US racetrack Santa Anita - horse deaths

bonny

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It was a sad start, you'd never know it by him though. He's turned out great. He has the TB athleticism and the draught temperament ( and appetite):p
Would the reason for his sire not siring tbs be because he wasn't a good racer?
Yes, he just wasn’t good enough
 

ycbm

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I'm sure I read somewhere (possibly on chronicle of the horse forum) that a horse that had been given it took 14 months approx to not fully heal a fracture that should have taken two months to heal. It really does seem to compromise the bone healing process for a long time. I'm sure that an old, retired horse with osteoarthritis gets a benefit from it that outweighs the negative... but for a working horse?
I read some research the other day that it appears to compromise fracture repair for the rest of the horse's lfe. I'll bet I can't find it now. I wouldn't give it to anything but a very old horse or as an absolute last resort to keep a younger one alive.
 

ycbm

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I don’t think you can compete in flat racing without a helping hand with your youngsters, all the two year olds are just too mature for any other explanation
What a telling choice of words. 'A helping hand'. You mean drugging them, I take it? Is it unfair to infer from your choice of words that you don't have any problem with that?
 

Orangehorse

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According to Dr. Deb, the bones develop from the foot upwards, so the legs (athough not the feet which continue to grow if not constricted by constant shoeing) are the first to mature and what is last is the back and neck.
 

tristar

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i bred a tb from an american stallion, and it was a filly, she was like a 4 yr old colt at two years and never went near a steroid!, so you could be caught out with that one, she also had a neck a stallion would be proud of

i thought is was well known that tb often grow rapidly, i hate to say mature quicker because i don`t believe they do, but just look more mature, well some do, it comes down to stud management and correct feeding of mare and foal
 

Carrottom

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I have asked pinhookers how they produce such forward yearlings. These are people who buy foals to raise ans bring on to sell as yearlings. Typically they feed the best quality forage, gradually increase hard feed, gradually increase time on the walker then in hand walking to develop the best possible walk as this is mainly what the buyer will judge them on.
This is combined with turn out in same sex groups which encourages play and activity. They are taught to lunge before going to the sales as I think they have to canter on the lunge to check their wind.
 

Mariposa

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I have asked pinhookers how they produce such forward yearlings. These are people who buy foals to raise ans bring on to sell as yearlings. Typically they feed the best quality forage, gradually increase hard feed, gradually increase time on the walker then in hand walking to develop the best possible walk as this is mainly what the buyer will judge them on.
This is combined with turn out in same sex groups which encourages play and activity. They are taught to lunge before going to the sales as I think they have to canter on the lunge to check their wind.
Yes, I think this is really accurate. You can get yearlings looking big and strong naturally. I worked (albeit briefly!) at a stud doing yearling prep and we just walked them in hand, they were long reined, fed very well, strapped - they looked amazing ( but IMHO were fed too much, some of them were utter pains to handle!)
 

ycbm

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I want to win the euro lottery and finance a long term study into the effect of early work on longevity, among several other pieces of research. I need to buy a ticket!
 

Clodagh

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I want to win the euro lottery and finance a long term study into the effect of early work on longevity, among several other pieces of research. I need to buy a ticket!
Longevity is financially irrelevant in the racing industry. Particularly on the flat where a sire that doesn't produce precocious two year olds will soon be dropping his stud fee.
 

ycbm

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Longevity is financially irrelevant in the racing industry. Particularly on the flat where a sire that doesn't produce precocious two year olds will soon be dropping his stud fee.

I wasn't meaning racing, but if a study proved that early racing was good or bad for longevity than that would be very interesting. And if bad, might, in the climate that exists now, be the death of two year old racing in this country.

