Jumps Racing… Time to stop the slaughter.

As a self-confessed sports-nut and someone who is obsessed with winning, I’m happy to watch two individuals, animals or machines oppose each other in almost anything you could think of. However, there comes a point in time when I say enough is enough. That point is usually reached when people, or animals, are getting hurt.

Over the past few years, every time May rolls around on the annual calender you can bet your bottom dollar that within a day or two, the headlines are flooded with news reports about another innocent horse losing its life, or being seriously injured after a fall at Warrnambool.

Sure enough, this year is no exception as two horses died in recent weeks, sparking more calls for the brutal, barbaric sport to be stopped immediately. In addition to this, the horses riders were also injured as both ended up in hospital with brain injuries of varying severity. Despite this, the races continued today at Warrnambool and once again sports fans and animal lovers alike were left calling for an immediate end to the so-called, “Sport of Kings”.

The Grand Annual, the feature race of the day, can only be described as a blood-bath as six of the eight horses failed to finish with one horse even bolting off the racecourse and into a crowd of innocent spectators. The resulting chaos left seven people in hospital, two of which suffering serious spinal injuries. Footage of the dramatic race can be seen below;

After viewing the footage, it’s obvious that the stress which the horses are placed under is extreme and despite hours upon hours of training, the whip and hurdles to jump are simply not natural for the horses. It’s easy to see why they bolt.

Just last year, Racing Victoria chief, Rob Hines, went on record and said that, “Jumps Racing was no more gruesome than Ultimate Fighting (UFC)”… Here in lies the problem. The two sports simply can not be compared due to the fundamental fact that humans have a choice and make a conscious decision to enter a ring, knowing full-well they are likely to get the daylights punched out of them, whilst these innocent horses have no say in the matter.

The public also believe that the sport must end with recent statistics gathered by polling company AusPolls, showing that 65 per cent of Victorians believed that deaths and injuries to horses were not an acceptable price to pay for the continuation of jumps racing.

In total, a staggering 39 horses have lost their lives since 2007 at Victorian jump racing meets and since 2001, there have been 3 separate reviews into jumps racing (2001, 2005 and 2008). Each review has seen several safety changes implemented which have made little or no difference to the fall and fatality rate. It appears that the real purpose of these reviews is to buy some time in a vain hope that either the deaths and falls will reduce to what they consider an acceptable level or to wear down the jumps racing opponents.

My question to you, our subscribers is, if this many dogs were being killed as a result of activities such as this, would the reaction from the government be different? My guess is that it most certainly would be.

It’s time Victoria follows the lead of the rest of Australia (minus South Australia) and makes jump racing an illegal activity where offenders either end up heavily fined or even in jail. It’s the only way to ensure no more innocent horses are killed in such a barbaric, gruesome fashion.



50 responses to “Jumps Racing… Time to stop the slaughter.

  1. Chris McMenamin

    This is bullshit im sick of ppl whinging about jumps racing. All they wanna hear is the bad stuff.

  2. ‎39 horses may have lost their lives but 1000’s more will be lost if they ban jumps racing. It’s a lose lose situation really

  3. Mick Di Manno

    The reason why the horses head to jumps is the exact reason that Will has said. They are to old and aren’t good enough to compete on the flat.

    Plus places like the bool need jumps racing coz it is the biggest week down there. The tourism that it generates Is massive.

  4. It was just a freak accident that horse jumping that fence today in to the crowd… That incident had nothing to do with jumps racing, any horse racing on the flat could lose it’s jockey and hurdle in to the crowd.

  5. Mickey, if all horses were born to race, your reasoning might be valid. It may come as a shock to you, but not every horse is not put on Earth to race

  6. They are bred to race though……

  7. Breeding a horse to race is fine… If they can’t cut it though, let them live a life free of risk and stress instead of forcing them to something completely un-natural such as jumps.

  8. SA features jumps races at our Easter carnival, and there have been some horrific incidences in front of families and children. Some say the horses have a love for it, and in some ways this is true. I’ve ridden ex chasers and they still have a spark, raring to go, into the later years of their lives. However, I can’t stand to see animals being injured (and people too).

