In Memory of Eight Belles

This is a blog about Morgan horse shows. However, there was a tragedy today in the broader horse world. I’m sure many of you have seen the news about Eight Belles. For those who haven’t, here’s the video:

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Eight Belles, a three year old filly, finished second, fell to the ground after the finish, shattering both front ankles. She was euthanized on the track a few minutes later.

 Ironically, the veterinarian at the track was also the vet at the 2006 Preakness, where Barbaro was injured at the start.

“It will happen sometimes after the race. It’s not unheard of,” said Bramlage, who also was the on-call vet during the 2006 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, when Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro broke down at the start. “They’re taking a load on their skeleton. The difficult thing to explain with her is it was so far after the wire. She was easing down on the turn.”

4 Responses to In Memory of Eight Belles

  1. Mocha Mom says:

    Two great horses who have broken down on national TV. It makes me wonder how often this sort of thing happens on tracks all over the world on a daily basis. Is it just the fastest ones (who make it to the Kentucky Derby) because they have been bred to have lighter, and therefore more fragile, skeletons or is this a common occurrance?

  2. Black Eye Beth says:

    I was discussing that same thing with my husband last night. I also wonder about asking too much too early from the ones that show the “potential for greatness”. In any event, it is so sad when any go down like that, whether they are a “great one” or not. Makes my heart hurt.

  3. mydoglovesme says:

    I do not profess to be an expert on the Thorougbred industry but have run across stats somewhere that estimate that as many as eight hundred horses in this country alone, suffer life ending injuries on our tracks every year. With numbers in the thousands that incurr other nonfatal, but career ending injuries, as well. Any breed of horse needs to reach maturity before being asked to do their job at their highest possible level. Within each breed, horses need to be treated as individuals and not as a group that one rule applies to all. Just as in human children, they all develop at different rates both mentally and physically. Therefore they should be treated with those thoughts in mind and not pressured to do a job they are not ready or able to do with any long term life expectancy ahead of them. In our own Morgan world,over the years a few of our clients have not been happy with us because we are “too slow” developing their youngsters for them. Having been in the horse industry, as both a show horse person, as well as time spent on Standardbred tracks, with more than forty years of watching them all go around, time is one of the most overlooked and valuable tools we all have to use when training. Horses are magnificant creatures that allow us the privilage of finding common ground with them to hopefully arrive at the same destination together. With the ever increasing pressures of the financial squeeze happening in all industries today, it’s easy to see how many horses don’t get all of the time and advantages of such that they probably really need before being asked to step up to the plate. It really is a sad state of affairs when we all have to think somewhat in those terms. Was that the case with the great filly we all just lost? Was it a case of greed-either financially or reputation wise? Or was it an owner who truely believed they owned the greatest race horse who ever lived and wanted to see her do what she loved to do? Who are we to judge since we don’t know the real facts. I do know that a great horse ran her heart out for our entertainment yesterday and is now in the clouds above us.

  4. Mocha Mom says:

    I like your thinking mydog.

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