I think we can all agree it's a piece of research that is sorely lacking? I really, really want to know if I am doing the right thing backing a three year old.
 

splashgirl45

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i think backing a 3 year old who is not weak is fine, by backing i mean having a sit on and a bit of walking to establish the signals to move forward and stop...very little or no lunging and then turned away and restart in their 4th year and begin to hack out if safe enough...ycbm your horse doesnt look weak so sounds like you are doing the right thing at the moment.
 

tristar

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I want to win the euro lottery and finance a long term study into the effect of early work on longevity, among several other pieces of research. I need to buy a ticket!
i want to win the lotto to fund not competing horses till they are 6 years old, banning all forms of bad training, breaking of yearlings, racing of 2 yr olds, , i certainly would not be putting any horse through and experiment where its welfare would be compromised, ie breaking horses too young in an experiment, because i already am happy to believe that its a very bad thing.

then a ministry for animal welfare, educating people on how to care for all animals from pet rabbits to horses and everything in between, strict regs for comp and racehorses, ie the over boiling of dressage horses, maximum time for warmups etc, making as certain a is poss that a horse like sir erec`s horrible end can be learned from at least, ie when a horse is reshod immediately before a race it is inspected by a vet and trotted up on a hard surface to ensure it is fit to race, [i would do that if i was hacking]
take some responsibility for the awful abandonment and neglect that is so in front of your face the government is definitely aware yet turns away, yes looks the other way.

and that would only be the start.

off to buy lotto ticket, well i think i might buy two, one for me and one for our rescue, warrior
 
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This was posted on a different forum, but I thought that I would post it here. :)
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/27/opinion/racehorses-santa-anita-deaths.html

'MAISONS-LAFFITTE, France — There’s so much I could say about the crisis shaking horse racing in America, and as a racehorse trainer, I’ve been saying it for years.

Racehorses in the United States break down, which means they are catastrophically injured and then euthanized, at a rate double or triple that seen in the rest of the world. The spotlight is now on the Santa Anita track in California, where 22 horses have been killed since late December, but Del Mar, near San Diego, and Aqueduct in Queens have had similar spates of fatalities in recent years.

Every time a streak like this happens, it provokes much hand-wringing, outrage, calls for change, various committee meetings and pledges to do better and then, nothing. More of the same. Then another high-profile streak. And still nothing.

One thing is changing, though, and that is every time this happens, the calls to ban racing get louder and stronger. Animal rights activists, some of whom have never been within sniffing distance of a horse, are feeding on racing’s inability to right its wrongs. At the moment, they’re having a proper feast, with the Los Angeles district attorney investigating the Santa Anita deaths at the urging of racing foes.

American racing can pull itself from the cross hairs, but there needs to be a huge overall change, and fast. The major difference between American racing and the sport in the rest of the world, including here in France, is the excessive use of medications, practically from birth.

Breeders need to get the highest price possible for a yearling, so in addition to corrective surgery to fix defective legs, they use steroids to add bulk and sheen, and bisphosphonates to stabilize the bone structure. But these bisphosphonates also limit new bone growth, impairing the young horse’s ability to adapt to the stresses of training and racing.

Once the horse has fetched that high price, there is huge pressure on American trainers to get it racing as soon as possible to cover the costs of the purchase and training fees. That means the young racehorse is treated with endless rounds of so-called therapeutic medications: phenylbutazone, known as bute, to help with the aches and pain; clenbuterol to keep the lungs clear (plus there’s that added steroidlike side effect, which keeps them eating and keeps the weight on); and the diuretic Lasix every time before fast workouts and races, ostensibly to prevent bleeding in the lungs. There is little science that says Lasix actually does that job, but quite a lot of science identifying Lasix as a performance-enhancing drug.

American trainers and veterinarians instantly bristle at the accusation that horses are overmedicated. We’re helping them cope with the rigors of training, just like any other athlete, they say. It’s like you they say. Without Lasix, horses will drown in their own blood, and nobody wants that, right? Except that somehow, in the rest of the world, horses race medication-free. They’re not hobbling from pain or drowning in their own blood.

In defense of the medication proponents, they are merely adapting to a system of racing that isn’t particularly horse-friendly. Courses in the United States are generally quite small, uniformly oval and flat with a dirt surface that favors speed above all else. Horses are typically trained and raced on the same surface, and always in one direction: counterclockwise. Most races are over short distances, a mile or less. There is some racing on natural turf, but only when the ground is firm. Most tracks move turf races to the dirt if it rains.In Europe, the bulk of racing is done on turf, regardless of whether it rains. Racecourses are laid out to be run clockwise, counterclockwise or in a straight line, often over rolling terrain. Any “dirt” racing is done on synthetic tracks, a blend of sand and fibers that is kinder to a horse’s legs than a dirt surface. There is a full program of racing at longer distances to balance out the sprint program. For the most part, horses are trained off-track, in training centers or on farms.

