Should Raceing Horse Been Put Down?

oakleifJanuary 29, 2007

Do you think the horse that won the Preakness and broke it's leg should have been put down?

I just saw on the news that the horse was needing more surgery.

Being one who knows nothing about horses but have heard all my life that you put down a horse with a broken leg. Was it right to try to save the leg? The horse has seemed to have a lot of problems and pain.

Horse people give us your wisdom. I really want to understand.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Its a tough question. I think in most cases with a severe break like Barbaro had, yes, they need to be put down. But the owners had the money and the most expert care it could buy and I think it was right of them to try.

Barbaro was the Kentucky Derby winner and was loved by many. I think many people would've been devastated had he been put down right away. At least this way he had a chance to survive.

Its very sad. But if he were my horse, I would've tried all I could to save him as well.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 1:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I couldn't tell from the previous posts if you guys knew that Barbaro had been euthanized this morning, according to FoxNews. Glad that he at least had a chance at recovery and sad that more complications lead to him being put down.

Now, for some questions...

Was he euthanized because he could no longer race, or was he in pain? Could he have been used for stud? Adopted out? Put weight on the leg? Have an appetite? I was going to google but my browser doesn't want to go any where. Maybe this will post, maybe not.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Barbaro was euthanized because the laminitis infection in his left rear hoof had spread to his front hooves. He would have required too many pain killers as a result. And horses cannot lie down and recover. They have to be able to stand and walk. This was a lethal situation for him, no way around it. With one broken leg and the other three infected, it was merciful to let him go.

Barbaro would never have been adopted out. As a multi-million dollar race horse, whose owners really loved him, he would have remained at that very expensive hospital or gone home, if recovered, to his owners. He could only have been used for stud if he'd been able to put weight on his rear legs, as thoroughbreds are conceived in the old-fashioned way. I am sure that these particular owners would have been happy to have him simply alive and out to pasture, though.

BTW, he didn't win the Preakness, he won the Kentucky Derby. He broke his leg coming out of the gate in the Preakness.

This news has just depressed my whole day.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was going to post a slightly different question and that's what are yalls animal-lover opinions on horse racing? Do you think horses like runing around in circles so homo sapiens can win money? Seems kinda... I dunno...

At least with dog races if they fall and break a leg they don't have to be put to sleep.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 7:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unlike way back when, now day's "under most circumstances", a broken leg can be repaired on a horse.
It is the side effects of having to keep such wieght on the good leg while the bad one heals that is the main danger.
He was euthanised do to being in such pain from the infection and not being able to stand on either hind leg.

The surgery they had scheduled for him today, was to be a last ditch effort to try and save him, till they realized just how unfair it was to try and hang on to him any longer, in such pain and such a low % of him even making it through any more surgeries.

Had he recovered, no, he'd never been able to race again, but they were hoping to have been able to use him for stud services later on if at all possible.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 9:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did not know he was put down! That was one of the worst things I think I have ever seen, and they kept replaying it over and over. I never watch horse racing or steeplechase for that matter, I don't really like it all that well, but then I would be a hypocrite because I have been known to get out and race them around the barrels, I never use a whip or spurs however and that may be why I would never be a good competitor, I feel they can run on their own merit. My mother had to put her barrel horse down not too long ago on account of a back leg injury (not from racing, from a animal attack) it is never a easy decision to make. I feel for Barbaro's owners, not only for their own pain, but for the fact that there are millions of people out there judging them for how they did things. I think they did everything right, at least they gave it a chance to heal, some owners would of just had him put down and collected the insurance on him.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 7:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for helping me understand the situation.
Of course i can see the owners would love their
horses as much as i do my dogs and am glad there are new options to heal broken legs. Am so sorry abt Barbaro.
Thanks for the correction on winning the KY derby and breaking his leg at the Preakness.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 8:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Biggest issue I having with racing is that a lot of these horses are just to young to be put thru training and racing at this high a level. The horses that race in the Derby are only three years old. Most breeds are not fully developed adults until five and are coming into their prime at eight or nine.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I saw a bit on news where the Vet was describing the suffering Barbaro had endured. He broke down in tears.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do the horses enjoy it? (The racing, gun shot, screaming crowd, cracking whip)
Barbaro wasn't a horse, he was a business.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think horse-racing is horrible. The only thing worse, IMHO, is animals used in the circus.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, from what I've heard, horses are like most human athletes. They love the racing. The rest of the circus, however....

