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Statistics on race horse mortality

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    Statistics on race horse mortality

    So a friend, not a horse person, casually mentioned during a facebook discussion that roughly 40% of racehorses die during training. (this was an aside during a discussion of another topic)

    I immediately challenged that statement - noting that I did not know the true rate, but that I was certain it was far far far less. He responded that he heard this "fact" during a presentation by a statistician at a statistics conference a few years ago, but was open to evidence that refuted it.

    So...that's my question to you knowledgable people: can you point me towards any statistics on race horse mortality - both during races and during training?

    #2
    Yow -- that's quite the high number! I don't think it's anywhere close to 40%.

    While I can't give you the percentage of race horses that die during training, the JC has plenty of research available about fatalities on-track, and that number, IIRC, is 1.53 per 1,000 starts.

    It would likely be very difficult to isolate what is a training-related death, a management-related death, or just bad luck/freak accident in race horses at home, versus at the track.

    The JC publishes quite a lot of studies on its website, including the Equine Injury Database, which is where the number above came from:
    http://jockeyclub.com/default.asp?se...vocacy&area=10

    Could be your friend was thinking of this percentage:
    https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-rac...-s-can-improve
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

    Comment


      #3
      In addition to the Equine Injury Database that Beowulf posted, common sense would dictate that 40% of race horses don’t die in training. If that were true, there wouldn’t be so many OTTBs needing retirement homes and available to the general public.
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

      Comment


        #4
        I see nothing in the BH article that should leave a statistician at a statistician conference to think that 40% of race horses die in training.

        I'm on board with your strategy of pointing them to the JC EID. If a statistician wants numbers, there they are

        Refuting in a vacuum can be challenging because the original premise, to me, was a bit wishy washy in the first place.
        Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post
          I see nothing in the BH article that should leave a statistician at a statistician conference to think that 40% of race horses die in training.

          I'm on board with your strategy of pointing them to the JC EID. If a statistician wants numbers, there they are

          Refuting in a vacuum can be challenging because the original premise, to me, was a bit wishy washy in the first place.
          Maybe the statistician misunderstood that a percentage of race horses that start training don't go on to race.
          That happens for many reasons, most that are not showing any promise as a decent race horse worth going on with, meaning mostly too slow.
          Then the statistician assumed those numbers meant those were dead horses?

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post

            Maybe the statistician misunderstood that a percentage of race horses that start training don't go on to race.
            That happens for many reasons, most that are not showing any promise as a decent race horse worth going on with, meaning mostly too slow.
            Then the statistician assumed those numbers meant those were dead horses?
            I asked my friend that - he was very assertive that he had been told 40% deaths. But...this whole thing feels like a random factoid that's been misheard and misunderstood and misrepeated until it's utterly wrong. Which I really want to stop and fix, both because of my general dislike for inaccuracies/untruths on the internet and because I really don't like the idea of people with no understanding of horse sports thinking 40% of race horses die during training...

            [in defense of my friend - he's not normally one to spout unsupported facts. I think he really does believe he heard this from a credible source. He is also very open to evidence that it is not true]

            Thanks to all for your input here - much appreciated.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Darkwave View Post
              I asked my friend that - he was very assertive that he had been told 40% deaths. But...this whole thing feels like a random factoid that's been misheard and misunderstood and misrepeated until it's utterly wrong. Which I really want to stop and fix, both because of my general dislike for inaccuracies/untruths on the internet and because I really don't like the idea of people with no understanding of horse sports thinking 40% of race horses die during training...

              [in defense of my friend - he's not normally one to spout unsupported facts. I think he really does believe he heard this from a credible source. He is also very open to evidence that it is not true]
              I appreciate you wanting to try to correct this mistruth. It is frustrating to see inaccuracies of any kind floating around the internet but also so hard to correct.

              The challenge here is not knowing exactly the source of the 40% number. I think providing the JC EID data for your friend so they can see stats as it relates to injuries and death. We all know that every racing injury doesn't necessarily result in death and we all also know that deaths may not necessarily be racing-related (colic?). We all pretty much know that the racing industry as a whole want to keep reducing the injury and death numbers as much as possible. Having said that, even the safer jurisdictions overseas still loose horses to race-related injury and death.

              Who knows, maybe we need iRacing for horse racing such as NASCAR has. Pretty realistic but all virtual; includes wrecks but even the wrecks are virtual. I find that I still prefer the actual race and not virtual

              Share, ask for the source of any 'strange' stats and keep on trying to get correct information out there. It's a challenge for sure.
              Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr

              Comment


                #8
                FWIW, my vet used to be a vet at a racetrack (Arlington Park). He has told me that many more horses die from catastrophic injuries and accidents on the farm than from breakdowns or other reasons on the track.

                Maybe the 40% number doesn't mean that 40% of all racehorses die during training. But of the ones that die, 40% of those deaths are during training. Even if you interpret it that way, that number still seems very high. I would think there would be more deaths from colic, laminitis, cardiac events, accidents, illness, etc.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We are near a lower tier racetrack that supplies the region with a steady stream of medium nice jumper prospects. There is absolutely no way any substantial number of horses are dying during training or even during racing, at the track.

                  Now a certain per cent of horses don't make it out of training because they are slow, and get sold to riding homes. And it's possible a certain per cent are injured in training or during their racing careers and retired. It's also possible that injured horses end up being euthanized later on when they don't heal up, but this happens at the home barn and not at the track. There's a lot of attrition in racehorses, if you compare the number of 3 year olds to the number of 8 year olds still racing. But it's not because they all died.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post

                    I appreciate you wanting to try to correct this mistruth. It is frustrating to see inaccuracies of any kind floating around the internet but also so hard to correct.

                    The challenge here is not knowing exactly the source of the 40% number. I think providing the JC EID data for your friend so they can see stats as it relates to injuries and death. We all know that every racing injury doesn't necessarily result in death and we all also know that deaths may not necessarily be racing-related (colic?). We all pretty much know that the racing industry as a whole want to keep reducing the injury and death numbers as much as possible. Having said that, even the safer jurisdictions overseas still loose horses to race-related injury and death.

                    Who knows, maybe we need iRacing for horse racing such as NASCAR has. Pretty realistic but all virtual; includes wrecks but even the wrecks are virtual. I find that I still prefer the actual race and not virtual

                    Share, ask for the source of any 'strange' stats and keep on trying to get correct information out there. It's a challenge for sure.
                    I also issue challenges when someone throws out a random number in regard to slaughter. I always ask their source and their "fact" usually devolves into "well I heard it somewhere." Case in point was when a poster threw out the "fact" that 200,000 thoroughbreds are slaughtered each year. I kindly pointed out that with an annual birth rate of about 33,000 (this was before 2008) the entire breed would be wiped out in just a few years. I don't know if I changed a mind, but I at least expressed my view.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by On the Farm View Post
                      I don't know if I changed a mind, but I at least expressed my view.
                      Pretty much that is all you can do. Throw out opposing information with references/sources and then hope they are willing to at least learn.

                      Where on earth did someone get 200,000 TBs a year?
                      Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post

                        Pretty much that is all you can do. Throw out opposing information with references/sources and then hope they are willing to at least learn.

                        Where on earth did someone get 200,000 TBs a year?
                        All horses slaughtered a year are not 100,000.

                        That 200,000 figure must be for something else, not TBs and not horse slaughter.

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