His Mount Dies, But Jock Still Loves “The Rush”

From KARE11 (Minneapolis) Tuesday:

Rusty Shaw was rounding the corner for home on Saturday when Canterbury Park officials say the horse he was riding, Classy Star, suffered a leg injury and sent both of them to the ground. “I wasn’t even too sure that I was even going to make it off that racetrack,” Shaw says. “Right now I know I’m lucky to be alive.” The horse, alas, was not as lucky: 3-year-old Classy Star is dead – euthanized for her injuries.

Following a recap of Shaw’s previous injuries, the article notes that “none of those injuries have stopped him from doing what he loves.” Shaw elaborates: “The rush from leaving a set of starting gates and going thirty five miles an hour around a race track with twelve other competitive jockeys and horses, there’s just something about that rush that just drives in you. Absolutely I think I’ll ride again.” A “rush.”

As yet another fully sentient being is killed for $2 bets, this station, at least, decides instead to focus on the “triumph of the human spirit.” Never mind that the human in question was directly involved in the kill, “courageous” people sell, dead racehorses not so much. What a sad commentary on our 21st Century media – and the public it so dutifully feeds. (full story here)

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  1. You can get a “rush’ by teaching a horse a new thing to do as well as rescuing a horse from being sold for meat as we have done several rimes. Many of these participants are adrenaline junkies if not chemically dependent on other legal or illegal substances. We have galloped horses on the track while other riders were chain smoking at the same time galloping a horse! Many of these people truly are a little short on common sense and decent sense of self preservation. We feel for all the horses being ridden/ cared for by people within this very abusive people self centered business. We learned from hard won experience the race track was NOT about just working with/ handling horses. The industry is about power, control, prestige display of an owners/ trainers monies or their supposedly better knowledge. In our experience most if not many of the horse people did not know as much as our 4H participants. We ALWAYS hated the use of lip chains or ear twitches used on such incredibly sensitive creatures as thoroughbreds are. We have learned from 30+ years experience that you can teach horses to do just about anything that is physically possible for them to do without resorting to brute force or tying them up to 6 x 8 barn posts in the process of ” breaking”. We have seen supposed trainers of BLM feral horses utilize such inhumane and dangerous methods.We have also observed thoroughbreds being “broken” in this manner.We have taught many horses of many breeds to be ridden and we NEVER have broken them in.

    • You bring up an important point when you said this: “Many of these participants are adrenaline junkies if not chemically dependent on other legal or illegal substances.”
      I’ve said on many previous comments that re-licensing multiple drug violating Trainers is like re-licensing a driver who has multiple DUI’s.
      I say this because they are not only jeopardizing their own life, but others as well in this case equines too.
      Last time I was in the stable area the human participants, stable area help, were just as doped up as the horses.
      Think about the implications of that.
      It puts everybody’s life at risk.
      Many times tracks tried to implement “on the spot” alcohol and drug tests similar to “DUI Ride programs.”
      The majority of tracks refused, and those that did bring it in (Woodbine) it was quickly dropped or became non-existent because the MAJORITY of people they tested were positive resulting in little or no help left in the stable area.
      The records were kept private as most of this business is.
      Lack of transparency is their specialty while they collect millions in taxpayer and/or casino money.
      The same can be said for racehorses, if they ever actually implemented a stringent, HONEST drug testing program there would be little or no racehorses left to run.
      The industry knows all too well that in order to bring in wagering profits, they must protect the ongoing use, and abuse of drugs both in racehorses and people who work around them.
      They count on uneducated, delusional people to fulfill their priority of wagering profits, and they certainly count on lack of oversight from the government, and their agencies (racing commissions) to continually rubber stamp this antiquated business model while taxpayers/casinos financially support this money pit riddled with pain, suffering, cruelty, maiming, and/or death.
      Tell me one other workplace in America where these kinds of operating procedures are permitted?

      • Right Gina: The drug epidemic is rampant on the backside. Jockeys, grooms, trainers…the most that I have seen lately is from the pain killer oxycotin. So many of them are hooked. Jockeys riding high on these pain-killers. Back when I rode the problem was mostly alcohol or cocaine, but over the years these ‘pills’ seem to be the backside ‘drug of choice’. One morning the groom for a trainer I was working for, was called for a ‘piss test’ (racing lingo for testing for drugs). This groom DRANK BLEACH from the bottle to avoid getting caught. This industry is just ‘shameful’ on every level.

    • I agree with you whole heartedly. There are many humane and natural ways to train horses. It just takes love, care and patience. What I don’t understand is why are all these famed thoroughbred farms using the lip chains and whips on their horses? If they say that they’re experts and professionals when it comes to dealing with these thoroughbreds why do they have to use such extreme measures in controlling them? Why must they wean off the babies at such a young age? And also are they lazy because I’ve seen many farms who leave the halters and neck straps on 24/7 even when the horses are in their stalls. Is it really that hard to take off the halter?

      Also this jockey talking about horse racing being a rush clearly has no love for the horses he rides. Going 35mph may have been fun for him but I doubt the horses thought it was fun running at top speed while being whipped.

  2. I am disgusted yet not surprised. The horses are viewed as machines – not flesh and blood, not living creatures who just want to live with their kind. Just LIVE.

    Racing supporters and apologists share responsibility in the death of Classy Star. And they don’t give a damn…THEIR rush takes priority over her life.

    • Melann: And what do you have to say about all the horses on the KIA list? Is your response to that also “Go hug a damn tree and leave horse racing along”. People like you are the reason I and others in the industry are speaking out.

  3. Go hug trees, Melann Johnston? – we’re too busy rescuing the damaged and discarded horses thrown away by the gambling industry you obviously support – we don’t have time to hug trees. Now if YOU, your fellow racing supporters and racing’s employees would all go do the hugging, THAT would translate to fewer crippled and dead racehorses. Think about it.

  4. It’s a shame that people generalize everyone in the race industry as a whole. Not all trainers or owner fit the criteria you lay on all that own race horses. Many of these folks treat their animals as their family and when something does happen it destroys them. Yes, sometimes you have people that shouldn’t have horses at all but that happens in all aspects of horses, not just racehorses. I read articles on carriage horses, reining horses, and dressage horses bur here we are, yet again, read another article belittling all race horse people, when in fact, it isn’t all of them.

    • This Blog thread focuses on horse racing not the other disciplines.
      That said, the other horse disciplines you mention are not any less abusive so focusing on horse racing doesn’t reduce the issues.
      All participants in the horse racing industry are either abusers and/or enablers of the abuse.
      That’s the exact criteria.
      You are either a delusional abuser in full denial or you are a non-delusional abuser.

    • Brady…tell us, who do you know that puts their child to work in a high-risk occupation, takes every cent he earns, then sells him when the wear and tear of the work he is doing damages his limbs? – to another “family” who repeats such “loving care”? I have become so weary of the “I love my racehorses like family!” sob story and frankly, I just cannot tolerate that BS any longer. It’s a LIE.

      Don’t come to Horseracing Wrongs to read pieces on the captive marine mammals at SeaWorld or on the abused Big Lick Tennessee Walkers or regarding the poor puppy mill canines or about the many other exploited equines of the many exploitive equine disciplines…because this is HORSERACING WRONGS.

      And finally Brady, yes, it IS all of them – everyone who makes their living in this unnecessary business is USING the non-consenting horses for their own gain…and while they are at it, they are getting rid of them like they would some inanimate object (to individuals who readily admit they are merely their livestock – certainly not family!), crippling them, killing them and sending them to slaughter. THAT is shameful.

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