Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Horse abuse?

I'm not exactly Joe PETA, but some things are too much. This might be an example:
Three of the jockeys who were hurt in a five-horse collision at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club suffered fractures, 10News reported.

The spill occurred about 4 p.m. Monday during the track's fourth daily race. Three of the five horses involved were later euthanized.

Jockey Jose Silva was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where it was discovered he had a fractured vertebrae, according to 10News. Anthony Lovato was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, also with a fractured vertebrae. Jockey Tyler Baze suffered foot fractures and was treated at a nearby hospital.

"I've been around here for 40 years and I can't remember anything like this," Dan Smith, media director at Del Mar, said.
Yep, you'd better get rid of those horses in a hurry. We wouldn't want to get caught drugging them, now would we?

No, I'm not claiming that any of the horses were drugged - things happen. The stress in a race horse's legs is incredible, and occasionally they just break.

But horses have pain just like the rest of us - enough to make them stop doing something painful unless they're drugged. And I saw the results of abuse at a quarter horse race about 20 years ago in IL.

It was about a 400 yard race, the last one of the day. The horses were just a few lengths out of the gates when one of them broke both forelegs simultaneously. It somersaulted, rolling over the jockey. The rest of the horses finished the race.

How do I know the horse broke both legs? Because it got back up on its hind legs and the stumps, its lower forelegs flopping in front of it, as if it were trying to finish the race. And judging from the crowd, I wasn't the only one who hadn't seen anything like it.

A few minutes later a vet was on the scene and they put the horse down. Then an endloader carried the horse to a pit on the far end of the site and dumped it. For two cents they could have had the trainer too.

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