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The Grand National

(53 Posts)
Iam64 Sat 10-Apr-21 19:09:16

One horse dead, a jockey in hospital. There’s a happy sweepstake thread where one poster raised concern about the welfare of racehorses, with the response she start a separate thread.
I rode from age 11 to late 50’s when RA made it both difficult and probably unwise. My favourite horse for the last five years was a ‘failed’ racehorse, a large, rangey, beautiful red coat, gentle soul, with great speed.
I have struggled with the National for years. Never joined sweepstakes. I watched today for the first time in years. I was distressed by what I saw as excessive use of the whip. The final stage, those horses were running their hearts out. Why whip? I’d ban the whip. No one beats children or dogs anymore, why horses ?
Yes I know some children and dogs are beaten - but by psychopaths or immensely cruel, stupid people.

FannyCornforth Sat 10-Apr-21 19:17:30

Thank you Iam64 for starting this thread. I myself share your concerns about animal welfare.
Perversely, I am the op of the Grand National Sweepstake thread.
Without wishing to derail, I started it because I am struggling with mental health things due to physical health things, and I thought that it would cheer me up a bit to do something a bit silly and connect with folk on here.

Galaxy Sat 10-Apr-21 19:19:51

I have just posted on the other thread. I really think people should be able to express different views on any thread they like.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 10-Apr-21 19:22:15

Using a crop responsibly can be a life saver when riding on roads, using a crop excessively is illegal in all equine sports.

olddudders Sat 10-Apr-21 19:31:27

I am a bit out of touch, but the last time I watched racing there were distinct rules about how many times a crop could be used. Jocks do get suspended for abuse. Sadly the racing industry is worth many millions if not billions a year, and money talks. The prestige for owner, trainer and jockey in winning the National is enormous. And jocks also get 'done' for not trying.

Horses love racing, for which they have been bred. But I fear for many - but not all - owners, they are just an asset to be used.

Blondiescot Sat 10-Apr-21 19:37:02

I loathe the Grand National for this very reason. Can you imagine the outcry if it was the jockeys who died in the races rather than the horses? But the poor animals are seen as a disposable commodity by the racing industry - same applies to greyhounds.

Blondiescot Sat 10-Apr-21 19:39:34

Just to add - four horses died in races in the UK alone today, including one in the National.

Smileless2012 Sat 10-Apr-21 20:01:36

I don't watch it, never have. It's cruel. I've always thought so and it's time it was banned.

No sympathy for the jockey he had a choice and was in it for the money and the glory if he'd won.

I just don't understand how anyone who owns such a beautiful creature can enter it into a race that puts it's life at risk.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 10-Apr-21 20:07:38

On average two horses/pony’s are killed every day by cars on the road.

Should cars be banned?

EllanVannin Sat 10-Apr-21 20:15:05

I never watch it as it sickens me to see such beautiful creatures used this way in the name of money.

Redhead56 Sat 10-Apr-21 20:27:42

I’m from Liverpool it’s always been acknowledged the Grand National brings a lot of money to the city. I have seen the crowds in town the transport over to the Wirral to work was always diverted to accommodate them. I have never liked or been interested in the Grand National there is nearly always a fatality. Personally the only time I went to Aintree was to sit exams for my degree.
I have always loved horses I only recently said to my DH I wish I could have been around horses a lot more in my life. I know I would have loved that I do have to admit it’s a regret of mine.
We have adopted horses to help pay for their upkeep at stables. This last year we haven’t been able to go there but looking forward to it.

Grannybags Sat 10-Apr-21 23:00:24

I hate the Grand National and was ridiculed at work for not joining in with the sweepstake.

Unfortunately it will never be banned

maddyone Sat 10-Apr-21 23:10:50

I’m another who doesn’t like horse racing because I think it’s cruel, especially the Grand National.

nightowl Sat 10-Apr-21 23:13:06

FannyCornforth I’m sorry to hear you have been dealing with mental health things. It’s a shame something you started with good intentions ended so sadly. In fact two horses died at Aintree this weekend, Houx Gris died in an earlier race. Sadly, these two will not be the last.

Redhead56 Sat 10-Apr-21 23:23:34

FannyCornforth I am sorry you are unwell and hope you pick up soon💐

Maggiemaybe Sat 10-Apr-21 23:29:04

FannyCornforth

Thank you Iam64 for starting this thread. I myself share your concerns about animal welfare.
Perversely, I am the op of the Grand National Sweepstake thread.
Without wishing to derail, I started it because I am struggling with mental health things due to physical health things, and I thought that it would cheer me up a bit to do something a bit silly and connect with folk on here.