I am sure that Barbaro's owners loved him, and that played a role in the decision to investigate every possible treatment. But the cynical side of me speculated that his treatment was prolonged for so long because of the stud fees he might bring in. I don't blame the vets -- like humans' doctors they're charged with finding cures and solutions. I'm glad all involved finally decided it was just to much for one poor animal to recover from.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How can you love a animal that you work to the bone for money? It's not like having your dog scoped out by a talent agency that wants to use them in a movie. This is rigorous, dangerous activity. One slip and it's all over.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes. I think any animal that is suffering, should be put out of it's agony.

I also think people should have the same option.


p.s. Please learn how to spell,,,it's RACING not RACEING

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How can you love a animal that you work to the bone for money?

I know alot of pro sports coaches that could answer that question.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pro atheletes can say, "Hey, I'd rather do something else. I think I'll go on to dental school." Horses can't offer up their opinion. Horses have been used as machines since the beginning of time but this racing just seems really kind of silly given the risk and the purpose is strictly for entertainment.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pro atheletes can say, "Hey, I'd rather do something else...

Agreed. But that wasn't the question.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Spiritual Gardener,
i so apoligise for my mispelling I had a stroke and don't always recognize a mispelled word and the spell check don't work on my computer(maybe it had a stroke also.) If you have trouble with my handicap please don't read oakleifs posts
God bless you.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

SG - and "gardener" is spelled thus, not "gardner". I can find numerous errors in your posts as well. There is no reason to jump on someone for a spelling mistake.

Oakleif - don't worry about it. Your posts are fine and your meaning is clear.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oakleif I enjoy your posts and I am the next worst speller, I was never good at it and had a brain injury which six years later I am almost normal. I admire you, blessings-Joann

Ron had been a horseshoer for close to 30 years. He went to shoeing school in LA in the early 70's, they learned on dead legs(from Dr. Ross dog food plant) they were stacked like cord wood at the school. Santa Anita and Hollywood Park were close and almost all the legs had racing plates on them. Too many horses die for the sport of kings.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I think any animal that is suffering, should be put out of it's agony"

SG - perhaps you need to learn the proper use of its and it's as well. We all make mistakes - big deal.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 1:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alison, I don't think potential stud fees had anything to do with it. The Jockey Club which oversees Throughbred racing requires a live cover, artificial insemination is not allowed, and they said from the start that they didn't know if Barbaro would every be able to breed a mare.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oakleif, I spelled raisin wrong on another post, we all do it from time to time. I love your posts, misspelled or not. (who cares when we are talking about animals) this is not a english course.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Horses, Thoroughbreds especially (because of the length of their legs), have very little circulation in their lower legs. This is why it is very difficult to repair their broken or, in the case of Barbaro, shattered bones. The rate of healing is extremely slow...

It is also difficult, for the same reason, to get antibiotics to the location to ward off infections. They also have no muscle in the area just above their hooves...just tendons.

The sheer weight of the animal requires that all 4 legs work properly in order to insure their survival and mental stability. Prey animals can also fail to thrive when severely injured...this is a natural response to protect the herd.

As mentioned above, they can not lay down for extended periods, so the only thing possible once "the point of no return" has been reached, is euthanasia.

It truly was what was best for this animal...others may have a better chance now. The vet mentioned that he learned quite a bit from this experience and might do some things differently in the future.

Hope that helps explain the issue a bit.

My thoughts on horse racing in general:

Horses are naturally competative three are always racing from the pasture when I call is very obvious that they want to be the first one to the dry lot for the grain.

There is no benefit for them to be first, they always get fed in the same order...but they still love to "outdo" each other.

In a herd of wild horses, it is the fastest, the strongest and the bravest that get to breed...this instinctive incentive drives them harder than any human ever could.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 4:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"In a herd of wild horses, it is the fastest, the strongest and the bravest that get to breed...this instinctive incentive drives them harder than any human ever could."

