"Wild horses couldn't drag me away
It's a sad day when another heralded racehorse has to be put down
owing to a broken ankle, but it has led not only the racing community
but the larger public who witnessed the gruesome reality of the
sport to question what can be done to prevent this from happening
in the future. Unfortunately, the only organization that has stepped
forward during this time of soul-searching with a solution is PETA,
the radical activist organization made famous for their "40
acres for a mule" initiative. PETA is distributing a petition
that would ban all horse racing, a drastic measure that would unfairly
punish dreamers, alcoholics and the Irish in particular.
Among the myriad problems with the sport today are the horses themselves.
Horses today are brittle creatures whose very footfalls threaten
to splinter their bones. Many horses display the anxiety that comes
with the expectation to be the best at all costs. Some resort to
the needle, hoping steroids will be the edge they need to compete.
In some more extreme cases, horses have caved in the face of constant
pressure to win, place or show and actually lose the will to eat
But horses aren't solely to blame - taking a look at the history
of horseracing, it's plain to see that the recognition of past practices
and advances in technology have been ignored to the detriment of
horseracing enthusiasts. There's no reason not to review some immediate
measures that can be taken to ensure a better environment for all
1. Development - Young horses should not be raced. No matter how
talented they may be, pushing a young horse into racing before it
is emotionally mature enough to deal with the lifestyle often results
in a disillusioned horse spiraling out of control in later years,
with heartbreaking tales of drug abuse and wild 'stud' parties.
2. Encouragement - Horses should be encouraged to do their best
with positive reinforcement and love instead of punishment. Jockeys
should abandon the crop and adopt the hug.
3. Lighter jockeys - While jockeys today are small, they are brutish
when compared to the Olson twins, especially the sickly one. Tiny
women in revealing outfits would result in less stress for the horses
and more interest from the critical 18-34 year-old male demographic.
4. Dead horses - Should immediately be slaughtered and sent to
France to recoup some of the financial loss. It disappointed many
Frenchmen that they didn't get to nibble a bit of Barbaro.
1. Diet - It is obvious to even the casual fan that many racehorses
break bones just running around, meaning that many horses are missing
a lot of calcium in their diets. Looking around the animal kingdom,
this isn't the case with most other mammals. Take, for instance
the common housecat. Cats don't break bones because they love to
drink milk. As proven by researchers, a cat dropped from a 2nd story
window will land on its feet no worse for wear. A horse dropped
from an appropriately-sized 2nd story window will shatter nearly
all of its limbs on impact. It was this very knowledge that led
yesteryear's culture to mix horse's oats with a little bit of buttermilk
in order to lessen the danger of the animals being pushed out of
2nd story windows. Noting this, horses should be fed more yogurt
and ice cream should be made available on particularly hot days.
2. Shoes - Horseshoes should incorporate more available shoe technology.
For instance, Nike's "Air" technology uses pressurized
gas encapsulated in polyurethane at the base of the shoe, leading
to astounding leaping ability and the feeling of living life on
a marshmallow planet. There's no reason to think this cannot be
adopted by racing horses with a high-top design, helping limit lateral
movement and improving stability.
3. Track surfaces - Nerf should be used liberally.
4. Breeding - It has proven nearly impossible to breed the swift
with the sturdy. Mixing a Clydesdale with an Arabian results in
a horse too small to pull beer and too slow to win races when the
desired horse would be both larger and faster. However, a little
open-minded thinking suggests that there isn't any reason a giraffe
wouldn't improve both breeds.
-William Cadillac Donovan
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