To be dreading the grand national on Saturday?

(293 Posts)
annabanana84 Wed 03-Apr-13 15:41:57

once again the grand national has come around, and to say I despise it is an understatement. The fact that people race these poor horses for entertainment and money really defies belief. The way those poor horses get whipped, exhausted and there is not a year goes by that we hear of deaths or the animals having to be put to sleep because of them breaking their necks, backs, or other injuries. I so dread it. You can't even get away from hearing about the deaths because it's broadcast on every news programme.

ouryve Wed 03-Apr-13 15:45:13

I think the promotion of it as the original extreme sport is quite sick sad

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Wed 03-Apr-13 15:47:23

It's disgusting.

Injuring horses and hiding their corpses under tarpailin is not a 'sport'.

I've always found horse riding digusting though.

pamelat Wed 03-Apr-13 15:48:38

I naively went to it last year


having never really watched it, not even on tv that I remember, I went on corporate tickets and was really upset by it all


Sugarice Wed 03-Apr-13 15:49:10

I hate it too and never watch.

I despise the shoulder shrugging off the so called experts when horses die.

Is it still on bbc1 or has channel 4 nabbed it?

EdithWeston Wed 03-Apr-13 15:49:42

It's not every year though, after only 1 in 1960s, there were 9 in 1970s and 3 in 1980s. The course has been made less challenging since then. The last two years have seen two fatalities each time, but that's not typical either of this race or of the sport as a whole.

It does get the column inches though.

hiddenhome Wed 03-Apr-13 15:50:35

It is horrible. I hate it. The people involved are sick and should be ashamed of themselves. I think an artist should design a big poster of some dead jockeys lying under tarps on the grass and see how everyone like that angry

EdithWeston Wed 03-Apr-13 15:50:50

"original extreme sport" - really? Glad I hadn't spotted that as a tag line, for that is indeed sickening.

fuzzysnout Wed 03-Apr-13 15:50:57

Disgusting. I dare say that you'll have people come onto the thread to tell you how much the horses love it and how much 'safer' it's been made this year. I well remember them falling over themselves to say the same last year before two horses died sickening deaths sad

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Wed 03-Apr-13 15:56:07

I mean horse racing was digusting, not horse riding!


Apologies, horse riders!!


JenaiMorris Wed 03-Apr-13 17:00:10

I honestly can't get that worked up about it. Not that I don't like horses, or animals generally (although I do eat them, so I'm not that precious about them).

I prefer flat racing - I've been to a few.

Dreading seems a little strong.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 17:02:56

It's mainly about money

They all agreed that halving the field was a great idea last year but have they done it? Of course they haven't.

midastouch Wed 03-Apr-13 17:10:48

Totally agree with you OP I hate it but DP will watch and bet on it and get my 3yo DS to pick a horse hmm

woozlebear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:11:04

Wouldn't go as far as dreading, personally, but only because I'm so thick I hadn't realise it was due.

I do dread the moment someone in my office starts doing the sweepstake for it (every flipping year) and I'm the ONLY person (amongst lots of apparently animal loving NICE people that I usually like!) who has to trot out my pious po-faced 'no thank you, I don't want to be involved in anything that needlessly kills and injures animals for enjoyment'. Thankfully even the office tw*ts are normally shamed into silent acceptance and don't hassle, but I hate the whole thing. It makes me hate everyone I work with, which is never fun.

McNewPants2013 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:15:46

I would think after the recent horse meat scandal the GN would have been scaled down, I don't think I have seen so much advertising for the GN

Lovelygoldboots Wed 03-Apr-13 17:29:33

I worked for the Tote for years and have been to the GN many times. Yes there are deaths, but the course has changed. I always used to run a sweep at the office. I don't think I am a twat. The horses are bred to run, its an exciting race to watch. Sorry but I don't agree.

natwebb79 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:32:17

"The horses are bred to run". Oh that's ok then hmm

somewheresomehow Wed 03-Apr-13 17:33:26

dreading a horse race is a bit ott. if u don't like it don't watch it

specialsubject Wed 03-Apr-13 17:36:04

So don't watch it and don't watch the news. Your TV has an off switch.

perhaps not our finest mark of civilisation, but there are bigger things to worry about.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 03-Apr-13 17:38:50

The horses do want to run. There are rules about using the whip. I know people who train them. Horses are not mistreated but yes there are dangers in the sport. But all racehorses want to run. That is what they are. Horses that race.

saintmerryweather Wed 03-Apr-13 17:39:24

So people are ok with all the animals who are killed for human use every year but 2 horses in the national and its a tragedy? Its what theyre bred for, same as a sheep or a cow will die for your dinner (and have a far less pleasant life in tge meanwhile)

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:40:08

I love racing and have horses and do get a bit irked by people only thinking the national has fatalities and not understanding the sport etc and do watch and enjoy the national.

However I would very much like to see the field halved and the runners that are in it purely for the vanity of the owner having a gn runner be removed.

MrsMorton Wed 03-Apr-13 17:41:17

YABU, just don't watch it... dreading something you have no involvement in is a bit much. You could be dreading the winter in Syria or the stoning to death of women in Afghanistan... or you could be doing something about these prospects (campaigning, writing to your MP, volunteering for a charity etc)

bonzo77 Wed 03-Apr-13 17:42:06

^^this. Exactly.

BalloonSlayer Wed 03-Apr-13 17:42:06

I think there is a small point to be made in that if a horse really doesn't wish to jump race it probably would have enough brains or spirit not to - they are not greyhounds following a pretend rabbit on instinct. I imagine most of them enjoy galloping along up to a point.

HOWEVER the Grand National is different . . . Becher's brook is a fence that is reasonably low on the take-off side with a much longer drop on the other side PLUS a water filled ditch. The horse has no idea that is going to be there and just has to cope with it as best it can.

It's just bloody cruel to trick an animal like that. I just googled it to try to get measurements - the photos are horrible, and so many of them. Poor, poor horses.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 17:44:03

I have very little objection to horses being ridden, trained, jumped, cross countried and so on. Eventing is Ok, to an extent, as well imo.

What I do object to is horses being exploited like this for the crude, vulgar benefit of a load of drunken idiots who want to gamble, and by exploited I mean made to run in a fear/herd instinct induced frenzy in a field that is far too large to be safe.

The GN makes me very very angry and upset.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 03-Apr-13 17:45:31

Used to lay the odd bet just with family and cheer our horses along, but I won't watch it any more.
No sport is worth having horsed dying.

UmBongo Wed 03-Apr-13 17:46:50

They are, as others have said, race-horses. If they weren't bred to run then they wouldn't exist at all. Same as all the fluffy cutie lambies wouldn't be in the fields if people didn't eat sheep. The horses get excited as they know they are about to race and the rules on whip use are very strict.

They are generally much better looked after than a lot of private riding ponies.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 03-Apr-13 17:48:54

The sport would not exist without betting. The tote gave a lot of their money to race courses and the jockey club. Don't know how it works since the Tote has been sold.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 17:48:58

'The horses get excited as they know they are about to race'

Nooo they do not understand the concept of 'race'

They get anxious because there is the beginning of the stampede, it is a herd instinct, they react like there is danger and that is not a good thing for them. It's not excitement or the joy of competition - that's the jockeys and the gamblers you're thinking of there.

The horses are being exploited because they have an instinct to run when they see other horses running.

digerd Wed 03-Apr-13 17:49:12

If humans want to participate in a sport that can cause injuries, that is their choice.
Horses do not not have that choice, they are forced into it by the greed of their owners.

As a family we watched it decades ago, but when accidents happened I was worried for the innocent horses, and haven't watched it for ages and will not do so in the future.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 17:49:29

It's a horrible race. I am not a fan of racing in any case as it is driven by big money at the expense of everything else. Many horses die in racing every year - the GN is just the race that is the most famous and followed so it is highlighted more.

Yes they should have halved the entry numbers - it will be carnage on Saturday as usual.

And I do understand horses and have my own before any smart arse comes along to tell me that I know nothing.

And as for the 'what about Syria?' or 'what about farm animals?' comments - well I care about these issues too. Being upset by the annual national disgrace that is the GN does not mean that a person does not care about anything else - care is not a finite thing.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 17:50:06

'rules on whip use are very strict' was it last year or the year before the winner got a ban after winning but still kept his title?

Not what I'd call strict

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:31

Think that was last year - and didn't the winning horse need oxygen straight after the race? Still, as long as the punters enjoyed their day out....

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:33

They have reviewed the safety after last year's carnage

They have made some small changes to Bechers and others

the field stays the same size

It's pretty transparent what the motives are

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 17:52:01

Yes to O2

that was really played down after. The horse was in a bad way.

Panzee Wed 03-Apr-13 17:55:04

Horse racing isn't a sport. Can't stand it myself.

McNewPants2013 Wed 03-Apr-13 18:06:41

Just looked at some of the odds, 250/1 is a huge risk.

Perhaps they should be looking at the horses that haven't got good odds at winning and pulling them out

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 18:08:56

Yes but I think that the 'glamour' of having a horse in the GN is a major pull for some owners/syndicates and maybe trainers feel pressurised. Some horses have no hope of making it round in one piece but they are still entered.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 18:09:47

Was just looking at some pretty shocking still pis of horses coming down (some not to get up again). It's not for the faint hearted.

ComposHat Wed 03-Apr-13 18:14:31

YABU the raw ingredients of a Findus Lasagne don't supply themselves.

I think the horses are very lucky. I mean last time I wanted to be straddled by an Irish dwarf in silky clothing and whipped it cost me 500 quid in one of Soho's more niche clubs.

captainbarnacle Wed 03-Apr-13 18:14:52

I worry just as much for the jockeys as the horses.

zukiecat Wed 03-Apr-13 18:18:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I have a horse and cannot abide racing. I think it's more the way the general public feel about it - stupid horse lost me £20 etc.

They are animals with feelings not machines. And the majority, but not all, racehorses are kept in a very unnatural way of life with limited roughage and no turnout.