What they don't know about us humans is why we want to exploit their instincts and also what happens if they break a leg. If they did know that, how many do you think would sign up?

Someone can turn the hose on my right now and shut me up with some statistics showing that in the past x number of years, there have been X number of races and only X number of horses were put down for injuries stemming from the racing. You know to sort of prove the risk isn't that great.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 9:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


This horse was truly can't doubt that.

Do you have horses, yourself? If not, it would be difficult for you to understand the bond that a horse and owner will have.

Something you might find comforting:

Here is a link that might be useful: What to do with the ashes....

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 12:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did 50mile races with my horses, they loved it, Ralph misses the horse social life at the rides and running is fun for them. I rode with the intent of riding both horses until their 20's so I was careful with my conditioning and rode to finish(to finish is to win). Ralph is 29 and I still ride him, Mira died at 30 (she coliced from eating acorns in pasture and her gut twisted and I had to make that choice) I rode her to her last days.
The problem in my opionion with racing is the horses are kept in 12x12 stalls only get out for an hour or so every day. fed hot food then run to win. It would be like a human living in a phone booth eating candy, drinking expresso and going out for only an hour then running the mile. Hard on the body and mind.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A fair guestimate of fatal injuries per 100,000 starts would be about 150.

Race horses only work a few years out of their life....then, generally, they are off to another home or to stud.

It is a far better scenario than the ones that pull buggies/carriages around our "elite district" streets until they drop.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A few non-contentious facts. After Barbaro's death I searched for information about the great Secretariat and found some interesting information that was news to me.

(For those who don't remember Secretariat, go to YouTube and type in Secretariat - Belmont Stakes. It's an emotional and beautiful presentation of the greatest racing performance of all time. Watching it, there can be no doubt that this horse loved what he was doing. His jockey never hit him; he simply released the reins and let him run. Secretariat won that race going away, by 31 lengths. He set a world record that stands today.)

Anyway, I learned that champion horses are traditionally not cremated. They are - and sorry if this sounds icky, but apparently it's a highly thought-of tradition - buried in pieces, just their heads (for intelligence), heart (for courage), and legs (for speed). That is considered better than cremation. However - Secretariat was buried whole, an extremely unusual thing. And BTW, he also died of laminitis, at the age of 19.

Seabiscuit was also buried whole, by his owner, in a secret place on their ranch, under Seabiscuit's favorite tree. But then the Biscuit was adored by all who knew him.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I believe Ruffian was also buried whole. I do know that she is the only horse buried at the Belmont track, and has her nose pointed toward the finish line. She is another example of one that broke her leg in a race. They tried to save her, with the veterinary care available at that time (1975) but could not. She is another example of a horse that obviously loved to run and to win.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What needs to be understood here is that many animal rights nuts tend to put human emotions and desires on the animals, and don't understand what really drives the animals they supposedly "defend". No matter what you say, you won't make them understand. End of story.

Other than maybe dogs and cats, there isn't another animal on the face of the earth that's more beloved than a thoroughbred horse.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bill, I'm glad you didn't leave the forums altogether ;-)

webkat, I admit I know zilch about horses. What I have noticed from the schmucks that live behind me in a huge house on a few acres of land, is they don't seem to give much of a crap about their horses or any other animals they have. Their horses are fed, they have a visit from somebody every month or so but that's about the extent of what I'd consider acceptable care. Their pasture is pure mud. It floods regularly and never, ever, see them removing the you-know-what. Which means it's you-know-where. There's little to no grass for them to eat if that's indeed something horses need. I know horses can live in more northern states in the wild and all of that but these people have lots of money and that's apparent. They've got two horses and a barn big enough for both. Only problem is the barn is not where the horses are, instead they use the barn to keep their tractor nice and warm and cozy and dry and not ankle deep in excrement. Instead the horses get a blanket draped over them.

Aside from feedings they don't seem to interact much at all with the horses.

You should see how they treat their poor dog.

