Fair treatment of Thoroughbreds means they will at least get a chance to grow up.
By Sally Eckhoff | The New York Times
In 1972, the year before Secretariat made racing history, I was raking manure around a fenced-in patch of dirt in Laurel Hollow, N.Y. I was a teenage rider. My world was horses. The ideal summer job was nearby, at Belmont or Aqueduct or a small training track. Then I flunked my road test and was ferried back and forth to my dad’s factory while summer galloped away. I still wonder at the things he made me do — killing wasps two stories up on an extension ladder, scrubbing up with gasoline. By the time fall rolled around, the last thing I wanted was a risky job.
I’ve followed racing since then, from my own perspective. I’m an old rider now, and I ride an old horse.
“Horse racing is not as inherently dangerous as it seems. The problem is that profit motive has put pressure on the industry, which results in the exploitation of these horses before they are mature enough to handle the stress. Today the governance of horse racing in America is decentralized with each State making its own rules.
I shudder to think that the federal government should regulate it, but I do think the horses and the horsemen would benefit if the industry came together and created a unified governing agency, which created standards and provided incentives to deploy a more holistic approach to raising racehorses and bringing them into the sport more responsibly.”