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MintHillFarm
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:08 PM
NYRA Adopts Tough Anti-Slaughter Policy
By Jason Shandler - The Blood Horse

The New York Racing Association has announced an anti-slaughter policy that introduces harsh penalties to offending horsemen while encouraging them to support horse rescue and adoption initiatives.

The newly created policy, announced in a Dec. 10 release, is as follows:
Any owner or trainer stabled at a NYRA track found to have directly or indirectly sold a horse for slaughter will have his or her stalls permanently revoked from all NYRA tracks. NYRA requires its horsemen to conduct due diligence on those buying horses and encourages them to support rescue and adoption efforts and to find humane ways of dealing with horses unable to continue racing.
“We are fully committed to protecting our sport’s equine athletes,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. “This policy sends the message that horse slaughter will not be tolerated and that those participating in this practice, either knowingly or for lack of due diligence, will not be welcome at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, or Saratoga.”
In addition to its stance against horse slaughter, NYRA also supports numerous equine retirement, anti-slaughter, and research organizations, and has made donations to the following organizations within the past year:
• Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation – Mission to save thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.
• Columbia Green Humane Society - Dedicated to the protection, humane treatment and well being of all animals.
• Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation – Committed to the advancement of research to enhance the health and soundness of horses of all breeds.
• Exceller Fund – Providing a future beyond the finish line, the Exceller Fund works to transition thoroughbred horses to a second career off the track.
Diana Pikulski, the executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, added this:
"This policy is important because it makes everybody involved with a horse aware that they need to plan for its retirement and educate themselves about the options.
"It is also significant that NYRA, NYTHA, the NY Riders and The Jockey Club have already donated $100,000 for retirement in NY and committed themselves to developing a long term plan for retirement funding. We have had several follow up meetings to develop that plan and all the parties have participated."

Good news, hopefully all racing associations will follow this policy...

NMK
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:34 PM
Does it not include Finger Lakes?

caffeinated
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:36 PM
It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?

MintHillFarm
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:50 PM
Does it not include Finger Lakes?

Finger Lakes is not affiliated with NYRA per say. That association is only Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont...

MintHillFarm
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:52 PM
It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?

I don't know...hopefully there will be more information on retirement/placing options forthcoming.

Glimmerglass
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:55 PM
Finger Lakes while in New York State and subject to the State's wagering and racing board it is not part of NYRA organization - comprised of Belmont, Saratoga, and Aqueduct.

Worth pointing out is that NYRA did as much as could with ruling off Ernie Paragallo and family from their tracks after that story broke. They've worked hard in recent years but of course there is always room to do more.

Neely
Dec. 10, 2009, 11:59 PM
It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?

Maybe the industry needs to start taking responsibility themselves for the lives they produce. It's not someone else's job. This is a great step for the horses. Of course there are ways around these things, but these are the kinds of steps the industry needs to take to improve and I hope we get to a point where this is universal.

Buffyblue
Dec. 11, 2009, 12:54 AM
I would like to send Mr. Hayward a thank you note - anyone know where the offices are located?

Laurierace
Dec. 11, 2009, 08:09 AM
It's good, but is the NYRA providing actual options for people? Fingerlakes has FLTAP but is there anything in the other tracks? Or a give-up barn? Or euthanasia fund?

That was always my problem with these policies as well. If you don't help provide alternatives all it is is lip service as far as I am concerned. If it truly was a priority and not a publicity stunt they would have a solution in place.

caffeinated
Dec. 11, 2009, 09:23 AM
That was always my problem with these policies as well. If you don't help provide alternatives all it is is lip service as far as I am concerned. If it truly was a priority and not a publicity stunt they would have a solution in place.

Yep, not to mention that policies like this (with no details as to the hows and whys and specifics) also lead to more trouble. People will find ways to get around rules, driving the problem "underground" where horses are less likely to get caught by safety nets.

Glimmerglass
Dec. 11, 2009, 10:54 AM
I would like to send Mr. Hayward a thank you note - anyone know where the offices are located?

Linny likely would know how to reach him better for feedback.

Mailing could go to his attention at the Aqueduct offices ...
Charles Hayward
NYRA President and CEO
New York Racing Association
PO Box 90
Jamaica NY 11417

Or you could email, Joanne K. Adams, Community Relations Manager for NYRA
jadams(at)nyrainc.com

It would get routed to him via her far better then the general "info" email address for NYRA

danceronice
Dec. 11, 2009, 11:50 AM
Just in terms of PR, is a euthanasia barn, for example, going to go over better with the public?

Jumphigh83
Dec. 12, 2009, 09:10 AM
This is a colossal mistake for many reasons. Is NYRA going to establish a program to adopt out or "re-home" these horses? It is easy to talk the talk but walking the walk, is a whole different ballgame. What about those TBs that ARE "re-homed" and turn up at the killer sales a year later and the last name on the JC papers is someone who still races? (Didnt they TRY to give little Suzie or Johnny a horsie that they soon grew tired of????) What about dibbling with the tatoo so it is no longer readable? There are so many reasons that this move by NYRA is just smoke and mirrors, feel good legislation. The horses will suffer MORE by being dumped (like in FL right NOW). Papers will be gone, tatoos scarred off or re done to obscure the original and I see nothing positive coming out of trying to legislate moral behavior. Dead is better than suffering. Zipping up flame suit.........................

MintHillFarm
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:08 AM
This is a colossal mistake for many reasons. Is NYRA going to establish a program to adopt out or "re-home" these horses? It is easy to talk the talk but walking the walk, is a whole different ballgame. What about those TBs that ARE "re-homed" and turn up at the killer sales a year later and the last name on the JC papers is someone who still races? (Didnt they TRY to give little Suzie or Johnny a horsie that they soon grew tired of????) What about dibbling with the tatoo so it is no longer readable? There are so many reasons that this move by NYRA is just smoke and mirrors, feel good legislation. The horses will suffer MORE by being dumped (like in FL right NOW). Papers will be gone, tatoos scarred off or re done to obscure the original and I see nothing positive coming out of trying to legislate moral behavior. Dead is better than suffering. Zipping up flame suit.........................

I think there is no easy solution. Dogs and cats are dumped reguarly at SPCAs all over the country. If someone doesn't want a horse any longer, it's a bit harder to manage. So, what are the answers to all the horses that can't or no longer race? The questions are many and there are only so many answers to helping these horses. It will be interesting to see if NYRA has a plan. I understand what you are saying, talk is cheap but there needs to be a plan....With a 2008 foal crop of 34,500+ it's only certain that the future of many of these horses will be in question in 2or 3 years...

