For the love of horses, I’m boycotting the Triple Crown this year. There will be no watching the Derby, Preakness, or Belmont in this house.
- The thoroughbred industry is one of the most irresponsible breeders in the country. Each year, thousands of foals are born, tested for speed, and wasted. Men and women of the Sport of Kings breed with impunity; horses are their easy, experimental crops. Dan James, of Double Dan Horsemanship has seen it first-hand. He told me:
“I think the thoroughbred industry needs to become a little more responsible for the number of horses that are being produced each year… What are they going to do for the rest of their lives?” Dan James
- Some trainers and jockeys are no better than the scoundrels guilty of soring in the walking horse industry. As has been widely reported, they’ve been secretly abusing them with electric shocks during training sessions and competitions. Read more.
- Drugging horses continues, despite condemnation by politicians and the public. Drug testing and compliance is probably more restrictive cows than it is for thoroughbreds. Read more.
- ROI (Return On Investment) is more important that proper horse development. Why else would babies be running at the tender age of two years? That kind of intense activity is too much for young horses, athletically AND mentally, say the authors of Evidence-Based Horsemanship.
- Recently, I watched an excellent short documentary of nurse mare foals. These days-old foals are stripped from their mothers, so the mares can serve other foals with higher racing potential. Hundreds of foals cast aside, auctioned under curtain of darkness. Some have been rescued. Like all the aforementioned abuses of thoroughbreds, the practice goes unchecked. Watch the video.
- The industry does a nice job of contributing to thoroughbred rescues and agencies. But the charitable efforts are self-serving. It’s their Tide for image laundering.
The industry has no incentive to amend their harmful practices. And I’m not counting on politicians or law enforcement to affect any meaningful change. Adopting a thoroughbred is a nice gesture and thank goodness for those non-profits!
But if breeding is a running hose, rescuing simply diverts the flow. Better to turn off the faucet and pressure the industry to rein in breeding and treat their charges more humanely. Better to not watch in hopes that less viewing translates to fewer dollars.
These current industry practices are not what’s best for the horse.
Every year, when the Triple Crown comes around, I think of how many horses have been sacrificed for what is called “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”. But this is a sport where the athlete has no choice on whether it is drafted or not. I remember Ruffian and the heartbreak that I felt when she stumbled after breaking a leg, still trying to run on that leg… How many others, not so famous, have suffered the same fate. The entire industry is shameful.