4 Myths The Horse Racing Industry Spreads
February 16 - It is not unusual to hear horse trainers and owners claim how drugs fed to horses help them in their racing endeavors, and that introducing horses to racing at an early age is beneficial since it helps nurture them into strong racing horses, and also how racing the horses keeps them healthy and reduces their mortality rate. Well, all these aren't facts, but just myths that are spread by some of the stakeholders in the horse racing industry. Let us analyse some of these myths in depth and try to debunk them.
Drugs Are Good For Horses
Horse trainers and owners often brag about how their horses are fed the best and most effective performance enhancing drugs. The myth is that the steroids are beneficial to the animals since it helps boost their performance on the race track. However, comparing horse racing to other racing sports, there is a stark contrast in how the use of drugs is implemented.
While athletes are banned from using performance-enhancing drugs in most competitions, these banned substances are allowed to be injected into the animals to improve their racing abilities. Question is if the banned substances are not recommended (read healthy) in other racing competitions, which implies that they are not healthy, why are they allowed to be injected into the animals?
While horse owners and trainers cite improved racing performance by the horses, research in the use of steroids in horses has revealed that the animals become addicted to these substances, and this is not good for the racing animals.
Extreme Training Is Good For Racing Horses
According to Grand-National.club, another myth being propagated by the racing industry, particularly by the horse trainers and owners, is that the extensive training the horses are subjected to before being allowed to race is good for them and for enhancing their performance in the race tracks. The problem, however, lies in the training.
There is a big difference between training horses to keep them healthy and race-ready; however, when a horse collapses while on the race track, like it happened to one champ, Many Clouds; the racing horse collapsed after edging out Thistle Crack during the 2015 Cheltenham Grand National meeting, it only shows that the steed was exhausted due to being overworked or overtrained. Too much of something is poisonous, and the extreme training sessions are not any good for any of the racing animals.
Horses Are Trained Effectively While Young
The belief that horses should start training at an early age is downright untrue. The idea that training steeds to race and compete effectively on the race tracks should be initiated when the racing horses are too young to help them develop into strong horses is not correct, at least according to most vets.
The horses are taken from the stable when they are too young, when their skeletal structures are still developing, and are then subjected to intensive training with the objective of nurturing them into strong animals that can handle top-notch races. However, as it's often the case, most of these horses never make it to the racing track due to injuries, strained tendons, ailments in the lower limb, fractures, and in worse cases, death from exhaustion.
The animals should be left to develop; at least until their skeletal structures are strong enough to sustain the pressures of racing before they are put into intensive training. This way perhaps, most of the injuries and deaths noted in many horse racing events would be minimised because the steeds would have matured enough to handle the weight of the jockey and still maintain a good pace to win the race.
Racing Is Not A Death Sentence For Horses
While stakeholders in the industry are only concerned about the profits they'll gain from horse racing, they are often at the front row championing for the health and safety of the racing steeds, and further insist that the racing animals are healthy and, therefore, are less likely to die from the sport. However, statistics indicate that many horses die as a result of this sport, either directly or indirectly. Directly in the sense that many steeds have collapsed while on the race tracks.
For instance, Many Clouds collapsed after defeating Thistle Crack during the Cheltenham 2015 horse racing festivals. Indirectly in the sense that many young horses tend to suffer injuries even without competing in their first race. The training these horses are subjected to is intensive and most young horses tend to suffer severe injuries, which render them unfit to compete in racing events, and these are later dispatched because they are deemed 'useless'. On the other side, another study shows that racehorses are continuing to get quicker.
Courtown Oscar Set For Grand National TrialSaddest Moments In Horse Racing History Is Thistlecrack Destined to Win the Cheltenham Gold CupThe New One Leaves Twiston-Davies With Cheltenham Options