Linny
Dec. 12, 2009, 11:38 AM
Betsy is right. I hope that these rules create a sense of guilt and concern in certain barns but honestly horses will fall through. I know plenty of NY trainers and most try very hard to place horses. The problem is that most horses leaving the track in NY fit two categories. They are too slow or they are not sound. The slow ones may be able to cut it at a lesser circuit. The unsound ones are the ones that are at risk.

Organizations like CANTER (not in NY) offer a listing service for trainers to sell horses privately. I know that many of them end up with CoThers, but some may well end up in bad situations, no matter how hard the seller tries. Many trainers lack connections in the show/pleasure riding community and don't know how to "vet" the buyers or just need to move the horses.

There are several people that operate businesses taking free or very cheap horses off the track and retraining them. They may be willing to take horses that are not 100% sound, figuring that they will come sound with rest. Well, if they don't come sound or they don't turn out to be mentally suited for a pleasure/show career, they have to go. They become liabilities. In many cases if these horses end up in an auction, the last known owner/trainer are the ones that had him on the track.

Rescues of all sorts do great work. They are hampered by the non profit regulations that make every one of the horses they take in "wards" of the system. A rescue takes a 4yo TB and retrains him to be a lovely riding horse and he's a legit prospect as an A show horse. They cannot sell him for his fair market value, only adopt him out. If the adoptee gets a huge offer for the horse from a BNT barn, they may not sell him. This assures that the horse is always the property of the rescue, which is good, but also assures that the horse is "worthless." By worthless, I mean in monetary terms.
The way to avoid throwaway horses is to allow them to have monetary value.

(Rant over)

Barbara L.
Dec. 12, 2009, 03:35 PM
The announcement made by NYRA may just be their starting point, as it does seem to be old news that a racetrack institutes a zero tolerance policy. Many have done that, ours included.

We always felt that by telling the trainers what they cannot do with their horses, that is was our responsibility to give them an outlet, understanding full well that they have little time to follow up their horses' whereabouts, or even find the right people to take them--and then there is the issue of stall space at the track being at such a premium.

Turning For Home has taken over 300 horses from Philadelphia Park since May, 2008. We have a model plan that many other tracks and organizations dealing with tracks have asked about, but none of been able to come up with similar backing (meaning $$) as ours from the horsemen's organization, horsemen, and track. Not sure why...it is basically about funding and lots of legwork!!!

The tracks do not seem to want an on-track person to run it, but rather want to hand off the responsibility to outside organizations, but lack the funding to support the large number of horses in need.

If every track had a similar program, the problem would not be nearly as bad, and racing could clear its name in that department.

Linny
Dec. 12, 2009, 03:55 PM
Providing long term for horses off the track is so expensive even at the basic level that I would love to see some joining of the for profit and non profit methods. Lets face it, a 4yo pasture puff is a pricey proposition and he might be expected to live at least another 20 years.
I'd love it if those horses with monetary value could be channelled to training and to a place where they could be SOLD-for profit- in order to better provide for those with issues or infirmities.

I agree that I would like for this to be the first step. The problem is that tracks don't like to admit that there is a problem with horse disposal. This is especially true in NY which is supposed to be the "top tier" of the racing hierarchy. I agree with Laurie and others that trainers need to a.) be offered some outlet either via "pre-vetted" re-trainers or a sanctioned rehoming program or b.) given reasonable protection if a horse they once had turns up at a killpen several degrees separated from them.

As someone who has seen many trainers agonize about placing horses, I would hate for one of these smaller outfits to be run off under such a cloud when a horse 3 owners out of his operation turn up at auction.

LauraKY
Dec. 12, 2009, 04:01 PM
Rescues of all sorts do great work. They are hampered by the non profit regulations that make every one of the horses they take in "wards" of the system. A rescue takes a 4yo TB and retrains him to be a lovely riding horse and he's a legit prospect as an A show horse. They cannot sell him for his fair market value, only adopt him out. If the adoptee gets a huge offer for the horse from a BNT barn, they may not sell him. This assures that the horse is always the property of the rescue, which is good, but also assures that the horse is "worthless." By worthless, I mean in monetary terms.
The way to avoid throwaway horses is to allow them to have monetary value.(Rant over)
I'm not an expert, but I'm fairly sure that is not entirely true. I do know of several "rescues" that are 501(c)3 status that transfer full ownership immediately and at least one more that transfers ownership after 6 months. There are also several that charge market rates for their "fees".

In addition, that is my problem with a lot of rescues. We retrain OTTBs for resale (occasionally keeping the special one for ourselves). Financially, it makes absolutely no sense to "adopt" a thoroughbred, put a years worth of training into him and then, when it's time to sell, have the rescue invoke their right of first refusal at the adoption price.

I'm a strong believer that it's much better for an OTTB to go to a trainer who is experienced with them and then be sold to a new home as a valuable horse than to an inexperienced owner that may end up with a lot more horse and trouble than they bargained for. That half starved, quiet horse will not be so quiet and compliant once he gets comfortable and puts some weight on. We also "fix" problem horses and, for the most part, they seem to be horses that have not had professional retraining.

ptownevt
Dec. 12, 2009, 04:11 PM
If an owner or stable legitimately cannot pay for euthanasia, they should rethink their business plan. Why should someone else have to pay for euthanasia for a horse that became injured/unsound/whatever working for them? Euthansia and carcass disposal has to be miniscule compared to any part of maintaining a horse actively training or racing. Shouldn't euthanasia of injured/unsound or unplaceable horses be a cost of doing business in the racing industry?

As for caring for 4 year old pasture pets for lifetime, maybe that isn't realistic to expect anyone to do, individual or organization. I'm sure it is very difficult, but putting a young permanently disabled horse to sleep is not unreasonable. Most people willing to keep pasture pets long term are full up with their own.

DickHertz
Dec. 12, 2009, 07:46 PM
The announcement made by NYRA may just be their starting point, as it does seem to be old news that a racetrack institutes a zero tolerance policy. Many have done that, ours included.

We always felt that by telling the trainers what they cannot do with their horses, that is was our responsibility to give them an outlet, understanding full well that they have little time to follow up their horses' whereabouts, or even find the right people to take them--and then there is the issue of stall space at the track being at such a premium.

Turning For Home has taken over 300 horses from Philadelphia Park since May, 2008. We have a model plan that many other tracks and organizations dealing with tracks have asked about, but none of been able to come up with similar backing (meaning $$) as ours from the horsemen's organization, horsemen, and track. Not sure why...it is basically about funding and lots of legwork!!!

The tracks do not seem to want an on-track person to run it, but rather want to hand off the responsibility to outside organizations, but lack the funding to support the large number of horses in need.

If every track had a similar program, the problem would not be nearly as bad, and racing could clear its name in that department.

