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- By claudia [gb] Date 09.04.11 17:52 GMT
Did anyone see the grand national today? how sad those two horses died in that way. I personaly don't think there is a place in racing anymore for the grand national, don't get me wrong a was brought up with racing and my cousin is a very well known jockey and i do love the sport but this race is barbaric. It doesn't even judge who the best horse is as the race is all down to luck and circumstances, so what is the point in running that race today in red hot weather, it was 4 1/2 miles of torture for those horses today. Even the winner had to be given oxygen. I know there are for and againsts in racing and these horses are treat and fed like kings while they are in training but i just don't get the national, i mean i can understand cheltenham where the best horses in the world take each other on and the best wins (still too many horses killed there as well) but the national almost seems a ridiculouse race with np point to it. There is no place for this race in modern racing
p.s. my cousin didn't win but lol
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 09.04.11 18:58 GMT
I don't know if you saw the programme on BBC2 after the race, showing film from memorable previous Nationals from the earliest on film up to recent times. It was amazing to see how much more of a challenge the race was 'way back then' and how much safer the fences have become, and with a smaller field, in recent times.
- By perrodeagua [gb] Date 09.04.11 19:11 GMT
Umm wonder why we haven't seen the same flack given to them as us at Crufts?

I'm not really into horses but have to say was quite shocked by today.  Surely horses in America and other hot countries are put through a lot more than these horses were?  I don't know because as I say it is not something I usually watch or am interested in.
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 09.04.11 19:16 GMT
I don't like steeplechases, it just seems so dangerous. How sad for those poor horses, and like you say if even the ones who got round safely had to be given oxygen - imagine that with an agility competition or the new cani-x sport, people wouldn't let it continue.
- By tina s [gb] Date 09.04.11 19:47 GMT
horses die every year at that race, its not new news
- By Jeff (Moderator) Date 09.04.11 20:18 GMT
"Umm wonder why we haven't seen the same flack given to them as us at Crufts?"

Money!
- By pat [gb] Date 09.04.11 21:29 GMT
Animal Aid campaigns against this and highlights the hidden truth of what really goes on in the industry.
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/horse/
Such sadness and so many unneccessary deaths are caused by horse racing.  I wish they would bann the Grand National and all the other races that involve the horses in jumping at speed. Another 'sport' that is governed by financial greed, whilst animals suffer in an endurance test to make someone rich. It cannot be acceptable to allow this to continue year after year knowing that horses are raced to exhaustion.   
- By Merlot [gb] Date 10.04.11 17:15 GMT
This is a race that needs to be stopped...not only have we again seen the pointless deaths of 2 horses but the winner (and others) were so badly exhausted afterwards they needed vetinary treatment. Also the winner was whipped very very hard at the end. Barbaric. The cruelty we inflict on animals in the name of sport is despicable.
Aileen
- By sam Date 10.04.11 19:37 GMT
i see horses die weekly at point to points....why are you not campaigning over that as well?
- By Lea Date 10.04.11 20:24 GMT
Sam because the grand national is worthy of the news!!!! Not the point to points!!!!
Its life.
Can anyone tell us the percentage of horses that die at the grand national compared to other steeple chase races???
The horses love it. They are bred to race.
Like dogs are bred to show, and if they dont like showing we withdraw them and dont show them again.
If a horse doesnt want to race it will be retired/go to the glue factory!!!
These horses didnt suffer, they fell and broke their necks!!!!
I remeber a rider being killed at Burley horse trials, there was never a cry for it to be banned, the designer (famous guy but forget his name) njust changed the course slightly as they have done at the grand national.
Beaches Brook has changed 10 fold in the last 20 odd years.
2 very tragic accidents that were quick and painless.
Sorry probably not a view most people share but it is my view!!!
Lea :)
- By STARRYEYES Date 10.04.11 20:28 GMT
not even going to get started on the Grand National ..have some very strong views ... held in my hometown .. its barbaric..

dont know what point to point is ??
- By Nikita [ru] Date 10.04.11 20:36 GMT
Greyhounds love running; they are bred to race.  But just like horse racing, that doesn't excuse the vast amount of suffering that goes on.  Just because these two had a quick death does not mean many, many others have that mercy.  And the horse enjoying running doesn't excuse the use of whips.  Incidentally if the horses love to run so much, why would the jockeys need the whips?

