Items

Forums
Bush Tracks - The Darker Side of Horse Racing
 By Saferaphus   •   31st May 2017   •   484 views   •   0 comments


Most of us are familiar with Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse racing and know where the tracks are in our own area, and where the major tracks like Churchill Downs and Pimlico, the home of some of the most important races are. But, dotted throughout North America are something known as 'bush tracks'. Races held at bush tracks are less formal than those that we are most likely to watch or attend. Often they are match races. And, Quarter Horses seem to be more favored than Thoroughbreds. Sadly, not only are they less formal, but many have a seedy side that is a concern for several different reasons.

Unsanctioned or bush races are held at racetracks and they can be held in open fields using things like barrels, old rails or natural obstacles to mark the track. There is often no barrier and little space between the racers and the spectators. The races are typically not held at tracks and regularly moved to different locations to avoid the notice of law enforcement.

Animal Welfare
In a recent story from a Denver TV news channel, journalists observed an unsanctioned race held in Colorado. Racing rules in North America prohibit the excessive use of whipping during a horse race, and there are rules about what type of whip may be used. The Professional Jockey Association publishes guidance for whip use. Within the guidelines, it states that the jockeyís hands may be taken off the reins to use the whip no more than seven times. There are penalties if the whip is misused in a way that is excessive or leaves marks on the horseís skin.

In the bush races, there are no such rules however, and the investigators of the Colorado races reported that the whipping was almost non-stop. In sanctioned horse racing, bumping other competitors and doing anything that might be considered Ďfoulingí can be penalized if it becomes excessive. Not so in bush racing, where it can be all part of the strategy with no consideration for the safety of the jockey or the horse.

Animal welfare also comes into question when horses are given medications meant to enhance their performance. Many drugs are prohibited or strictly controlled in official horse racing, but in bush racing... anything goes. Horses are injected with cocktails of drugs such as painkillers, steroids and stimulants. As a result, horses run harder than they should and can injure themselves without feeling the pain. This endangers both horse and rider. Horses become disposable because itís not their own athleticism that is being tested, but the drugs that make them run faster.

Human Safety
Of course, riding a horse that is basically high on drugs is unsafe for the jockeys. But, because the races arenít held at tracks where tracks are built with safety in mind, the spectators can be hurt too. There are no age restrictions for jockeys, so inexperienced riders and even children can race.

Money Laundering and Other Illegal Activities
In most places gambling is illegal without a permit. While some bush races might follow the rule of the law when it comes to gambling, many donít. The results of the races can be rigged, and that can mean big profits for those who organize these races and facilitate wagering. Lots of money is exchanged. Betting is done between individuals, and if the loser of a race or a bet doesnít pay up, fights can ensue. Violence is common. Some tracks and participants have close links to organized crime. At least one incident in recent years has led to a murder.

Some good does come out of bush races. Itís where some successful jockeys got their start. But the organizations that support humane treatment of animals and the safety of track workers, jockeys, and the spectators, and law enforcement would like to see the end of bush racing for good.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  racing,
Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Rescue and Abuse      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
 More News by Saferaphus
Why Does My Horse Stumble
24th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
We all stumble sometimes, and thatís perfectly normal. So it follows that our horses are going to take a misstep now and then. They have twice as many legs as we do after all. The occasional trip up isnít something to be worried a ...
Trotters and Pacers Racing Under Saddle
22nd Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
Itís known as RUS or racing under saddle. In Europe, itís known as Montť racing or trot Montť. And in recent years, there have been a number of events held in North America, and associations formed for those who want to take part. ...
Donkey Facts
17th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
There are lots of donkey breeds, each with their own characteristics. Of the over 150 different breeds, we here in North America are probably most familiar with the American Mammoth Jack, often crossed with horses to produce a lar ...
Should Kids Ride Stallions
14th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
Should youth riders ride stallions? I think it depends on the situation. There are probably situations where it will work, and many where it definitely will not. ...
Horse Blanket Hazards
11th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
Most of us try our hardest to look after our horses well. That can include putting some sort of blanket on them to protect them from the elements. Unfortunately our best efforts can occasionally backfire, and the very thing that s ...
Horse DNA Testing
9th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
Up until the availability of DNA testing and a discovery of speed genes, breeding for the track has been a bit like a combination of gut feeling and practiced eye combined with mathematics. But now, DNA analysis can help breeders ...
City Horse Riding
6th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
Do you want to go riding? Do you think that you have to travel out to the countryside? Maybe not. Depending on where you live, you may be able to hop on the subway to get to a stable. Many cities have riding academies or stables w ...
Stolen Horse Tack Insurance Claim
4th Nov 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Saferaphus
We should all, at minimum have liability insurance on our horses. That way, if our horse causes injury to anyone, we are protected. Many of us also have insurance against the loss of our horse, and against the loss of our horse st ...
  View All News by Saferaphus
 
©2002 - 2017   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
371 Members Online 238,173 Registered Members 2,357 News Articles 9,567,691 Unique News Article Views 206,943,105 Website Views