At Penn National the HBPA has shown no desire to use their funds to support an adoption program - in other words, the powers that be would rather spend the money on less important things rather than retire these horses properly.

lolalola
Dec. 12, 2009, 09:09 PM
Maybe the USEF could get involved by promoting a TB division at shows - there seems to be a division for everything else under the sun. It would be nice to see a revival of TBs in the show ring. Imagine if there were a TB circuit like the QHs or Arabs or so many others. Tbs need promotion in every sport - except eventing. If the demand is created, more of these horses will find homes.

Serah
Dec. 12, 2009, 11:28 PM
....With a 2008 foal crop of 34,500+ it's only certain that the future of many of these horses will be in question in 2or 3 years...

Maybe THIS is what needs to be addressed.... Breeders can't afford to retire the horses but they can afford to keep paying stud fees and mare care and training and racing entries?! They can afford it they just choose not to pay for it. Maybe with as many horses going to slaughter as there are, they need to cutback on how many horses they are bringing into this world.

Pronzini
Dec. 13, 2009, 08:48 AM
Maybe THIS is what needs to be addressed.... Breeders can't afford to retire the horses but they can afford to keep paying stud fees and mare care and training and racing entries?! They can afford it they just choose not to pay for it. Maybe with as many horses going to slaughter as there are, they need to cutback on how many horses they are bringing into this world.

Address it how? Sure, like the majority of sporthorses there are hobby breeders, breeding one or two at a time but in the main, TB breeders are businesses with business plans and taxes and capital improvements and workers compensation which they either pay for directly or indirectly. Most don't race but sell horses to others when they are only 1 year old. Expecting that there will always be room at the inn 10 years later after the horse has been owned by others all that time is a little unrealistic especially when the inn is being boarded at a dayrate.

To put it another way, often times yearlings are commodities with value on the market place. After that the value of the horse is dependent on the horses talent, luck and the management of others. The breeder has nothing to do with that.

AppJumpr08
Dec. 13, 2009, 09:20 AM
Maybe the USEF could get involved by promoting a TB division at shows - there seems to be a division for everything else under the sun. It would be nice to see a revival of TBs in the show ring. Imagine if there were a TB circuit like the QHs or Arabs or so many others. Tbs need promotion in every sport - except eventing. If the demand is created, more of these horses will find homes.

:yes:

Las Olas
Dec. 13, 2009, 09:33 AM
Maybe the USEF could get involved by promoting a TB division at shows - there seems to be a division for everything else under the sun. It would be nice to see a revival of TBs in the show ring. Imagine if there were a TB circuit like the QHs or Arabs or so many others. Tbs need promotion in every sport - except eventing. If the demand is created, more of these horses will find homes.

What happened to the ReRun show that was held at Turfway? That seemed to be pretty well attended. I think I went up there twice, the last time was maybe 6 years ago???

Jumphigh83
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:02 AM
While all of these plans have good intentions, the fact of the matter is that it is like putting a Band Aid on a arterial bleed. There MUST be a venue for the disposal of unwanted horses that may not have a post racing, "riding" life.....

On the Farm
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:26 AM
Maybe THIS is what needs to be addressed.... Breeders can't afford to retire the horses but they can afford to keep paying stud fees and mare care and training and racing entries?! They can afford it they just choose not to pay for it. Maybe with as many horses going to slaughter as there are, they need to cutback on how many horses they are bringing into this world.

How many are going to slaughter? What percentage of all slaughter horses are thoroughbreds, especially fresh off of the track ones? From what I have read, tbs make up a small portion of slaughterbound horses. Will your plan require all breeders,tb or not, to have arbitrary limits on their production? Who will decide that?

Las Olas
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:00 PM
How many are going to slaughter? What percentage of all slaughter horses are thoroughbreds, especially fresh off of the track ones? From what I have read, tbs make up a small portion of slaughterbound horses. Will your plan require all breeders,tb or not, to have arbitrary limits on their production? Who will decide that?

I read a report in either '01 or '02 that was sent out by the AHC that 8% of the horses going to slaughter (in the US, at that time) had what appeared to be thoroughbred tattoos. I think the report originally came from the USDA.

On the Farm
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:24 PM
I read a report in either '01 or '02 that was sent out by the AHC that 8% of the horses going to slaughter (in the US, at that time) had what appeared to be thoroughbred tattoos. I think the report originally came from the USDA.

Yep, I've read similar numbers published by the HSUS.

BeverlyAStrauss
Dec. 13, 2009, 05:14 PM
and if 8% of approx 100K horses are TBs, that gives us 8000 Tbs or 1/4 to 1/3 of the TB foals born every year.....

There have been some very good observations on this thread- the policy is a start but only that- in order to have some degree of success, they have to offer alternatives- and not "Give them to a rescue" as stated on the TOBA site, we are all swamped. As we have seen here with the Penn and CT horses, zero tolerance and no alternatives for the horsemen result in horses going underground, direct to slaughter with no hope of getting caught in any safety net at auctions.

We had some very interesting conversations at the TCA dinner, between the breeders and horsemen, and rescues. We need to all work towards a solution together--and yes, that probably includes free or low cost methods of locally and HUMANELY ending a horse's life-- as well as greater responsibility by the industry (tracks, owners, breeders, vets, trainers), more resources for rescues, and a national marketing plan for TBs as sport horses.

YoTambien
Dec. 13, 2009, 08:37 PM
One other observation is that the "issue" is not going to be solved overnight, and there is no magic solution. The problem that I see if that people can be quick to point out all of the problems and not mention the successes.

Just because we can't find non-slaughter solutions for all Thoroughbreds that are in danger of ending up there doesn't mean that we shouldn't try. As the old saying goes - It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

Jumphigh83
Dec. 13, 2009, 09:57 PM
Agreed. BUT there are real live animals STILL in the darkness. NO candle. My concern is for THEM not he generations yet to be born. Sometimes the 'feel good' answer is not the 'real good' answer.

danceronice
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:04 PM
Address it how? Sure, like the majority of sporthorses there are hobby breeders, breeding one or two at a time but in the main, TB breeders are businesses with business plans and taxes and capital improvements and workers compensation which they either pay for directly or indirectly. Most don't race but sell horses to others when they are only 1 year old. Expecting that there will always be room at the inn 10 years later after the horse has been owned by others all that time is a little unrealistic especially when the inn is being boarded at a dayrate.

To put it another way, often times yearlings are commodities with value on the market place. After that the value of the horse is dependent on the horses talent, luck and the management of others. The breeder has nothing to do with that.

This is a good point.

To be honest...I have something of a problem with the idea of "euthanasia barns" partially because...what happens to the remains? Honestly it's wasteful to dispose of that many large livestock carcasses in a way where they're just composted. What sort of products can you render from horse carcasses, and how many rendering plants are there? What's the value of a horse that's put down chemically? And would it make more sense to use a humane killer/bell gun if it made the carcass more useful?