Nasty business

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 18:24:26

zukiecat all for money. sad

Varya Wed 03-Apr-13 18:28:26

For me it is the height of cruelty in the nasty world of steeplechasing. I wont be watching and will avoid reports, pics etc like the plague. Animals have no choice in how they are treated and the GN stinks.

Naysa Wed 03-Apr-13 18:34:44

These animals aren't born to race.

Yes they are bred to be faster and stronger but they are also forced to live in their stables 24/7. Fed high energy food with little proper "horse time". It's wrong.
If the jockeys want to risk their lives so be it. The horses don't choose this life. The lucky ones are the ones too bad at racing. Some of them get new homes but some go to slaughter.

All the other sports were money is passed around and animals die have been banned. So why not racing. Isn't the death toll in it's 20s already this year?

Naysa Wed 03-Apr-13 18:36:47

X post with zukie 26 animals dead.

That's ten a month angry makes me sick that people watch this "sport"

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 18:43:02

Have any of you read Clare Balding's Autobiography? It's well worth a read.

I love racing, I have horses, I have friends who train racehorses and I know the sport well.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 18:45:30

She said she wanted them to halve the field after last year.

SamuelWestsMistress Wed 03-Apr-13 18:47:35

Well the good old RSPCA have ensured there have been changes made. What they haven't thought out is that the fences are lower and the course is faster because of this so far likely to cause more injury.

Equestrian sport is risky. It goes on all the time. The grand national is a lot more high profile than many others and so more people get "outraged" about it.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 18:53:37

I think the GN is simply the flagship of the racing industry

That doesn't make other deaths and injuries in racing acceptable.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 18:53:51

Yes, and lots of us do agree there.

It's the betting I can't handle! People bet on horses and then get annoyed when they fall! That sort of attitude is a disgrace!

Far too many trainers - both racing and in other equestrian sports - don't see the horses as anything more than money making machines. Makes me sick

toboldlygo Wed 03-Apr-13 19:14:17

Ok, so 26 horses have died so far in 2013. How many have been transported long distance across Europe in appalling conditions to meet inhumane methods of slaughter?

People are only outraged by high profile events, the frothers seem to disappear for the rest of the year. Same as things like Crufts, there's a hundred equally prestigious champ shows every year but Crufts is the one implicated in cruelty, inbreeding etc. Because it's on the telly. hmm

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 03-Apr-13 19:17:46

It's in reaction to the publicity Toboldlygo. I'm not sure what the problem is with that - of course people don't just hate it when it's in the news. They hate it all the time.

jellybeans Wed 03-Apr-13 19:19:26

Disgraceful and not a 'sport' at all. Horses will die in pain. All for the sake of a few people having a bet. Grim. Get it banned asap along with dog racing.

Is it this Saturday? Right, mental note to avoid the city centre from tomorrow onwards.

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 19:21:56

No one ever gets frothy about the amount of horses that die eventing etc. The GN is just high profile.

There are good and bad trainers and owners.

I would like to see the bad eradicated and the field of the GN halved etc but racing in itself is not inherently cruel

Some horses do love to compete be it in racing, show jumping, dressage or eventing (mine does)

jellybeans Wed 03-Apr-13 19:24:06

'Yes there are deaths but...'
there shouldn't be any regular deaths in 'sport'.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 19:26:35

toboldlygo you are being very patronising. I care about - and campaign frequently about - all kinds of animal cruelty as I am sure many other posters do.

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 19:28:47

It would be nice if there were none but it is a risky sport to both horse and rider

Horses die by getting colic, by getting cast in their stables, by breaking a leg running around a field, by an injury plodding along on a hack etc etc

If you don't want any horses to die, the only solution would be for them not to be kept or ridden at all, and therefore not to exist.

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 03-Apr-13 19:31:30

Well, I LOVE IT!!!

Roll on GN! Ill watch ya ill support ya and ill have a little flutter with ya too. I'm an avid horsey gal and this is still the sport of kings and the race to watch.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 03-Apr-13 19:37:47

What I do object to is horses being exploited like this for the crude, vulgar benefit of a load of drunken idiots who want to gamble, and by exploited I mean made to run in a fear/herd instinct induced frenzy in a field that is far too large to be safe."

^^ This! Just toss a friging coin!

toboldlygo Wed 03-Apr-13 19:40:11

As do I, country, but I personally cannot count this one as animal cruelty. And I say that as a horse owner and rider. Horses and riders die in eventing and there's not nearly so much negative feeling towards that (and it may be patronising but, again, I can't help but feel this is because it's not regularly televised or as heavily marketed).

jelly, is that just greyhound racing or are we talking sled dog racing?

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 19:41:41

Can I like that wishiwas? grin

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 03-Apr-13 19:48:05

Absolutely Jenny! That is definitely a button missing on this site. U can report but never like.... At times sums this darned place up.

Anyone got any tips on the racers? Are they out yet? I love the weirdly named. Haven't seen lists yet....

Oh and very much agree with those saying nobody cares what happens in eventing, totes true. GN only attracts comment by passers by essentially. Am still heart broken couldn't get Olympic tickets for this.

CityTiliDie Wed 03-Apr-13 19:50:50

The average number of horses that DIE at British Race courses each year is........

Over 300!

If 300 footballers died in one country each year then football would be banned instantly but because its horses its ok hmm

Its all about the £ the trainers and jockeys claim to have the animals best interests at heart but most sane rational people know what Bollocks that is.

The sooner they ban all animal exploitation for financial gain the better.


catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 19:55:10

It's about 2 horses in every 1,000 and it has and is decreasing with added safety measures etc

Everyone would like it to be nil, be it for financial or welfare reasons but you cannot remove all the risk from the sport, only do everything practical and possible to reduce it.

I agree the GN could be made safer by reducing the field and would like to see that happen

But all equine activity carries risk be it racing or simply letting them out in the field. You will never be able to remove that as long as horses exist.

montysma1 Wed 03-Apr-13 19:56:26

Catgirl, just about the most stupid justification I have ever heard. Horses get hurt in fields and in the stable, therefore its ok to injure and kill them in a horse race.

Children and adults get killed and injured accidentally too, in all manner of ways, but generally this is not used as a justification to place them in dangerous situations for the hell of it.

Also, the suggestion that they wouldnt exist without racing is absurd.All manner of species and animal breeds continue to exist, even although the "jobs" they were bred for have receded into history.

My horse "loves"...... Racing, dressage, eventing, winning, seeing the queen, .........bla bla. Bollocks, certain humans love these things, horses don't know what they are, they are , you know, horses.

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:04:28

Well I'm going and I love the GN, racing and horses. I don't agree it's cruel although I obviously hate to see any animal hurt. They have been bred to race. All the recent changes called for by the animal rights people have actually made the race more dangerous. By lowering the fences they go faster.. Far more horses have died in the last ten years since the changes then ever before. The two who died last year actually did so on the flat and that could happen anywhere. I think the idea of outriders to catch the loose horses is an excellent. The brook at bechers was filled in years ago and the ground has been levelled off considerably.
I think there are far worse acts of cruelty out there.

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:06:43


It isn't a stupid justification, it's pointing out that horses are always at risk of fatal injury no matter what activity they are doing and looking at how much racing actually increases that risk. E.g, what is the % increase in fatalities between horses who race and horses who just hack / do dressage / live out at grass.

I did not suggest horses would not exist without racing. If you banned racing they would still exist for dressage, hunting, eventing, show jumping, driving, pleasure riding etc. And there would still be equine fatalities. Which presumably you would find unacceptable and therefore want banned. At which point, they would probably cease to exist (except for maybe a few in zoos or something) as there would be no reason to breed them.

My horse does enjoy competeting. You can tell when an animal enjoys something - it's pretty obvious. Like you can tell a dog enjoys chasing a stick or running down the beach. You wouldn't tell someone it was "bollocks" that their dog enjoyed chasing sticks because it is pretty easy to tell what a dog enjoys. It's the same with horses so I am not sure why you think it "bollocks" for someone to be able to tell what a horse enjoys.

zukiecat Wed 03-Apr-13 20:14:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

McNewPants2013 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:15:46

Dogs are trained to do fighting, which is barbaric, does that mean that they are bred and trained for this it should be legalised.

I don't like any sport involving animals.

Even prince Harry was investigated for animal cruelty for using an item in Polo

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:17:58

I campaign for animal welfare all year round too Zukie. As do many people who are involved in equestrian sports.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:19:40

What I object to is the horses being objects owned by rich people who probably haven't even met the horse, or a syndicate of drunken fuckwits. They don't give two fucks about the horses welfare beyond the fact that if the horse wasn't in tip top condition it woudlnt be profitable. It may as well be a ferrari than a horse. Not just in the national but in all the races.

The same for dog racing. We had a guy come into the vets with a greyhound and she had cut her leg (they do seem to cut themselves alot) and i made a comment about her being ready to retire and be a pet - the guy looked at me like I was mad and said, "she is not bloody good to me as a pet, once she can't race i'll be bringing her here to be put down" - CUNT!

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:20:28

I agree with you Catgirl.
My horses love to jump, gallop and do cross country. They love it.
McNewpants - can you elaborate anysport?

midori1999 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:21:57

Having been around horses all of my life, worked in the racing industry and been heavily involved in show horses, I'd say your dread is misplaced. Horses do die racing but there are far crueler practices going on in the showing world, however, it's not publicised, it's behind closed doors, Horse Of The Year Show in nowhere near as well know or publicised as the Grand National, so no one gives a shit.

zukiecat Wed 03-Apr-13 20:24:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:24:58

I see far greater cruelty when ignorant people buy ponies for children who can't ride, cab't meet their needs, over use the stick and then get bored and neglect it. And this happens to thousands of ponies every year.sad

McNewPants2013 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:25:02

Any sport that involves animals being hit to make them go faster and preform faster.