But the most important difference is this: Horses in Europe race medication-free. There is no tolerance for pharmaceuticals on race day, and horses in training are routinely tested out of competition. A horse with a problem can be treated, but the drugs must be out of its system before a race.

What could America do to end the medication culture and make life a little more natural for the horse? Belinda Stronach, the head of the company that owns Santa Anita, tried her best by declaring a ban on race-day medication and was immediately shot down by trainers. Generations of trainers in America have never trained without medication, and most of them firmly believe it would be inhumane and cruel to the horses to try. So when Santa Anita resumes races on Friday, it will largely be business as usual.

What, then, can be done to save racing in America? Clearly, ripping up most tracks to build varied, European-style courses isn’t going to happen. But there are some doable solutions that could make the sport safer for horses.

First, get rid of individual state authority over racing and get a national governing body that lays down the rules and does the drug testing across the country. A bill just introduced in Congress would be a first step toward nationwide governance for the sport.

Second, alternate directions for training horses so that they gallop both clockwise and counterclockwise. Consistent drilling of horses around a tight turn in the same direction is asking for trouble.

Third, add more races at longer distances to racing programs, decreasing the emphasis on all-out sprints.


Fourth, replace dirt surfaces with synthetics for racing, but keep a natural dirt surface available for training.

These four steps would set up an environment for the most important step of all to be possible: the elimination of all race-day medication, including Lasix.

If racing in America can’t take these steps and end strings of fatalities like the one at Santa Anita, the animal-rights activists will shut the sport down, ultimately condemning the horses they want to protect to, at best, a forced retirement. What they don’t realize is that without a job to do, the racehorse will become nothing more than a fantasy character in children’s books.'

Gina Rarick (@ginararick) trains racehorses.
 

splashgirl45

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i want to win the lotto to fund not competing horses till they are 6 years old, banning all forms of bad training, breaking of yearlings, racing of 2 yr olds, , i certainly would not be putting any horse through and experiment where its welfare would be compromised, ie breaking horses too young in an experiment, because i already am happy to believe that its a very bad thing.

then a ministry for animal welfare, educating people on how to care for all animals from pet rabbits to horses and everything in between, strict regs for comp and racehorses, ie the over boiling of dressage horses, maximum time for warmups etc, making as certain a is poss that a horse like sir erec`s horrible end can be learned from at least, ie when a horse is reshod immediately before a race it is inspected by a vet and trotted up on a hard surface to ensure it is fit to race, [i would do that if i was hacking]
take some responsibility for the awful abandonment and neglect that is so in front of your face the government is definitely aware yet turns away, yes looks the other way.

and that would only be the start.

off to buy lotto ticket, well i think i might buy two, one for me and one for our rescue, warrior
agree with most of this, but sir erec was trotted up after being shod, i know not a hard surface but he was sound, so he was checked before racing. i noticed he had a very long stride so maybe struck into himself causing the break, we will never know but although it is horrible to see , at least the racehorses are dealt with speedily when they have bad injuries and i feel it is worse for the hundreds of horses in this country who are left to die of starvation which takes many many months, or the sick ones who are dumped while still just alive, and also the horses who are transported for hundreds of miles with no thought to their welfare and then killed, many not humanely at the end....there is so much that needs doing,
 

mule

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agree with most of this, but sir erec was trotted up after being shod, i know not a hard surface but he was sound, so he was checked before racing. i noticed he had a very long stride so maybe struck into himself causing the break, we will never know but although it is horrible to see , at least the racehorses are dealt with speedily when they have bad injuries and i feel it is worse for the hundreds of horses in this country who are left to die of starvation which takes many many months, or the sick ones who are dumped while still just alive, and also the horses who are transported for hundreds of miles with no thought to their welfare and then killed, many not humanely at the end....there is so much that needs doing,
Imo it's very wrong that live transport for slaughter still exists (not just for horses either).
 

