Kurenai wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:38 pm
Also, no offense to anyone. It's a huge difference reading about one thing and experiencing it. I highly doubt Tessablue ever worked with racehorses. She doesn't have the practical knowledge that some others on this board have (see for example about having to race 2 year olds).
Horse racing isn't science and math, because horses are - like humans - individuals. Even if you have a billion rules and regulations in place, horses will die. This is the reality. I've experienced it first hand.
There is nothing wrong with using studies to gather additional information. The problem comes when you ONLY rely on studies. (I won't even get into how some of those studies are made and are completely unreliable and get false results.)
I already said what I think should be done to improve the welfare of horses in this sport. I also think it won't happen, because frankly the most of the big time trainers aren't interested in that, same for the owners. Plus there's too no national consensus.
Nope, haven't worked with them- horses yes, racehorses no (and yeah that betting gene goes back quite a few generations). I love learning from people who do work with racehorses, and I really enjoyed reading your perspective on 2yo training and the possible actions we can take to improve the sport. Luckily, I think most of the people performing this research are much closer to the game, and a lot of the work comes straight from veterinary journals. I certainly agree that we need a balance of voices to ensure that any proposed reforms are actually feasible- and as we've seen this year in particular, it isn't easy to reach a consensus among those voices.
Still, I want to point out a couple of other advantages of pursuing and supporting research. For one, it isn't just about observing trends - it also helps advance technology that could be used to detect injury risk more accurately (for example, the CT scan paper posted earlier). It seems a lot of injury risk occurs when a horse is recovering from a layoff and begins high-intensity training a little too soon. Imagine if we could put together a scanning and observational system wherein we can confidently stage a horse's recovery so that we avoid accidentally causing re-injury? I have no idea what the timing or practical application of this system would look like, but it should
be hypothetically possible on the basis of what we know about injured bone combined with eventual technological advancement. And if there's one thing I can talk about firsthand in this thread (thanks to a hellish postdoc project), it's skeletal imaging technologies. They are advancing at an incredible rate, and I'm so excited to see how that affects racehorse imaging in the future.
Secondly, even when an answer seems obvious to people who actually work with racehorses, having the numbers to back it up helps codify this knowledge and educate the public while also providing support for people who have experienced it themselves. As an example, I have often seen people deride scientific studies that make conclusions like "dogs experience love towards their owners." Of course every dog person knows that their dog loves them- but "proving" it is still important because it can inform future policies in a concrete way. It's a lot easier to enact policies against cruelty to dogs when you can specifically rebut opponents by citing studies showing that they experience observably complex emotions.
To use an example from this industry, I want to go back to bisphosphonates. Over a year ago, articles started to come out about these drugs, and the general online response was alarmed but certain that nothing would happen in the short term. Well, we've seen conversation around bisphosphonates explode into prominence this year because of the Santa Anita tragedies. In fact, the LA Times wrote a (very fair!) article about bisphosphonates just yesterday, and here's what they had to say: https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/20 ... eeders-cup
“Commercial consigners will certainly do what’s best for a horse,” said Eric Hamelback, chief executive of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Assn. (HBPA) “If a medication helps in a certain situation, they will do it. But I don’t think anyone has done it nefariously.”
Hamelback compares the use of bisphosphonates to another class of drugs once accepted but now shunned.
“It reminds me of when people were using anabolic steroids,” Hamelback said. “There is a therapeutic use to it, but now you don’t see it used. It’s more of an education process that abolished anabolic steroids. … We’ve educated people and put it out there in the public that while anabolic steroids can be beneficial, it is more of a detriment, especially off-label.”
The RMTC board has approved language that will ban the use of bisphosphonates in horses younger than 4. It will be sent to the Assn. of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), which sets rules and standards for horse and greyhound racing. The CHRB has a similar proposal set for its December meeting that would ban bisphosphonate use for any horse that has been administered the drug in the last six months.
In other words, much like with steroids (and thyroxine) before them, people are willing to stop once they actually know
it's harmful. Yes, there are going to be people who genuinely don't care and just want to find whatever cocktail makes their horses run faster. And it's frustrating that horses have to be put at risk in the first place for us to learn these lessons. But I'm tremendously encouraged by the idea that the general bent of the sport is moving towards progress, education, and safety. I would love to see a greater effort to make this sort of information available to horsemen, because it's not like it's easy to read or access pharmaceutical papers, and the vast majority of them involve other animal species. This is also why I think conversations like the one we're having now would be productive and beneficial even if this "low traffic" forum existed in a vaccuum- knowledge is good, and everyone wins when people gain more of it.
(also check out the reference to 2yo exercise in that article! Very cool, it feels like I'm seeing it talked about more and more often and it's really encouraging)
And just curious- do you have insight on inaccurate racing studies? I would be very surprised if bias, if that's what you're referring to, is a major issue in this field. There's not much money in it, there's no central entity that could tamper with funding or influence things (unlike the NFL), plus many major studies are conducted in other countries with different funding structures and even more distant conflicts of interest.
(finally, I didn't mean to make it sound like I was referring to you earlier, sorry about that! And I certainly don't want to sound like some omnipotent voice here- posters like katmandu know way
more about the equine medical side of things. It's just really exciting to be able to combine my own expertise in regeneration and developmental mechanics with the sport that I love, and getting to discuss it with other people who have different areas of expertise is honestly a joy. As is the thought that our sport can
improve if we manage to get organized and work together.)
Somnambulist wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:29 pm
Why is this even being allowed to continue? This is straight bullying at this point.
Yeah probably... but in this situation I'm cool with letting people show everyone who they are.