The Dangers of a Horse Race

The Dangers of a Horse Race

horse race

A horse race is a contest of speed, where eleven horses either run or pull sulkies. It is a highly skilled activity and the skill of the rider is a major factor in a horse’s chances of winning. However, despite the precision required for the sport, many horses suffer from injuries and other ailments that can affect their health. Some of these injuries, such as pulmonary hemorrhage, can be fatal to the animal. The veterinary surgeons and trainers who work in horse racing are well aware of these dangers and try their best to prevent them from occurring, but some do not care enough to take the necessary precautions.

This year’s Derby was a race to remember. There were several egregious incidents that made headlines, including the horse named Havnameltdown, who broke down right before the finish line and died. In addition, two other horses, both of whom seemed to be poised to win, fell near the finish line in nationally televised races, drawing attention to their gruesome injuries.

The day of the Derby, it was cold and windy. An army of veterinarians, using data from motion sensors and other equipment, was at the track to scrutinize every horse with the ferocity of a diamond jeweler. They were looking for fetlock lesions, which could be a sign of stress and illness. They were also checking that each horse was carrying the proper weight, and looking for rule infractions and other violations. Saliva and urine samples were also taken.

At the starting gate, a steward was waiting to inspect each horse for any signs of illegal substances. Then the race was off. From the grandstand, it looked like a beautiful spectacle, a great event where horses romped through a mile and a half of track with huge strides and hypnotic smoothness. War of Will took the early lead and kept it all the way around the clubhouse turn, with Mongolian Groom and McKinzie a few lengths back.

As the race approached the final stretch, you could see the horses were tiring. They were panting, breathing hard, and their sweat splattered the dirt underneath them. Some of them were even bucking, which was unusual for horses in this type of race.

Those that are tired usually break down, which is why a horse’s performance in a race is so important. The racers want their horses to reach the finish line in the fastest time possible, and they will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, including whipping them if they appear to be losing ground.

Behind the romanticized façade of Thoroughbred horse racing is a world of injuries, drug abuse, and gruesome breakdowns that sometimes result in death. Spectators dress up in fancy clothes and sip mint juleps while watching the race, but the animals are running for their lives. This is the kind of exploitation that PETA, The New York Times and others have been trying to expose. There are those in the industry that will downplay or worse the video’s origins, but there is a growing group of people who see that this is a critical moment and that serious reform is needed.