The Dangers of a Horse Race
A horse race is a contest of speed or stamina between horses. It has evolved into a huge spectacle involving large fields of runners, sophisticated electronic monitoring equipment and enormous sums of money, but its essential feature remains the same: whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner. Horse racing is a sport that attracts millions of spectators, but it is also a dangerous activity for the animals and their riders, known as jockeys. Injuries are frequent, and horses often die of pulmonary hemorrhage, heart failure or blunt-force trauma. They may have broken bones, shattered hooves or ruptured ligaments.
The sport has a reputation for corruption, but a closer look at the realities of horse racing shows that shady business practices are not the only problem. Horses are subjected to brutal training and racing conditions that put them at high risk of injury. They are whipped, drugged and pushed to extremes of performance well beyond their natural capacity. As a result, a great many of them never make it to the starting gate, and those that do are prone to serious injuries, including heart disease, mental problems and neurological damage.
In addition to the dangers of running at top speeds, horses are often trained before they reach their full developmental potential, putting them at increased risk for developmental disorders such as arthritis and laminitis. Injuries can be extremely severe, and dead racehorses are often found with fractured necks, severed spines and shattered legs where skin is the only thing keeping the bones from jutting out of the joint.
Those who love horse racing should be aware of these issues, and we urge them to demand better treatment of these beautiful creatures. It is time for a change.