Horse Banned for Refusing to Race

From the UK comes word that 10-year-old Thoroughbred Mad Moose (below) has been “banned” by the British Horseracing Authority for, as Horse & Hound (1/13/14) puts it, “being reluctant and refusing to race one too many times.” In his last race in December, he started but “[pulled] himself up” before the first hurdle, the seventh time in 14 months that he has refused to participate. Horse & Hound adds, “The horse even got Nigel in trouble with the BHA last November, after the trainer chased after him waving a belt to try and get him to start at Cheltenham.”

mad moose jumps the last on his way to winning at cheltenham 19-4-12

While British media is having a bit of fun with this – calling him “quirky,” “naughty,” “headstrong,” and “serial” – I see something different. For me, this is a tale of quiet yet resolute rebellion, an exploited animal saying, in the only way he can, ‘no more.’ No more will I be whipped into doing your bidding. No more will I risk my limbs for your game. No more. Odds are, Mad Moose will soon be dead anyway, for there can be little value in an “old” (comparable to a twentysomething human) gelding who won’t run. But for now, this is one track event worthy of applause. And for that, Mad Moose, we thank you.

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  1. Mad Moose has caused quite stir in Britain and has achieved a certain level of celebrity for his unusual willfulness. Even here across the pond we get Tweets referring to him as a horse with a mind of his own. I am hoping that his notoriety will ensure him a happy and perhaps, even celebrated, retirement. People will be up in arms if anything improprietous were to happen to Mad Moose.We can all help things along by calling for his proper retirement. I’m sure the Moose can find his happiness with the right environment and a patient person who will let him just “be a horse”.

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