  9. Hayley Gleeson

    The incident today has nothing to do with the debate to end jumps racing. This is to do with the horses not clearing the jumps and fallign A over T and as a result being put down. It happens a lot and the debate has been going for years. Nothing to do with the horse jumping the fence today

  10. Micks correct daniel, theyre racehorses, theyre bred to race! you cant keep them as pets, if jumps racing was banned horses like these would just be slaughtered

  11. Hayley Gleeson

    And I don’t think any body would be slaughtering horses just because they ban jumps racing….

  12. Hayley is correct. The article only mentions the crowd incident today in passing whilst covering the race… I think the important thing to note is the carnage that happen on the track!

  13. That’s the thing, if they can’t cut it they are sent straight to the knackery

  14. Is that fair on the horse?

  15. Hayley Gleeson

    No they aren’t, they are sold so private use

  16. what do you suggest theyll do with 100’s of slow racehorses that cant race anymore??? If you have a problem with anyone have a go at the breeders for overbreeding, not jumps racing that gives them an avenue to still race

  17. Are you kidding? Equestrian, Riding Schools, Private Use etc etc… There are countless alternatives better than Jumps Racing!

  18. Hayley Gleeson

    If anything they need to raise the height of the jumps. The horses hardly have to jump to get over them and so are goign over at a silly pace. Raise the jumps, force them to slow the pace a little.

  19. No it’s not fair on the horse, but that’s the way it is. In some cases they are saved and taken in by someone else but in a lot of cases there is no room in the stables for them. So therefore sent to the knackery! Happens not just with jumps horses but any horse

  20. If they are bred to race and aren’t up to it they are usually killed…. Unfortunately can’t just let them live nice lives in paddocks as they are expensive animals to keep. It is becoming a myth that jumps is only for old,slow horses. A lo…t more flat horses with decent speed are going over jumps these days. More horses who are no good over the flat are sent to the knaccery than get put over the jumps.
    Jumping is a natural thing for horses too- if the horse doesn’t want to jump- it won’t. Have a look at equestrian events- the horse will just prop if it doesn’t want to jump- also look when they become riderless- the horses still go over the jumps…. Can’t say it’s unnatural.
    If u get involved in the racing industry/ become an owner it really opens your eyes to the whole thing and the treatment of horses

  21. Mick, I can’t understand what you wrote hahaha! Makes no sense!

  22. Mick Di Manno

    I just read it myself hahah, I get alittle excited and type to quickly hahah

    What I wanted to say was, if they are going to ban jumps racing does that include Equestrian as well?

  23. Hayley Gleeson

    If the ban jumps racing, they will stop over breeding horses for jumps racing. I get that they put them down when they are ingured, i guess I can even understand doign it when they are no longer good enough (maybe), but jumps racing is just… asking for trouble. It is unsafe for the horses, it’s unsafe for the jockeys, and I don’t know anybody who enjoys it when it seems there is another story every week or two about a horse getting slaughtered and jockey injured after a jumps accident.

  24. The only ones defending it here are those with a passion for racing… Clearly we share a different view but the sport is wrong, it’s cruel.

    In 2009, 65% of the public believed it needed to end… No doubt this number will rise given 2010 and 2011′s events. The Premier agrees that it needs to go, it’s only a matter of time. Just like it did in NSW, QLD, WA, ACT, NT and TAS.

    Mick, equestrian is at a much slower speed… Far less risk!

  25. Horses aren’t really bred for jumps racing these days, it’s just horses bred for longer distance races on the flat but are no good at that so they are tried over jumps. It’s just like cats or dogs that their owners don’t want anymore, they are sent to the RSPCA and if not rescues they are put down.

  26. Stole my thunder daniel

  27. Chris Wullaert

    Equestrian may be a far less slower speed and lower risk but you said that jumping is unnatural for a horse DJC therefore ban that too ???

  28. Hey Daniel, great that you’re concerned with animal welfare. Are you a vegetarian? I assume you are. Otherwise it would be hypocritical and logically inconsistent to get stressed about horse racing when so much of the meat we eat comes from… equally intelligent animals, that breed, suffer and are killed in captivity.

