Horse Health

2 Horses Die, Rider Injured in Freak Training Accident at Del Mar

Source: KTLA.com

Two horses were killed in a freak collision at Del Mar during training on the second day of its season

The accident occurred Thursday morning when Charge A Bunch, trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley, who was trained by Bob Baffert.

Carson Valley’s rider, jockey Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and Franco was not injured. Franco rode as scheduled in the day’s first race.

Baffert said it was a freak accident beyond anyone’s control and that both horses were killed on impact.

The Del Mar deaths follow 30 horse fatalities at the recently completed Santa Anita meet. Those deaths led to an array of new procedures intended to increase safety.

“These horses’ lives were taken from them by the racing industry,” PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo said in a statement.

PETA requested that Del Mar and all other California racetracks release records of horses that have gotten loose on the tracks and urged the California Horse Racing Board to investigate in order to eliminate the dangers of training.

“Saying that deaths are inevitable in racing is like saying a swim team can’t compete without drowning,” Guillermo’s statement read. “If racing can’t be done without horses dying, it shouldn’t be done at all.”

9 replies »

  1. I dont always agree with Peta but this time – this is true! How can this be called a “sport” anymore?

    “Saying that deaths are inevitable in racing is like saying a swim team can’t compete without drowning,” Guillermo’s statement read. “If racing can’t be done without horses dying, it shouldn’t be done at all.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These two horses were not racing, just training, so it’s hard to make the argument that racing killed them. Yes, they might not have been there otherwise, but they might never have been born otherwise, too. Would it have been different if one of the horses involved was a pony horse, not a racehorse? I’ve seen a lot of crazy things at boarding stables in my life which are equally if not more frightening, but does that mean people shouldn’t own or board private pleasure horses?

    By that logic anyone riding a horse that has an accident (running into a car, falling into a hole, or a panicked horse crashing into trees, or other horses) leads to what people have suspected of PETA for decades: that nobody should own a horse or ride one, or perhaps even tie one up with a halter.

    Slippery slope. Horses are good for people, and putting them all in zoo conditions removed from human interactions impoverishes us all. Yes, the racing industry has a dark side, but name me any sport which doesn’t. Racing is struggling anyways so if they don’t clean it up sufficiently it will die a natural death. No accident!

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    • I assume you have read “Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption” by Jo Anne Normile and Lawrence Lindner?
      As you said, perhaps these horses might never have been born if it wasn’t for the world of racing but we need to also learn that the racing industry causes many many more injuries and deaths behind the scenes than just the ones that get the headlines.
      I sometimes think about the race horses being bred (and other breeds also) as a large pyramid and for every horse that actually races, how many are bred and sent to slaughter or in some way have a miserable abusive life and death?

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      • I have not read that one, but will look for it, thanks.

        For what it’s worth, the number of registered thoroughbreds especially has dropped dramatically in the U.S., but major declines are also documented in quarter horses and all registered horses in the U.S. Since all thoroughbred races require registered horses, there is a direct correlation in the decline of racing as well. For the other breeds, there still may be many backyard breeders but the breed registry shows do require registration for entry. The few sports that don’t require registration are not generally associated with the largest numbers of foals being born, and quite a few are in fact imported anymore.

        I think there are some sites that publish horses sent to slaughter by breed (or at least type) but don’t have that handy. Plenty of these are draft and draft crosses, as well as backyard breeder problem horses (old, crippled, ill, dangerous etc. — I have seen all these at sale barns in the past). We’ve all seen here, too, the stories of high-earning performance horses (not racers) who are killed or starved to collect the insurance.

        So cruelty is as common as dirt, and not confined to racing, though it may be the most visible to the public eye.

        Also worth keeping in mind: breeders of registered foals generally try to get them sold off as yearlings to make anything resembling a profit, and by the time they make money on one, they’ve lost it on dozens or hundreds of others sold. Those who sell them to slaughter are generally the second or third or fourth owners, not the breeders (though they may sell off older, used up broodmares and studs). The only place I know that is actually breeding and raising horses intentionally for slaughter are in Canada, though there was an effort in the midwest back in the ’90s to do this with draft breeds which ultimately failed.

        Nothing is ever as simple as we’d like it to be, but it does matter to be clear-eyed about what is preventable and what isn’t, accepting that we want horses and humans interacting.

        http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/foal-crop-may-hit-53-year-low-in-2018/

        http://www.equinechronicle.com/where-have-all-the-horses-gone-forum-presents-explanations-for-decline-in-registered-horses-impact-on-industry-and-solutions-for-future/

        https://www.horsecity.com/2012/04/04/aqha-by-the-numbers-2/

        http://www.equinechronicle.com/where-have-all-the-horses-gone-forum-presents-explanations-for-decline-in-registered-horses-impact-on-industry-and-solutions-for-future/

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    • Icy these horses were in training to race – and as I said I do NOT agree with Peta most of the time -and if it had been another organization that had spoken up? I’m sure most of us who comment here have seen lots of horrific, cruel things happen to horses – heck, we read about lots of it right here. And yes – every “sport” that USES animals has a dark side – all the equine disciplines do for sure. That fact is one of the reasons I read this blog and others – to know that there are other people who care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Icy these horses were in training to race – and as I said I do NOT agree with Peta most of the time -and if it had been another organization that had spoken up? I’m sure most of us who comment here have seen lots of horrific, cruel things happen to horses – heck, we read about lots of it right here. And yes – every “sport” that USES animals has a dark side – all the equine disciplines do for sure. That fact is one of the reasons I read this blog and others – to know that there are other people who care.

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    • I DO care and have been around horses and various horse businesses my entire life, which is why I try every day to make a difference. My point was just that in this particular instance, it was clearly an accident that could happen just about anyplace anyone is schooling or riding horses. I’ve even been in clinics and in horse shows where horses get out of control for various reasons and quickly escalate dangerous situations, and even accidents. Racing has many problems but this fatal instance isn’t specific to racing, only to being horses ridden in a shared space and a rider being tossed.

      My other point is that this is a slippery slope, and any of us who love and actually tie, haul or ride our horses need to be aware there are organizations that find these practices also to be cruel and inhumane. And yes, there are bad riders and some horrific trainers (I’ve seen many and even worked for a few), but where the line gets drawn between what is “okay” and what isn’t, seems to be highly variable. I quit plenty of places I worked for, and also quit showing, when that line was crossed for me personally.

      So in the case of this accident, it was an accident and only preventable if the horses either didn’t exist, didn’t share the same space (which is large compared to most training setups) at that particular moment, and/or if one hadn’t bucked off his rider. This is not equivalent to drugging horses or racing them with known injuries or weaknesses.

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      • Icy – I KNOW you care – and yeah – Peta does go off the deep end in many instances. And yes accidents do happen – lots where animals are involved. But this industry’s not known for looking out for horse’s welfare other than when it aligns with their profits & self-interest. And so far the profits & self interest have been most important. On the other hand, its sure not only the racing industry. We all saw the awful aftereffects of the chuckwagon races at Calvary. There are far too many accidents/incidents that happen all the time that those of us here read about & see on the news. Or at the roundups? Or, as you said, at horse shows. We just have to try to make it better.

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