Morally Indefensible

This is horseracing…

Kentucky Downs, 2020 (Snake Doctor killed)

Charles Town, 2020 (Princess Rashelle killed)

Turfway, 2019 (Olly Wonder killed)

Hong Kong, 2019 (Voyage King killed)

Laurel, 2019 (Aikenetta killed)

Charles Town, 2019 (Top Hat Darlin killed)

Delta, 2019 (Doc’s Rocket killed)

Breeders’ Cup, 2019 (Mongolian Groom killed)

Mahoning, 2019 (Iamthebest killed)

Saratoga recap, 2019

Saratoga, 2019 (Borough Boy killed)

Laurel, 2019 (Follow the Petals killed)

Delaware, 2019 (Well Graced killed)

Belterra, 2019 (Beau Dan killed)

Lone Star, 2019 (Moro Chief killed)

Santa Anita, 2019

Santa Anita, 2019 (Arms Runner killed)

Kentucky Downs, 2018 (Chattel killed)

Saratoga, 2018 (Bowie killed)

Thistledown, 2018 (Rise Above It killed)

Belmont Stakes Protest, 2018

Keeneland, 2018 (Hazel Ann I Am killed)

“Under Tack” Trials

Gulfstream, 2016 (Kandoo killed)

Ffos Las Racecourse (Wales), 2016

Del Mar, 2014 (Yes She’s Unusual killed)

Wexford Racecourse (Ireland), 2013

Monticello, 2013

Charles Town, 2012

Galway (Ireland), 2011

Japan, 2010

Arlington, 2009 (Born to Be killed)

Aqueduct, 2009 (Private Details killed)

Churchill Downs, 2008 (Eight Belles snaps both front ankles)

Pimlico, 2006 (Barbaro’s eventually-fatal injury)

Breeders’ Cup at Belmont, 1990 (Go for Wand killed)

Epsom Downs (England), 1966

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  1. Like many others who support this site, I will not watch any of these videos. But for those new and naive to the horrors of horse racing, it helps to bear in mind that in every single one of these killings, there was a significant portion of crusty, old die-hard gambling addicts who CELEBRATED THEIR OWN LUCK at having their tickets pay off as a result of these horses’ deaths.

    So let that sink in as you’re watching, if you’ve got the stomach for it: Bettors literally enjoy the benefits of racehorse breakdowns when they pay off for them.
    Just some more nice folks partaking in the Sport of Kings, I guess.

    • Not only are the heartless heathens who placed bets on horses cheering if they won at the expense of a horse’s catastrophic injuries. It’s all of those people participating in horseracing in any way, shape and form who make these horses suffer and somehow there is a paycheck in it for them. It is barbaric and no public relations angle can change that fact! Anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence ought to be able to know that horse racing is very cruel once they learn the facts.

  2. I saw too many of these type of incidences in person. I was one of those that defended this at one time and rationalized that it happened, but really, not that often, right? I remember at one time sitting at a table with a group of my friends who were, God bless them, mostly anti racing. I remember saying, “but really they love to run!”, this after I had won my first race. I was on a high from it. They made me feel ashamed for supporting racing.
    But I went on, bought more horses, won another race, held more horses with shattered legs as the vet was preparing his concoction to euthanize, and my passion was beginning to wane. I was having a harder time rationalizing racing.
    Then the fateful day came that a horse I had helped develop shattered both his front legs. Because of this- I found this site and Patrick’s tireless work. And my eyes opened to how many horses really die every day. I’ve never looked back. My love for the horse is too strong.
    I ironically still get catalogs from the OBS sales, including the “under tack” shows. But now I don’t even open the catalogs anymore, I just use them to start fires in my wood burner.
    I wrote a text a few years ago to one of the girls who was sitting at that dinner table with me, who had been one of the most vocal anti racing people. I thanked her for being staunchly anti racing, and I told her of this site, asked her to share it, and proudly told her that I was completely anti racing now, and all my former racers had found good homes. These videos still give me chills, and tears to my eyes. We need to push on. We are making a difference, and thank you Patrick.

  3. Utterly heartbreaking, watching those magnificent horses being raced literally to death. And to make matters worse, the fallen horses never get mentioned, the race continues and in most cases, even the jockeys walk away un-affected… utterly callous and sickening.