I am under no illusion that horse don't like running and jumping ect, but what I don't like is exploiting these animals for money.

meditrina Wed 03-Apr-13 20:25:31

I think that horses that race in the top level races must enjoy it - I just don't see how they can be forced to run.

But I do wonder why this race is more lethal now than it was in the 1960s.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:27:40

Have you seen a jockey whip. mcNewpant? They are made of sponge . It is the movement caught in the eye of the whip that spurs a horse on more than being hit, trust me. I never need to hit my horses EVER but I always carry a whip.

nkf Wed 03-Apr-13 20:28:26

Oh darn it. I will have to name change after this. But I love love love the Grand National. Will there be a pick the winner thread tomorrow?

McNewPants2013 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:30:02

No I haven't

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:31:55

Meditrina.. The reason it's more dangerous now is because the fences have been made smaller. A horse will naturally 'back off' a big fence meaning it won't jump as exuberantly. The fences are also narrower to allow a run off past the fence. This encourages bunching where as before they could spread out and allow the horse to see the fence.

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:35:39

Have they still banned whips at Towcester?

I hate overuse of the whip and think it should be punished much more severely. (possibly with a whipping angry )

I also carry a whip with my horse but never use it to hit him with. It's useful for steering etc.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:36:51

Backs up the leg, is all grin

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:40:47

Lucyellensmum, I agree but do you know any owners? The ones I know are passionate about their horses. One friend of mine has 13 in training. When they finish racing he ensures they go to knowledgeable homes and continues to pay for them until they die. Equally the owner of Kauto star has sent him to a top event rider to enjoy low level dressage. Horses at this level are not suited to a field aged just 12.

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:48:34

Denman is an interesting user name to have on this thread smile Any connection to that gorgeous horse?

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 03-Apr-13 20:49:26

For those that want to know more about the welfare aspects of racing, an industry I work in and love, here are some useful links:


Science & Welfare

Injury & Fatality statistics

The horse comes first

I do not expect everyone to agree with my opinions on racing, and I confess that I have struggled with the Grand National - it is not representative of the racing industry. It is a glorified handicap! - but I do expect people to look at the facts objectively and not throw accusations of people in racing not caring about their horses around.

meditrina Wed 03-Apr-13 20:52:51

Thanks DENMAN03.

IAmLouisWalsh Wed 03-Apr-13 20:54:03

I'm also going against the grain here - I like to watch horse racing, I like to have a bet and I love animals. It is horrible when horses die in the race, I agree - but most of the public only ever watch this and maybe the Derby or the Gold Cup, and have a slightly skewed view of racing.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 03-Apr-13 20:56:39

<waves to fellow horsey named poster> Can you spot who I am ?!

Shakey1500 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:58:17

Oh I hate it sad

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:02:40

Catgirl.. Well spotted!! He was just amazing smile

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:06:06

I loved him smile Fantastic horse

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:06:31

Frankel I do believe!

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:07:24

Ahhhhhhhh I was trying to work that out but failed!

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:08:24

He was. Glad he retired sound. Now we have the amazing sprinter sacre to take his place.. He is just something else! He is stepping up in trip at aintree.. Lets hope he hasn't gone over the too, although I can't see Nicky Henderson sending him out unless he is 100%.

TheWrathofNaan Wed 03-Apr-13 21:10:09

I can't understand why people imagine that the horses want to race when they are obviously being whipped to force them??!!!

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:16:50

Ok, so do we think Katie is going to be our first female winner?

thewrath what about the jockeyless horses, why do they continue to run, do you think?

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:17:26

It would be amazing if she was smile

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:18:06

That's really not true. Only very rarely will a horse refuse to race . Yes, the whip is used in the closing stages however the whip is very soft and there are strict rules on where and how many times it can be used. Nothing will make a horse go if it doesn't want to.

Greydog Wed 03-Apr-13 21:18:31

I hate this race, in fact I hate all horse racing. It's cruel and wicked and fir the entertainment of stupid, drunken thugs - male and female - who don't give a fuck about the animals suffering. Greyhound racing is the same. Should be banned, circuses are

TheWrathofNaan Wed 03-Apr-13 21:21:39

Adrenaline? Herd mentality? Having being whipped they continue until they are stopped?

Its not like its always their first race, they have been trained to perform in this unnatural way.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:22:06

catgirl I'm putting £20 each way on her! Go Katie!!! grin

You'll have to elaborate on what is cruel and wicked * greydog*. And I am far from stupid ( drunken I'll give you grin)!

TheWrathofNaan Wed 03-Apr-13 21:22:54

Leaving thread now. So I am not deliberately ignoring responses, if any.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:23:50

You can't have it both ways wrath - it can't both be unnatural and herd mentality, now can it?

montage Wed 03-Apr-13 21:24:21
jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:24:39

And have you ever tried to stop a racehorse? shock

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:26:33

Adrenaline and herd mentality are far and away the biggest factors Naan. The whip really isn't. I would support a ban on whips although they do have a role to play as a pressure aid, but not as an implement to strike a horse with the intention of hurting it.

Any horse will race regardless of training because, as you say, they are herd animals.

My own horse would be shite at racing though. If he gets to the lead of a group he panics, stops and turns round to see where everyone else is grin

Greydog Wed 03-Apr-13 21:28:34

Have a look at this, Jenny.

and while it is bound to present worse case it's worth a read. The disposal of "faulty" animals is a real shame, and it's the same in the greyhound industry. I don't think animals should be used in this way

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:32:59

Thanks greydog . As a horse lover and owner ( I prefer them to most humans, to be honest!) I agree with some of that link but I also know lots of fab ex racers now in private homes.

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:35:00

Greydog I am oppossed to cruelty within racing and would support any sensible campaign to eliminate it.

But just because some cruelty does still exist within racing does not make racing cruel in itself.

It's like saying that because some racism exists within football, football is racist and only enjoyed by racists. Clearly lots of people love football but hate the elements of racism that occur and would act to see that removed. Same with racing and cruelty.

jennywren45 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:38:09

No one likes to see a horse fall. Horses are my life and my livelihood but I love racing and hunting, all equestrian sports.
I would add that a quick death on the course is preferable to some I have witnessed.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 03-Apr-13 21:39:31

Animal Aid are an animal rights organisation, not an animal welfare group. Their sole aim in life is to ban all sports involving animals. A lot of what they say needs taking with a pinch of salt.

They talk about mares bring bred to death by having foals every year - what do they think happens in wild horse herds? hmm

Greydog Wed 03-Apr-13 21:41:01

I think, Ladies, that we will have to agree to disagree over this! If only the cruelty could be taken away - I think the reason I am so anti is having worked in Liverpool for many years and the attitude of so many race goers who seem to think that the death of an animal was an added bonus to their day out. Sickening and sad. Who was it said "scratch a civilised man and you'll find a savage"?

Greydog Wed 03-Apr-13 21:42:00

and Frankly, I did say it was "worse case" from Animal aid

catgirl1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:42:05

That attitude is indeed apalling Greydog sad

I have never come across it myself but would be outraged if I did.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 03-Apr-13 21:44:23

I point people to:

Retraining of Racehorses

Thoroughbred Rehoming



Darley Rehoming

At the end of the day, not every off the track thoroughbred is suitable for restraining or rehoming. Far better that they be humanely and responsibly put down to prevent them slipping into a spiral of neglect.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 03-Apr-13 21:47:45

Sorry greydog I didn't aim that comment at you personally, more a general point about AA.

When I go racing I don't drink and rarely bet - £2.50 each way is my biggest expense! I go racing to watch these magnificent animals do what they do best - run. I followed Frankel all over the country last year and every moment was pure joy. To see this epitome of equine strength, courage and beauty simply took my breath away.

Quilty Wed 03-Apr-13 21:52:22

I hate horse racing, the fact that they so relaxed the rules on whip usage so quickly after changing them just shows where their priorities lie.

And saying how the horses get treated like royalty / better than their own children etc etc just does not wash with me. The horses are wrapped up in cotton wool so they can't injure themselves before a race, meaning they live a very unnatural lifestyle. And then what does it matter how well they are cared for when they are then pushed to exhaustion and even death for one race? I don't understand why there isn't more outrage about it every year when we are meant to be a nation of animal lovers.

WaterfallsOver Wed 03-Apr-13 21:52:57

Yanbu. I boycott all horse racing and especially the grand national.

Twattybollocks Wed 03-Apr-13 21:53:35

Trust me when I tell you that if a horse doesn't want to run, it will not run. Likewise with the jumping! My old horse bloody well loved a good gallop, with or without a herd to run with. In fact If he caught you napping when you hit grass you would be half way across the field before you could blink, and then spend the rest of the field trying to stop him. He hated jumping though, and if I pointed him at a fence even at high speed he would stop dead and tell me to piss off in no uncertain terms. New horse loves jumping to the point where if there is a jump in the arena, he will drop his shoulder on the corner to put me off balance and be away at the jump before I can stop him the cheeky little bugger. when i do jump him properly he gets very excited and the look on his face when we have finished is "wow that was fun"
Basically horses will not do what they don't want to do, regardless of whips and jockey, and in racing they have to give 100% to win so any horse that isn't giving 100% the owner won't waste the money on training them, which is very expensive.
There is a lot of wastage in racing, largely I believe due to horses being started too young before the joints are fully matured, and once they come off the track they need a lot of reschooling before they are suitable as general riding horses, because of this they are often given away or sold for a pittance because it's a lot of work to get a decent safe horse out of it.
It's an amazing feat for a horse to get round the course, let alone win, but not any more amazing than show jumping puissance where the horse jumps 7ft plus, or eventing, nor even dressage, which isn't as dramatic, but is every bit as challenging for the horse as racing.
I do agree that the field should be halved, and the horses have to qualify in some way by demonstrating their staying ability and jumping ability so that only the horses that are truly up to the job will even attempt it. That would eliminate a lot of the fallers. Also, let's not forget the hundreds of horses who are destroyed after self inflicted accidents in their fields, with no one whipping them or making them run, they gallop about the field, slip, break a leg or injure their pelvis or back, all on their own.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Wed 03-Apr-13 21:57:58

There are qualifying factors for a horse to run in the Grand National:

They must be over 7 years of age
They must have run over a minimum distance (to prove their stamina)
They must have a minimum rating - all horses are rated according to their ability, with the rating reviewed every time they race

The only other possible criteria that they could introduce is that the horse must run over the Grand National style fences, but there are only 3 other races per year in which they can do so.

saintmerryweather Wed 03-Apr-13 22:06:17

Animal Aid are the nutjobs who i read a few years ago were bemoaning the fact that mules and horses were left behind at dunkirk and how tragic it was. never mind all the men left behind then eh?

