Thoughts on the Kentucky Derby--love/hate - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 05-03-2014, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thoughts on the Kentucky Derby--love/hate

I watch the Derby every year, as well as the Preakness and Belmont. My first love, even before dogs, was horses, I played with toy horses as a 3 yr old, not dolls.

My two favorite horse breeds are the Arabian and the Thoroughbred… As an artist, I adore Arabians, they are the product of the Original Artist, not man. As a rider, I love the TB. Their strength and power is unmatched when combined with ‘heart’--in GSDs they call it drive. Imagine one of our hard, working line GSDs, except weighing 1100 lbs., 16 or 17 hands high, and you're on its back running all out. That's a TB.

So I love watching the races, remembering my youth when I greenbroke horses for the track and when I took in TBs off the track and re-schooled them for jumping and dressage. There's no man-made machine that can give you an adrenaline rush like sitting astride a living, breathing, thinking mass of muscle, knowing that your key to safety is the strength of the bond, the partnership, you have developed with this animal. That partnership is never more important than when you are galloping toward a jump, your eye measuring the ground in front of you, controlling the length of his stride with hands and seat, counting each stride so he takes off at a perfect distance to soar over the jump and land safely on the other side.

So the Thoroughbred has a spot deep in my heart, which is why my feelings for the racing industry involve more hate than love.

TBs are saddlebroke as yearlings, start to race as 2-yr-olds, raced hard as 3-yr-olds. Their growth plate does not seal until they are maybe four, often not until they are six like their progenitor, the Arab. As a result many, many good young horses break down and are off the track and sold to the ‘killers’ by the time they are four years old. When I was young you could get such animals cheap, rehab them, re-school them, and sell them as riding horses for a decent profit. Today the racing industry allows so many meds that a horse can be raced with chronic injuries until he is damaged to the point he can never carry a rider again, will never live without pain again, he's way beyond rehab. This is the life ahead of the vast number of TBs who never make the ‘big time’, are never seen on TV in the prestigious races, but are raced over and over again on the ‘B’ circuit tracks until they can’t run any more.

This is why you see breakdowns on the track, like when the filly Ruffian years ago blew her ankle in a match race. With both sesamoid bones snapped in her right fetlock, she ignored her jockey and kept running until the bones were pulverized, tendons and ligaments were destroyed, and the fetlock was wide open. Because of her heart (or drive), her jockey could not stop her. After surgery, she couldn’t tolerate the cast on her leg, damaged her elbow, and tore up the cast. The attending orthopedic vets opted to put her down. A tragedy in my mind, a lovely young filly dead for no good reason.

So I watched the Derby today with interest, cheered California Chrome on--except for one extra white sock he could be a down-sized Secretariat--but in the deep reaches of my heart I cried for all the fine horses who are living a life no horse should live.

Susan
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I tend to agree, but those horses are jacked up and ready to run!
Secretariat is CC's GGGGdaddy. I love the backstory, even though I was rooting for Wicked Strong. Naughty in the chute....
I hope there is safety in the next two races and that CC will earn the epic trifecta!

Karlo decided he wanted to wear a hat today, as I'm laid up, I obliged him.

His sister Ada got into the groove too(she had to have her mint julep as well):
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Used to love watching the Triple Crown races every year when I was young. I no longer watch. Horse racing, IMHO, is a dirty industry.

Ruffian was a brilliant filly, it took me a long time to get those images out of my head after that race, it still gives me shivers to think about it.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Jane,

Karlo and Ada were certainly ready for the Derby!

Sorry for the depressed tone of that post... Not a great day in our household, and instead of really enjoying the show, I just let it depress me more. Coming out of it now, though, and Karlo and Ada helped!
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BahCan View Post
Used to love watching the Triple Crown races every year when I was young. I no longer watch. Horse racing, IMHO, is a dirty industry.

Ruffian was a brilliant filly, it took me a long time to get those images out of my head after that race, it still gives me shivers to think about it.
Yes, yes, yes.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I love horse racing. I think that there is a lot of wrong doing in it, and the way some horses get treated isn't right. I've had off the track TBs and even though they were hard headed, they are my favorite breed.
I loved barbaro, and what happened to him was tragic.
I followed zenyatta the majority of her career and just loved her, the way she stretched out and danced out to the track.
Now that she is a broodmare I follow her foals.
I'm originally from ocala so horse racing is a big thing.
I always wonder what happens to the winners like wise dan who was horse of the year in 2012 and 2013.. He's a gelding so he doesn't get a nice stall and a stud career. I wonder if the good ones find good homes or do they wind up in slaughter houses like the no names.
That's the other part I don't like.
If you take away the steroids, other drugs, and dirty people, I love the sport.
I love a horse who runs off the pace and comes from behind to win.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I watch every year. Horses were my obsession until I couldn't afford them anymore. I had Barbie dolls when I was a kid, but they had to be jammed onto my Breyer horses so they could go riding. LOL I cut out images of horses, drew horses, read about horses. I never owned Thoroughbreds, though. Had some grade horses, Morgans, a pinto and American Saddlebreds. Gave my last horse away in 2007. My husband used to say I had horse on the brain. I still can not watch horses run without getting choked up even horses in movies (National Velvet kills me).
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For The First Time Ever Caught On Camera: Horse Racing Exposed – Drugs, Deception & Death | Collective-Evolution

Warning `~ believe there is some profanity in the video within the link.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There are alot of good people in racing who care about their horses...a few Ky Derby winners who went abroad to stud have been brought back by their breeders or owners to retire...Gato del Sol comes to mind as one of the first...

Popular horses, especially geldings often end up at the Kentucky Horse Park....so many of the bigger farms retire their seniors - mares and stallions....there are so many retirement farms for TBs - no, not enough I agree - but there are still dogs dying in shelters too! Racehorses are bred for racing...and most of them love it! I have had a couple part TBs - my one mare was from a Graustark son whose dam was a full sister to Bold Ruler, and I bred her to Ky Derby winner Spectacular Bid....I spent time at NBC and saw surgeries on race horses who broke legs - and on barrel racers and reining horses - racing is NOT alone in injuries to horses....I don't think that percentage wise it is really any different than any other equine sport! Every breed and discipline has the potential for abuse - and people being people - animals - both dogs and horses do get abused....don't condemn the whole sport.

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Old 05-03-2014, 11:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfstraum View Post
There are alot of good people in racing who care about their horses...

racing is NOT alone in injuries to horses....I don't think that percentage wise it is really any different than any other equine sport! Every breed and discipline has the potential for abuse - and people being people - animals - both dogs and horses do get abused....don't condemn the whole sport.

Lee
Lee,

I know there are a lot of good people who care about their horses, even in the racing industry. But I am SURE that the percentage of injury and abuse is much higher in racing, there is too much money at stake, and there are too many 'legal' ways to keep an injured horse on its feet and still running. Horses are run at such an early age, their bodies are not ready for it. Check out the horse auctions in Kentucky, not the big ones, but the smaller ones scattered around the state. You can find horses with every type of crippling injury a horse can have, and the only buyers for them will be the killers. The difference is that the majority of horse owners in other equine sports DO care, and they get the vet care and rehabilitation the horse needs. For the small race trainng stable, it's cheaper to buy the drugs to keep the animals running.

Not to say abuse doesn't exist elsewhere--look into the training and showing of the Saddlebred, for instance.

It is just so widespread in the racing industry, where they aren't running for ribbons, they're running for money. Greed is an evil motivator.

JMHO

Susan
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