I know thdoesn't have much to do with the topic and I'm going to fight my own argument but I'll grant you this; I'd rather see these horses in a loving home, racing on occasion, even if it's so H. sapiens can win a few bucks at the track than be in the care of these neo-redneck, cowboy poseurs. Even if they're well fed and have regular vet visits. And I have to complain about these jerks and get this off my chest at least once or month to vent my frustrations.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I feel you, Quirky, but I have to tell you....
There are always exceptions to every generality.

Horses would not fair as well in a barn in such cold temps...they actually need the sunlight to warm their bodies. They will actually stand very still in the morning almost falling asleep on their feet while they soak up the rays. It is much better for them to be out...they also need the exercise of walking the pasture to keep their blood flow normalized. A nice blanket of ice or snow on their bodies also helps to trap in the heat, but it sounds like your neighbors place blankets on them, anyway.

If the barn was heated, that would almost be worse....the horses heart is actually too small for the size of their body. If they were to move from hot to cold on a regular basis, this would be entirely too much stress on their heart. Another problem with keeping a horse stalled is the dangers it poses. If a fire were to break out, they would be helpless. If a tornado were to come, they would, again, be trapped and helpless. More farm animals die in tornadoes because they were stalled, rather than roaming free.

You say they have a few they have access to the entire area, or are they enclosed in a lot? Mud is actually not too bad for them, long as they can get out of it when they want to. The moisture can be good for their hooves...they will begin to split when we experience droughts.

If you really think they are being neglected, if the horses are bone thin, call the authorities and have them check into it.

Another option for you:

Get to know your neighbors and ask them if you can spend time with their horses.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's just it. They don't appear to neglect the horses, it's just that they don't seem to care about the horses given they have the resources to do a whole lot better. They got plenty of dough, and it seems like they just have horses to play cowboy and say they have horses. It's not just the mud, they have lots of trees around that are supposedly toxic to horses. But I didn't know that about the barn thing. I just assumed since Wilber kept Mr. Ed in a barn he was happier in the barn. It looks like they have two pastures that look to be about an acre each but only see the horses in one of them.

I'll tell you what really set me off with these people. It's not much evidence but it's enough to get happy-go-lucky Quirky to detest these people. Their house is about 3 times the size of other homes in the area and they have a dog kennel where they keep their dog in the farthest corner of the yard, nowhere near the house. They put the dog in there and rarely have I seen him outside of that kennel. At meal times the dog barks, someone brings him food and then goes away. These people went away for a week or so recently and left the dog in there all alone in the dark, pitch black, and someone came in a car to feed the dog and the horses. The whole time, the dog was howling and crying 24/7 and I called animal control because I couldn't take it anymore. This dog is in that dog house in every weather extreme and I'm just waiting for the day when he digs out of there.

That and that alone leads me to believe that these people just don't care. Once in a blue moon the lady will ride the horse but that's about all the quality time I've seen them spend with the horses. True, I don't watch them 24 hours a day but the dog kennel thing... can't get over that. You know, fine if you have to keep your dog outside but I'm talking about this is in the farthest part of the yard from the house, out of sight, out of mind. There is no possible reason to rationalize that. The dog would have to have leprocy to be an excuse. And these people are technically not my neighbors, the subdivision is bordered by a creek and they're on the other side of it. The trees block most of the view of their estate in the summer but in the winter I can see right in their house, I can see the horses from just about any room and I can see how they ignore their poor dog. And it's probably best that I don't get the opportunity to speak to them, since I often lose control over what words are coming from my mouth.

When I drive around the area, the other pastures that I see are covered in grass and are dry with no mud. Maybe the mud thing is some therapuetic rich people thing. Maybe it's mud from the bottom of the dead sea and it's an exfoliant. I could be way off. The only thing I can tell you for sure is this is ga and we have red clay. That means mud is supposed to be orange. This mud is not orange, it is brown. And I can smell it from my yard. When I moved in here I thought how cool, I'll have a view of horses and it will look like they're in my own back yard. Now I can't stand to see the horses like that and can't wait until these pine trees grow big and shield me from that.