And enjoying the race doesn't excuse all the horses that don't make the grade so get sold on for meat etc.

People should be able to race horses without all the fatalities and the cruelty that goes with it - horses are not made to steeplchase, they are made to run.  Races should be done accordingly, that in itself would reduce the death toll considerably IMO.

Likewise if a horse is not fit enough to do such a race as the GN then it should not be made to do it - certainly not to the point of the winner needing oxygen.  That is was driven that hard is just wrong IMO.  I very much doubt that that horse enjoyed that experience.
- By Lea Date 10.04.11 20:44 GMT
Dont they have rules and only allowed to ues the whip 5 times in the race???? They had a major problem with it a few years ago so brought in the rule (I am sure someone will confirm the exact amount)
I dont know why they use whips but their skin is far fartougher than ours/dogs etc
A horse has to be passed as fit to run a race. And if you compare it to people (not the same I know) I did a 10k race and collapsed at the end. I started to recover then had to be checked over by the ambulance and only allowed home if Pete would call 999 if I got worse. I was on and off like that for the evening and then recovered. I have never been like this before even though I run marathons!!!! And did EVERYTHING I needed to before the race!!
Also people die running (I know they make the choice and horses dont) But they run, do all the training and have accidents or just die on the day (for the un running people think of the 5 people died at the great north run, and when I did it I saw at least 2 people collapsed.
BTW I am not condoning the cruelty that goes on, the same as it goes on in the dog world!!!!
Lea :)
- By Fleabag Date 10.04.11 21:08 GMT
Felt completely sickened by this year's fiasco.  How sad that no one really seemed to give a damn about the horses.  My gut feeling was that Clare Balding is more in touch with Joe Public and realised this awful spectacle would not endear people to the repulsive, greedy and corrupt side of this 'sport'.

I wondered at what point a jockey loses the respect of the beautiful animals they are priviledged to ride.  I imagine it is on 'turning professional' and making a living from flogging a horse hard enough to get it over the finish line first?

For what its worth, I will never watch it again and from now on will sign every petition I find which attempts to banish such cruelty.
- By STARRYEYES Date 10.04.11 21:10 GMT
the GN is just a big booze up and great winning format for the bookies.... its all about the money, the welfare of the horse doesnt come into it ...no matter how much they would like you to believe it...

I am ashamed to say Liverpool reeps the rewards the Hotels , clothes shops , night clubs, bars , clelebrities arriving in private planes and helecopters , (I see them I am on the flight path to John Lennon) the big boys are  laughing all the way to the bank, its all about lining each others pockets.... the poor man has his £1 each way bet but really its all about the big bucks....

I dread it each year.. but what can you do...?
- By Lea Date 10.04.11 21:15 GMT
But is it the same as every other steeple chase?????
Do the same amount of horses die in the other steeple chases that arnt the equivalent of crufts????
Lea :) :)
- By STARRYEYES Date 10.04.11 21:19 GMT
to be honest Lea I dont know ..never follow horse racing ..just the fact that in Liverpool  every year for a fortnight we have the GN shoved down our throats everywhere you look its the GN , then we hear about the horse who died on the radio and local news. Just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I suppose it does go on in other places .... very sad.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 10.04.11 21:24 GMT

>Sorry probably not a view most people share but it is my view!!!


Don't worry, Lea, it's my view too. I've seen racehorses refuse to race (thinking of last year's National, or was it the one before?) in flat races as well as National Hunt. If they don't want to run there's nothing on earth will make them!

Unfortunately whenever horses run there's a chance they'll have an accident, just as whenever we let our dogs off the lead there's a chance they'll hurt themselves. Every time I get in my car to drive somewhere there's a chance I'll be involved in an accident - that's why we have to have insurance! That's a risk I choose to take - and that's a risk those horses (because they vould have refused to run, as others have) also chose.
- By JeanSW Date 10.04.11 21:41 GMT
I am not a horse person, but I have just watched the link posted by pat.

