Horse Fighting For Fun
 By Winniefield Park   •   19th Mar 2016   •   2,385 views   •   0 comments
Horse Fighting

Cruel, barbaric, heinous, shocking, and vile are just a few of the words used to describe the ‘sport’ of horse fighting. But, these events have a huge and enthusiastic following in the countries they are practiced in, even though they are held illegally.

In natural surroundings, stallions will fight. If a stallion challenges another for the rights to its herd, a fight can ensue. And while the clash may be violent, the looser is bested and retreats, perhaps to try another time. It usually returns to a small band of bachelor stallions who live peaceably together. Rarely are the fights deadly. In the open areas that they live, the loser of a fight can run away, and if it chooses, stay away.

Not so inside the pen of a horse fight. Horses used in fighting are selected for their strength and aggression and are said to be bred for the sport. Supposedly, they are trained to fight. The fights are often staged by putting a mare into the area with two stallions. Some accounts claim the stallions are tied a short distance from each other and the mare for several hours before the fight to incite them. Sometimes the mare is removed from the pen after the stallions begin their fight, or she may be tied to a pole within the fighting area. The fight can begin with gunfire to induce panic in the horses.

Related: Do You Support Chinese Horse Fights
Related: The Tangled Web of Horse Cruelty

Also inside the fighting areas are referees that will throw ropes over the horses to control the fight. Oddly enough, photographs show the crowd, including children, spilling into the fighting area, sitting on the ground within feet of flailing hooves. Sometimes the ring of cheering humans is all that surrounds the fighting horses.

A fight might last for a few minutes or last up to three hours according to information from Network for Animals, an animal rights organization working worldwide to eliminate animal cruelty. Often there are tournaments pitting fight winners against fresh horses. During the fight unimaginable injuries occur and horses suffer deadly wounds or die of exhaustion. Survivors of the fight may live days afterwards before succumbing to their injuries. There is no effort to pit equals against each other and make matches “fair” in this blood sport. Weaker horses must fight for their lives and are may be killed in the ring. Losers are often slaughtered on site and served as BBQ for the crowd. The fights are often held over several days in conjunction with an event such as New Years or other cultural festivals.

Where horse fighting is prevalent, it is defended by tradition. Owning a fighting horse that wins brings prestige to its owner and tribal leaders and powerful families gain standing. It’s also a major source of revenue, just as a major sporting event is in many places, bringing in tourist dollars. To keep the fighting derbies running and profitable, local businesses and leaders may sponsor the events. But, gambling may be the main incentive for horse fights. Many sources claim that the illegal practice is kept alive by organized crime groups that make huge profits on taking bets during the fights. There are even reports of fights being televised.

Horse fighting derbies are still held in South East Asia and China. In most places, the practice is illegal, but is defended by the excuse of tradition. Animals rights groups suggest protesting against the cruelty by not vacationing in places where horse fighting occurs, and write to their local embassies to tell them why. You may also contribute to Network for Animal’s petition and the many others that are on sites like

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