I was between the winning post and the last fence; when the horses were making their way around the course on their first circuit. Olivino; hit the second fence; and took a crashing fall. The other runners proceeded; as you'd expect; and poor Olivino got up; and it soon became apparent that one of his front legs was broken. He continued to run, not bearing any weight on his broken leg; which was hopelessly dangling down; and then some of the course staff managed to stop the horse just past the finish line. The green privacy covers went up; to prevent the onlooking crowds from seeing the vet 'attend' to the horse- from where I was standing, I could see what was going on; the vet came over; and literally seconds after he looked at the horse; I heard a loud clatter; and the horse went from being stood up; to lying on the floor. For a split second; I was questioning myself; why was the horse on the floor all of a sudden; why is it kicking it's legs? Then, almost as an afterthought; I'd realised that the horse had been "destroyed" as they call it; and the forlorn movements of the horses legs we're simply the horses nerves; it's brain hopelessly shooting out it's last electrical impulses to no avail. A life ended; right before my eyes. 11 years on the planet; gone in those circumstances- with a bullet to the head. I felt upset; and the rest of the day; as I continued to pick horses; and read all the form; it was marred by that vision of Olivino's legs thrashing around.
A sense of guilt came over me. I was there as a punter. Someone paying money; to see horses run. Betting on the horses to run. Was I contributing to Olivino's demise? And all the other ill-fated horses who have had their lives cut short for our pleasure? If I go down this path; I end up getting angry with the flag wavers that protest against horse racing; and frustrated at the wealthy people involved with owning the horses; who just see them as numbers or hobbies and care little about the welfare of the individual animal. I've just 'tweeted' my sincere condolences to the owner of Olivino; on Twitter and he replied "many thanks he gave us so much fun great memories. Never knew how to fall
#ripolivino #legendofahorse" - If I owned a horse that had been put down, I'd be well and truly gutted- not because of the money 'lost'; but because my horse had died! I shouldn't really judge anyone by my standards though. I'm sure the guy is upset. I'm not waving any flags here; or pushing any causes. I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen to the horses body? I bet the people who look after the horse; the people who brought the horse to race; would they be gutted, going home with an empty horse box? At the end of the day; these animals are bred to race and serve their purpose . They are made for it. If they banned horse racing; quite a high percentage of the Thoroughbreds alive in the UK would be killed- surplus to requirements. There's no way of knowing for sure; people in the industry will give you conflicting numbers, from the "work a day for world piece" hippies that you see giving out leaflets in town centres with pictures of shaved one eyed mongrels in cages. I was reading a report from the Guardian that went undercover, posing as a racehorse owner who had some horses that weren't up to standard; when calling a specialist horse abattoir (that seemed to confirm that many racehorses that are no longer viable to keep are sent to France for meat 3,000 per year) - I don't really read into this; they also report how much horse meat "we" export to France. France has it's own racing industry; would it really in-source that much meat from us? It's in a news paper any way. They're all liars. Is horse meat that commercially viable? If the statistics are half true; it's an outrage that the very people who make their millions out of horses are failing to put the horses welfare first- they're all liars too. Apparently; of the 4000 race horses that retire each year; only 90 are catered for by the industry. Horses cost around 4K a year to keep; not including vet bills. I don't know what the answers are really; and I don't know what to believe.
I know that today will stay with me. At this point in life; it's not financially viable for me to be involved in horse racing; it really is a sport for the rich. I love horse racing, and I love horses; and who knows where my career at sea will take me; and to what heights my income will rise to. I know that I would one day like to have an interest in a race horse; but I'd like to be as involved as possible; I'd want to know the horse and know it would be looked after after it's racing days are over. I wouldn't see it as a hobby; I'd see it as something much more. But then; how would it affect me, if it was my horse that was destroyed? In fact I'd one day just like to actually own a horse; racing or not. When ever I go out on my bike (alone) I occasionally stop and say hello to them; as most of my rides involve the countryside; and around here horses in the countryside are common as muck. I guess this is all in an "ideal world" - and I'd be here all day blathering on about what I would, and wouldn't do.
Right now; I want to forget about horseracing.