I still dont have a problem with racing.

HotelFromage Wed 03-Apr-13 22:10:25

The gn fences haven't got lower at all. That is the point - they remain high to keep speeds down which makes it safer. My Dh works at the racecourse so I've just checked with him.

The main changes this year are:

1. Fence construction – the frame of every single fence on the Grand National Course has been changed. 12 fences now have 'EasyFix' plastic cores in place of timber stakes, covered in natural spruce. The other four fences, open ditches, have had their timber frames replaced by natural birch. This followed a successful trial in December at the Becher Chase Day. Fence heights remain unchanged and the fences will look identical to previous years

2. Start – the Grand National start has been moved forwards by 90 yards, away from the grandstands and crowds to help to create a calmer atmosphere. New BHA procedures are also intended to produce a cleaner start

3. Ground – in the last two years, £250,000 has been spent on the watering system to produce the safest jumping ground possible

4. Landing areas – levelling work has been conducted where necessary to ensure a flat and true landing zone for horses, including at Becher's Brook.

One area not changed is the maximum number of runners in the Grand National, which used to be significantly more than the 40 safety factor the race holds today. The BHA and Aintree reviewed every race since the course was remodelled and found simply no evidence that field size played a part in falls. Equally, maintaining the current height of the fences is considered important so as not to encourage greater speed around the course, which could create issues.

HotelFromage Wed 03-Apr-13 22:11:30

Info from BHA website, via DH, by the way

DENMAN03 Wed 03-Apr-13 22:28:23

Hotel, they have also lowered fence 4 which had a higher than normal rate of fallers, to make it more consistent with the other fences. I will be interested if they water the ground to make it softer than 'Good'. Over half the fatalities have occurred on good ground, yet the last fatality on 'soft' ground as in 1954... something to be said for this? Speed is definately the factor and bigger fences will slow them down.

Zilvernblue Wed 03-Apr-13 22:36:29

This sort of mass-herd-like hysteria online from posters who have probably never ridden a horse in their lives and know nothing about them, leaves me baffled. Its more about making the posters feel better about themselves, than animal welfare.

Heres some real animal welfare issues, which are around you every day and which you probably ignore - keeping medium and large sized dogs in small houses and giving them inadequate short walks as exercise; keeping cats, which are hunting animals, indoors; dumping older cats and dogs at the side of the road when you get a new pet; ripping up wild animals' habitats for new housing estates; keeping farm animals for slaughter when only giving them a year or so of life; separating calves from cows when very young and then harvesting the cows for milk -loads of examples. Why pick on the Grand National? Just because its on tv!

Horses die, they fall, they get injured. Most accidents happen in the field when another horse kicks them, or god forbid they are racing each other - yes, horses love racing each other even when at liberty. My very fluffy-bunny-rabbitty flatmate announced that horses being outdoors in the winter snow was cruel, and their noses must be frozen trying to eat. No concept that they are outdoor animals covered in fur who need to move around to function, that they are usually kept in at nights in winter, that they are given hay to eat, etc.. Just the pointless, fluffy sentiment to make her feel better about herself, with no experience of what shes actually talking about.

countrykitten Wed 03-Apr-13 23:10:01

Yawn - as I have pointed out upthread, all animal cruelty is a concern of mine (and many others on here I am guessing) and I have my own horses.

Pointing out the myriad ways in which humans treat animals cruelly does not make the GN somehow less cruel.

HotelFromage Wed 03-Apr-13 23:16:20

Denman, I was at Haydock RC on Saturday, only 15 mins from Aintree and it was good to soft there so maybe it will be similar at Aintree?

Zilvernblue Wed 03-Apr-13 23:37:26

Have you ever actually ridden a racehorse countrykitten, in training, on the gallops, and struggled not to get carted?

Hope you don't event/showjump/do dressage/trot on roads/ride in a school/turnout/don't turnout your horses, all just as perceptibly "cruel" unnatural uses of horses quite possibly more dangerous and harmful to the long term wellbeing of the horse. Hope you don't own a warmblood loose jumped before its joints are fused and its mentally ready either. Or an Irish horse backed at two and hunted at three.

ChairmanWow Wed 03-Apr-13 23:58:02

I've ridden since childhood, including jumping. And I detest the Grand National. I am completely unable to watch it and find it incredibly cruel. I don't give a shit if it's natural for horses to want to run, race, jump, they're just doing what they're trained to do etc. iThe course has never been safe, and everyone has a responsibility to protect the horses participating - the jockeys know and understand the risks, the horses don't.

Tbh there is a safety problem across national hunt racing. Horses die regularly but it's only the National that gets the column inches. If the sport can't get its act together it should be banned on animal welfare grounds.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 08:13:19

Zilvern no I have not ever ridden a racehorse - so what? So this means I can't have an opinion on the GN? I don't have a cock either but I think that rape is wrong.

And FWIW I own a Welsh cob who is a wilful pain in the arse but whom I love dearly and will be with me until the end of his days.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 08:14:07

And I agree with everything CW said too.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 08:26:51

Whilst I am not defended the deaths in racing, every single one of them is a tragedy and we should never stop trying to make the sport safer, people do need to take into account the numbers we are talking about.

As someone said earlier in the thread, around 300 horses die racing each year. The causes of these deaths are wide and varying - some are broken limbs, some are spinal injuries, some are heart attacks, some are irreparable tendon damage. No horse that could be saved is put down, the fact is that these injuries are completely irreversible - just look at the time and money spent on Barbaro in the USA, thre result? He was put to sleep after 8 months of discomfort, drugged to his eyeballs.

I got sidetracked there, my point was about the numbers, there are some 15,000 racehorses in the UK in training. Add to that the horses brought from all over the world to race. They run around 90,000 times per year (each horse running several times). From these 90,000 runs around 300 will result in a fatality, that's 0.33%.

99.67% of the time there are no fatalities.

lonahjomu Thu 04-Apr-13 08:34:43

You are lucky op that there are hundreds of things you can do this weekend to avoid watching or hearing bout it.

Personally I have huge other dreads in my life that effect me or my children/ family directly, and I can't switch those off.

We will all be putting a bet on in this house and my girls will always go with a female jockey.

RugBugs Thu 04-Apr-13 08:38:00

Our local travelodge is £300 for Fri/Sat nights and even months ago we couldn't get dinner reservations within 6 miles of town.
Now I have to bloody cook!

runningforthebusinheels Thu 04-Apr-13 08:40:38


countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 08:41:52

lonah what a silly post. Just because someone cares about an issue does not mean that they do not have other things to care about - what stupid one-upmanship.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 04-Apr-13 09:15:08

I've just caught up with this.

There seem to be a good few posts from people who claim to be involved in racing, saying that 'a lot worse happens' which we don't know/care about - what? Or is it so shocking as to be unprintable here?

I believe you. But how on earth is that an argument for the GN to continue?

and 'a lot of horses die in other events, not just the GN' - yes, of course they do. How, again, is this an argument for the GN to continue?

How is the fact that this is the most publicised race, and therefore prompts the biggest backlash, even relevant? That's obvious.

this is horse racing showing its sordid face once a year. It's bound to receive a negative response. It does not mean that no one cares about the other races, the 'worse' things going on. It just means not so many people KNOW about them.

That does NOT mean that people are being complicit in the other stuff, or thinking it's OK. They simply aren't aware of it most of the time and if they were, of course they would hate the idea of it as much as they hate the National.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 09:27:12

Another point to make about Animal Aid:

They advocate boycotting charities that raise funds for cancer research (I presume due to potential animal testing)

They advocate boycotting charities that provide farm animals for poor farmers in Africa (again I presume because they are anti "using" animals)

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 04-Apr-13 09:33:49

I know nothing about animal aid. Just saying, I don't have any affiliations to anyone or anything like that.

I just hate exploitation.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 09:36:27

I'm not accusing anyone on this thread of being an Animal Aid supporter, it's just that when these "once a year" threads start up, their statistics are invariably quoted along with links to their website.

I just want people to aware of their agenda and understand that there is more than a hint of bias in their statements.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 09:58:12

As there are in the the statements of the pro racing bodies.

Molecule Thu 04-Apr-13 10:24:10

My DH breeds national hunt horses, and he adores them all (to the extent I know where I stand in his affections). His ultimate success was to breed (twice) "the highest placed British bred horse" in the GN. He keeps in touch with all his babies even after they've been sold, and they've all been well looked after and much loved by owners and trainers. Now this might be that the horses are an old fashioned type of slow maturing horse that's not ready to run till it's 4 or 5, and so of no interest to the flash owners.

The mares continue to breed into their twenties, but often only have a foal every 2 or 3 years, and then a long and pampered retirement. They are put down at home, held by my DH whilst eating an apple. There appear to be many in racing like my DH.

One thing is for certain, a horse will only race because it likes it, if it doesn't it will not try (and sometimes will refuse to start). I know from many experiences you cannot force a thoroughbred to do anything it doesn't want to, they certainly know how to say a most emphatic "no". The one we bred that did well in the GN loved Aintree and Cheltenham, two of the most difficult tracks, and couldn't be arsed to try anywhere else.