One thing I actually LIKE about the racing industry is that it's a business, not a hobby (unless you're EXTREMELY wealthy), and it really isn't fair to expect businesses, especially those operating on the margin to begin with, to take a loss when there's a potential for a small return.

On the other hand, sale for human-consumption slaughter is not exactly profitable, never mind that racing TBs have way too many chemicals in them to be remotely appropriate for human consumption with a clearing period in a feedlot that will eat up any profit. And if TBs are only 8% of the slaughter-bound horses, that's already not a major outlet and one that probably in most cases already involves a middleman taking a cut.

So how do you make disposing of horses not a complete financial loss, while recognizing sale to slaughter via open auction is not an appropriate outlet for track horses? How do you make it not look, also, like Puerto Rico--a horse is too unsound to run, they can't sell it anywhere, so they put it down?

Las Olas
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:00 PM
There are two renderers here in Ocala, Moses and Lorenz. It's quite common down here to have one of these two guys come shoot the horses and render them. Dr. Thorpe in Lexington will shoot them as well. Buriel isn't a legal option due to the water table. I was impressed enough with their skill that I now have mine euthanized that way, and my SO (a Vet) recommends it to his clients. I know a lot of the meats goes to zoos and big cats rescues. They were drying and stacking the hides, but I didn't ask what they did with them.

By 'shoot' I mean a quick shot to the head, bell gun or captive bolt.

Twentymetercircle
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:10 PM
Maybe THIS is what needs to be addressed.... Breeders can't afford to retire the horses but they can afford to keep paying stud fees and mare care and training and racing entries?! They can afford it they just choose not to pay for it. Maybe with as many horses going to slaughter as there are, they need to cutback on how many horses they are bringing into this world.

Sigh...wouldn't THAT be nice?!!

I think you are right, they can afford it they just choose not to pay for it. :no: Sadly, they won't cut back because every breeder out there believes they have the right combination to breed the next Barbaro or Zenyatta...uh huh...:yes:

I applaud the minority of responsible breeders who actually will care for and take back the horses that didn't quite make it on the track.

Twentymetercircle
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:03 AM
How many are going to slaughter? What percentage of all slaughter horses are thoroughbreds, especially fresh off of the track ones? From what I have read, tbs make up a small portion of slaughterbound horses. Will your plan require all breeders,tb or not, to have arbitrary limits on their production? Who will decide that?

Actually, the statistics show that the two most common breeds of horses sent to slaughter are Thoroughbreds and Quarterhorses. If you want proof, you can always go to:

http://kaufmanzoning.net/

or you can read auction reports at Alexbrownracing.com

It really should not be a secret at this point. Sadly, the AQHA supports slaughter, which makes sense since the more QH's that are bred and registered means more $$ for the association. The world needs more people like Joe Shelton of TBfriends.com

If you are reading that TBs make up a small portion of slaughterbound horses, I'm guessing you get that information from other TB breeders.

SEPowell
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:29 AM
A few years ago I started a forum for discussing the placement of tbs after their racing careers. I sent emails to all the breeders and trainers for whom I could find email addresses inviting them to join the discussion. Boy was that a flop :lol: But now that tracks are instituting zero tolerance policies we need this type of dialogue more than ever and I wish I'd kept the forum going so the ideas and issues that are raised in threads like this won't get lost...

There are about three major players in a racing tbs existence (aside from the magical forever owner): breeders, trainers and the "transitioners" (the transitioners are the rescues and individuals who retrain and sell ottbs). All of us have needs in order to achieve our goals and I wonder if all of us know what the other needs in order to be successful.

Breeders and trainers have overlapping goals, but I wonder if either really understand the needs of the transitioners?
Do breeders really understand what kind of horses they need to breed that can both race and move into second careers? I know this sounds so obvious that it's almost insulting, but having seen multiple (failed) racehorses from the same breeders, believe me, it needs to be asked. And do trainers realize how much strain eventing and foxhunting can put on those ankles that have been injected for three years? I've worked with racehorses and know that nothing is as stressful for a horse's legs than speed, but I also know how much stress hunting and eventing can put on those legs if they're already compromised.

This is getting into the nitty gritty, but this is where we have to go if we want to make it work.

All of us need to ask ourselves what we can do differently to make it work better. I would love to hear what a trainer would consider ideal in a "transitioner" and what role a breeder sees for himself.

I have a long list of things I'd like to see in tbs coming off the track but I think I've already said enough:p

On the Farm
Dec. 14, 2009, 04:53 AM
Actually, the statistics show that the two most common breeds of horses sent to slaughter are Thoroughbreds and Quarterhorses. If you want proof, you can always go to:

http://kaufmanzoning.net/

or you can read auction reports at Alexbrownracing.com

It really should not be a secret at this point. Sadly, the AQHA supports slaughter, which makes sense since the more QH's that are bred and registered means more $$ for the association. The world needs more people like Joe Shelton of TBfriends.com

If you are reading that TBs make up a small portion of slaughterbound horses, I'm guessing you get that information from other TB breeders.

I took a glance and if time permits I'll explore the link, but I woudn't exactly say that your link is exactly an objective source. Again, mine was the HSUS.

S A McKee
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:05 AM
Breeders and trainers have overlapping goals, but I wonder if either really understand the needs of the transitioners?
Do breeders really understand what kind of horses they need to breed that can both race and move into second careers? I know this sounds so obvious that it's almost insulting, but having seen multiple (failed) racehorses from the same breeders, believe me, it needs to be asked.

All of us need to ask ourselves what we can do differently to make it work better. I would love to hear what a trainer would consider ideal in a "transitioner" and what role a breeder sees for himself.



I don't think it's realistic to expect TB Breeders to breed for failure. By failure, I mean the horse needing a 2nd career. THe idea would be to breed a good racehorse and then to have the horse go on to a breeding career.
Often it doesn't work out that way.
Some TB families produce good sporthorse propsects, others don't but they may produce great racers.
You can't breed for two different goals.

SleepyFox
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:52 AM
And do trainers realize how much strain eventing and foxhunting can put on those ankles that have been injected for three years? I've worked with racehorses and know that nothing is as stressful for a horse's legs than speed, but I also know how much stress hunting and eventing can put on those legs if they're already compromised.

So instead of prolonging a horse's primary career, we should worry about prolonging his secondary career? If eventing and hunting put a lot of stress on the horse, what happens when that horse needs to retire from his secondary career? There isn't much market for an older unsound horse. Are the hunters and eventers putting thought into what will happen when the horse is no longer usuable for them?


Do breeders really understand what kind of horses they need to breed that can both race and move into second careers? I know this sounds so obvious that it's almost insulting, but having seen multiple (failed) racehorses from the same breeders, believe me, it needs to be asked.

