Winning at any cost - Roadster class - Saddlebred

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I returned Sunday from an extremely busy Saddlebred event in Louisville, Kentucky. Oh Boy! I DO have things to say - indeed I do! I shall speak from my heart and speak my own truth about things I saw and experienced.

If you are interested in reading a somewhat 'uncomfortable' opinion by a horse 'groupie' then by all means read on!I spent an exhausting week in Louisville, Kentucky last week and have been chewing over in my mind how I was going to broach this subject.

It was an enormous show. I have never before seen such bloated wealth and opulence in one place. Millions of dollars were represented in the arena. The Shattners were there, the Schaffers, some fellow from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and many others who represent old and new money. The Saddlebred industry is big money and big business and even more massive egos. There were lots of pretentious people – with scatterings some genuinely nice humans.

The children of those with excess financial resources are miniatures of their parentage and were just an overall shallow and nasty lot. Not all, mind you, so don’t let me give a totally wrong impression. I simply have a real loathing for pretentiousness. True grace is a rarer and rarer commodity.

The kindly trainers and riders are few and far between and the cruel methods for training these horses have tacit approval by most. Winning is everything to them.

Let me talk about one event that has me very disturbed – it is rather like a watershed moment for me:

It was on Friday night during the Roadster class. There were too many hyped up, over adrenalized horses with their chariots in the arena. Roadster horses fly around the arena at such speed that it has great potential for tragic consequences.

There was a dead heat. All the judges were locked on the first three places. The horses, their sides heaving, sweat dripping from their bodies, eyes reddened and wild, stood waiting for the results. The judges made a very bad call. Put the balance of the horses in the center of the arena and re-race the top three. Even an amateur to these shows can see that expecting trigger happy horses to stand still when all they have been ever trained to do is respond to the roar of the crowd, the race and to go, go, go.

The horses almost went berserk. These horses are designed for quick sprints – they are not marathon runners. I could feel my stomach knot with stress and I could not believe that these so called experts had made such a call without any concern whatsoever for the animals. Exhaustion can kill and irreparably damage them. Shattners’ horse was already – after the first event - utterly exhausted and that beautiful dark horse was white with sweat. The crowd roared and bayed for more. The crowd’s hysterical bloodlust was united in their lack of concern. It was an atmosphere of Roman crowds for the flowing of Christian blood in the coliseums of Rome.

The trainers, riders and owners could have at any time stopped the class but they were swept up in the unbridled bloodlust of the moment: to win at any cost.

For the second time there was a tie in the results. They (the judges) again dismissed the remainder of the horses from the arena ‘in the interests of safety’. The top three horses looked as though they could take no more.

For the third time in immediate succession, they raced those poor creatures. The results were in and who by now even cares? Shattners horse is not a young horse and is in the teens. One horse tore a ligament and the other I have not yet heard the result. I have absolutely no doubt that the horse belonging to Shattner has been irreparably damaged and will not last long. The cost was extremely high. All that for a stupid ribbon!

On finals night, there was almost a guilty air hovering over the official table. The classes were kept shorter but I cannot get this out of my mind.
Go to this link and read the APPROVING review.
horses almost went berserk. These horses are designed for quick sprints – they are not marathon runners. I could feel my stomach knot with stress and I could not believe that these so called experts had made such a call without any concern whatsoever for the animals. Exhaustion can kill and irreparably damage them. Shattners’ horse was already – after the first event - utterly exhausted and that beautiful dark horse was white with sweat. The crowd roared and bayed for more. The crowd’s hysterical bloodlust was united in their lack of concern. It was an atmosphere of Roman crowds for the flowing of Christian blood in the coliseums of Rome.

The trainers, riders and owners could have at any time stopped the class but they were swept up in the unbridled bloodlust of the moment: to win at any cost.

For the second time there was a tie in the results. They (the judges) again dismissed the remainder of the horses from the arena ‘in the interests of safety’. The top three horses looked as though they could take no more.

For the third time in immediate succession, they raced those poor creatures. The results were in and who by now even cares? Shattners horse is not a young horse and is in the teens. One horse tore a ligament and the other I have not yet heard the result. I have absolutely no doubt that the horse belonging to Shattner has been irreparably damaged and will not last long. The cost was extremely high. All that for a  ribbon!

On finals night, there was almost a guilty air hovering over the official table. The classes were kept shorter but I cannot get this out of my mind.
Go to this link and read the APPROVING review.

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