News   |    April 21st, 2022

HARSH ON HORSES?

From 2018 to 2021 we have witnessed a total of 349,581 horses take to racecourses across the UK in a bid to beat their fellow equine competitors. A sport enriched with history and tradition, horse racing has and will continue to be loved by many. It is without doubt that each and every horse receives a level of care and attention incomparable to non-professional sporting horses. However, despite this, there continues to be an underlying debate as to really how fair is it on these thoroughbreds, given their incredibly busy schedule and highly demanding training and racing routines.

Following the recent Grand National at Aintree – the largest and most prestigious meeting in the horse racing calendar – we observed the unfortunate death of four horses across the three-day event. With only fifteen out of the starting forty horses finishing the main race, including two deaths, safety rules and regulations are being questioned meticulously. Approximately two-hundred horses die each year at British Racecourses, due to a variety of reasons including exhaustion, heart attacks and collapse what with their heart rates increasing ten-fold during races. Furthermore, horses can suffer a range of injuries from falling after jumps, thus leading to them being put down.

There have been significantly less deaths since safety regulations were updated in 2012, however safety remains a prominent issue. Of course, we must recognise that horse fatalities are still quite rare, and is usually due to freak accidents or unusual scenarios. Alongside this, they are given the best treatment and medical services available to them, solidifying the argument that they do have an exceptional quality of life.

The overarching question here is what more as officials and spectators, can we do in order to reduce and prevent more awful deaths within this beloved sport. If we are to continue betting on, spectating and enjoying the beauty of horse racing, we must treat the animals with the utmost respect and provide an invaluable level of protection. Afterall, without them we wouldn’t have this sport in the first place.

Image: AFP via Getty Images.

Alfie Bobbins - Integral Sports Management.

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