Time for Rehab?

Bobby Trussell, co-owner of Walmac farm, has a nice opinion piece at Bloodhorse that I just saw today (it’s been up for about a week).

The piece, entitled Culture Change, highlights changes in the racing culture as it pertains to frequency of racing. One thing he rightfully highlights is the outrageous use of legal drugs.

It is my belief that our horses are over-medicated to the point that they are seriously weakened. Over the last 30 years, horses have received more and more medication and have raced less and less. The drugs not only don’t work; they are counter-­productive. Just look at other countries where they medicate less and race more. All drugs are toxic and our 2- and 3-year-old horses receive dozens of drugs in a given month. My average vet bill here is more than $800 per month.

The trainers are letting the vets run the game. The real problem is not illegal drugs, but the legal ones that they train and race on. Salix and Bute are given out like candy. These drugs have major side effects; just ask the humans who take them. Salix, which is used for works as well as races by many trainers, is a diuretic that depletes minerals and dehydrates a horse. Bute causes ulcers, a common ailment on the backstretch. Horses need more time to recover from their drug “hangover” after a race.

I suppose it’s not surprising given the incredible over use of legal drugs in our culture by humans. I’d love to see a general percentage of what commercials in prime time are for medications (both prescriptions and over the counter). At some point we all have to pay the piper, whether it’s the liver failure that awaits statin takers or the weakening of the bred which is already upon us.

He also goes on to point out issues with shoeing and win percentage conscious trainers as other contributing factors.

Also, check out Valerie’s post about the fire sale at West Point Thoroughbreds. I read the move as the partnerships realizing that they can make a nice profit on their very talented assets, not so much that they we would be being purchased for breeding. Am I being naive? I hope not!!