    For instance I eat meat, so it would not make sense for me to complain about jumps racing, a relatively trivial issue, compared to the unnecessarily cruel, large scale exploitation of animals I already take part in.

  29. Nick Macdonald

    Do you have the stats on show jumping? I can tell you over 100 human lives have been lost in the last 5 years in that sport.

  30. Jumping at high speeds under extreme stress (ie: whipping), Chris.

  31. Lucas, no I’m not vegetarian and although that theory sounds plausible, that is drawing an extremely long bow. Food is a completely different situation, it’s human (and animal) nature to consume meat and has been since life began, millions and millions of years ago. Humans need meat and/or animal products to live healthy lives and if they choose not to consume those products, the other option is a endless amount of supplements and vitamins.

    To claim someone is being hypocritical by calling for an end to jumps racing yet eating meat is, as I said, drawing a long bow. Sport and survival can not be compare and it’s pointless trying to do so…

  32. Jayden Wilson

    I think it should be banned. Because the horses are being treated as un-equal, and theres so many other horse races, why can’t they just stop this one type?

  33. Shani O'Brien

    It should not be banned; what would happen to the 100’s of horses that aren’t fast enough for the track? They’d be lucky to find a home and would mean more cases of neglect, horses get injured and die in normal riding, would that be the next thing they’d want to stop?

  34. Correct Shani and also for the people involved such as jockeys, owners, trainers

  35. Mick Di Manno

    back to my first argument from last night, if you banned jumps racing then you have to banned show jumping and equestrian. People say its a low risk but its still a risk and people/horses still get injuried.

  36. Kate Atkinson

    If there are particularly high risks compared to equestrian etc. then something needs to be done. Don’t know enough about it but heard news coverage & it looks bad. Is it possible to make some modifications or set limits etc?

  37. Nick Macdonald

    On average 20 human lives are lost show jumping each year. House fatality numbers much higher. Last year 2 (maybe 3, don’t have stats here) horses died in jumps racing. Perspective?

  38. Melanie Clarke

    Yes….and those who do too should go to http://www.rspcavic.org/campaigns_news/campaigns_jumps_racing.htm to see how they can help!

  39. Nick Macdonald

    It’s sad our media get whipped into such a frenzy by minority groups. Then mainstream opinion follows.

  40. Mick Di Manno

    agree Nick. people who aren’t involved in Horse racing haven’t got a clue and are swept up by what the media blows up.

  41. Nick Macdonald

    Plus, take a look at how animals in the near industry get treated. People ignore that though because it doesn’t suit them to know what happens to them before they hit your plate. How people can go on about jumps but eat meat is beyond me, having been inside a slaughter house.

  42. Spot on Nick….

  43. It’s the people who know very little about horse racing that want jumps racing banned. Perhaps some should research this more and not just read all the negative things about jumps racing and look at the positives, in that it creates jobs an…d and futher life for horses. If they are seen to be no good they would get slaughtered. People every day have car accidents and die..are we gonna stop people from driving? Nope! People have work place accidents and die..are we gonna stop people from working? Nope!

  44. Katrina Martin

    having horses and loving the animals its not just the fact that they as usually young horses that are ridden full tilt at these jumps its that the consequences of not making the jump or catastrophic. Not just breaking limbs but also breaking down means put down as well not a nice sport.

  45. Nick Macdonald

    would you ban showjumping too?

  46. Ashley Onley

    The media beefing somthing up they no little about. Think about it what would happen to the horses if jumps racing wasnt around, ok lets look at horse that run at the warrnambool carnival horses name is cats fun. Won the 2007 perth cup, now… couldnt win on the f lat if it tried… Is a quite competitive jumper now and still racing. Wha do you think would of happend to this once great perth galloper? It would be dead. Just like many other horses that simply arnt competitive enough to run on the flat. Another argument if jumps racing is banned you can kiss 500 australian jobs goodbye!See more

  47. Shani O'Brien

    Have you ever been to a Showjumping or Cross Country competition? Have you seen how fast some horses are pushed to those jumps? Recently there was a competition which was cancelled due to two horses that died in that comp alone(and that was only low level), but does that mean we should ban all equestrian sport?
    If jumps racing is banned then there will be a lot of horses without homes as Thoroughbreds aren’t a popular choice with a lot of people, it’s a lot of work to take on an off the track thoroughbred, not to mention feeding them, they require a lot more feed than a lot of other breeds of horses. What will happen to all these horses? I can guarantee not all of them would find homes, several of them will end up in the dogs bowls and/or neglected and left to starve.
    Jumps racing isn’t just a sport to some people, it’s there livelihood.