And broke my heart.   I don't care if horses love to run, it is exceedingly cruel to whip them and make them run fast enough to require oxygen.  Anyone thinking that is normal, has got to be a sicko.

I am disgusted.
- By Fleabag Date 11.04.11 07:20 GMT
That's a risk I choose to take - and that's a risk those horses (because they vould have refused to run, as others have) also chose.

Sorry JG, nothing personal but I just don't buy this argument.

Yes, the horse - as does the dog - has some impact on whether it runs or shows well but ultimately animals are conditioned, coerced and/ or bullied into doing what humans want them to do.  When the stakes are raised, such as in a big race (GN) or at a big show (Crufts) the pressure on the animal to perform well becomes more intense.  It would be naive to ignore this and foolish to deny it is so.  Animals are pushed hard for owner/ trainer gratification.  The horse or dog doesn't give two hoots about winning!
- By Ells-Bells [gb] Date 11.04.11 07:58 GMT
I have had a few days out at the Races - much smaller venues but have twice seen horses destroyed after falling - it's sickening and I always think they shoot them too quickly - how can they tell the level of injury in a few minutes, we very seldom hear of a horse recovering after a broken leg but I'm sure it could be done, lots of care etc to give it a life of retirement or at stud whereas if they're shot they get the insurance money....

Re;- use of whip - the jockeys can be warned/fined/banned with excessive use of whip.  If you look closely they often are just moving the whip into the horses view which can give similar result.

Re;- the Grand National, I both hate it and love it - conditions on Saturday were very warm and the jockeys/trainers were obviously well prepared at the finish dismounting and with water to throw over them etc.  It takes a great deal of skill and luck to win this race so credit where it's due.  But, I do hate to see horses fall, in this years race it would be hard to say they fell when exhausted as it was during the first lap, perhaps it was as simple as a jumping mistake - such a huge price to pay though....  so very sad, I believe one of the horses was owned by the riders mum and trained by his dad - they must be a devastated family.
- By LJS Date 11.04.11 09:03 GMT
Also to add to what JG and Lea have said these horses have a great life. They are fed the best food, get the best medical care and are trained and excercised to make them fit and happy horses.

Like in many sports there are always risks but that is life but as JG has said if a horse doesn't want to jump it wont ! Trust me I have the scars to prove it !.
- By Merlot [gb] Date 11.04.11 09:03 GMT
If they don't want to run there's nothing on earth will make them!

Unfortunately whenever horses run there's a chance they'll have an accident, just as whenever we let our dogs off the lead there's a chance they'll hurt themselves. Every time I get in my car to drive somewhere there's a chance I'll be involved in an accident - that's why we have to have insurance! That's a risk I choose to take - and that's a risk those horses (because they vould have refused to run, as others have) also chose.


Not strickly true though is it! A horses flight instinct is much higher than ours. They are after all a prey animal and as such it is very easy to make them run. Sit someone on their back imitating the actions of a lion attacking and spook them whith a whip...they will run. They are also herd animals, they will run if the herd runs so those who unseat their riders keep on running with the herd.
Of course there is a chance any animals may accidentally hurt itself running, but to force a horse to run flat out over huge jumps for our pleasure is not accidental. We as the superior race (Ha Ha) make them do it for our fun and for no other reason. Those horses were killed for the fun of a human. No one will make me believe it was an Accident. No animal should be put in danger for the fun of a human. Likewise no horse should be whipped to make it run faster....If you were to walk into a show/agility/working ring and hit your dog to make it perform for you...people would be up in arms, We all scream and shout at the Zapping brigade for hurting dogs to make them comply with our wishes but accept without a word that it is OK to whip a horse..Why is it different?
Aileen
- By sam Date 11.04.11 09:08 GMT
exactly lea. The GN is horse racings equivalent of crufts and the one the public know about so moan about and you get the same type of ignorant animal rights brigade moaning about the GN as you do Crufts.....and forgetting al the other racing and pointing that goes on. I saw 2 horses die last week at point to points....the fact that someone can criticise  steeplechasing but dowsnt even KNOW what a point to point is, say it all for me really!
- By dogs a babe Date 11.04.11 10:46 GMT
I would be very sorry to see the Grand National stopped, or any racing for that matter.  Like most riding activities there is an element of risk for horse and rider but fatalities for both are much less common than they used to be.