If you are breeding a racehorse, you need to breed a racehorse, not a potential show/pleasure horse. The best way to ensure a racehorse has a home is to breed a good racehorse. Why you would want to pollute that goal (which is difficult enough to achieve) by also trying to breed what the secondary market will want?

BeverlyAStrauss
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:58 AM
How about breeding for soundness, though?? We certainly have gotten away from that- that should be a goal for the racing industry, which would then benefit the sporthorse industry. And, if we bred sounder horses, maybe the need for all these drugs would tail off......owners and breeders might have more success on the track rather than having to dump all of these horses who suffer career ending injuries---- before their careers even get going!

One would think that our racehorses have too many chemicals for human consumption- but that hasn't stopped TBs from shipping to slaughter in large numbers. Maybe the new EU edict will slow that down- but now, with the impending requirements of a drug free horse for 180 days, will horses sit on feedlots for that time? Will killbuyers stop dealing in TBs?

To be honest, we do need a local humane way of euthanasia but with a quick and painless death by bullet so the carcasses can be rendered....

SleepyFox
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:29 AM
How about breeding for soundness, though?? We certainly have gotten away from that- that should be a goal for the racing industry, which would then benefit the sporthorse industry. And, if we bred sounder horses, maybe the need for all these drugs would tail off......owners and breeders might have more success on the track rather than having to dump all of these horses who suffer career ending injuries---- before their careers even get going!

I disagree - I do not know of a breeder that does not breed for soundness. It is a myth that people are just breeding for good looking sales babies. That reality is that no one wants to invest the purchase price and training costs in a horse that will not hold up. Buyers demand soundness (that is why so many radiographs are taken of sales horses). Breeders want soundness because foals with long careers are A: the best way to make your broodmare (buyers steer clear of the offspring of mares that haven't produced much) B: the best way to make money on breeders' awards and C: if you race the foal yourself you obviously are motivated to have a sound horse.

As for drugs, there are fewer drugs allowed today than ever. There is more science and technology being used to detect and treat unsoundness but as far as drugs used to mask pain and keep horses running - there is less than there used to be (contrary to popular belief among fans).

What I do think is a problem in terms of unsoundness is that there is more economic pressure to get horses to perform quickly. As an industry, we are more motivated to get horses fit and racing as quickly as possible. There is a mindset among a lot of people that the best thing to do is to push the horses hard and if they get hurt, cull them.

The costs of having a horse in training are so high anymore that there is a tremendous amount of motivation to rush things. And, layup board is prohibitively expensive, too, so there is motivation to simply cut your losses with a hurt horse. And, because layups are so expensive from not only board, but also just the costs of getting a horse fit again, today people are more likely to try to keep a horse in training and try to work through an issue, when in the past they would have probably opted for time off and turn out.

caffeinated
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:36 AM
What I do think is a problem in terms of unsoundness is that there is more economic pressure to get horses to perform quickly. As an industry, we are more motivated to get horses fit and racing as quickly as possible. There is a mindset among a lot of people that the best thing to do is to push the horses hard and if they get hurt, cull them. .

Added to that, when a horse does have a problem, often the solution is medication instead of rest, and some of those medications/injections actually exacerbate the long term soundness problem.

Jessi P
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:56 AM
I disagree - I do not know of a breeder that does not breed for soundness.

Agreed, but by the same token, many breeders are breeding their mares because they have broken down and/or cannot race any longer. They aren't purposefully breeding for soundness by breeding an injured animal (said with the understanding that there are accidents as well as injuries which have nothing to do with the soundness discussed in this scenario).

Switching over to the stallion side of the equation, they often choose stallions for reasons more important to them than soundness, be it location/ convenience, pedigree, price, trying to predict a "potential hit" as a stallion, by position on the state bred program ranks, because it has the hot "names/pedigree of the week," and so on. Sometimes those things will over-ride the soundness factor in the choosing of a stallion.

BeverlyAStrauss
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:53 PM
How many times have I heard, about stallions and mares- 'wow, he/she was incredibly fast, if only they had held up, they really would have shown everyone.' These are being bred left and right. Aren't the Storm Cats reknowned for their speed but unsoundness? That's what I have always been told......

I have to agree with Jessi P, soundness seems to be considered behind way too many other factors. Unfortunately, the mantra about it seems to be "Don't worry, we'll breed more"

And Caffeinated is right- if a horse is hurt, Dr Green and Dr Time are not called in, but Dr Doctor is.........

Neely
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:36 PM
Maybe THIS is what needs to be addressed.... Breeders can't afford to retire the horses but they can afford to keep paying stud fees and mare care and training and racing entries?! They can afford it they just choose not to pay for it. Maybe with as many horses going to slaughter as there are, they need to cutback on how many horses they are bringing into this world.

Thank you! The continued over-breeding is done out of pure greed. Everyone that breeds, owns, or trains a horse knows its life span! It's a matter of taking responsibility.

DickHertz
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:55 PM
I disagree - I do not know of a breeder that does not breed for soundness. It is a myth that people are just breeding for good looking sales babies.


Disagree. Depends on where the breeder is. I've talked to a lot of breeders over the years and I am great friends with some large breeders in Florida and Kentucky. Their number one goal is to have a big, good looking athletic horse who is fast. They'll openly admit to breeding to a fast horse who is conformationally flawed if they believe the cross will result in a fast version of the Increbile Hulk. I think I've only seen 1-2 Storm Cat stallions that I consider to be almost perfect (relatively speaking) conformationally and I believe one of them was only $1,500 and didn't ever race. Yet, these breeders continued to go to him and his progreny. Not picking on Storm Cat, but he is the most influential sire of the last 20 years. I've told the story before of a lady I know in Pennsylvania who had a Storm Cat mare. Crooked as all get out, couldn't walk 20 feet without stumbling over herself. Kept being bred, would throw a nice looking muscular baby year after year. They'd go through Keeneland September and fetch between $60k-$100k. None of them ever broke their maiden. One was pretty talented and died of a freak accident, but still none of the 5-6 this lady bred ever made it to the races - wonder if any of those fillies are in foal today (the above just a microcosm of the breeding problem in the States). Mare is now 15 or so and is riding trails, and stumbling all the way back to the barn. :-)

Blinkers On
Dec. 14, 2009, 02:10 PM
Sleepy Fox. great posting!!!