  4. I’ve always loved horses. For a long time, to me, loving horses meant watching horse shows and horse races on TV. As a child, I saw Ruffian break down. As an adult, I watched the all of the 1990 Breeder’s Cup races and, later, the breakdown of Barbaro. I’m truly ashamed to say it took the death of Eight Belles to get me to stop watching horse racing. I never made any bets, and I never attended any races, but I kept watching–and I kept believing these events were rare and acceptable. They aren’t; they’re part and parcel of horse sports.

    I can’t watch horse sports at all anymore. No matter the discipline, no matter the level, it’s finally become obvious to me that the health and well-being of the horses involved is of very little importance. From amateur levels to the Olympics, dressage horses suffer rollkur and win shows anyway. Cross country horses die in rotational falls. Big Lick TN Walkers are tortured for sport. Western pleasure horses have their tails blocked and win shows for performing shuffling, unnatural gaits with their heads way too low. AQHA halter horses are bred to look like beef cattle and often can’t stand up to normal riding use even as young adults. And every discipline I know of starts the horses way too young.

    Big profits and healthy animals don’t mix, and they never will.

    • Laurel, thank you for your comments. I have read about the rollkur in Dressage. It is extreme. It is unnecessary. It is not true horsemanship. It violates the original purpose and definition of dressage. It is abuse.
      I read some information online about the horrible things people do to horses’ tails. It is a horrible thing to block any horse’s tail. It reminds me of Botox for people in the sense that the muscles are (more or less) paralyzed in a specific area, can’t show expression, except the horses are not given the choice to NOT have these abnormal things done to them.
      Some of the Quarter Horse people have been breeding horses with “legs too short” which is a defect in conformation. The hindquarters and hind legs look like pigs with short legs, the part above the hock. It’s very disturbing that people go to the extremes they go to in their efforts to cheat to win at the expense of the horses’ well-being!!!

  5. YW, Wanda! I’m not an expert, just someone saying what she sees.

    To me, the problem with halter-bred AQHA horses is not that their legs are short, but that they are very upright in the pasterns, very small of foot, and almost entirely straight behind–some of these horses look like they do not have hock joints at all, but more like they are standing on toothpicks. Such horses often require hock injections to “stay sound” at a very young age. If they were simply bred to have useful legs, that wouldn’t be necessary. Instead, they are essentially unsound by design.

    People breed for and train for what makes money, whether that’s on the racetrack or in the show ring. If dressage judges didn’t reward rollkur, it wouldn’t happen. If judges didn’t prefer freakish-looking halter horses, they wouldn’t exist. If judges didn’t want to see Western pleasure horses sporting unnaturally still tails, they wouldn’t be blocked. And, of course, if horse racing didn’t make money, there would be no more horse racing.

    I think some people are making an effort to change the nature of certain cross country obstacles in hopes of preventing or at least minimizing rotational falls. It seems like making things as safe as we can for the horses is the least we can do if we want to claim them as partners and athletes. And if we can’t make a sport reasonably safe for the horses, that sport needs to end–the sooner the better.

    • Laurel, your description of the hind legs looking like toothpicks, being almost entirely straight behind, is what I meant by the term “legs too short” and that has nothing to do with the height of the horse. The cannon bones are supposed to be relatively short. However, the part of the leg from the thigh to the hock joint is supposed to be long enough that the hock joint and the cannon bone should be in line with the outer edge of the hindquarters if a plumb line were used. You can imagine with the plumb line as a guide how a horse should look. The pasterns, hooves and shoulders should have a 45° angle. There are a lot of things to know about correct conformation in horses. I am not sure who, or what particular individuals, decided to reward defective conformation in horses but I found some awesome information online about how and why the breeders and exhibitors of German Shepherd Dogs went off the rails in breeding to the accepted standard for that breed. It’s basically that a few rich people manipulated the whole thing into what it has become.

      • Yes! Sorry I didn’t phrase it better, but those hind legs have very little articulation, and it’s sad.

        I was a small animal veterinary tech for ten years. That was decades ago, and German shepherds were already messed up then, as were many other breeds. Jemima Harrison’s Pedigree Dogs Exposed films and blog are tough to watch and read, but I recommend them: She pulls no punches.

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