In my view the Jockey Club used to do a pretty good job, and of course now the British Horseracing Authority, of governing and regulating the sport. 

Regarding use of the whip - it's use is very clearly regulated and there are penalities for misuse.  The BHA Guide to Procedures and Penalties is well worth a read

Accidents happen, it's very sad and the horses trainer and stable lads/lasses will mourn the loss of their friend.  These horses are so much more to those that care for them than just racing machines.  However they are bred for this task and those that do not enjoy it will never have got this far.

I grew up nr Lambourn and in areas like this, Newmarket too,  even non racing folk are very aware of the issues, pressures, and role that large stables play in the local economy.  To deny this is anything but a rich sport would be daft but once you know the trainer and stable lads concerned you recognise that it's much more about the back room staff and day to day lives of the horses than their once a month race days.  The on course money for spectacle race days is excessive but normal race days don't look like this at all.  The history and development of horse racing is fascinating and, like fox hunting, it has faced a lot of criticism that is rooted in the class structure. 

I often have issues with the widespread nature of 'campaigning'.  Some campaigners make sweeping judgements and call to ban the entire sport (or dog breed) without much consideration for the bigger picture.
- By tillyandangel [gb] Date 11.04.11 10:52 GMT
I have grown up with horses, and i agree they enjoy racing. They get really excited before the race, and its good fun to watch.
I have always enjoyed the Grand National, BUT....it is obvious that it was far too much for this years winner (and i see it wasnt just the winner that needed oxygen) they need to rethink the course, and make it a bit shorter imo. No animal should be that exhausted veterinary care is needed immediately.
- By Gema [gb] Date 11.04.11 11:23 GMT
Yes 2 horses died and that is VERY VERY sad, but horses (all horses in all sorts of circumstances including while in fields) die daily and they don't make headlines. We have a racehorse - he is running tomorrow and I am getting nervous already but I know the realities. Don't get me wrong if something happens to him I will be devastated but he is well cared for in the lap of luxury and he loves his job. Horses that don't refuse to race - like Chaninbar did on Friday @ Aintree. 

I do think that the general public need to get a little perspective. A jockey fell off in the race before the GN, he is now under sedation in a critical state in a neuro unit. How many people are aware of this? All the horses in the GN dying can't make that any better surely??
Another jockey is lying flat out in a spinal unit while hoping that his injuries heal well enough to be able to walk again after a fall a few weeks ago.
And yes of course the jockeys know the risks but it is their life. If this country gets its way no doubt we won't be able to do anything before long....
- By jackbox Date 11.04.11 11:39 GMT
how can they tell the level of injury in a few minutes, we very seldom hear of a horse recovering after a broken leg but I'm sure it could be done

You can tell in an instant if the leg is broken.

Recovery for a horse with a broken leg is immense, consisting of the horse being  tied up with restraints for mths on end, in a small space, it wont be allowed to put weight in said leg, the other three legs have to take the stain,   the stress a horse may suffer from the restraint can be more traumatic than   the break itself,  and even if you manage to get the horse through the recuperation period,  it could still break down and  snap again.

i watched someoen do it once, the vet pleaded with her for weeks to have him PTS, she refused, it was a terrible sight seeing him every day, losing weight not eating thrashing aroudn trying to lay down ,  he was restricted to the point her had no weight on his legs, and could not even turn his head, because of the restraints.