It is my humble opinion that it our job as trainers that once we get the horse in our barn that we ought to fight for the welfare of the horse, not just carry on and cheapen a horse up so they are running for bottoms at Finger Lakes or Los Al. Yes some should be at these places due to lack of talent, not talent but double bowed or has had it's ankle tapped every two weeks for most of it's career. I think it is where owners who "have to run," vets and trainers have failed.
I know that CA now has a statement coming out that is "supposed to" reduce the usage of depo medrol and it's evils leaving vets sort of liable in the event of "limb failure." Vets are not pleased. Who cares if they aren't pleased. Aren't they supposed to be in it for the health and well being of the horse not just can we eek another on out of that joint?
It bugs the heck out of me that the people who ought to be fighting for the racehorse and protecting it, from what I consider bad practices, simply aren't.
And we really need to.
You will never find a more passionate group of individuals who fight for their breed than pit bull people and horse people could learn a thing or two from them.
We are so over populated with horses let alone TB's. That needs to stop. If a filly can't stand up to training, don't breed her same goes for a colt and GELD!!! We need more geldings IMO. If a horse isn't breeding stock, why does he need his balls. He doesn't. Breed more selectively for ALL desired traits. Yes it is done to some degree and yes, Storm Cat babies are prone to knee and breathing issues and we are already to diluted with his genetics.
We DO sometimes need to cull a herd. And Euthanasia is a wonderful thing, and though I hate slaughter, I don't oppose it. I happily eat meat so it would be hypocritical of me to say slaughter is bad.
Equine cadavers go to very good and useful things that aren't food involved. Cadaver legs get used by farrier and vet students. Vet students also get plain old cadavers. Good things for our living horses. We do reap the benefit down the road.
I am not in favor for slaughter as "disposal" but it does have a place.

BeverlyAStrauss
Dec. 14, 2009, 03:09 PM
A big disconnect I saw at the TCA dinner is the term "slaughter." Those in rescue hear that word and think about the long road trips and horror the horses face until they are bled out. The breeders and horsemen feel slaughter is necessary for the most part --BUT by using that word, we cannot assume they endorse that end- that is generally far from the truth. Owners and breeders DO need a way to HUMANELY and QUICKLY end a horse's life- most rescues don't disagree there. Slaughter as a term needs to be redefined so that we can all agree. It has to be done in a way that the horse does not suffer, and the carcass can be used.

I think the economy is putting major brakes on the breeding industry (all industries for that matter.) Until things stabilize, sadly a lot of horses will be lost- mares as well as racing stock plus some stallions here and there........

SEPowell
Dec. 14, 2009, 03:31 PM
I disagree - I do not know of a breeder that does not breed for soundness. It is a myth that people are just breeding for good looking sales babies. That reality is that no one wants to invest the purchase price and training costs in a horse that will not hold up. Buyers demand soundness (that is why so many radiographs are taken of sales horses). Breeders want soundness because foals with long careers are A: the best way to make your broodmare (buyers steer clear of the offspring of mares that haven't produced much) B: the best way to make money on breeders' awards and C: if you race the foal yourself you obviously are motivated to have a sound horse.

If most breeders/trainers had your philosophy we wouldn't be having this conversation!

In the past few years I've learned that there are many people who grasp the general concept of breeding for racing and training for racing but they really don't know enough about conformation, conditioning and basic care to make it work. Rescues don't have to look far before they're innundated with "racehorses" that never had a chance of making it.

I have two examples of this type of racehorse at the moment. One came with such large ascarids I'm almost certain he was never effectively wormed. He's a PA bred and bred by a woman whose young race horses often ended up at New Holland when it was legal to send them there, and you can obviously still find them if you look hard enough. He ran in Ohio and PA, but he never got close to breaking his maiden. The other one looks ok on paper, but has at least one club foot, is enormous and not yet coordinated and has a sacroiliac injury. Her breeder wanted her back so she could... breed her for racing! Horses like this are drowning me. It takes a lot of work and money to get them in working order and useful.

Unfortunately the people who breed horses like the two I have now don't seem able to grasp the impact their actions and decisions have on the larger tb community. But maybe they would if they were somehow held accountable for the horses they sell into racing. I believe only Blue Horse Charities offers that option for breeders. Hopefully I'm wrong and there are more ways breeders can be helpful to tbs leaving racing.

I don't believe race horses and tb sport horses are mutually exclusive. The very best horse I ever hunted was a retired allowence horse and then hurdle horse; hunting was his third career. My other two personal horses are culls from trainers who were obviously looking for precocious horses. They tended to run their horses 6 times and if the horses didn't show talent they were sold out of racing. These two horses have full time jobs with me, and one of them seems to have some speed over distances and is an incredibly efficient jumper. You can see in their breeding where they were bred for speed, they just didn't get the magic precocious gene. Fortunately, horses bred for speed and soundness also come with other talents that can be used later.

In the perfect world fast tbs wouldn't be used up. Is pressure from track management the primary motivator for medicating a horse with injuries instead of backing off of his training? Track management needs to be brought into the dialogue too.

SleepyFox
Dec. 14, 2009, 04:48 PM
In the perfect world fast tbs wouldn't be used up. Is pressure from track management the primary motivator for medicating a horse with injuries instead of backing off of his training? Track management needs to be brought into the dialogue too.

I agree with you about used up horses. Sometimes it's accidental and sometimes it's not. When it's not accidental, that's a shame.

As far as your question about the role of track management, that's an interesting question. In my experience, the answer is no, they are not a motivating factor. In fact, it's track management that's creating rules to make sure horses are looked at by the state vets pre-race (which can lead to vet scratches and hence, smaller fields). However, I run at tracks with overflowing entry boxes. It might be different at venues with perpetually short fields.

In my experience, the motivating for keeping a questionable horse in training is purely financial. Sometimes it's plain and simple greed - a trainer wants to keep that dayrate coming in and keeping a horse at least jogging instead of turning him keeps that money coming in, so the trainer will make that recommendation to the owner. Or, the owner pushes the trainer to do all s/he can to keep a horse going because they don't want the expense of time off.

Other times, however, it's just the reality of a business that is usually a losing proposition for the billpayer (aka owner). The extra costs associated with time off just would tip the scale to the point the owner has to cut his/her losses and quit on a horse. Rather than giving up on a horse, a lot of people are going to at least try to keep going and hope the horse can hold up. And, honestly, the vets will usually advise to keep going - at least galloping or jogging with a horse, if it's at all possible.

Regarding breeding decisions... I don't know any breeders who state their main goal is a sound horse and, yes, commercial breeders will state their number one goal is a big, good-looking baby. But those for those same breeders soundness absolutely is part of the equation, regardless of what they state as their main goal. Buyers overlook Storm Cat knees because they have been proven to be able to remain sound. Buyers just do not spend good money on horses that do not look like they will be able to hold up.

danceronice
Dec. 14, 2009, 06:42 PM
Is part of the resistance to gelding that if they're gelded, then the ONLY outlet for them is either trying to rehome them, or destroying them? Sure, you can keep SOME around as track ponies, but a retired gelding who isn't suitable for that (or who belongs to a trainer who already is maxed out on the number of ponies he can support, like the trainer I just bought a smart, sound gelding from) has only so many options, while with a colt, there is always the possibility of breeding him, either for racing or to sell to someone who wants to breed sport horses.