FannyCornforth, you can be sure that your thread cheered other people up as well as helping you. I for one appreciate your efforts.

Iam64 Sun 11-Apr-21 07:43:02

I hope no one saw this thread as a criticism of yours FannyCornforth, that certainly wasn’t my intention. I love horses, was sad when I realised the risks associated plus the muscle/joint pain the RA caused meant I probably needed to stop riding. I still enjoy seeing them in the fields and roads in our neighbourhood.
GrannyGravy, maybe the issue is at what point use of the crop in racing is deemed excessive. My view was what I saw yesterday was excessive.
Training dogs (and children) no longer involves pain or brutality. Horses, like dogs, work with people. The idea of causing pain to increase the speed when they’re giving their best sits wrong with me.
Monty Roberts work with horses confirms that gentle, empathic communication works well. Racehorses are bred to race, they love it - but hitting them with a stick? No.

suziewoozie Sun 11-Apr-21 07:53:18

GrannyGravy13

On average two horses/pony’s are killed every day by cars on the road.

Should cars be banned?

Maybe riding on roads should be

suziewoozie Sun 11-Apr-21 07:57:39

And here’s the correct facts

www.bhs.org.uk/our-charity/press-centre/news/2020/november/road-safety-week-1

Iam64 Sun 11-Apr-21 08:15:48

No, don’t ban horses and ponies from the roads, expect drivers to treat other road users with respect and patience.

vampirequeen Sun 11-Apr-21 08:21:51

I don't know much about horses or racing but the horses didn't look like they were being forced to run or jump. Even those who threw their jockeys continued to race even though they could have stopped at any time or bypassed the fences. The whipping didn't appear to be hurting the horses. It was more like tapped encouragement.

They are beautiful creatures but would they exist without racing. What would be the point of breeding them?

Froglady Sun 11-Apr-21 08:22:52

I can't recall when I lasted watched the Grand National but it was many years ago. I have always favoured greys and white horses and there was one race where one of these fell and I was worried about it and my mother said that it would be all right. It wasn't, they shot it on the course. I seem to remember them putting screens round the poor horse before they shot it so you couldn't see it but you could hear it.
I haven't watched it since. If jockeys were killed as often as horses then there would be a public outcry, but it's only animals after all!?

Iam64 Sun 11-Apr-21 10:03:30

Vampire, horses race and jump naturally but not to the level expected in races like the National
Horse racing is a huge industry and I’m not suggesting it’s banned. I am suggesting use of the whip was excessive. If no one used one it would be a fair race

suziewoozie Sun 11-Apr-21 10:05:51

Iam64

No, don’t ban horses and ponies from the roads, expect drivers to treat other road users with respect and patience.

Expect damn horses not to be on our narrow country lanes during school run times and rush hours then.

MaizieD Sun 11-Apr-21 10:16:01

The Grand National is actually more Horse Friendly than it was many years ago. The number of runners is restricted, where it used to be a free for all with perhaps 40 horses running.
Jumps have been made more resilient and less likely to injure a horse that hits one.
Use of the whip is restricted and the whips themselves are lighter and very well padded; designed to startle the horse by 'cracking' as they are wielded rather than to cause pain. This last is controversial, I find (having googled this topic,) as the horse does feel something when they land, a horse's skin being extremely sensitive all over. But these whips are less likely to cut or bruise the horse, unlike the old designs.

Having said all this in extenuation I still dislike horse racing, whether flat racing or Nation Hunt, because it is an industry where horses are mere commodities. They are bred in their thousands and very few end up as successful race horses. Many of the surplus end up in pet food tins, or may be shipped abroad for human consumption.

Some may be sold to leisure riders and many of these suffer from ending up in the hands of inexperienced riders; the last thing a very sensitive, highly strung thoroughbred needs.

Because the horses are very immature when they start racing many of them suffer bad physical damage from the strain on immature bones and have to be out down. This is the aspect I dislike the most; those beautiful animals damaged and destroyed in the service of greed.

Added to all this, most punters have no interest in or love of, horses. They're just a living equivalent of a casino, a gambling opportunity. In all the other equestrian sports most of the competitors cherish their horses and spectators are knowledgeable and appreciative of the the skills and teamwork that a successful horse and rider combination show. (Which is not ignoring the fact that there are professionals in every discipline, some of whom may not have quite the same attitude to the horses they ride)