Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Grand National

Don't get me wrong. I've nothing in principle against horse-racing, or even steeple-chasing. And I admire the bravery of the jockeys.

But imagine you've brought a horse - a great, beautiful, daft thing like a horse - to the peak of its condition. You've worked with it as trainer for years. It knows who you are.

Then you pack it off on four and a half miles of jumps, knowing there's a 5% chance within the next twenty minutes that it will be dead.

I wouldn't. I really wouldn't. There's some real work needs doing on that course, or the race should stop.

You can see also: RSPCA official statement; LLM Calling.


  1. I wouldn't watch it. Before the race I saw on television the anxiety of the stable girl that looked after one of the horses that died and as a horse owner grieved with her remembering equine friends lost over the years. There isn't enough money in the world to persuade me to put an animal I owned in such a risky situation.

  2. It's a bit like sending your son off to war.

  3. I agree with you and with the two first comments. People have choices about taking part in a dangerous sport. Horses don't.

    No good telling them that they'll enjoy being killed for the pleasure of others, or to fill up the bookies wallets.

    Why don't they just stick to 'hurdles' which are smaller, less dangerous and ultimately, might just help a few horses to survive into old age.

  4. The funny thing is, I'm sure fewer horses were killed before they made the course "safer". I'm no expert, but I suspect by lowering the fences they've made the race faster, which is more dangerous when hitting what are basically walls with hedges on top. There's got to be some more sensible things - level up Bechers, make the fences higher but more giving - the current state's got to change.

  5. Yes, there was in interview in H&H saying the same thing - it's no longer really about the jumping, it's just another staying race.

    Have you seen pictures of the old Becher's?


  6. I don't know how old the "old" Becher's was that you're thinking about. Back in the 70s, it was a terrifying jump. But still had fewer equine deaths than there seem to be now.


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