“Sloppy”: Months After Saratoga Tragedy, Equestrian World Stunned by Startling Revelation

Published 10/04/2023, 4:35 PM EDT

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The equestrian sports are all fun and play until horrific incidents do not interrupt. One of the most unfortunate incidents that the horse racing community has witnessed this year is the massive deaths of equines in one of the prestigious racetracks Saratoga. The community is looking after research to focus on the reason behind such an unfortunate occurrence. While the incidents were taking place, the organizations took the right decision to take some necessary steps to minimize the risks.

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After this, the equestrian community has shed light upon the reasons that led to this mishap. All the equine fatalities at New York racetracks are going under investigation to find out the risk factors that might have been the reason behind the deaths there. This step is an integral one for the health of the equines and the equestrians and might lead to a positive outcome.

The equestrian community initiates an investigation into the equine deaths 

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The horse racing world has seen multiple deaths this year, and the rising numbers needed this step of investigation. Every horse part of the fatality was sent to Cornell University College of Veterinary Science of necropsy for the investigation to identify the reasons behind the death. All the conditions like Necropsy findings, exercise history, medical history, weather, racing surface situations, and multiple other attributes are being considered.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System had initiated a survey for the private farm owners. In this, they had to inform the number of horses, mules, and donkeys present on their grounds. It asks the owners about how many of their animals died during the past year and statistically, it listed a mortality rate of 1.4 percent.

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This was higher than the mortality rates of the racehorses at Saratoga. According to the Paulick reports, it indicates that the equines that race in New York are as safe if not more than those that survive in farms in non-racing areas. Multiple reasons have been pointed out which can be the reason behind the equine fatalities that have been taking place for so long.

Reasons behind the equine deaths at the racecourses

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In 2023, around 17 horses died on Saratoga Racecourse property. This number is the same as it was in 2012, 2016, and 2019. In 2017 and 2020, 21 horses met their fate at the Saratoga racecourse. One of the major reasons is Racing Injuries, which is one of the most exercise-associated equine fatalities and is the result of Musculo-skeletal injury. The equines that suffer from exercise-associated issues, most of them has one common type of injury. This was the fetlock joint which is one of the most common and dangerous musculoskeletal injuries in the racehorses all over the United States.

Another common thing that was found in the leading of this injury was fatigue. In most of the horses, this injury occurred in the final furlongs of the race or when the horses were galloping out after the race. Fatigue was one of the reasons that had a major contribution to the injuries.

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Another reason is the Surface changes due to the weather. In this, the amount of moisture in the turf courses is determined by the racing authorities which can result in a huge amount of risk to the safety of horses and riders. After the investigation, very shocking findings have been made about the moisture content of the racing surfaces at Saratoga, which is why this is the primary focus of the authorities.

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Written by:

Nancy Singh

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Nancy Singh is a US sports writer for EssentiallySports. She is an avid sports enthusiast and comes with a staunch background in content writing and marketing. With her Bachelor’s degree in English, Nancy created a penchant for all things journalism and delved into the world of sports.
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Edited by:

Brandon Gabriel

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