not have horses in the first place, many non racehorses will die every day from accidents, injuries or because they no can longer do the job they were bought for, it may be more palatable because it is not in the public eye but you could class most horses as disposable if you take it literally.
 

claracanter

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Racing is struggling to appeal to the wider public and gain new audiences. ITV cover it at the moment but I fear it will be lost to terrestrial TV in a few years. ITV keep talking up the Cheltenham Festival and the quality of the races and have features to explain racing, race cards, horses etc to a new audience, however it is hard to market something to the general public when there are fatalities.

I love NH racing and have been a fan all my life but I am so saddened by the death of these 6 horses and all the other horses who lose their lives due to racing but I live in the real world with my own horses and know it's just as likely to happen in a field accident. However the general public don't know such things. The authorities have managed to make the Grand National safer and I agree it is nothing like the race it once but this ensures it's survival.

I find it hard to focus on what a great Gold Cup it was this year or the Cheltenham Festival in general, with the number of fatalities( any fatality is a tragedy). I'm particularly touched by the death of North Hill Harvey as I only met him a couple of weeks ago at Dan Skelton's yard. It was obvious how much he was loved and how much all these racehorses are loved and cared for. However for the general public this can be a harder concept to grasp.

If I heard that greyhounds were dying at dog tracks, would I be horrified? Does the fact that we understand racing and know the fragility of the racehorse, any horse in fact, make it acceptable?

I'm glad to see the BHA are launching an inquiry into the deaths.
 

Ambers Echo

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Unless you are a vegan, (and 97% of people aren't) then most animals are raised to meet human desires -- for meat, for sport, for labour, for research, for leisure. Dairy herds dispose of male calves so even vegetarianism does not protect animals.

If you accept (as society clearly has in general) that animals ARE disposable - as in you can breed them for your own purposes then kill them or do whatever you want with them - then the question becomes one of animal welfare and ethics. Everyone has their own line to draw on that but I have never understood people railing against the cruelty of - say- NH racing while happily eating a factory farmed chicken sandwich.
I am not vegan but I accept that their position is consistent and logical - animals should not be used by humans, ever, for any reason. Everyone else seems to have very woolly and inconsistent views - myself included! Which is why I choose my own ethical stance but would never judge anyone else. And I don;t kid myself that I am not treating animals as disposable.

My own ethical stance is quite strong - all my kids were raised vegetarian until they were old enough to know what meat was, we only eat free range meat, I treat my own animals very well etc . But I have no problem with racing. If I did have to be reincarnated as an animal then coming back as a successful racehorse would be pretty high: a wonderful life, a swift and largely fear-free death. Not many animals are as lucky.
 

bonny

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Racing is struggling to appeal to the wider public and gain new audiences. ITV cover it at the moment but I fear it will be lost to terrestrial TV in a few years. ITV keep talking up the Cheltenham Festival and the quality of the races and have features to explain racing, race cards, horses etc to a new audience, however it is hard to market something to the general public when there are fatalities.

I love NH racing and have been a fan all my life but I am so saddened by the death of these 6 horses and all the other horses who lose their lives due to racing but I live in the real world with my own horses and know it's just as likely to happen in a field accident. However the general public don't know such things. The authorities have managed to make the Grand National safer and I agree it is nothing like the race it once but this ensures it's survival.

I find it hard to focus on what a great Gold Cup it was this year or the Cheltenham Festival in general, with the number of fatalities( any fatality is a tragedy). I'm particularly touched by the death of North Hill Harvey as I only met him a couple of weeks ago at Dan Skelton's yard. It was obvious how much he was loved and how much all these racehorses are loved and cared for. However for the general public this can be a harder concept to grasp.

If I heard that greyhounds were dying at dog tracks, would I be horrified? Does the fact that we understand racing and know the fragility of the racehorse, any horse in fact, make it acceptable?