As for the topic, I was under the impression, and it's probably because I watch so much Tv, but I thought these race horses were owned by the mafia.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 1:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm no expert, but I would say...yep, you watch too much TV!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 7:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had horses of 1 kind or another my entire life, nearly 60 years. I know they like to be raced and worked. Probably they would rather just eat and hang out in a nice pasture but they really do seem to enjoy interaction with humans.
I used to breed Welsh mountain Ponies and they were never barned up but had free run 24/7. A neighbor called the humane society one time and they tried to cause a problem for me but they lost, I won. Haflingers didnt get barned either, only the ones which were worked came in.
Had 1 get hit by a car and had to put him down, only those with the big bucks can afford to play with those injuries.
I havent had an equine type now for about a year and need to remedy that soon!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, I'm starting to turn around but what about the mud situation? Do horses like that too?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, standing in mud is a bad situation for any hoofed stock. But a just bathed/groomed horse likes to roll in mud!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yea...if they don't have the option for getting out of the mud, it would definitely be a bad situation...

It that how it is with the horses behind you?

Fancifowl...I have a him!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 11:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My stallion"Sam" was Ohio State Fair grand champion stallion in 1988 as a 4 year old. He wouldnt do as well today, Haflingers are bigger and better now.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 10:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My horse Mira is buried on my land, when I lived in LA the horses had to be picked up by a rendering plant. Ralph still calls to any back hoe that goes by he thinks it will return his mother it is still sad.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks you guys, for the kind words. It meant a lot to me.

I have learned so much about horses. both from people who know horses and people who just care.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, I don't think he should have been put down any sooner than he was. I suppose the point is moot but....

Horses that break the skin when they break a leg are much more likely to die from infection. This is why horses with broken skin and ground in dirt/etc. are often euthanized immediately. Barbaro didn't break the skin. Edgar Prado, his jockey got him stopped quickly and Barbaro was a sensible horse.

A broken leg is not an automatic death sentence for a horse.
Plenty of horses have survived them. Even back in Ruffian's day, unfortunately she didn't have the wake up pool they have at New Bolton or she may have survived.

Barbaro's broken leg was actually healed. It was Laminitis that led to his euthanasia.

If the laminitis did not occur he had a very reasonable chance at a healthy pain free life. The horse was not suffering all those months in the hospital. I've seen video after video showing him acting fiesty and bright eyed. He was eating well, always a very good sign with sick or
injured animals.

When the laminitis occured in the front hooves and he had his first totally uncomfortable night where he didn't lie down and sleep, they euthanized him.

They loved the horse and that is why they tried to heal him. Not his value as a stud. He could have been sterile. He could have been unable to breed. He could have been a lousy sire. His sire is not known as a sire of sires. His bloodlines are respectable but not racing "royalty" The Jackson's loved Barbaro.

There are now several funds and endowments specifically for laminitis research in his name, let us hope they find better treatments or even a cure. The Jackson's donated $3 million dollars to New Bolton in Barbaro's name for laminitis research.

They cremated him so they could take their time deciding where to interr him as they know the public will want to visit. They obviously thought he would make it. They didn't have this all figured out.

Man O'War was embalmed and buried whole. There was a viewing and thousands of people paid their respects. He was disinterred and now lies at The Kentucky Horse Park with War Admiral and several of his other sons.

There are books and websites devoted to horse graves.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 11:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
No declaw or no adoption
Here is another one to ponder... Do you think it is...
Formula to get Cat urine out permanently
I'm passing this on. __________________________________________________________ There...
Why are some animals okay to eat and others are taboo?
I'm not really trying to cause the fur to fly, so to...
Are you Bear Aware?
Sick baby boer goats
I have this kid goat, and he's about two weeks old....
Sponsored Products
Hampton Oil Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Wall Fixture
$168.00 | Bellacor
Area Rug: Take Two Taupe 8' x 10'
Home Depot
Jasmine Brush Holder
$99.00 | FRONTGATE
5" Deep Baffle Trim by Juno
$52.78 | Lumens
Sterling Silver Seven-Light Clear Heritage Handcut Crystal Chandelier, 25W x 26H
Area Rug: Dawson Sea Grass 10' x 13'
Home Depot
Karastan English Manor Hampton Court Area Rug - 02120 00504 096125
Ticor 4409BG-DEL 30-inch 16-gauge Stainless Steel Curved Front Double Bowl Under
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™