In the end, the vet told her she had to have him euthanized,  ans she did........... as time went by she looks back with regret, for putting him through such trauma.
- By Celli [gb] Date 11.04.11 11:44 GMT
I don't think comparing the jockey's accidents to the horses holds water, jockey's have fore sight, they can make a judgement and a choice based on probability, horses can't, they are bred and trained to run. I have no doubt horses love to run, but to be raced and beaten to the point of collapse is shameful.
- By Merlot [gb] Date 11.04.11 12:15 GMT
Please don't take whay I say the wrong way but no amount of excuses will alter the fact that horse racing is a dangerous sport, no more so than car racing or mountain climbing or boxing, the difference is that we as humans use animals to make our own enjoyment.  If a person chooses to put him/herself in danger for a sport that is their choice. The horse does not have that choice. We manipulate it for our fun. We use animals regardless of the danger we put them in for FUN! Yes horses love to run, they run round fields, they run in the wild, they are built to run, but they would never ever choose to run and jump to sheer exhaustion like this unless under pressure from a predetor or danger. The reason they run/jump so fast/high is because we scare them into it, we whip them and kick them. If we decide to use them for FUN then we should expect to have some flack from others who think it wrong to place undue dangers onto animals so we can have our fun! Be it racing, show jumping, Point to point, cross country all carry risks. I would like to see the risks reduced, by shorter flatter races, smaller jumps, ban the use of whips, police training methods (I remember years ago Harvey Smith getting a lot of bad press due to allegedly putting spikes on the top of jumps and raising them as horses jumped to clout them on the feet and make them jump higher, I do not know if it was true...I was not there to witness it) Make it a sport we can be proud of, why have we always got to push it to the extream all the time.

Gema, The jockeys have a mind of their own, it was their choice to do what they did. I do not like to see anyone hurt but they put themselves into danger and now have to live with the consequence of their own actions, however the horses they were riding had no say in the matter at all. I hope that you never have to face it with your horse. But obviously you are prepared to take the risk that your horse may one day fall and die in a race, or injure itself and have to be shot on some racecourse somewhere. My friend has just had her 27 year old horse PTS he was her friend, her comfort and she is breaking her heart. They had a full and rewarding life together, he ran for his fun and he jumped for her but she never bullied him into over exhertion for her fun! She never asked him to do anything he was not happy to do, She gave him a full and rewarding life, he was well fed and cared for and he was a happy horse. He did not get sent to the knackers when he got too old for her to ride, he was not sold on at a sale to anyone with a few quid, he had a home for life. In short he was not exploited like so many animals are.

Aileen
- By rocknrose [gb] Date 11.04.11 12:29 GMT
Absolutely jockeys know the risk and are prepared to take them. Fair play to them.  On the other hand the horses do not know the risks. Yes without a doubt those horses love to run and jump and are kept in tip top condition but do they love it enough to  give their lives?

Basic level here, if someone said to those horses  (yes I know but imagine) you love racing and you love jumping so run this race but you will die doing it. How many of them would choose to run, however much they love it. My guess is the jockeys would be running the race themselves.
- By MandyC [gb] Date 11.04.11 16:46 GMT Edited 11.04.11 16:48 GMT

> I have just watched the link posted by pat.
>
> And broke my heart. I don't care if horses love to run, it is exceedingly cruel to whip them and make them run fast enough to require oxygen.  Anyone thinking that is normal, has got to be a sicko.
>
> I am disgusted.


Not interested in getting into a debate as everyone will have their views...but mine is that it is shameful that we allow this 'sport' to go on. As has already been mentioned...horses are flight animals and most will naturally run with the herd...hence the riderless ones following the herd round the course. If you are someone who can watch the posted link and not feel sickened to your stomach then you are clearly made of different stuff to me. And before it is said....yes i know it goes on in horse racing in general...i am aware it is not only the GN that horses die but the sheer numbers, combined with the jumps, turns and course length is just pushing them way too far and the dead horse count if proof of that. Oh and yes i do know what point to point is :)

Just to add also that i have no doubt these horses are cared for and fed like kings....while they are winning and bring in the money!

Like i say, there is people that will see no issues with it and others that strongly disagree, i however will not bet on it or watch it JMO
- By JAY15 [gb] Date 11.04.11 17:23 GMT
you get the same type of ignorant animal rights brigade moaning about the GN...I saw 2 horses die last week at point to points....the fact that someone can criticise  steeplechasing but dowsnt even KNOW what a point to point is, say it all for me really!

Branding animal rights campaigners as the ignorant ones seems a little arbitrary here.

This race tests horses to the very limits of their endurance, and I can't honestly see how any owner who loves horses is prepared to run a very real risk of killing their animal--for what? Most other sports have (however reluctantly) accommodated changes to improve  health and safety. Perhaps this is one sport that just can't be made safe enough and it's time we moved on--or maybe it's just that horses are 'only commodities' that enhance our standing when they do us the favour of winning or possibly die trying, and the rest of us should just accept it. That just doesn't make any sense to me.

