The Cruelty of Horse Racing

A horse race is a game of skill and luck, but it also involves dangerous drugs, gruesome injuries, and even death. In a horse race, a group of horses, each carrying the same weight, are forced to run as fast as they can for a short distance over jumps or natural obstacles such as rocks and trees. Horses in such a race can sustain severe injuries and even hemorrhage from their lungs. In addition, many horses have been injected with drugs to improve their performance. Some of the most infamous horse races involve thoroughbreds competing in steeplechases, a type of racing over obstacles that requires the horse to leap in a zigzag fashion, much like jumping over hurdles in a field. These races have been around for thousands of years, and they continue to be considered one of the most arduous of all sports for the animal that is the racehorse.

In the sport of horse racing, there are essentially three types of people: the crooks who sabotage the industry and use dangerous drugs to give themselves an edge over their competitors; the dupes who labor under the illusion that the sport is generally fair and honest; and the masses in between, who know that the industry is more crooked than it ought to be but do not do all they can to fix it. The video published recently in the New York Times and subsequently picked up by PETA has exposed to a wide audience a side of horse racing that most of them were never aware of, which is that a number of trainers treat their world-class horses with cruelty.

The fractious behavior of some horses in the starting gate is a familiar sight. Some of these horses buck their riders like a bronco, while others may refuse to move forward at all and are thus “shut out” by the start. The term is often used for a horse that has been ridden in a slow manner or has been taken an unusually long time to enter the starting gate.

A horse that loses ground in the middle stages of a race is fading or tiring and no longer has an advantage over his rivals. The word can also be applied to a horse that has dueled for the lead at the beginning of the race but eventually gives up and tires in the final stretch. A horse that is fading is likely to fall out of contention and finish well back in the pack.