Hats off to endurance…

11 Feb

Go to any search engine, type in endurance + horse + distress, or pain, or exhaustion or any such modifier one likes, and there are, basically, no images.

Endurance horses currently seem to  have more deaths, more heart failure, more leg fractures, more positive drug tests, than nearly all other FEI disciplines combined. These  health problems are related to the new emphasis on flat-out speed racing, as opposed to the classical sport which required superb conditioning and use of tactics to master the hills, rocks, and other terrain problems of the usual course.

 It is difficult to be sure,  because FEI apparently has no statistical base set up  to determine the reality. Not to mention that FEI only investigates a select portion of the cases in endurance.  Still,  the public concern for endurance is limited to the perception that it is becoming a pastime for rich Arab sheikhs who bend the rules. But there is comparatively little worry for the horses.

 On the other hand,  type in rollkur and up come thousands of images

The public outcry over a perceived position of a horse’s head and neck is fueled by these images, many of them photoshopped and otherwise unreal. And yet, there is something so powerful about images, they  engender a reaction far deeper than any to the very real suffering of endurance horses, let alone the every-day life of many third-world work animals.

There is an ugly lesson here , no doubt.

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