Thursday, May 8, 2008

Does Anybody Realize What ..............

Is really going on here? I know we are all ranting over the latest happenings in the horse industry and I have to totally agree with my good friend Mrs.Mom , who recently made an excellent post entitled Issues about the gamete of wrong in the entire horse industry, not only the the Thoroughbred Industry and I must agree with her. I know most of us have posted about the tragedy of Eight Belles at the Kentucky Derby and I did as well, and I know I went out and commented on a few, including in my comment the fact that we're the only country that is allowed to drug these horses and I must admit I thought I'd get more feedback on that. So I'm asking you all. What's your opinion about this? Is it ethical in any aspect of the horse industry to go ahead and drug your horse so he can perform for you and to what extent? I'm talking steroids, pain killers, etc.. What do you think? And does it need to change and how can we change it? I'm looking for opinions.

""Trainers and vets make the decisions, and the horse cannot say no," he told the panel. "England, France, all of Europe, Japan, South Africa, Dubai, Australia: All of the major racing jurisdictions have banned the use of drugs still commonplace in America. England, for instance, banned steroids in racing over 30 years ago."" This is a quote from the NY Daily News article regarding the horse racing industry.

11 comments:

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

I know I will get blasted for this. There is a fine line between maintenance and masking. It is no different then me taking ibuprofen for my arthritis and other aches and pains. If my vet tells me my horse needs 30 days off he gets it. If I refuse to listen to the vet and drug him to show him, I would be wrong. I supplement my horses with glucosamine ect. to keep them out of pain, I would never show a horse that is in pain.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well Callie this could be opening a can of worms. Steroids and other drugs that mask a problem should never be used. This country is at fault for allowing any type of drug to be used on animals who are competing. But who will monitor these laws if they are passed? No body needs the government involved in more aspects of our personal lives and our horses lives. Sorry to say there are many people in the industry who don't mind looking the other way, for a few bucks or a good tip on who's running,or the judge knows the trainer who sold you the horse etc...That said there are probably instances when drugs should be allowed, not to enhance performance but to help an injured horse, like hock injections or something of that nature. To make their quality of life better.My opinion is if you want a great horse, take care of that horse from the beginning and although accidents happen, they will be less likely to occur if the horse is properly taken care of and trained slowly to achieve their highest potential. One more thing, as long as there are tax breaks, hedge funds,insurance scams,monetary rewards for winning in any competition, professional endorsements, videos, books and just about any incentive for making money and garnering prestige and celebrity, it will be near impossible to stop the abuse in any discipline. Maybe a first step in helping the horses would be to find ways to educate people about the proper care of horses and unnecessary breeding (backyard or otherwise).The whole horse industry has a very huge problem and I don't see how it will ever be fixed, maybe one horse and trainer/owner at a time. It will take forever, but I don't see any other way, as long as the majority of horse people are uncaring or uneducated.

Callie said...

Jess, Why would you get blasted for that. Sounds responsible to me.

GHM, The great thing about this country is Democracy and Capitolism, which can also be the bad thing when it gets abused. I don't know what the answer is. I value my freedom but sometimes that freedom makes us all look bad in the eyes of the world. When crap like this happens we look like assholes. We look like greedy little pigs. And I totally agree,GHM, each person should be resposible and there is no end because there's just too many idiots in this country.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Time!! I have said it before and I will say it again. Time is the enemy of a lot of horses. People don't want to wait on a horse to develop/figure it out/heal from its aches and pains.
People are too quick to administer something that will mask the pain to keep that horse performing.
I am all for giving a horse a little something if they have a major injury and need some pain relief. But there should never be enough given that the horse is completely pain free because they will continue to injure/stress themselves. No pain to a horse and they think they are fine. They do not think like people who can cognitively remember that they are injured and remember to take care of that while they heal.
Before the invention of all of these "wonder" drugs, people had little choice but to give a horse time to heal and most of the time they came back sound and solid.
You can insert any discipline into that scenario that you want. Racing, cutting, reining, barrel racing, even pleasure. I have seen horses with the wonkiest legs stay sound their entire lives because the people who owned them took the time to take care of them. I have seen horses with near perfect conformation be crippled by the time they were 3-4 because they were rode to death before they developed.

The other thing I have noticed is the number of horses a "trainer" is working. Race horse trainers used to have strings of 5-10. Now they have 40-50. Show horse trainers used to have 2-5, now 10-20-30 horses. How can you possibly keep up with that?

Callie said...

Excellent point, BrownEyed Cowgirls, Excellent point. Are they being started too young? I say yes!

