Horse race is a popular sport that involves a group of horses competing for a prize. It is often a great spectacle to watch and can be fun for both spectators and participants. However, behind the facade of this exciting sport lies a world of pain and suffering for horses. Many people do not realize that horse races can be dangerous for the animals. Animal rights activists are fighting to change the way that horses are treated for the better of the animals and people involved in the sport.
The sport of horse racing has been around for thousands of years, starting in ancient Greece with chariot and mounted (bareback) races. The earliest horse races were match races between two or at most three horses, the owners providing the purse—a simple wager. The agreements were recorded by disinterested third parties known as keepers of the match book. By the mid-1700s, races began to include larger fields and be open to the public.
As the popularity of horse racing increased, more and more rules were developed to regulate the industry. These regulations included rules about age, sex, and birthplace of the horses as well as how many times a horse could win in one season and the size of the purse. In addition, many races became steeplechases, which involve a series of water jumps and fences. Horses must pass through these obstacles in a very short amount of time, which can be extremely stressful on the animals.
Horses must be trained to run these steeplechases at a very high speed and, because of this, they are subjected to a wide variety of injuries. This type of racing is also very dangerous for the horses because it can cause pulmonary hemorrhage, which is caused when blood pools in the lungs. Horses are also pushed to the limit in these races and are often given cocktails of legal and illegal drugs intended to mask injuries, enhance performance, and reduce the chance of pulmonary hemorrhage.
These medications and the intense physical stress of the sport can be dangerous for horses, causing them to break down or even die. This is why it is important to always know the history of a horse before betting on it.
The 2008 Kentucky Derby saw the deaths of Eight Belles and Medina Spirit, both star horses who died from the extreme physical stress of the race. Their deaths sparked a long-overdue reckoning about the ethics of the race. If the race wants to thrive in a culture and society that increasingly recognizes animals as worthy of certain fundamental rights, it must begin to address how it treats its for-profit, disposable horses.
When a horse is retired from racing, there is no lifelong tracking system to determine where the animals end up in the world. As the industry profits off these horses in breeding and racing, it cannot afford to ignore the fact that, when they leave the business, there is no enforceable system to ensure their safety and well-being.