And I agree it's absurd to suggest breeders need to be breeding racing thoroughbreds like they were warmbloods who aren't going to do a thing except eat and grow until they're at least four, for a variety of reasons. Not least being they're RACEHORSES. That's what they exist to be. Additionally, as far as soundness goes, the idea that every horse comes off the track unable to move is not as true as people think. If anything, the vet who did my PPE commented (after confirming I wanted the horse as a potential field hunter) that the ones who had been racing longest were generally sound, and that *nothing I would ever be likely to do with him would be as athletically demanding as being a racehorse*. I didn't even really understand that until I got the horse straight from the track--I have NEVER handled a horse in that kind of physical condition before. (My last OTTB had been with a hunt trainer for two or three months when we bought him.) Pure muscle. They don't have to change much about how they breed to make them sound enough for other jobs. People just have to know what they're getting, for example that it's not going to look like an 18hh barrel-shaped warmblood.

And I still haven't heard why it is the breeders who are two or three steps of ownership removed from the horse are responsible. Do all sport-horse breeders know where everything they ever bred is, and are prepared to take a crippled gelding they produced back and give it a home as a pasture puff for life? Even the stallion owners who ship semen who-knows-where around the world? Same for all breeders of color breeds, western breeds, backyard breeders, and how about the hordes of minis getting dumped at auctions lately? Or is it different with sport horses because it's easier to pretend it's not a business (and because most don't get tattoos or brands that identify individual horses and so can't be tracked) while racing is undeniably an industry?

SEPowell
Dec. 14, 2009, 09:19 PM
And I agree it's absurd to suggest breeders need to be breeding racing thoroughbreds like they were warmbloods who aren't going to do a thing except eat and grow until they're at least four, for a variety of reasons. Not least being they're RACEHORSES. That's what they exist to be.

I don't think anyone really suggested that breeders breed anything other than tbs who will succeed at racing. With that said, there are a lot of horses out there that never break their maidens because they're the result of bad breeding decisions. In the past three years I've had two mares of similar breeding. One absolutely should have been a broodmare. Her conformation was close to perfect and her half brother was winning nice stakes and allowence races, and yes, she's now a broodmare. The other, the filly I have now, absolutely should not be bred. She won't mature until she's about 6 or 7, she has terrible hind leg conformation, two club feet and she's lame after racing three times. In spite of this, her breeder wanted her back to breed for racing. That's the kind of breeding I object to and would like to see changed. I want to see horses bred who will succeed in racing because those are the same horses who will succeed in second careers.


And I still haven't heard why it is the breeders who are two or three steps of ownership removed from the horse are responsible.

Comparing racehorse breeders to sport horse breeders is like comparing apples to oranges. The tb industry has decided to work together to better manage tbs after they finish racing and thoroughbred breeders are part of the tb industry. If they have to be more accountable for the horses they breed maybe they'll make better breeding choices. If sporthorse breeders ever have so many horses floating around that they need to figure out how to get rid of 30,000 a year they'll probably also want to include breeders in their strategizing.


Do all sport-horse breeders know where everything they ever bred is, and are prepared to take a crippled gelding they produced back and give it a home as a pasture puff for life?

This is why we need to figure out an affordable system for humane euthanasia.

S A McKee
Dec. 15, 2009, 10:25 AM
[QUOTE=SEPowell;4556740]I don't think anyone really suggested that breeders breed anything other than tbs who will succeed at racing.
/QUOTE]

Really? You're the one that brought up breeding for a 2nd career. LOL

Then what did you mean when you posted this:

Originally Posted by SEPowell

Breeders and trainers have overlapping goals, but I wonder if either really understand the needs of the transitioners?
Do breeders really understand what kind of horses they need to breed that can both race and move into second careers? I know this sounds so obvious that it's almost insulting, but having seen multiple (failed) racehorses from the same breeders, believe me, it needs to be asked.

All of us need to ask ourselves what we can do differently to make it work better. I would love to hear what a trainer would consider ideal in a "transitioner" and what role a breeder sees for himself.

danceronice
Dec. 15, 2009, 10:40 AM
What SA McKee said--the post certainly sounds like you're saying they need to think about breeding 'second career' horses and not primarily for racing. Horses who are sound for racing are likely to be perfectly sound for anything else barring severe injuries (which contrary to anti-racing beliefs is not the majority of retirees--my last horse was retired with an injury and was sound for jumping and went 3'6", my new horse raced 64 times in five years and is sound as a seven-year-old. Most horses are coming off the track because they're money-losers not because they're cripples.) Now, many don't having the right LOOK for some disciplines--a horse who can race successfully is not going to look like what's currently fashionable in PSG or GP dressage (and your average TB would probably not tolerate RK for very long!) But a horse built like that would be a flop on the track, so why breed one?

Now, breeders who produce complete crap are a problem--but more so than every backyard idiot or breed-show breeder who keeps pumping out foals? Set aside AQHA (the biggest contributor by far) because of the breed assocation being more at fault than anyone, does the world NEED more middling paints, "American warmbloods", or pet minis? I honestly don't see many horses with HORRIBLE conformation on the racetrack listings--maybe, again, not IDEAL for some sport-horse disciplines, but relatively few with anything that's more than cosmetic. You can't even get people to agree on what's "unsound" breeding--see the mentions in this thread of whether Storm Cats' knees hold up or not, and while I personally would touch one with multiple inbreeding to Raise a Native, there's enough of that blood around to argue it's not a deciding factor in unsoundness.

And I for one am inclined to believe the 8% number over anti-slaughter websites' counts. It's certainly not TBs going through the auctions around here, and when one does turn up, it's not fresh off the track, and yet there are auctions and they've got plenty of horses going through.

MintHillFarm
Dec. 15, 2009, 11:41 AM
There are race horses and there are horses who race, the latter being the lower level claimers, in my mind.

In racing, looking at it as a business, there have to be horses that are running at tracks with the $4,000 tag as well as other claiming level races. Otherwise, where would the race track business in general be (including the betting public, jockeys, trainers, vets etc) and all the others that make their living at these tracks. So, breeding for the best horse is the goal, but the other horses are an integral part of racing as as a business too.

There are no easy answers and I am, I guess just rambling but there are many questions and a small amount of answers.

