The Horrors of Horse Racing

When I first heard Misty’s story my stomach twisted.

She was only three years old and was raced with a cyst in her hoof. They wrapped it and made her run on it without it being treated. When the barn got her in, and released the pressure, it exploded out of her coronet band. The vet treated it, and it was three months until she could walk without experiencing excruciating pain. Once she was healed enough to walk they started working with her. She is extremely head shy, most likely due to head trauma that was inflicted on her by a human at some point while in the racing circuit. It is horrible that horses like her go through this every year, and many of them are killed. Horse racing is an evil industry of slaughter and pain of innocent horses. In this article I will talk about the casualties of racehorses and why it should be stopped completely, or at least completely re-thought out to ensure the safety of the horses involved.

Apart from common belief, horses do not enjoy racing. “Running fast comes naturally to thoroughbreds, but racers need to be trained to outrun opponents. Most, it is thought, need “encouragement”—whipping—to continue going hard when they’re tired” (Finnegan) States an article in the New Yorker. Other ways horses are “encouraged” to go faster are; drugging to prevent pain, using spurs, and starvation. And the effects of racing on horses’ health are very often fatal.  “One study on injuries at racetracks concluded that one horse in every 22 races suffered an injury that prevented him or her from finishing a race, while another estimated that 3 thoroughbreds die every day in North America because of catastrophic injuries during races.” (Lin)  Says an article by treehugger. 

If more people were educated on what goes on behind the scenes at racetracks, it would be easier to stop or change the racing industry. “The financial forces behind racetracks are the reason they continue to exist, despite concerns about animal cruelty, gambling addictions, and gambling morality.” (Lin)  States an article by treehugger. So it won’t be an easy process, because of the amount of funding behind the racetracks. But as the same article also says, “Perhaps the worst abuse is one that is hidden from the public: horse slaughter.” (Lin) If people are more aware we will have a better chance. Some things that need to be done are listed in an article from Britannica. It says, “1. Delay training and racing until after a horse’s third birthday. 2. Ban whipping. 4. Limit the number of races per season. 5. Stop the “Sport of Kings,” period.” They add, “People can also help phase out horse racing—and horse slaughter—by refusing to patronize horse races, working to ensure that racing regulations are reformed and enforced, lobbying against the construction of new tracks, and educating others about the tragic lives that the horses lead.” (Smith)

“Some will say that horses get hurt racing and I would say, yes, but that could happen when they race or even when they walk to the paddock. Accidents happen! The trainers, owners, and grooms all mourn the loss of each horse. Everyone takes pride in how their horse looks, how well they perform, and how well they run. Horse racing isn’t a hobby or just a ‘sport’, it’s a lifestyle! Some may not agree with me but hopefully if you look more closely you will see the beauty that I see.” (Loftis)  Says Malinda Loftis. But illegally drugging horses is not an accident. Up to 98% of racehorses are illegally drugged to increase performance and block pain. Some of the horses’ owners don’t even know things like this are happening, and will never know.  “..the experience of watching Tribella run her heart out and win for me changed my life, and ultimately hers, forever. People DO love their racehorses and look out for their welfare, both while they’re running and afterwards. It’s a passion.” (Weakly) Says Nicole Weakly. And chances are Tribella could have been one of those drugged horses. Many people enjoy watching the horses run, but they don’t get to see what happens to the horses afterward, or beforehand during training.

Horse racing is a cruel sport, and you have hopefully seen that through hearing Summer’s story, and the other information in this essay. Although it can be enjoyable to watch, the casualties are much too high to keep it alive. So read the stories of the thoroughbreds, and share them. Racehorses need your help and all it takes is educating those around you of the horrors that happen in the racing industry.


“Arguments Against Horse Racing.” Treehugger, 2019,

“Can Horse Racing Survive?” New Yorker, 2021,

“Horse Racing: Stop It (Or at Least Reform It).” Britannica, 2021,

“Quotes.” We Support Horse Racing, 2021,

Writer at The City Voice

Hi my name is Anna! I'm a seventh grader and I am interested in a wide range of writing. I enjoy reading and hanging out with animals. I have a dog, two guinea pigs, and two crested geckos. I ride OTTBs every other week. I also do Odyssey Of The Mind and my team made it to world finals last year!

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