“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We Really Love Thoroughbreds…….

For As Long As It Takes Them To Make Eight Starts……..

Rants and raves, one darned (damned?) opinionated Broad er..., Woman--who loves Thoroughbreds; loves the sport; and freely expresses her exasperation. The Alpha Mare wants to see good things all around for everyone in horse racing,
PETA and some others have convinced a lot of people that our sport is rife with hard-hearted horse haters. Not only do we force horses to run—we may actually pray that one of them goes down. We get a sadistic thrill out of seeing a horse writhing in pain, and then euthanized. PETA has done a great job of convincing a lot of lonely, ill-informed, ignorant people that we are The Bad Guys.

But we who love Thoroughbreds—genuinely love them—and the sport of racing them, have before us a Golden Apple. The chance to band together and make a difference. This plum opportunity has been handed to us on a silver platter. We can resurrect the reputation of the sport—a reputation that has been decided by PETA's spin doctors—simply by making a few phone calls.
So starts one of the Alpha Mare’s columns. She goes on to say the plum opportunity is Madeleine’s plan for the now 33,000 mustangs but I plan to deal with the Equine Cap and Trade way of buying off PETA in another blog so…. back to the eight starts and the love of thoroughbreds.
Eight starts. Eight is the average number of starts made by a thoroughbred race horse. Equus magazine has an article on conformation types, specifically, the classification of horses into basic conformation types, The Question of Type. “Durability is not an issue in breeding the racehorses of today”, states the November 2009 article. The average number of starts for a thoroughbred is between six and ten, eight.
So let’s do the math……
If….. it takes three to six months to get a colt from the pasture to fit, gate okayed, and ready to enter in a race. If…..a conservative time between races for a horse is three to four weeks. If……8 starts is multiplied by 3 weeks = twenty-four weeks or roughly another six months. This makes the estimated length of the horse’s career around a year from start to finish. If…… a horse must break their maiden before they are four, most will have achieved this (or not) by their fifth birthday. If…… most are started as long yearlings to make the two year old season many will not make it past their third birthday without needing a career change or a “forever home”.
PETA’s spin doctors are trying to make those involved in racing “Bad Guys” by taking aim on an industry they don’t understand????? PETA and the HSUS are perfectly fine when they are after the AQHA, rodeo, barrel racing, roping, auctions, or just about any OTHER horse activity. The literal translation for this particular commentator I believe is, “I love PETA or HSUS spin until it is directed at me and mine, then they are WRONG”.
“Let’s band together and do something”…….One of the most popular dodges blames the AQHA for the vast numbers of unwanted horses. The AQHA lobby is for slaughter to allow the association to continue killing horses in droves instead of policing its breeders and contributing to horse welfare. This is a chanted “fact” for anti-slaughter campaigners. One of whom stated statistically half of all foals registered with the AQHA will end up going to slaughter. The anti-slaughter/anti-AQHA commentator didn’t provide any verification so I can’t say how this statistic was gathered but……..
I wonder if the Thoroughbred foals registered each year have even 50/50 odds of reaching their seventh birthday. I also read an anti-slaughter statistic stating the average age of a slaughter horse was seven….. Remember eight starts….. a career lasting less than one year. Most working ranch, rodeo, or other performance event horses are in TRAINING to even compete in their career discipline for that length of time or longer. The Jockey Club may produce fewer foals each year but do they have the better chance at a long productive life?
We have done blogs about the practice of breeding event specific horses. We have done blogs on the practice of breeding genetically defective animals. We have done blogs on breeding animals with less than functional conformation. We are not singling out thoroughbred racing to pick on.
“Let’s band together and make a difference.” How can we do that?
Is this “doing something” time better spent on the phone or in breeding sheds, the training arenas, or studying form to function conformation as it applies to the speed horse or any horse for that matter? Is this “doing something” time better spent whining “there aught to be a law” or trying to convince others who “truly love thoroughbreds” there just might be a better way to make horses last longer? Make them more marketable to people other than racing enthusiasts. Maybe send them home from the track while they are still sound enough to remarket?
We have spent a lot of time here talking about the “rescues”. We have spent a lot of time talking about thin Thoroughbreds and dysfunctional personalities using them as fronts in a personal agenda I can’t begin to understand.
I would like to introduce you to one “pro-active” program run by people who impress me as “truly loving thoroughbreds” for the long haul, not just eight starts and on to Madeleine’s place. http://horsecreektb.com/ Go have a look. “Meet” some people who have set out to produce race horses who can do everything plus run, see some pretty scenery, and some truly “rehabbed” ex-race horses. Who is doing more to promote and better the thoroughbred horse and horse racing? Who would you rather have standing behind a horse you were buying, the Alex/rescue crowd, the Alpha mare, any one of the anti-slaughter ranters who have weighed in here, or these good people and their lifetime commitment to these horses?
………..or just one more answer to the burning question “What are we doing?”

By RH1

note: I know this isn't really Saturday Satire or atleast not as satirical as we've been in the past. However I thought it was an appropriate blog for the day of the breeders cup....


  1. And a good one it is. It gives a very clear picture of the Thoroughbred Industry's challenges. Now, does anyone care enough to do something about it?

  2. horsecreektb.com
    Where'd everyone go? No nasty comments?

  3. Hey Shovels we seem to have lost our nasty fans lol. Hope it's because they have realized we're right and now they're too embarassed to show up ;)

  4. OK the link is now fixed. Funny, the original one took me there from my email. I must have changed something while transfering it to the blog...

  5. RH1 - In my opinion your essay covered the topic very well. Are you an 'insider'? That is, are you closely connected in same major way to the Thoroughbred racing industry?

    Just me

  6. Not since the late 80s. But have enough connections and friends who do still train to understand the racing world.
    The backside of the track is not as glamourous a place as some would have us believe for average starter or his connections.

    As with any other facet of the horse world slaughter is not the cause of abuse and the waste of horses inside the industry. Individual owners and industry trends are.

    And thank you.