It is horrible when a horse is killed in a race, and I don't know of anyone involved in racing who doesn't get upset, but at least it is quick and the horse will have had no anticipation of what is happening. I always feel for the poor groom who has to retrieve the tack and go home with an empty wagon.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 11:31:04

Molecule your dh sounds like a great breeder and one who actually cares. You must admit though that not all horses bred to race are as lucky as the ones that he breeds and clearly cares about. I am glad that he is with his mares when they die as I do think that this is responsible ownership - seeing it through to the end as it were.

I think you may be on to something with the 'flash owners' comment.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 11:55:41

Would he have been out on the course, molecule, feeding it an apple if it was lying with a broken back on the course?

Would he say to it (because of course horses speak english in the same way that they can recognise and adore different race courses), "I love you, I love all my horses, but I still feel entitled to put you in the race that has brought you to this, for the hell of it. ".

People who get "upset" about Injuries and fatalities in racing, BUT STILL DO IT, are hypocrites. The weeping owners of dead (he was one if the family) horses that they they have directly caused the death of, are nauseating. I would have more respect if they just admitted that they are in It for the money or the vanity or because they getoff on the vicarious dangers, or because they fell entitled. But spare us all the breast beating and crocodile tears.

Anecdotes about fluffy happy retired racers are a fudge. Its not the norm and you know it. Too many are bred every year for a start in the quest for winners, too many are unsound and unhealthy from birth.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 12:16:37

I think that molecule was talking about her dh's breeding mares if your read her post properly

I do see your point though as I heard an interview on the radio with an owner who 'loved' his horse and it's running on Saturday - he said 'We just want him back in one piece' and I thought 'Don't put him through it then'.

Molecule Thu 04-Apr-13 12:46:07

If one of my DH's horses was injured and he was there I can guarantee he would be straight down on the course to be with it, Monty.

Yes it does seem hypocritical, but wherever there are animals there are injuries, and there is great over breeding of many animals, be it dogs, cats or poor quality horses, and their lives are probably far worse than that of the average racehorse. There are hard bastards involved with all animals as well, look at the number of dog breeders done for cruelty.

It does seem to be in the human psyche to try and breed the very best, and no matter what is said here, most people involved in racing do love and care for their horses, probably even more so in National Hunt where the horses have much longer careers.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:48:16

I did read her post properly.

But she is describing how they "love " the babies" that they sell on to trainers. Babies who of course are "much loved by owners and trainers". Such a lot of love going on.

These loving owners and trainers then run them in the national and national hunt in general, since he is proud to have twice bred the highest placed British national runner.

I have no doubt that they treat the horses well when they are in their hands, but they are producing animals to be sold on into a industry where welfare is at best questionable.

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:48:31

Fabulous post molecule and mirrors my experience.

montysma do you know horses ? Mine know they are loved, believe you me. The bond between my horses and I is a very powerful one. I really don;t think you know what you are talking about.

Look at the condition of the horses in racing, absolutely perfect . They are so well cared for you wouldn't believe.

If you want to get angry and useful, get angry about novices buying ponies for spoilt kids.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:54:52

Molecule, thats not the point, weeping and comiserating after the fact does not remove culpability. He would sit with a fatally injured horse? Big deal.

And as others have said, long lists of other animal abuses do not justify the abuses of horse racing. They are all wrong, but its racing that is the subject of the thread.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:00:02

Have had horses all my life Jenny. But the normal fall back position on these threads, where people disagree with racing is "you know nothing about horses". It so much easier than adressing the reality.

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:00:20

Can you tell us what equine experience you have, monty?

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:04:50

As pets or do you ride them?

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:50:43

Nope, not getting into the I'm more horsey than you cul de sac. Its not relevant to The Grand National.

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:52:11

Ah, thought so! grin

catgirl1976 Thu 04-Apr-13 14:52:47

My horse could easily be injured eventing. (Well before he retired any way).

Are you seriously suggesting that had that happened my grief would have been nauseating and false because I had ridden him? It wouldn't have been.

Under what situations would I be allowed to be devastated if my horse was fatally injured? Would it be ok if he was injured on a hack? If another horse kicked him in the field?

No one is saying the whole racing industry is run by good people, using best practice and loving and caring for horses. Of course there are bad trainers, bad owners and bad practices. Every single person on here would like that to be eradicated and every single person would like racing (and all other equstrian sports) to be a safe as possible.

You get "bad" people in every walk of life and sadly racing is no different. But to assume everyone involved in racing is some cruel, heartless bastard with no concern for the welfare of horses is just wrong. There are some and I wish there were none, but you cannot tar everyone with the same brush.

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 15:10:14

monty do you put a bit in their mouths? A saddle on their backs? Do you use your leg to put pressure?

Do you keep them in a field, a stable? Because all of those things are unnatural.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 16:12:58

Any "domesticated" animal is living unaturally to an extent. Thats a different argument.

Any animal or indeed human can be killed or injured in accidents during the most innocent of activities.

That is not the same as, and does not justify, knowingly placing an animal in a dangerous situation, in the name of entertainment.

Jenny, be as "knowing "as you like, I am not getting into horse credential one upmanship. If you take horses out of the argument point remains the same.

If you knowingly place child in a dangerous situation ,you are a bad parent, do it with a dog, cat or goldfish you are a bad animal owner.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 18:06:59

Well the carnage has begun. Katie Walsh's horse Battlefront collapsed and died at Aintree this afternoon.

How many more......?

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 18:15:22

He collapsed and died from a heart attack. There is absolutely no proof that racing caused his heart attack, he could have been just as likely to have suffered a heart attack standing in his stable at home.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 18:17:52

I don't think that you really believe that do you?

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 18:20:38

The GN organisers will be tearing their hair out as it is the worst possible thing to have happened right at the start of the meet. Bad news from the off means the GN itself is under even more scrutiny.

Not a bad thing imo.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 18:22:34

Yes I do. I've seen horses drop dead from heart attacks whilst grazing in fields and a colleagues wife had a horse collapse and die underneath her whilst walking down a road.

Horses die from unexpected heart attacks just as much as people do. Not every person who dies from a sudden heart attack is exercising at the time.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 04-Apr-13 18:25:11

It was Katie Walsh who was so vehemently defending the GN the other day in all the major papers.

catgirl1976 Thu 04-Apr-13 18:26:56

I really don't think a heart attack can be read as proof of cruelty

Tragic and sad sad

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 04-Apr-13 18:31:03

how do you guys know the details?

catgirl1976 Thu 04-Apr-13 18:45:36

Well the news says he was pulled up and died shortly after from a suspected heart attack

I don't know any more beyond that

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 18:49:27

Aintree put out a statement about half an hour after it happened. I'll see if I can find it.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 18:52:43

YANBU. If jockeys died in the same numbers as the horses this "sport" would have been banned long ago. If people want to take part in risky activities, fine, but don't involve animals who trust you to make good safe decisions for them. And let's not forget that it's only the "lucky" few horses that make the grade and get to races, and out of those only the successful are rewarded. What happens to the thousands that aren't? Abattoirs mainly that's what because few owners would collect a load of "useless" horses. Or maybe they sell them on so they are then caught in a potential downward spiral of being sold on every time they aren't fit for purpose before eventually going for meat. Then what about the ones that get injured in training or at the races; if they will never be successful (i.e. make money for their owners) afterwards they've outlived their usefulness and are discarded. So a nice day at the races comes at a cost and I hope those who like a little flutter understand this. It's no better in dog racing either. I hate sport involving animals, and I hate gambling, so horse racing is really not my thing at all. I live in hope that one day we will fall out of love of sports involving animals and they will eventually be consigned to history. Oh, and I've ridden since childhood, had a horse, worked at a BHS approved stable and I still hate horse racing.

^"YABU the raw ingredients of a Findus Lasagne don't supply themselves.
I think the horses are very lucky. I mean last time I wanted to be straddled by an Irish dwarf in silky clothing and whipped it cost me 500 quid in one of Soho's more niche clubs."^
LOL! Very funny :-P

"I worry just as much for the jockeys as the horses."
Personally I don't give a flying fuck about the jockeys; they know the risks, they have the choice. Unlike the horses.

"No one ever gets frothy about the amount of horses that die eventing etc"
I do. It's another equestrial "sport" I loath.

"...there are far crueler practices going on in the showing world, however, it's not publicised..."
Then it should be. Midori, if you know of cruelty you need to be shouting about it. Start a blog or something, but let as many people know as possible.

"Animal Aid are the nutjobs who i read a few years ago were bemoaning the fact that mules and horses were left behind at dunkirk and how tragic it was. never mind all the men left behind then eh?"
How silly. Their cause is animals not people, which is why they aren't bleating about the soldiers, not that they don't care. People tend to care about more than one issue I've found. For example, I care about factory farming and bad conditions in hospitals, plus many more issues. However, the topic of this thread is horse racing, so I will keep on topic. It doesn't mean it's the only thing I care about.

montysma1 Thu 04-Apr-13 19:45:59

Careful there livid, stating the stark reality of the racing industry is not allowed, only stories of idyllic racehorse retirement is acceptable.

A person involved with horses who loathes equestrian sport, absolutely not., You are of course lying and have never been near a horse, you sentimental uninformed ignoramus you.

Failedhippy Thu 04-Apr-13 20:03:02

Totally agree its barbaric!

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:05:48

What do those of you who have horses but loathe equestrian sport do with your horses? Seriously? What do you do with them?

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:07:39

As an anecdotal aside, I retired my old 26 year old mare last summer. After two months she started jumping my fencing in the fields no matter which field she was put in. So, I brought her back into work slowly and now she is hacking and show jumping and doing a bit of x country again and no more field fences jumped!