If people insist on run the risk of killing themselves, they won't get much argument from me. But I can't see how that gives anyone the right to make that decision for others in the name of fun or sport--animals or people.
- By LJS Date 11.04.11 17:29 GMT
Aileen the reason why there are incidents like we witness in Saturday is that reducing the size of the fences results in the race being run faster and so more likelyhood of falls.

The weather also had alot to do with the exhaustion some of the horses experience but with careful fluid management the horses were soon able to recover much like a human athlete does if undertaking long periods of excercise.

These horses are fit athletes and are able to endure far worse conditions that we saw on Saturday.

I also don't agree that the horses are whiped and kicked all the way round to make then run.There are rules in place to restrict the amount the way the jockey's use the whips and fines are given if they abuse this.

Horses are very strong animals and if healthly and trained correctly are able to cope with endurance rides far in excess of the Grand National.
- By Alysce [gb] Date 11.04.11 18:04 GMT
I just can't understand why it's acceptable for the jockeys to carry whips at all :-(
- By ChristineW Date 11.04.11 18:26 GMT
I find it laughable that the GN can be compared to Crufts!  So trotting around a green carpet with a dog on a lead - taut or loose - is the same as a horse with rider on its back jumping over a steep jump on grass in hot weather?  

Its cruel, it's not sport.   The racehorse industry is awful.  What about all those that don't make the grade, retire etc.?   They live wonderful lives?  I don't think so, salami in Italy more like.
- By Merlot [gb] Date 11.04.11 18:31 GMT
I also don't agree that the horses are whiped and kicked all the way round to make then run.There are rules in place to restrict the amount the way the jockey's use the whips and fines are given if they abuse this.

I dissagree, but will agree to differ!

Why have a whip at all?
You would not train your dog with a e-collar..why is it different to force an action out of a horse with a whip? or are you saying that a small amount (Someone said five times) is OK, is it then OK to shock a dog with a
e-collar as long as you only do it 5 times, then just buz it to make it believe a shock is coming or as was said wave the whip about for the horse to see and therefore react to..it will only react if it has felt the pain of being whiped before, so like C.Milan it is OK to kick a dog off camera a few times so that a small tap on camera looks less hard ?
I feel it is hypocritical to say these things.
If as so many  think ( and rightly) horses love to run then why is it not enough just to ride without beating them up to make them go faster? I do not dissaprove of racing but I do dissaprove of using pain as an incentive. I believe spurs were outlawed in racing because of the general public reacting to the very obvious sight of blood running down a horses sides...whips cause pain with very little outward signs so apparently that makes it better... If you are happy with watching it and it not effecting you then thats fine by me but I cannot aprove of it. It goes against my beliefs and tolerance levels.
I used to work for a lady who rode her arabs in endurace rides. They were indeed fit and well able to cope, but she never whipped them into a state of utter exhaustion. Being  a fit athlete and choosing to run a marathon or similar and going on and on untill you drop is your decission... forcing a horse to run till it drops is nothing like the same, the only way a horse would volantarily run till it was so utterly exhausted is if it were running for it's life. I am not stupid and could see for myself how close to colapse the winner was, if you watch the run in you will I am sure be able to see like I did the horses movement was such that it's hind legs were collapsing under it.
Aileen
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 11.04.11 19:33 GMT

>Why have a whip at all?


A jockey friend told me that the whip is used much more for steering than as an accelerator; if waved to the right of the horse's head the horse will ease over to the left, and vice versa, without any contact between whip and horse.
- By Alysce [gb] Date 11.04.11 19:38 GMT
Ease over?  Or duck to protect it's eyes??!!
- By nesstaffy [gb] Date 11.04.11 19:47 GMT
this is not to any just wanted to say something

Best mate was winning a race when he had a heart attack he just dropped red rum and desert orchid both of these won loads red rum won the grand national three times and died of old age at his home as he was a well loved FAMILY pet they are all loved

And the winner of this grand national ballabriggs needed Oxygen but he was owned and breed by ginger McCain and his son who owned red rum he was bred to do what he did.