Linny
Dec. 15, 2009, 12:36 PM
When discussing breeders there are some guidelines to follow. First, is that there are several types of "breeders." You have huge, high end commercial operations that breed mostly to the hottest young stallions to cash in on their buzz when the babies hit the sales. They also deal in the highest end bloodstock, the Storm Cats and the Indy's and Distorted Humor's. Many such people are more interested in getting the hottest looking "page" and secondarily, the straightest horses. After all, the legs can be corrected, the page cannot.
You then have high end operations that breed for racing. Many farms sell some and keep some and some race them all, or plan to. Those breeders usually breed for long term and for soundness. After all, if you hope to put that fily into your band some day, she needs to be worthy.
There are also many small locally based outfits that have been propped up by state incentive funds. Sadly alot of folks have gotten involved because of breeders incentives, but really don't know alot about what they are doing. As long as a few of the babies get to the track they can still collect money, even if they no longer own.
It's not fair to expect a TB race breeder to try to breed a horse with residual value any more than a dressage breeder should. If that dressage bred horse turn into a great Jr Hunter, teriffic, but the breeder was trying to breed a GP drerssage horse.
Generally a horse athletic enough to race, should if sound also be athletic enough for at least moderate levels of performance in most other equestrian persuits. After all, most riding horses are not A show hunters or GP jumpers.

Another note about breeders. Believe it or not, most don't own a farm. Most board their mares and young stock. If you ask a breeder if they can take a horse "back to your farm" in many cases there is no such place. If the breeder take a horse back he'll have to pay a day rate to keep him.

There was once a much closer relationship between hunter/jumper operations and the track. Today few h/j trainers of high stature (BNT's) have sources at the track to get young stock. They prefer to tell clients that they have to go to Holland, rather than NEW Holland for prospects.

As for slaughter, I will zip up my flame suit and cower behind Jumphigh83 and add that I'd almost prefer that there be a slaughter facility in every county. I don't despise slaughter. I despise what the poor animals endure on the way there. I cry at the thought of a fine TB or a noble old lesson horse or a dependable old draft being abandoned by the humans he has trusted and loaded into horrfying pens and trucks. THAT is far more an affront to me than the killing. If instead of spend a lot of money to euth and remove the horse, the owner could take him to a local pace for immediate quick dispatch AND be paid for the use of the carcass it would suit alot of people. No one would be required to use it but I'm sure many would.

SEPowell
Dec. 15, 2009, 02:32 PM
:D
[QUOTE=SEPowell;4556740]I don't think anyone really suggested that breeders breed anything other than tbs who will succeed at racing.
/QUOTE]

Really? You're the one that brought up breeding for a 2nd career. LOL

Then what did you mean when you posted this:

Originally Posted by SEPowell

Breeders and trainers have overlapping goals, but I wonder if either really understand the needs of the transitioners?
Do breeders really understand what kind of horses they need to breed that can both race and move into second careers? I know this sounds so obvious that it's almost insulting, but having seen multiple (failed) racehorses from the same breeders, believe me, it needs to be asked.

All of us need to ask ourselves what we can do differently to make it work better. I would love to hear what a trainer would consider ideal in a "transitioner" and what role a breeder sees for himself.

:) But you're ignoring the part that says "but having seen multiple (failed) racehorses from the same breeders, believe me, it needs to be asked." In other words, the horses can't race and they're not athletic/or conformationally correct enough to make good sport horses.

Later I describe a horse I have now who was too weak behind to make a racehorse and for the same reason won't make a sport horse. Her original breeder wanted her back to breed! These are the people who really complicate matters for those of us who transition tbs from the track into new sports and these are the people who need to think about the larger picture of breeding for racing. There are more of these breeders around than I think you realize.

And why do I have this horse? Because she's incredibly smart, very sweet, I didn't want to see her bred and I'm a moron :D

Barbara L.
Dec. 15, 2009, 04:37 PM
Let's not complicate things...I see no point in thinking that a breeder of racehorses should actively consider how to breed a horse that would transition to another career. The basics are this: a conformationally correct horse with a pedigree of relatives who were good performers and were proven physically sound should work for both racing and "after careers."

People don't intentionally breed slow or badly conformed horses: many breeders are just not informed enough in basic genetics to figure it out, and I am guessing that many people who are trying to be responsible for their horses' futures are taking back mares that fail at the track and breeding them, just so they can be useful (rather than being pasture pals, or riding horses). There are even some people who own or race intact males who search out show barns, or midwestern farms for their "studs" to produce more average riding horses or cheap runners, because the owners or breeders "do not want to do wrong by the horse who made them money."

Their care is misguided in many situations, although their hearts may be in the right place...

And regarding medication issues: yes, there are many new drugs that can now be scientifically identified, but there must be more consistent testing of the presence of these medications in order for the stringent new rules to have any effect on breakdowns, etc. No use spending all the money on the research if you don't plan on looking for the illegal stuff, right?

Pronzini
Dec. 15, 2009, 10:17 PM
People don't intentionally breed slow or badly conformed horses: many breeders are just not informed enough in basic genetics to figure it out,




Good point but....you as a breeder can do everything right and end up with bad horses. No joke, I've seen the offspring of two Grade 1 winners be a horrendous wreck to the point where the horse was unraceable. Where in the box of chocolates did that come from?

Unfortunately I had my own version of this problem up close and personal. I owned part of a big (16.2) good looking mare who won a couple of hundred thousand on the track and was basically a sound win machine. I bought her after she had two foals on the ground. I admit I saw her weanling at the sale and he was a runty looking thing but I chalked that up to the sire who I thought was also small and dumpy. She was in foal to a big good looking Breeders Cup winner and the foal was inbred to one of those famous 17 handers.

This past summer the resultant yearling was pony sized and showing no signs of more growth. I ended up finding her a non racing home. The weanling is also on the small side and I may be facing the same dilemma. None of her previous two have been raced or even worked and I think I know why. I ended up keeping her open and giving her to someone I knew to be retrained as a personal riding horse.

No one could have looked at this mare and have foreseen those babies. I will say that the two I bred were perfect little TBs in miniature--just not big enough to be viable racehorses.

You breed enough and you can get oops even if you take a lot of care in the matings.

Jumphigh83
Dec. 17, 2009, 10:14 AM
Reminds me of one mare "Club Car Lady" who we affectionately called Club Foot Lady (because she WAS...) Full(Half?? Help Linny) sister to "Silver Charm" (yes THE Silver Charm)....a friend who owned her sold her to a backyard rider in foal to a backyard QH for 1500 dollars...along comes the Derby and the backyard breeders were offered 130,000 for this small, crooked mare, dumped by a semi local breeding farm as a cull...The offer stood through the Preakness and then fell dramatically when he lost the Belmont BUT they STILL got 40K for this physical wreckage because she looked good on paper....before SilverCharm won the Derby and Preakness, you had to turn the catalog page several times BEFORE you got to any black type....So yes, breeders are all about the PAPER not the individual...and my friend is STILL kicking herself to this day for parting company with that crooked small mare BEFORE she became popular on paper! ( I think that is the origin of the saying "a day late and a (several hundred thousand) dollar short...."