I'm glad to see the BHA are launching an inquiry into the deaths.
Did you see the crowds at Cheltenham ? Appreciate the 400 million pound betting turnover ? Know what people are paying for young potential jumping horses ? I would say racing is doing just fine without the uninterested just latching on to what can go wrong. That’s what has ruined the grand national and I for one hope that they don’t do any more to lower the jumps at the other courses. The ground this year probably did have a bearing on what happened but it is unlikely to be that heavy again for a long time
 

Sandstone1

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Did you see the crowds at Cheltenham ? Appreciate the 400 million pound betting turnover ? Know what people are paying for young potential jumping horses ? I would say racing is doing just fine without the uninterested just latching on to what can go wrong. That’s what has ruined the grand national and I for one hope that they don’t do any more to lower the jumps at the other courses. The ground this year probably did have a bearing on what happened but it is unlikely to be that heavy again for a long time
Oh so thats ok then. The ground might be better next year or maybe it wont. Maybe it will be worse and 10 horses will die. Thats fine though as long as you get your entertainment.
Dont lower the fences as it will be less exciting to watch. So what if a few horses die. There are plenty more.
 

bonny

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Oh so thats ok then. The ground might be better next year or maybe it wont. Maybe it will be worse and 10 horses will die. Thats fine though as long as you get your entertainment.
Dont lower the fences as it will be less exciting to watch. So what if a few horses die. There are plenty more.
What do you suggest then ?
 

splashgirl45

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Oh so thats ok then. The ground might be better next year or maybe it wont. Maybe it will be worse and 10 horses will die. Thats fine though as long as you get your entertainment.
Dont lower the fences as it will be less exciting to watch. So what if a few horses die. There are plenty more.
while i hate the fact that some horses die in racing PLEASE spare a thought for the thousands or horses and ponies who are not in the public eye and are treated very badly and left to starve to death, or the mares that die when foaling as low lifes cant be bothered to get a vet and then dump the body. please get angry about that, these animals have months and months slowly dying, a racehorse is well cared for and is put down almost immediately in the case of an accident....
 

ester

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Are there plans to change the orange on the jumps? It would be interesting to see if that helps at least some of the fallers.
 

Sandstone1

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What do you suggest then ?
I would suggest that the fences are made safer. Less horses are allowed in each race and if the ground is particularly bad the race is not ran.
However I doubt that would be acceptable as it would make racing less exciting.


Dispite you thinking i dont know what im talking about ive had horses for many years and know only too well accidents happen.
That doesnt mean you cant lessen the risks.
 

bonny

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I would suggest that the fences are made safer. Less horses are allowed in each race and if the ground is particularly bad the race is not ran.
However I doubt that would be acceptable as it would make racing less exciting.


Dispite you thinking i dont know what im talking about ive had horses for many years and know only too well accidents happen.
That doesnt mean you cant lessen the risks.
I’m doubting your racing knowledge not that you have horses. The jumps have been made signicantly easier, numbers of runners have been cut and racing doesn’t go ahead if the ground is considered unsafe so your proposals are not exactly ground breaking !
 

Sandstone1

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I’m doubting your racing knowledge not that you have horses. The jumps have been made signicantly easier, numbers of runners have been cut and racing doesn’t go ahead if the ground is considered unsafe so your proposals are not exactly ground breaking !
Im not saying my propsals are ground breaking. They clearly havent gone far enough have they if the problem still exists?

Do you think things should just be left as they are? Do you feel its acceptable for 6 horses to die in one race meeting?
There are always going to be accidents that result in horses dying in racing but if you think that in this day and age the general public are going to turn a blind eye to it im afraid you are mistaken.
 

bonny

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Im not saying my propsals are ground breaking. They clearly havent gone far enough have they if the problem still exists?

