Items

Forums
Bush Tracks - The Darker Side of Horse Racing
 By Winniefield Park   •   31st May 2017   •   1,681 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 jockey’s 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 horse’s 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 ‘fouling’ 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 it’s 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 aren’t 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 don’t. 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 doesn’t 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. It’s 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:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
Bush Tracks - The Darker Side of Horse Racing
31st May 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
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 t ...
Stolen Horse Raced to Death
6th May 2017   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Polo the Weirdo
For many people all over the world, the Easter weekend is a very happy time – full of love, life and family. However, for a select few South African horses, the Easter weekend has become a fearful time of danger, pain and sufferin ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Horse Owners Consider Fire Safety
14th Sep 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
Animal activists would like to see all barns installed with overhead sprinkler systems and want to see it part of the building code. A clothing designer has come up with another idea for horses stabled and outdoors in pastures. Bl ...
Wild Horses Weather Hurricane Dorian Well
8th Sep 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
As Hurricane Dorian batters the U.S. eastern seaboard, many people worry about the safety of not only their own animals, but wildlife as well. But, says the Corolla Horse Fund, a protection group that protects a small herd of fera ...
Wild and Free Sable Island Ponies
5th Sep 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
There’s a scientist out there that is delighted to find a dead horse. Not that she’s excited that the horse is dead. That is probably as emotionally difficult for her as any of us. But, this scientist, as part of a research team, ...
Analyze Your Seat In This Horse Simulator
2nd Sep 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride a horse simulator? Do you think it would give you the same experience as riding a real horse, or help you increase your riding skills? Equestrian Jesse Derent did too. Derent me ...
70 Year Old Wins Mongol Derby 600 Mile Horse Race
24th Aug 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
Imagine spending twelve hours on horseback traversing some of the roughest terrain on earth, through largely uninhabited lands. That’s exactly what most of the participants in the Mongol Derby do. The race, which is meant to repli ...
The White Sands Horse Rescue Operation
19th Aug 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
25 years ago, Dr. Don Hoglund led a roundup that saved the lives of about 1800 wild horses. Hoglund is best known for his wild horse training methods and prison inmate programs. But, he claims, the highlight of his career is the r ...
U.S. Olympic Dressage Rider Charged with Attempted Murder
18th Aug 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
A U.S. Olympic dressage rider has been charged with attempted murder. Michael Barisone, who rode with the the U.S. team in the 2012 Beijing Olympics shot, 38 year old equestrian Lauren Kanarek. Kanarek and her fiance were tenants ...
Capture Every Hoofbeat with Equilab Equestrian Tracking
17th Aug 2019   |   Horse Rescue and Abuse   |   Winniefield Park
With Equilab tracking it’s possible to watch the progress of a horse and rider in real time, and see at what speed they are traveling. The maps can be viewed much like Google maps, either in satellite or map view. At the end of a ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
111 Members Online 251,325 Registered Members 2,609 News Articles 11,016,871 Unique News Article Views 256,919,460 Website Views