EKW

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Imo it's very wrong that live transport for slaughter still exists (not just for horses either).
This is what annoys me the most. Animals can be packed in with no thought to welfare given, transported goodness knows how far before being bumped off. I have nothing against horses going for meat but I do have issue with the way they are transported and how far they have to go before they meet their end.
 

mule

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This is what annoys me the most. Animals can be packed in with no thought to welfare given, transported goodness knows how far before being bumped off. I have nothing against horses going for meat but I do have issue with the way they are transported and how far they have to go before they meet their end.
I agree, I'm not against exporting horse meat, it's live exports that bothers me.

I live in Ireland and believe it or not Ireland exports live cattle all the way to Egypt! I don't even want to imagine what they go through on such a long journey 😞
 

splashgirl45

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I agree, I'm not against exporting horse meat, it's live exports that bothers me.

I live in Ireland and believe it or not Ireland exports live cattle all the way to Egypt! I don't even want to imagine what they go through on such a long journey 😞
what i cant understand is why, with all the ability to freeze meat , any animals have to endure long journeys to be slaughtered in other countries who do not treat the animals humanely at the end of their lives... why cant we buy british meat from animals who are born here rather than from other countries. i always buy british and usually use sainsburys but was passing tesco's last week so popped in to pick up some cooked chicken as i didnt have time to cook myself. their cooked chicken breasts said packaged in the uk using chicken from the eu and usa....needless to say i didnt have chicken and bought some ham which was from pigs reared outside and slaughtered in the uk...i would rather pay more for home bred meat...
 

Brownmare

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what i cant understand is why, with all the ability to freeze meat , any animals have to endure long journeys to be slaughtered in other countries who do not treat the animals humanely at the end of their lives... why cant we buy british meat from animals who are born here rather than from other countries. i always buy british and usually use sainsburys but was passing tesco's last week so popped in to pick up some cooked chicken as i didnt have time to cook myself. their cooked chicken breasts said packaged in the uk using chicken from the eu and usa....needless to say i didnt have chicken and bought some ham which was from pigs reared outside and slaughtered in the uk...i would rather pay more for home bred meat...
As a UK livestock farmer I would like to say a huge thank you. We need people like you who put their money where their mouth is instead of preaching about welfare standards then buying whatever is cheapest when they actually get to a shop! I really despair when people say they can't afford to buy quality food yet, as a proportion of household expenditure, food is cheaper than it has ever been!
 

splashgirl45

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brownmare, i do my best to support our country and therefore our animals.... its about time the supermarkets put the british produce at eye level , although sainsburys is pretty good with their selection of british meat they put danish bacon at eye level and the british bacon on the bottom shelf out of sight, and i know danish farming standards for pigs are well below ours....
 

splashgirl45

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if british people always bought british and yes, paid a little more, perhaps our farmers wouldnt have to ship them out...seems so wrong for us to transport thousands of sheep etc and import the same animal, then sell it cheaply in our stores. IMO it is still morally wrong to subject animals to such long arduous journeys when it is not necessary...
 

tristar

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150 years ago there was some talk of american tb s not having authentic pedigrees, this could account in some way for the size and heaviness about some american horses.

and having bred from horses like this with an aim to sell, mainly, they maybe concentrated on the fastest and earliest maturing, well horses who look mature due to their more impressive body structure that comes from dubious lineage in the past, ie. not quite full tb
 

bonny

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150 years ago there was some talk of american tb s not having authentic pedigrees, this could account in some way for the size and heaviness about some american horses.

and having bred from horses like this with an aim to sell, mainly, they maybe concentrated on the fastest and earliest maturing, well horses who look mature due to their more impressive body structure that comes from dubious lineage in the past, ie. not quite full tb
150 years ago !
 
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I know that he counted as an Irish horse, but Istabraq's (what a super horse) pedigree was largely US breeding. He was even out of a Secretariat daughter I believe. So US bloodlines can stay, they can jump and they can have longevity of career (and not be retired at four). This does seem to point at the problem being how they are managed in the US to me.
 

bonny

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I don’t think one horse tells us anything at all and of course American horses can stay, nowadays so many horses travel that the bloodlines are all mixed up, coolmore in particular is interested in the American sires.
 

splashgirl45

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i was under the impression that lots of the american horses are on steroids which explains their big muscles and bodies compared to ours..also americans can use medication so may be masking problems which leads to horses breaking down when pushed hard as they may be having the beginnings of a problem and be lame but not show as they are on pain relief..
 
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