Sunday, March 2, 2008

It's almost enough to turn me into a socialist

From the TB Friends blog today:

"Here is a documented fact: Storm Cat has a stud fee of three hundred thousand dollars. Since 2001 we have rescued 14 of his sons and daughters for an average price of 35 cents a pound."

OK, I've thought for a long time that the racing industry needs to have 10% of all race winnings taken and placed into a racehorse social security fund that would fund approved rescues to help them care for the horses who break down and/or get too old to breed. What do you think? Should the racing industry, because it overproduces and let's face it is NOT going to stop doing that, have to start picking up the tab and in a way where everybody pays, not just the nice people who understand they have a responsibility as breeders, owners and trainers?

I personally have always wanted to run a rescue aimed specifically at retraining senior Thoroughbred broodmares for new careers. I've had some really good luck getting them started over fences at ages 15+ and I don't think it really takes that much to get most of them ready to pack around a short stirrup kid. No matter what kind of hot potato they were on the track, 10 babies will usually take a lot of the steam out of them.

What are your thoughts? How DO we solve the problem of an equine sport that breaks down its fair share of horses young and that has a lot of people involved in it for the glamor/money who are not really horsepeople and do not give a crap. I mean, check out this quote from the guy who owned Prince Conley, one of the horses who survived the double decker crash last year and got a second chance at life:

"Killian, 80, an attorney living in Mesa, Ariz., said that if a Thoroughbred doesn't work out, 'it's a business and you sell them. They serve no useful purpose.'"

(insert expletive of your choice to describe Mr. Killian)

But you know, it's not an unusual attitude. (Nor is it unique to racing, I could go on all day about the same attitude in other disciplines. However, I think racing attracts the greatest percentage of nonhorsepeople as owners, don't you?) What do you think we can do to stop our racehorses from winding up on a plate in another country? I honestly think it just has to be some kind of unavoidable tax on race winnings and stud fees...I can't imagine anything else that would work. However, actually managing those monies is a whole other can of worms. What do you think?

OK, I'm off to do my part today and hop on an old TB broodmare who hasn't been ridden in sixteen years. Wish me luck!