Twattybollocks Thu 04-Apr-13 20:37:37

My mates horse dropped dead of a heart attack a couple of years ago, she was bathing him ready for a show. A more pampered and loved horse I have never met. He was standing tied up at a post, in perfect health, only 8 years old. She went to get the bucket and shampoo out of the tack room and when she came back he was on the floor and past any help she could give him except to hold his head. It happens sometimes.
Athletes in peak condition do occasionally suffer heart attacks, like the tragic case of the footballer the other weekend. Cruelty isn't a word id use to describe it.
Horse showing does have a decidedly dodgy record for cruelty but thankfully the sport has cleaned up its act enormously over the past decade. Still a way to go though, and dressage has some decidedly dodgy practices. Of all the equestrian disciplines showing and dressage are probably the worst in terms of the horses having an unnatural lifestyle, especially at top level, just because the horse doesn't die whilst competing its not as visible.
I do find it hard to get my knickers in a twist about 40 odd very well looked after horses being asked to take big risks for 5 minutes every year when every day thousands of dogs are incarcerated in puppy farms living in cages sitting in their own shit, rabbits living in solitary confinement in tiny hutches with their only contact with another living creature being someone putting food and water in their cage every day, etc etc, thousands of horses being transported in terrible conditions for slaughter with no food or water for days at a time. There are many welfare issues which require more urgent action than the grand national I'm afraid, but rather like fox hunting which caused the necessary deaths of a few hundred foxes a season, because the grand national is televised and people know about it, we are all getting worked up about it. That's not to say it isn't important, and the lives of a few horses aren't worth anything, but in comparison to the cruelty going on silently all around us, it's small fry really.

countrykitten Thu 04-Apr-13 20:52:52

I would take issue with you that those foxes deaths are 'necessary' but not for this thread.

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 21:17:05

twattybollocks never was a post less bollocks. I wholeheartedly agree. And about the hunting too. Not that anyone has actually stopped hunting, of course.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 21:56:24

I do acknowledge that racing has a PR problem. For too long the racecourses have tried to appeal to the stag do/corporate market, rather than those of us how attend for the love of the sport and the horse.

The Grand National is not representative of our industry (and I'm not here to defend the race, I'm here to defend the sport as a whole).

What is representative of our sport is:

Frankel destroying the 2,000 Guineas field


Sprinter Sacre's Champion Chase procession

EnlightenedOwl Thu 04-Apr-13 22:00:43

And Sea the Stars winning the Arc.

Don't miss Sprinter Sacre tomorrow - going to be a great race.

Katie Walsh has left this message on twitter -Very sad to lose Battlefront today. We had many great days and he was a great teacher. He was a gent and I will miss him very much!

Lovely tribute - the horse belonged to her mum - they'll be feeling it tonight I think.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 22:08:47

How could I forget Sea at he Stars Arc?! I cried after the race! What a horse! Can't wait for his first two year olds to hit the racecourse this year.

Tomorrows race will be the best of the Jumps season: Sprinter Sacre v Cue Card v Flemenstar shock

The Walsh's are some family: Ruby a champion jockey, Katie a top lady jockey and blossoming sales consignor, Ted a great trainer and their other sister acts as PA for all of them!

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 22:12:23

God, it's so exciting!! Shame I have to do the horses, could spend all day glued !

Saturday at 1 pm I am out torturing my horses like the unfeeling bastard I am competing so will have to watch on Skyplus!

EnlightenedOwl Thu 04-Apr-13 22:14:30

Don't forget Nina Carberry married Ted Walsh (jnr) thus linking the two racing families - Walsh & Carberry
Great stuff.

jennywren45 Thu 04-Apr-13 22:16:37

As if we could!! grin

I'm just so excited at the thought that we could have our first ever woman winner!!!

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 22:16:55

Nina broke her collarbone at Thurles today, ouch! Young Tom Bellamy also broke his leg at Taunton too.

However, it's all in perspective when you look at poor J T McNamara sad

EnlightenedOwl Thu 04-Apr-13 22:20:07

Yes I know its pretty grim. Its a tough sport. Did you see the gesture Michael O'Leary made last week £200,000 Euro into the fund for JT?
Racing does look after its own - the Turf Club for Ireland will pay all his medical bills and the IJF is assisting the family.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 22:22:53

The camaraderie between the lads, and lasses, in the weighing room is unmatched in any other sport. They all know that it's a case of "there but for the grace of god". After all, how many other sports see the competitors followed by an ambulance?

EnlightenedOwl Thu 04-Apr-13 22:24:47

Don't know if you watched the racing from Aintree today? Great interview with Jonjo O'Neill - a real horseman - talked a bit about the old days, Dawn Run, Night Nurse, and one of my early favourites Sea Pigeon.

hopipolla Thu 04-Apr-13 22:25:00

Its always sad to see a horse die but how do people who feel that racing horses for entertainment reconcile killing animals for meat or the death of animals to facilitate the consumptive practices of the developed world.

EnlightenedOwl Thu 04-Apr-13 22:26:22

I'm sorry I really don't mean to be dense but I don't understand?

hopipolla Thu 04-Apr-13 22:34:15


people who feel that racing horses for entertainment is barbaric reconcile killing animals for meat or the death of animals to facilitate the consumptive practices of the developed world in their minds

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 22:53:54

Interesting looking programme on Channel 4 tomorrow night. It's a follow up to the "Inside Nature's Giants" they did about racehorses last year.

hopipolla Thu 04-Apr-13 22:56:33

Does look good, have to say I think the quality of coverage C4 are giving racing at the moment is streets ahead of what the BBC used to produce.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 04-Apr-13 23:26:02

If you have time on your hands and a Frankel addiction like me, you could spend hours watching these videos. I love the most recent one of the boys being exercised - I used to work with the man who's not wearing a hat grin

musicismylife Thu 04-Apr-13 23:27:56

Can't stand this "If you've got a headache, I've got two".

So if you have a horse, your opinion holds more weight? I have a lot of childless friends who have been devastated by the recent news of those poor children dying. Does their compassion not mean as much as mine because I have children?

Panzee Fri 05-Apr-13 04:05:17

hoipoloi I reconcile it by saying that breeding animals for food is making better use of them than racing them just to gamble. If it wasn't for gambling horse racing wouldn't exist.

saintmerryweather Fri 05-Apr-13 07:07:22

Livid i really hope you didnt ride your horse, since horseriding is also a sport.

i read once on a forum about a woman who was out galloping her horse on a hack when it had a heart attack under her. was her grief not genuine then because she was 'making' her horse gallop?

And my point about animal aid is that an animals life is not worth a human one.

jennywren45 Fri 05-Apr-13 08:13:49

I dunno saint , I much prefer my horses and dogs to many humans.

Philpott, for one. Any animals life is worth more than that slime's.

countrykitten Fri 05-Apr-13 08:32:37

Can I just second what jennywren said? Couldn't agree more.

saintmerryweather Fri 05-Apr-13 08:33:24

Well thats true jenny on an individual level id save my dog from a burning house before some random stranger, but generally speaking id far rather horses and mules be left behind at dunkirk than men, which is what my post was about that somebody quoted when i said animal aid are a bunch of nutjobs with skewed priorities

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 08:38:00

The reason why people ask if other posters have experience of horses/ride etc is because they are very complex creatures. Many non-horsey people assume that we are cruel and callous to put down a horse with a broken leg. The fact is that assumption couldn't be further from the truth. If you understand the complex nature of a horse's leg and also its psychology, you soon realise that there is actually not a lot you can do for a catastrophic fracture.

Firstly, when a horse breaks a bone it tends to splinter, this makes it almost impossible to pin back together.

Secondly, you can't put a horse's leg in a cast - they are "flight" animals (it is their nature to run from danger not fight) and they rely on their legs to survive. They don't understand that they need to keep still and their legs carry so much weight that they will end up causing more damage.

Thirdly, even when you can operate to pin a leg back together, horse's are very prone to shock which can kill them. They also risk infection (from open fractures) and an ailment called Laminitis. Laminitis often occurs in the non-injured legs because the horse has transferred the extra weight, putting more strain on the limbs. Laminitis is basically a disruption to the blood flow in the feet: as the blood flow lessens, the hoof begins to die. It is extremely painful and non-curable.

Of course some fractures can be repaired, and everything is done to save a horse with these injuries, but unfortunately it is often kinder to out them down to prevent further suffering.

ParadiseChick Fri 05-Apr-13 08:47:13

Horses aren't people

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 08:53:59

They are nicer than most people smile

jennywren45 Fri 05-Apr-13 08:59:27

Yep. Last time I checked my horses hadn't burnt their offspring to death or beaten up another horse because it was the wrong colour.

In my experience most horses out class most people most of the time.

countrykitten Fri 05-Apr-13 09:06:33

And dogs too even though I know this thread is not about dogs but my gang rock!

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 09:07:13

Yup - dogs are also generally nicer than people grin

countrykitten Fri 05-Apr-13 09:09:48

Frankelly is talking much sense about broken legs. A friend lost her lad last year when another horse gave him a sadly very well aimed boot in the leg and he went down. The vet arrived and looked at him for about a minute before getting his needle and syringe out. It was clear that nothing could be done and he was suffering. In such cases it is kindest and I know that a lot of non horsey people just don't get that.

MandragoraWurzelstock Fri 05-Apr-13 09:21:44

Part of what I hate about it is the terrible names. I mean is it deliberate misspelling or accidental? Sea the stars?

MandragoraWurzelstock Fri 05-Apr-13 09:27:07

I think an important difference with animals being slaughtered for food or kept cruelly or whatever, and racing, is that only one of these things is seen as entertainment.

No one would want to go and stand in an abattoir for fun. But people flock to watch the carnage at the GN. How do you reconcile that?

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 09:29:08

They don't go to watch horses die confused

When that happens it's a horrible accident, not something you want to happen and certainly not something you go to see

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 09:42:26

Sea The Stars was so named because his mother was called Urban Sea. I agree that some have daft named, but many have well thought out and meaningful (to the owner) names.

Twattybollocks Fri 05-Apr-13 09:54:15

If you have anything to do with horses then you know that asking a horse to run and jump is not cruel in the sense that you are forcing them to do something they would not naturally do, or that they do not enjoy doing, they run and jump as naturally as they breathe, eat and poo. Someone who doesn't have contact with horses may not realise this. The only problem I have with racing is what happens to ex racers and failed racers.