Do you think things should just be left as they are? Do you feel its acceptable for 6 horses to die in one race meeting?
There are always going to be accidents that result in horses dying in racing but if you think that in this day and age the general public are going to turn a blind eye to it im afraid you are mistaken.
Yes, I think things should be left how they are, apart from maybe changing the framing of the last race
 

Rowreach

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Are there plans to change the orange on the jumps? It would be interesting to see if that helps at least some of the fallers.
I think the plan is to roll it out gradually across courses, and it looks like white will be the colour of choice. I thought it was a very interesting piece of research for many reasons. It's also interesting how the use of orange evolved - at a time when in SJ there were a lot of brushes and oxer type fences where the use of brush and white painted poles and boards was widespread. Orange is obviously more visible to a jockey heading at speed towards a fence in murky conditions - but then horses see better in murky conditions than we do anyway. Maybe an orange and white sight board is the way forward?
 

be positive

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Im not saying my propsals are ground breaking. They clearly havent gone far enough have they if the problem still exists?

Do you think things should just be left as they are? Do you feel its acceptable for 6 horses to die in one race meeting?
There are always going to be accidents that result in horses dying in racing but if you think that in this day and age the general public are going to turn a blind eye to it im afraid you are mistaken.
Honestly I don't think the "general public" are overly concerned by what goes on in racing any more than they really care about treatment of animals generally, they will have no interest or opinion unless they are already involved in some way either as viewers or possibly having a genuine interest in animal welfare but otherwise it will completely pass them by although possibly fatalities in the Grand National will register as it makes headlines, Cheltenham takes place during the normal working week and the majority of working people will not even know it exists.

Making jumps smaller will mean races run faster, ground being perfect will mean faster races and it is generally speed that causes or contributes to more to fatalities than the height of the jumps or heavy ground although tired horses will be more at risk of falling so from that point heavy ground can contribute but 1 horse fell very early which cannot be because it was tired.
 

suffolkmare

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Well I am glad the BHA are investigating. I am, as I said before, fully aware that there will always be risks...the questions are what level of risk is acceptable? How did the conditions, number of runners, size of fences, routes available to a loose horse contribute or not to the fatalities? All in all it was a good Festival, just a high price on 2 of the days. Perhaps they will conclude that the fatalities were unavoidable bar keeping those horses in their stables wrapped in bubble wrap, but maybe they will spot where a slight alteration could help prevent a similar incident in future.
 

millikins

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yes I agree that accidents happen but six deaths in four days?????
Its not about if I watch it or not is it?
I dont actually watch much racing but thats not the point. Are horses so disposable now that six horses dying over a four day meeting is ok?
Yes horses die in lots of sports but would you really expect to see Six die in a four day event of any other kind.
The point is like it or not if this keeps happening public opinion will go against racing.
I have followed and loved watching racing all my life but maybe I'm getting soft in my old age because I am increasingly agreeing with this. I couldn't watch most of Cheltenham due to work, I tuned in on Friday just in time to see Sansend break down. I agree it isn't cruel, I accept these are working animals not pets and they will see a vet much quicker than if I found one of mine in the field with a broken leg but for me the very real possibility of watching something die is causing me to watch much less.
I also think there continue to be serious welfare issues in racehorses post racing but that's another thread.

And no, I don't have any answer.
 

Elf On A Shelf

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How many of you have stood at a chase fence? Or a hurdle? Hurdles are about 3ft in height, on a slope and fall really easily. Chasee fence are only solid too about 2ft. The rest is stuffed birch that you can burst through - as so many do - hence the expression 'splithing the birch to the boards'. The fences are as safe as they can make them without taking them out all together. The ground was not that bad at Cheltenham, just cut up as you would expect at the end of 2 days racing on it. Yes 2 days because they have 2 tracks there -the old and the new. One is used for the first 2 days the other for the last 2 days. The ground was not slippy, it was not holding or tacky. Horses were galloping through it easy enough so no. I do not thing the ground was a factor in the fatalities at all. Quicker ground would have been.

No I don't think 22 horses should be running in such a tight track. Yes Aintree runs 40 but the track is twice the width over the national fences.
 

AdorableAlice

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while i hate the fact that some horses die in racing PLEASE spare a thought for the thousands or horses and ponies who are not in the public eye and are treated very badly and left to starve to death, or the mares that die when foaling as low lifes cant be bothered to get a vet and then dump the body. please get angry about that, these animals have months and months slowly dying, a racehorse is well cared for and is put down almost immediately in the case of an accident....
Quite. None of us would need to drive very far to see horses living in poor conditions and enduring varying degrees of suffering. Officers of the WHW will be busy every day and this winter has been a harsh one.

