2-Year-Old Rebels Against Her Masters

It is our unequivocal position that no horse wants to race. Simply put, the horserace is effected though force, coercion, compulsion: From nose chains to tongue ties to blinkers, bridles, bits, and reins. And whips. From the trainers to barn staff, the starters to the whip-wielders themselves, the jockeys, every movement of the racehorse is controlled by humans. At least that’s the goal. Sometimes, though, the horse fights back. Witness this from Presque Isle Monday:


Immediately prior to this, Elfy was entered on June 21: “ELFY became fractious in the post parade unseating the rider and falling, was quickly apprehended…hesitated at the start…off behind the field.” On this occasion, she finished, albeit in last place.

So, two races in a row this two-year-old horse – a virtual equine babe – has been “fractious,” both times falling (“flipped on her back”). “Fractious,” for those who may be unfamiliar with the word, means “inclined to make trouble, unruly, cranky, peevish.” In other words, Elfy is communicating her displeasure (at what humans are doing to her) the only way she knows how. And yet, this little exercise will continue – continue, that is, until she is either broken down (or “breaks down”) or is simply deemed unfit and jettisoned north to the abattoirs. It is at once inspirational and so profoundly sad.


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  1. ELFY is communicating the only way she knows how because if racehorses had a voice this business would not be operating.
    It’s unimaginable that they still forced her into the gate after she flipped over.
    It just goes to show that their only concern is another $2 bet to fill their wagering coffers.
    Furthermore, we are experiencing unprecedented heat all over, but especially in Florida, Texas, Arizona where the temps are reaching as high as 120 F with humidity factor.
    Yet, the Frank Stronach owned Gulfstream Park (who supposedly “cares” for racehorses) are running races and heatstroke’s are NOT reported.
    I’m told that this is going on every single day – that racehorses down there are miserable from the heat.
    Yet, they put a bunch of equipment on them, and continue to beat/whip them into submission.
    Blatant animal cruelty – the poor racehorses.
    This has got to END.

    • And don’t forget, no matter how hot and how the horses sweat and dehydrate they are dosed with a potent diuretic that further dehydrates and disrupts the all IMPORTANT electrolyte balance..
      These track vets. Are guilty of malpractice over and over.
      The abuse is staggering.

    • Yes, Gina – the oppressive heat that many states have been experiencing hasn’t halted the majority of races. And the horses…enduring not only what you mentioned but then add Lasix into the mix! Lasix – dehydrating them, decreasing their blood volume (the “liquid” portion) but not the number of RBC’s, making their blood more viscous and putting additional stress on their hearts to pump that “thicker” blood through their vascular systems (not to mention a side effect of Lasix – hypokalemia – putting the heart at risk of fatal arrhythmia with the potassium depletion). Now add one more deadly side effect of dehydration – the horse’s cooling system is reduced as the inability to adequately sweat leads to heat building up. These poor horses are sitting ducks for heat exhaustion, heat stroke and cardiac arrests.

  2. And even after she flipped onto her back they didn’t scratch her from the race. I can’t imagine going on a TRAIL RIDE if my horse had flipped onto his back just prior! And did a veterinarian stop the proceedings to take her aside and evaluate her after that fall? – deeming her uninjured and fit to race? Of course not. Imagine the force of that fall – 1000 pounds onto an immature skeletal system. ONLY after Elfy continued to hold up the race by doing the only thing she could to voice her refusal was she finally scratched. They simply don’t care.

  3. Horseracing is a vile, greedy vicious, callous “sport”. They don’t care one bit what these poor horses feel or endure, I despise this so called sport and it needs to end immediately. Poor Elfy she was just stating what she feels. I pray everyday for this horseracing business go bankrupt!

  4. Patrick, I’ve written a few times, each time thanking you for the time, energy, love you have for these lovely animals. Since, I’ve started reading your blogs I’ve only seen a few races on TV. I’ve always been bothered by the use of whips on these lovelies, but it’s so much more. Each blog makes me sad, and angry in varying degrees. This particular story about Elfy breaks my heart to a million pieces. If I had the money I’d buy, steal, or whatever it takes to get her away from those people. I don’t want to see her name on the list of horses who have died, been killed, but we know what the future holds for her and many, many more.

  5. I’ve seen trainers use a chain like this many times for so called “unruly horses”. These trainers are evil bastards that should have the same thing happen to them.

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