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 10:01:02

Philpot just got life for endangering his children pretty much because it suited him to do so and there was. He didn't mean to kill them either.

I haven't seen posts complaining about the euthenizing of seriously injured horses. They are questioning the right of owners to use them sports which are inherently dangerous and liable to lead to these injuries.

MandragoraWurzelstock Fri 05-Apr-13 10:01:46

Catgirl, yes, I phrased that badly. It's seen as an unfortunate side effect of the sport though. And seems to happen every year recently. So it's kind of expected by many people...I personally assume there will be deaths this year too.

I can't see this level of risk as acceptable in the name of entertainment, is what I'm trying to say. It's all a bit Roman isn't it.

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 10:07:17

They arent just being asked to "run and jump". They are being asked to run to the point of collapse, jump over towering fences, trying to stay on their whilst being jostled by a large field of other stressed horses trying to do the same thing.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 10:07:29

Is 0.3% a huge risk though?

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 10:11:57

The horses are not stressed. A stressed horse runs flat out with no control, ears pinned flat back and eyes wide.

wonderingsoul Fri 05-Apr-13 10:15:17

having lived in the horse racing town of the world. i see horses daily and have many friends who work with them and ride them.

horses are born to run, its in their genes. if they did not want to do something, they wont, no mater what you do.

they are also treated very well, id even go to say they are better treated then horses you see in farms etc.

if they did not like to run and race they simply wouldn't be race horses, yes its a shame when one falls and has to be put down, no one wish's it, it an unfourtant accident. you can not simply plaster a broken leg or neck in a horse. it is far kinder to put them down.

race horse have a very rich life and are looked after very well. you cant say the same for the chicken you just had for Sunday lunch though.

i prefer to watch flat racing, as the jumps do make me queasy but its not evil. race horse are made to jump, if they didnt want to .. they simply wouldnt. there is also strong rules on whipping and what is allowed, and if you break them there is big actions taken agasiunt the jokey.

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 10:25:12

It would be great to eliminate all risk but it simply isn't possible. Unless you ban racing all together.

But then you would have to look at the risk in all equestrian sports and logic would say, ban them too, the risk is too high.

And then surely the risk of just riding horses for pleasure - too high, ban it.

And the risk of keeping horses.

And then there are no horses at all.

Where there are cruel or unsafe practices I don't think anyone would argue not to do everything possible to eliminate these, and yes there are welfare issues in racing that need to be addressed, but these are not unique to racing and improved animal welfare across all sports, breeding, owning and farming is important and worth fighting for. But banning racing is not IMO the answer.

I will be watching the GN praying that all the horses get round safely and in tears if they don't and I would support anything that reduced the risk or improved welfare , but I accept you cannot remove all of the risk, because horses are, by thier nature, risky and fragile animals.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 10:31:02

wonderingsoul guess where I currently work wink

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 10:58:02

horses are indeed fragile, thorougbreds inherently so and becoming more fragile and unhealthy due to inbreeding and the vast over production of foals every year in the hope of breeding a winner.

They may live in a guilded cage and have fancy names, but their lives arent great. Kept in most of the time, turning out would be too risky if they got injured and couldnt run, too much money at stake. As herbvivores designed for constant grazing of low calorific food, being fed food concentrates leads to ulcers (present in the vast majority of racehorses), joint problems from intensive training at too young an age, bleeding into the lungs, and heart failure (not heart attacks as such), which can occur in any horse due to disease, but in racehorses is generally due to the heart giving out as the chest cavity is too small to accomodate the expansion of the heart during intensive excercise.

Plenty of horses will refuse to run and jump. We just dont usually see them on racecourses. They will have been dispatched long before that, either put down (the lucky ones) or sold on to be tranported to foreign abbatoirs or to foreign tracks or into a spiral of neglect in unsuitable homes.

Some might go to the legendary beautiful retirement homes spouted about on here. The wastage in the industry is such that there would need to be a race horse retirement venue in every town, but I dont seem to have seen them.

The argument about whether we can justify "using" or keeping horses is a few thousand years too late. They are domesticated. Like it or not, they dont have free will, they are subject to the whim of humans. That means that we have a duty of care towards them, and that includes not knowingly putting them into dangerous situations.

Jump racing is dangerous, therefore participants ARE knowingly putting the animal into a dangerous situation.

JenaiMorris Fri 05-Apr-13 10:59:41

The only problem I have with racing is what happens to ex racers and failed racers.

twatty I feel the same way about a lot of sports. The way children are built up and then spat out by football academies, young men having their heads knocked about in boxing rings.

Most sport is about money - big money. People and animals ares exploited. I suppose with racing the difference is that horses can't actually choose a career in racing but then I'm not sure 10yo children are in a position to understand what they're letting themselves in for, either.

I'm aware this is a slightly pointless observation of mine though - just because people are exploited in one sphere, doesn't lessen the wrongs of it happening in the other.

As you were... grin

jennywren45 Fri 05-Apr-13 11:40:13

Monty come on tell us what you do with your horses?

saintmerryweather Fri 05-Apr-13 11:48:35

I actually cant believe that people are comparing the philpott children to animals

saintmerryweather Fri 05-Apr-13 11:48:35

I actually cant believe that people are comparing the philpott children to animals

countrykitten Fri 05-Apr-13 11:50:58

Nobody did - go back and read the post properly.

Zilvernblue Fri 05-Apr-13 11:58:55

JanaiMorris Most sport is about money - big money. People and animals ares exploited

I suggest you take yourself down to your local athletics track, cycling club, swimming club or pony club, where you will find a massive number of children and adults with no pretensions to other than being amateurs enjoying their sports, coached and organised by unpaid volunteers. This is the reality of most sport - what you see on tv is elite level only and the tip of a pyramid with a very wide base. Elite sport does tend to be more about money because its more expensive to run, but all those athletes competing will have ultimately come from grass roots level.

The way children are built up and then spat out by football academies, young men having their heads knocked about in boxing rings

Very few make it to the level of genuine Olympic contender. Most find they get something out of the journey. The main problem in athletics in the UK right now is that children are so inactive, they don't develop the requisite motor skills required to be reasonably athletic throughout their lives. While there might be wastage in the junior ranks, in the main it will have equipped those children with better motor skills and hopefully also a sense of determination to strive, in whatever field.

Zilvernblue Fri 05-Apr-13 12:07:16

They may live in a guilded cage and have fancy names, but their lives arent great. Kept in most of the time, turning out would be too risky if they got injured

Come of it Monty, stop spreading ignorance. Most TB broodmares have a great life with turnout, the young racestock are turned out for 2 years in large natural herds (which is more than beef cattle get) and have a lovely adolescence. Racehorses are exercised 6 days a week and turned away for large periods of time, and many racehorse trainers do turn out. Which again is more than many livery yards do in winter. And indeed showjumping and dressage yards.

Plenty of horses will refuse to run and jump. We just dont usually see them on racecourses. They will have been dispatched long before that, either put down (the lucky ones) or sold on to be tranported to foreign abbatoirs or to foreign tracks or into a spiral of neglect in unsuitable homes

So exactly the same as might happen to any horse bred for riding then.

The wastage in the industry is such that there would need to be a race horse retirement venue in every town, but I dont seem to have seen them

I'm pretty sure that if every poster on this thread donated £50 or £100 to the Retraining of Racehorses Charity instead of salving their consciences due to a once a year tv event, they could make quite a difference. You of course will have done your part no doubt by buying an ex-racehorse off a trainer, as most of them will let them go very cheaply to a good home, and they are usually quite easy to ride, being traffic proof (I worked 5 summers in a row as a stable lass in racing during university holidays).

that includes not knowingly putting them into dangerous situations

Your average amateur riding going round a cross country course is far more dangerous.

Personally, I think encouraging the import of young over-worked dressage horses from the Continent with hocks that are sure to spavin is far worse. But my major animal concerns are live transportation of animals long distances to slaughter and halal killing.

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 12:21:09

I ride the non retired one Jenny. At no point did I say I disagreed with riding. Not once. As I have said over and over, if you cared to take the point, where I have a problem is with humans putting an animal into a situation which they know to be dangerous and then crying over the outcome.
There are accidents which are just that. And there are accidents caused by humans putting animals into dangerous situations as an entertainment/spectacle/gambling tool. Domesticated animals are reliant on humans, and the horse "loving" humans should be a acting in the animals best I interest. The Grand National is not in any horses best interest.

Zilvernblue Fri 05-Apr-13 12:30:25

where I have a problem is with humans putting an animal into a situation which they know to be dangerous and then crying over the outcome

Well, strictly speaking, riding pretty much damages most horse's hocks and leads to arthritic changes, unless its very light and the rider is very light. I take it you ensure you weigh no more than the veterinary recommendation of 10% of the horse's weight yourself Montysma? Then again, theres some argument for working horses in the correct way leading to a better and more correct loading of joints by correction of bad habits, and that doing work with them in the early years not only strengthens joints and bones (if not overdone) but also motor skills.

My friend's horse was killed in the field a couple of weeks ago. True, if they had had a big luxuriant pasture, with more room and a stable herd, it may not have been galloping round the field and fatally injured itself.

I ride the non retired one Jenny

Wonderfully vague!

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 12:39:25

I was referring to racing horses, not broodmares. The fact that amatures indulge in the over breeding of unwanted ponies does not excuse the professionals for doing exactly the same thing.

I am not spreading disinformation, the racing industry does that.

For the record, I do contribute to ex racehorse charitys, I do temporary fostering for a greyhound rescue charity and suscribe to compassion in world farming. I don't have an ex racer, but have friends who do, and poor sad critters they were too. Inspite of having passed through some "reputable" hands.

Listing other types of animal cruelty does not excuse cruelty in equestrian sport, however much you want to dress it up.

