Horse Racing | Horse Racing | Horses

Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman

times are an early example, as is the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. It is inextricably associated with gambling. One of the principal forms of horse racing, which is popular in many parts of the world, is Thoroughbred racing. Harness racing for Standardbred horses is also popular in Australia, New Zealand, the eastern United States and more popular than Thoroughbred racing in Canada and parts of Europe. Thoroughbred racing is done on the flat or over jumps, as steeplechasing or hurdles races. Quarter horse racing is also popular in the western United States and Florida. Racing with purebred Arabian horses exists in several states in the United States, as well as in most of Europe and the Middle East. This form of racing is known as endurance racing. The different types of racing all concern different breeds of horses. The Thoroughbred races moderate distances at very fast paces. The Standardbred horses use their ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at a gallop. The Quarter Horse is involved in short distance sprinting while the Arabian is involved in endurance racing. These four different breeds of horses possess different muscle structures that make them suitable for their type of racing. These horses race on various track surfaces ranging from dirt to a synthetic surface such as viscoride or polytrack. The breeding, training and racing of horses in many countries is now a significant economic activity as, to a greater extent, is the gambling industry which is largely supported by it. The time invested in training these horses is extensive and varies according to the type of race the horse is involved in. Exceptional horses can win millions of dollars and might make millions more by providing stud services, such as horse breeding. Organized groups dedicated to protecting animals, such as the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, target some horse sports with claims of animal cruelty. Horse racing and rodeo are most commonly targeted, due both to their high visibility and to the level of stress and potential physical dangers to the equines involved. Criticism of horse racing and its practices runs a wide gamut, however; while some may consider even fairly drastic discipline of horses non-abusive, others may consider abuse to be anything done against the will of the animal in question. Some people may consider poor living conditions abusive, while others might consider riding abusive in and of itself. Some behaviors and activities are widely criticized as abusive by people within the horse industry, even if not illegal as a matter of public law, while others are so widely condemned that they have been outlawed at the federal level and violations can incur criminal penalties. In 2009, animal rights group PETA released undercover video of alleged abuses of former race horses at a slaughterhouse in Kumamoto, Japan. The group states that 20,000 horses, including former Thoroughbred race horses, were killed in 2008 in Japan for use as human and pet food. There are many dangers in horse racing for both horse and jockey: a horse can stumble and fall, or fall when jumping an obstacle, exposing both jockey and horse to the danger of being trampled and injured. Anna Waller, a member of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina, coauthored a four-year long study of jockey injuries and stated to the New York Times that "For every 1,000

jockeys you have riding, over 600 will have medically treated injuries." She added that almost 20% of these were serious head or neck injuries. The study reported 6,545 injuries during the years 1993–1996. More than 100 jockeys were killed in the US between 1950 and 1987. Horses also face dangers in racing. 1.5 horses die out of every 1000 starts in the US. The U.S. Jockey Club in New York estimates that about 600 horses died at racetracks in 2006. The Jockey Club in Hong Kong reported a far lower figure of .58 horses per 1000 starts. There is speculation that drugs used in horse racing in the US which are banned elsewhere are responsible for the higher death rate in the US. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_racing

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