He was given oxygen the same as many marathon runners, the jockey got off like all other jockeys did as they had run 4 1/2  miles.

Nessa
- By colliepam [gb] Date 12.04.11 06:44 GMT
I so agree with you Merlot.Ive no doubt the horses recieve the best of care - -while theyre winning.Cruelty,whether its whipping,zapping or ripping foxes to pieces,etc,etc,is wrong.
- By Gema [gb] Date 12.04.11 08:41 GMT
Basic level here, if someone said to those horses  (yes I know but imagine) you love racing and you love jumping so run this race but you will die doing it. How many of them would choose to run,

But how many would go for it - jockeys know the risk but still go for it. Humans do tonnes of stuff that could potentially kill us and that is dangerous (just leaving the house is dangerous in places). Some people may think others are mad for doing so, for example I would not drive around a racetrack at XXX mph but I would ride a horse.

The jumps getting smaller is making the course faster - I believe the time of Saturdays race was the 2nd fastest in history. The record being set by Mr Frisk in 1990. The ground was quick - maybe they should have watered more, who knows.
If people didn't like it they would bet on it and tune into TV to watch it. All I know is that the GN is always going to come in for criticism regardless of what happens due to it being such a public spectacle. It is the one race of the year that the public watch - they don't watch selling hurdles round Sedgefield or chases round Fontwell but they watch the National and we all know you can't please everyone.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 12.04.11 09:04 GMT

>The jumps getting smaller is making the course faster


And the faster they go, they harder they fall. :-( Large fences on heavy ground makes for a slower, safer race than smaller fences on drier ground.
- By tillyandangel [gb] Date 12.04.11 09:35 GMT

> A jockey friend told me that the whip is used much more for steering than as an accelerator; if waved to the right of the horse's head the horse will ease over to the left, and vice versa, without any contact between whip and horse


legs and reins do this also.
- By Sassinak [gb] Date 12.04.11 09:48 GMT
Yes but with the positioning of a jockey it would be very difficult to use your legs for anything. Difficult to use leg on when your legs hardly touch the horse.
- By Dorf [gb] Date 12.04.11 09:52 GMT Edited 12.04.11 10:00 GMT
Does anyone know how many horses in this national?

Based entirely on what I have read and not what I know from personal experience I understand that dog sports, especially flyball and agility carry high risks of serious injury with long term to permament welfare effects (crutiate in flyball, so i have read) in some dog sports. Does anyone know, on eduated guesswork based in experience, if these dog sports have a higher prevelance of injury than this race, proportion of same number of dogs taking part as hores in this race?

Or do others feel that the grand national specificaly is distracting  people from equally dangerous dog sports which should be banned as well or instead of? Both dog sports & horse sports amount to the exlopitation of animals exclusivly for human needs and not those of either animals needs who don't ever/even know they are in any competion or have ever took part in any sport/competion, a horse would likely kick a cup to smitherens and dog cock its leg against it.
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- By LJS Date 12.04.11 09:54 GMT
legs and reins do this also

Yes upto a point but in a racing position the use of the legs and reins is reduced and so the whip is also used as a steering aid :-).
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 12.04.11 09:58 GMT

>>the whip is used much more for steering than as an accelerator
>legs and reins do this also.


Although jump jockeys ride with longer leathers than do flat jockeys (they ride short to take take weight off the horses' backs to make it easier for them) they're still too short to do much steering with. Also pulling on reins can be very painful on a horse's mouth, so  relying on that as a way of steering would be a welfare issue.
- By Kasshyk [gb] Date 12.04.11 10:00 GMT
Can anyone tell me what the purpose of a tongue tie is in racing?
- By tillyandangel [gb] Date 12.04.11 10:01 GMT

> Yes but with the positioning of a jockey it would be very difficult to use your legs for anything. Difficult to use leg on when your legs hardly touch the horse


of course, but does that mean the whip should be used because they dont use the correct AIDS for the horse. And what about the reins?
Now normally a thoroughbred is headstrong and wont listen with regards to the reins as they have one pace which is GOOOOOOOO.
But whilst listening to the commentary i was surprised to hear one actively competed in dressage where they need a soft mouth.
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