Let me say firstly that I don’t understand the attraction of horse racing. It must be the only ‘sport’ where the competitors probably have no idea whether they are winning or losing and certainly no idea that entire industries, like betting companies and breweries, make vast profits off their backs. But what I really dislike is how so many of its participants die as a result of participating.
‘Only’ one horse – Mossback – died at the Cheltenham Festival yesterday but those who care about these things will be sorry to know that he almost certainly won’t be the last. Doubtless, seeing the suffering animal hidden beneath a large tent as it’s being put out of a misery inflicted upon it by the ‘sport’ itself was very sad for the owner, the jockey and perhaps the spectators who saw a beautiful animal about to be put to death but I didn’t notice too much sympathy in the media.
Gushing TV reports on the great spectacle of Cheltenham somehow managed to omit any mention to Mossback’s passing and, so far as I could tell, the multitude of strangely dressed racegoers at Bristol Parkway did not seem too bothered, certainly not those who could walk unassisted. No. It was all about the excitement of the Cheltenham Hurdle, about the winners and the losers, about women in funny hats and men in silly suits and much hilarity about the industrial amounts of Guinness consumed on the day.
I’ve never been horse racing and have no inclination to do so. Horses are beautiful creatures for sure but I do worry about what happens to them when they end their working lives and I know what happens to them when they make a mistake jumping a gigantic fence.
Good luck if horse racing in general and Cheltenham in particular floats your boat and if you happen to witness the death of another horse – there is a fair chance you will – I hope it isn’t too upsetting for you. The very fact that the odds are that horses will die today is a good enough reason for me to not watch the ‘entertainment’. But I suppose for many the chance of wearing silly clothes and getting shit-faced is worth all the misery.