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 12:56:37

Monty you can't say that your issue is with putting horses into dangerous situations but you are fine with other all types of equestrianism but jump racing

Jump racing is not the most dangerous so it just doesn't make sense

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 13:16:32

Cargirl, I didnt once say I was fine with other forms of equestrianism. Show me where that was? I dont like eventing, show jumping or dressage either. Where money or ego is involved the welfare of the animal will always be in question.

I have talked about jump racing because that is the topic of the thread.

What do you want me to say Jenny. We hack, we do a little schooling. We paddle on the beach. Thats it. They are novice rides, bomb proof with good manners, not terribly exciting. Which is everything I want them to be. So there you are, we are not super dooper eventers, and I am, shock , horror, a leisure rider. I have ridden since childhood, but would still quite happily call myself a novice with no aspiration to be anything more. Is that ok Jenny? Is that not horsey enough for you? Or am I just one of those ignorant novices that dont know horses? Strangely they have reached middle age and ripe old age in rude good health having cost me very little in vet fees over the years other than check ups.

I am very aware of my weight Jenny.

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 13:19:35

You ride yourself monty

So I assume you are fine with equestrianism because you partake in it confused

countrykitten Fri 05-Apr-13 13:19:47

YY to being more concerned about halal 'slaughter' and long distance travelling for slaughter animals. Which is why I don't eat meat and don't support such a disgusting industry.

I am still very concerned over racing too and plenty of other cruelty issues but I can agree that it is perhaps one of the less pressing cruelty issues regarding animals that are out there in the wider scheme of things.

countrykitten Fri 05-Apr-13 13:22:02

I just pray that they get round on Saturday and that no horse or jockey is hurt.

jennywren45 Fri 05-Apr-13 13:23:01

Non of my horses would be happy or fit doing what yours are doing, I assure you.

The old horses for courses is so very true.
I have warmbloods and ISH. See how far you get doing what you do with them.

catgirl1976 Fri 05-Apr-13 13:25:52

Ooh Jenny - mine's warmblood, a Westphalian (pic of him on my profile) smile

jennywren45 Fri 05-Apr-13 13:51:13

Nice!! Reckon he'd want to hack and do a bit of light schooling? [shocked]

monty have you read the stats on the number of horses killed on the roads going on a hack? It far exceeds those dying on the track. I can't believe you could be so ^ horribly, vilely cruel^ as to take your horse on a hack knowing it might die! sad

montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 14:38:52

Where did I say I rode in traffic? We cross one road immediately outside the yard and then we are off road.

My posts are perfectly clear that I am referring to competitive equstrianism in general and high money ones in particular. I will give the benefit of the doubt that you are obtuse rather than dense.

Hacking and schooling, how very dare I? I prostrate myself before you and your warm bloods. I am simply not worthy.

jennywren45 Fri 05-Apr-13 14:40:57

One road! shock But you are deliberately putting your horse in danger for your sport! How could you!?


montysma1 Fri 05-Apr-13 14:51:23

I dont know how I live with myself really. But don't sob on my behalf, save it for tomorrow.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 15:19:14

Sprinter Sacre shock Wow! What a horse! The Frankel of the Jumps world grin

sudaname Fri 05-Apr-13 15:28:49

Oh god - me too. I cried last year {was it last year?} when 'According to Pete' died. He was featured earlier and they spoke to the family and everything and they just said 'they wanted him to get round safe, that was the main thing'. I know they didn't have to enter him, yes true, but l still felt very sorry for them as they seemed to really care about him and l felt so sorry mainly for the horse himself, he was a lovely character and his stable mate was waiting in vain back in his lonely paddock and
<sobs> so sad

MandragoraWurzelstock Sat 06-Apr-13 10:27:07

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Fri 05-Apr-13 10:11:57

The horses are not stressed. A stressed horse runs flat out with no control, ears pinned flat back and eyes wide.


Like this?

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 10:31:16

No, that is not ears pinned flat back, that is what any horse does when it runs at speed.

Horses ears are extremely expressive and give you insight into his mood.

MandragoraWurzelstock Sat 06-Apr-13 10:44:10

Oh, Ok. I wasn't sure what you meant. Someone once told me horses' ears point forward when they are running for fun.

I know nothing about horses.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 10:46:45

You can see in the picture there that the horse is not stressed

If it was, you would see the whites of it's eyes

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 10:49:16
MandragoraWurzelstock Sat 06-Apr-13 11:01:48


FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 11:13:14

Thanks for putting up the links catgirl, I couldn't do any on my phone!

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 11:20:50

I have to say, as much as I am defending jump racing as not inherently cruel I am nervous about this afternoon and really upset about Little Josh yesterday.

I don't know why this afternoon makes me more nervous than any other day, I suppose it's the build up and the popularity

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 11:27:40

With you on that one catgirl. I had a chat with my colleagues about the race yesterday and several agreed with me that the race is walking a fine line these days. I will defend racing as a sport till my dying breath, but after the last few years I'm becoming more uneasy about the GN.

qo Sat 06-Apr-13 12:03:17

Hey Frankel - afre you in Newmarket or Lambourn? I was born in one and raised in the other and my dad's from Naas, bet you can't guess which industry he spent his whole life working on from the age of 15? grin

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 12:07:09

I'm in Newmarket, but from a non-horsey West Country family. One of my old boyfriends was from Naas grin

qo Sat 06-Apr-13 12:12:49

Aw its just the loveliest accent isn't it? My dad was apprenticed on the curragh, I went over for the Irish Derby a few years back and met loads of people who still remember him, He's 74 and retired now. His father before him was a jockey as well, and two of his brothers are trainers (one in oz) and his other brother still in the industry

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 12:16:23

Well, I'm going for Seabass and Balthazar King. But everyone getting round safe and sound is my main hope for today.

I agree with you Frankel that I am getting more and more uneasy about the GN

qo Sat 06-Apr-13 12:32:22

I've gone for Imperial Commander, On his own, Chicago Grey and Oscar Time for my outsider. Ive taken the prices on all of them.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 12:34:23

DH has gone for Imperial Commander

When 16 mo DS wakes up from his nap I will hand him a crayon and the paper and let him pick grin

ladymariner Sat 06-Apr-13 13:35:59

Hoping and praying they all get round in one piece. Used to watch the race, not so keen now. I've gone for Sea Bass (come on Kate!) and Threefortea. Ds has gone for Ninetieth Minute and On His Own. Dh is too tight to bet. You'd think we bet the mortgage, we only bet 50p each way!!! grin

MissBrown Sat 06-Apr-13 14:03:08

We are horse owners. My husband suggested we put a bet on for the race. I suggested we put a bet to see how many horses would die this year. I don't think he will suggest it next year.

BarredfromhavingStella Sat 06-Apr-13 15:09:02

Jumps have been lowered & material changed for this years race so hopefully all horses will get round safely.

Not had a punt as non of the names appealed this year, have Soll in the work sweep though.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 16:36:12

All runners and riders returned safe and sound.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 16:37:03

Best result possible grin

Great news

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 16:38:55

Good old Harvey grin

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sat 06-Apr-13 16:39:13

Barred. That's good to hear. I had been wondering about the course and what changes may have been made.

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 16:44:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 16:54:49

But Battlefront and Little Josh did not die in the GN confused

And Battlefront had heart attack confused

EnlightenedOwl Sat 06-Apr-13 17:00:04

Fantastic race today. Lots of finishers all back safely nothing for anyone to criticise today. Well done Aintree!

MeDented Sat 06-Apr-13 17:03:47

Bless The Rainbow Hunter the loose horse hat finished second, he looked like he was having fun, jumping all the fences and out front for a lot of it

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 17:17:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 17:26:12

What are you campaigning for Zukie (genuinely interested)

Better welfare, a ban on the GN, National Hunt banned, all racing banned, all equestrian sports banned, keeping horses full stop banned?

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 17:31:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 17:38:33

Racing will never be banned. It generates huge sums of money for the economy and employs over 50,000 people, directly and indirectly. Not to mention the tens of thousands of thoroughbreds that would end up being sent for slaughter.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 17:40:50

I'm with you on the fur trade, bull fighting, bull running and burning hooves

On racing and possibly rodeos I would just be looking for the highest standards of welfare and safety

i dont know enough about the seals

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 17:45:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 17:48:41

Oh seal fur? Yes, that's awful.

Animals should not be killed just for fur or body parts for 'medicines' etc

Killing for food I am ok with provided the welfare is as good as it can be and the slaughter as humane as possible

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sat 06-Apr-13 17:51:52

zukiecat Which organisations do you recommend supporting for those causes. I am interested in learning more about them and supporting them.

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 17:56:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:00:05

With the TWHs though, what are you campaigining for as I am sure burning thier feet is already illegal and anyone caught doing it would be prosecuted

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 18:03:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 18:06:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catgirl1976 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:07:44

In total agreement with you there. though a bit of me would burn their feet and see how they like it

zukiecat Sat 06-Apr-13 18:11:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

montysma1 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:14:13

Tens of thousands of TBs are already sent for slaughter frankelly.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sat 06-Apr-13 18:14:47

Thanks zukie

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Sat 06-Apr-13 19:56:18

monty, they're not I'm afraid. When the horse meat scandal kicked off Weatherbys, the registration body for all Thoroughbreds in the UK, said that about 2,000 Thoroughbreds were slaughtered in the UK during 2012.

montysma1 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:16:53

Thats plenty to start with.

Then there are the ones sent abroad for "breeding" that end up on the meat trail, and the ones with the dodgy paper work, the unnaccounted for ones.....

There is an over production of foals, a majority arent for for racing, there are the broken down once that did race. A minority are rehomed.

The "official" figures dont add up. Where are all these horses? More and more are produced every year? Are they all changing into fairy dust? Or are the books being cooked?

EnlightenedOwl Sat 06-Apr-13 21:16:49

Aintree Racecourse can give themselves a very big pat on the back. They responded to criticism they made changes and today we had a National with all the spectacle but in which all 40 came home safe. The National will be here to stay and nothing is going to change that. Racing has really sold itself in a positive light today and no one in the industry needs to justify themselves.

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