There are huge numbers of racehorses that never reach the course and will never see high standards of care and likewise, there are many racehorses whose life after racing is poor, and that includes high profile horses, Hello Dandy for instance.

No death in competition is acceptable but perspective has to be applied.
 

Trules

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Yes it is a risky and dangerous sport and that is why it evokes such high emotion. That those horses and riders are so very brave in doing what they love and were born to do. Those runners at cheltenham are the cream of the crop. They have proven how talented they are at jump racing and how much they love to jump and gallop.
 

ester

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Thanks Rowreach, I hadn't really heard any more about it but it seems a relatively simple possibly helpful fix so long as the jocks can see it too.

Personally I have more issues with some of the other problems in and associated with racing as at least catastrophic accidents can be dealt with quickly. However I don't think 6 deaths in a single meeting should be just ignored and we carry on regardless because it 'just happens'.
 

Rowreach

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Thanks Rowreach, I hadn't really heard any more about it but it seems a relatively simple possibly helpful fix so long as the jocks can see it too.

Personally I have more issues with some of the other problems in and associated with racing as at least catastrophic accidents can be dealt with quickly. However I don't think 6 deaths in a single meeting should be just ignored and we carry on regardless because it 'just happens'.
I think it was a very useful piece of research, and anything that helps the horse to jump better (apparently with white sight boards they made better shapes over the fences) will save fallers because whatever anyone says about only the bottom of the fence being solid and it being possible to brush through the top couple of feet possibly hasn't been on a horse that hits one of them at speed and suffers the consequences!!

I have said before, I love racing, but I know horses die on the track, suffer injuries that require them to be pts or retired, and anything that can reduce the collateral damage is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. As you say ester, knowing it happens it entirely different to accepting it as being ok.
 

Orangehorse

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I watch NH racing most Saturday afternoons and it has been my impression that throughout the season there have been fewer fallers and most of those have walked away, which is obviously a good thing. I don't know why, and without data can't be proved but I would put forward:

a. Courses are better managed with good grass cover and b. careful siting of fences (remember the notorious Cheltenham fence, now thankfully moved)
c. Trainers school the horses more - gone are the days when the Novice hurdle runners looked as though they had never seen a fence before, let alone trying to jump and gallop for 2 miles.
d. Horses are fitter and have more health checks which means they are stronger and better overall condition.
e. The meetings televised feature better horses - the Irish point to point winner on the up for instance although I know there are plenty of good ones from flat racing too.

I think the worst ever Cheltenham was when the going was fast and the horses went hell for leather.

I know that statistics back up these feelings, there are fewer fatalities than in the past, but put any large animal to gallop and jump and there are going to be falls and some of these falls are going to produce injuries. I am really not sure what to do about it, but I don't think making the fences smaller is a good idea - they would go even faster.

It is like when a rider has a fall - why do most get up and walk - or limp - away and yet there is sometimes the fall that is fatal when inches can spell life or death.

Incidentally regarding the guard rails - I thought that at one time they were white, and then changed to orange as it was supposed to make them easier for horses to see.
 

Rowreach

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Incidentally regarding the guard rails - I thought that at one time they were white, and then changed to orange as it was supposed to make them easier for horses to see.
Yes the orange came in during the 60s. Supposedly easier for both jockeys and horses to see, but then nobody had done any research really into the way humans and horses visualise colours.

It seems that horses are more aware of contrast (hence white rails against dark brown birch is more noticeable to them) but they also can see yellow and bright blue for some reason. Orange however blends in with the birch for them.

Given that in the mass of other runners, and travelling at speed, there is limited visibility anyway, a white sight rail may well prove to make a difference in the number of fallers, since even glimpses of it on an approach may help a horse to lift off in time and with sufficient height.
 
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