It’s time to set the record straight on safety in horse racing
By: Doctor Scott Ahlschwede
Recent attacks on the sport of horse racing cite several wildly irresponsible claims about equine and jockey injuries that are completely unsupported by facts or reviewable data. This speculation regarding the cause of equine injuries is based on rumor and innuendo and paints an image of a sport where life-altering injuries to jockeys are as commonplace as a sprained ankle. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While horse racing is an inherently dangerous sport, serious injuries to jockeys and horses are exceedingly rare events.
I am a Dr. of Veterinary Medicine in practice at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. I am also a horse owner and breeder and own a farm in Saratoga County. In the course of my duties at Rood & Riddle, I care for horses injured while racing or training. These are world-class athletes competing at the highest level of their sport. The New York-based trainers I work with care deeply about the health and well-being of horses in their care. Based on my hands-on experience, I have seen no evidence of the type of widespread abuse that opponents of horse racing claim are the normal course of business in the sport. Quite to the contrary, these horses are incredibly well cared for and love to compete.
These attacks are nothing but smoke and mirrors and are offensive to the thousands of people who work every single day in support of this wonderful sport.
Doctor Scott Ahlschwede, DVM; Ambulatory Veterinarian/Shareholder/Director of Ambulatory Services at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Committee Member of Cornell University’s Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research.