  48. David Cameron


    I was made aware of your website last night and while you should be commended on producing what looks to be a successful blog, I have to take exception with this article and your various responses to the comments made by other readers.

    The good news is that you can rest assured knowing that you’re not the only ill-informed bleeding heart that feels the need to comment on this issue.

    I have known you for more than 10 years and while I haven’t had anything to do with you in recent times, I would be very surprised if you have developed a knowledge of the sport that is any more than limited at best. I concede that the idea of internet blogging is for people like yourself to put forward your views and sure, they don’t necessarily need to contain any fact.

    So as I’ve noticed that you haven’t really sought after any industry participants for their insight, rather relying on a line from Rob Hines that was published in a newspaper. So as an industry participant, please allow me to respond to some of your statements.

    I am the Racing Manager for a successful horse trainer based in Cranbourne. Generally, we like to have at least one jumper in our stable each season. I have also part-owned a steeplechaser who was fatally killed by falling in the Grand Annual in 2007. So I believe I am capable of providing a balanced view.

    Firstly, you might not be aware that there are many different breeds of horses in the world. The only ones that race on the flat are thoroughbreds, and yes they are bred to race. The other types of breeds are not forced to race. No horses are bred for the sole purpose of hurdling or steeplechasing, this might be part of the problem however there is not enough money in the sport of jumps racing for that to change. That being said, even if a horse is not bred specifically for jumps racing, that does not mean he/she is capable of competing successfully.

    Secondly, thoroughbred horses love to jump. I hear and read plenty about people who say they don’t want to do it. If these people know anything about these animals, you can just look at them going over the jumps and you can see that their ears are pricked and they are happy. You only had to see that the horse who jumped the 2m high fence at Warrnambool to realise that not only are they willing to do it unassisted, but they are also extremely well trained to do so.

    I would like to invite you down to our stables one morning to witness how well these horses are looked after. Once we have finished there, I will take you for a drive to a few properties close by and show you how certain horses have been “cared for” that are used as for pursuits such as “Equestrian, riding schools, private use, etc. etc” as you put it. It sounds very easy, but I can assure you it’s not easy to just palm these horses off once their flat racing career has ended. In fact, we have 3 or 4 horses in a paddock at the moment that we have been trying to find homes for over the past couple of months. Maybe you know someone who will look after them, or maybe even yourself? Horses take a lot to look after and it is very difficult to find suitable homes. They are not cheap either.

    Obviously the incident with the horse in the crowd was extremely unfortunate and all concerned were very lucky not to be killed, but let’s put that into perspective. It was a once-off incident and it is not the only sport where the stars of the show have interacted with the crowd. Should we ban soccer after Eric Cantona fly kicked a fan in a Manchester United game? What about banning the NBA after Ron Artest jumped into the stands when playing for the Indiana Pacers and punched a number of fans?

    You say that the only people defending this are the people who have a passion for the sport. That is true however I tend to think that they are also more likely to have a better knowledge rather than yourself who just takes the easy option of jumping on the bandwagon.

    Also do yourself a favour and venture our to a cross-country or a showjumping and see how these horses go, it’s not reported because it wouldn’t sell papers.

    I concede that the current situation is not perfect and that there needs to be some changes brought in asap. However, what you and everyone else proposes is definitely not a solution.

    So I accept that your opinion is exactly that, and you are entitled to it, but if you are going to continue to write about issues that you have little knowledge in, you will start to turn people away.

    Good luck with the website, I hope it is successful for you. And if you want to venture down to the stables, feel free to contact me at any time.

  49. i think they can think of another option that no horses life can be put on danger.thanks fro sharing.

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