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

As far as training goes, many are started too young and rode too hard. Not only do their bodies suffer, their minds do to. Gerald has a 2 year old in training. He is rode only about 3 times a week. I'm putting him on supplements to prevent joint break down. He had him evaluated and he is right with the other 2 year olds. He has a brain and it is so much easier to train. A person needs to check their horse when they are at the trainers.

Andrea said...

Okay, here goes, My husband breezes race horses for two trianers. One is a QH trainer and the other is a TB trainer. Both race trainers. They both have about one or two horses on the track at a time and my husband only breezes them three times a week. Then the day before races they don't get run at all. The rest of the time they get put on the hot walker or they get turned out for a short period of time. I bought a TB off the track and he was the best hunter I have had. I do not mind the race horse industry. It's just the same as the western pleasure industry, barrel racing, etc.... Any time a person wishes to be in a futurity or a show, they always get that two year old broke. I think some two year olds are okay to be ridden and some are not. Like if you look at a lot of larger breeds like the warmbloods, they really don't start a lot of training until 3 or 4. It's all based on bone structure. Jumpers don't jump their horses until at least 6. It all really just depends on the horse owner. If we could have more responsible horse owners and trainers the horses would be better off. What the world needs are more "horseman". People who know how a horse works and why it needs and does things that it does. I got a phone call yesterday about a yearling colt I have for sale and the girl asked me if he could be ridden. ?? Why would someone who knows nothing about horses want a baby? Find you a nice 18 year old broke horse to start out with. As far as giving drugs, I do know all race horses are tested and I do know at QH shows there are random drug testing too. So, the industry is trying. In all my experience with riding and trainers I have never ment anyone who gave drugs to a horse to cover up an injury. I have worked for Todd Sommers, and ridden with Clark Bradley, Steve Brown, Dan Huss, Liz Flohr, and some others. I must have lucked out with good trainers. And to all of the other people out there who do drug their horses, shame on them and they will get what is coming to them later, right!! Now I will probably get blasted for my comment. :) But it's just my opinion and to each his own, that is what makes the world go round!

kdwhorses said...

There is a fine line in drugging a horse. I do not think they should be allowed to drug one so they can go ahead and compete. But I have given my own horses Bute, Banamine, etc. when they have had a injury, but just enough to give them some relief and it has never been for long periods. But I also think we are very responsible horses owners and will do everything possible to keep our horses well, not injury them! The horse industry sees it as money lost and that is it. They really should start drug testing them and then hit the owners in there pocketbook! But that is just my opinion!

Callie said...

You're right, Jess, people need to pay attention to what's happening at the trainers. You and I both know that all too well.



No blasting on this blog, Andrea, Just a matter of opinion. And that's alright by me. I do wonder, however, how it is not illegal to drug prior to compete or maybe I'm wrong about that, but it has been brought up many times nationally this week.


And don't get me wrong, KDW, I have a tube of Bute and Banamine in my frig. that I keep on hand. I'm not against relieving pain. In fact I'm all for pain relief, just against doing it, so that an injury can be masked for a competition.

Mrs Mom said...

Callie, I know I have been MIA for the last 24 hrs- we had the Stomach Bug From H*ll invade us here and it hit me HARD.

On to your post, and some of the comments...

I read ercently a very good study about young bones and "soft" training, VS older bones and "hard" training. It made sense. (I'll try to find the link for oyu and get it to you here- just shoot me a reminder...) LIGHT work for younger horses -much like play and exercise for young children- makes for healthier bones as the animals (and children) age and grow. HOWEVER- the issue comes up when the "light" portion of that is "confused". One trainers version of light is liable to be the polar opposite of another's. You have to take the time it takes to evaluate each young horse, and see just what they are capable of. First and foremost--- their MINDS. You can blow a brain as fast as a body.

The use of meds. If you use it as a MEDICATION, ie: to relieve injury and aid in healing, thats one thing. Abuse of the meds, and use as a Crutch to make up for poor stewardship/ handling/ training/ etc, and you wind up with situations like we have all over the equine industry- where horses who are TECHNICALLY lame (and usually as all get out) are out in the pen, showing and working. One QH "trainer" actually had the b*lls once to tell me that, "These horses WORK for a living! Its not like they just hang out and take trail rides!" Please...

That being said-- I think we need to take it one owner and oe trainer at a time. Leadership by example, in all disiplines, and show these people that it CAN be done, that you CAN still make a living with SOUND horses, who last more than 3 years.

Thats my 2 pennies for now.... must go back for more meds for me now....

Callie said...

Well said, Mrs.Mom, well said.