Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Challenges, Controversies of Horse Racing: Doping, animal welfare and safety measures

Let’s discover the dark sides of this business.

• December 19, 2023
Horse racing used to illustrate the story
Horse racing used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: Equine World UK]

Horse racing is a spectacular and emotional sport. Entertainment events often accompany top races, and an outside observer may think this sport is a complete celebration. However, experienced bettors understand that not everything is as smooth and joyful as it seems at first glance. Let’s discover the dark sides of this business.


Horse racing is a multi-million dollar business, and if you read information on betting resources such as https://bet-guide.ke/, you will understand how much you can make from a horse winning. 

Therefore, no matter how sad it is, doping exists in equestrian sports. The goal is still the same: to win by improving your own or worsening someone else’s qualities, except that an animal here is more of a victim than even a neutral participant. Without going into medical details, we will tell you how an unscrupulous owner can enhance the characteristics of a horse.

  • Stimulants that increase endurance and strength.
  • Anti-inflammatory or painkillers – if a horse has suffered a minor injury or simply feels discomfort in a limb and is taking care of it, then doping allows it to forget about it and gallop at full strength. It is clear that this can lead to the most dire consequences, including serious injuries, falls, and sometimes even death of her or the rider. Drugs that mask chronic diseases.
  • Stimulants to make the animal rush along the track more willingly and excitedly. Sometimes, the animal is smeared with a special ointment that increases sensitivity, and the horse reacts more intensely to the touch of the jockey’s boot, raising its legs above the obstacle.
  • The most unscrupulous participants do not hesitate to give sedatives to competitors so that the horses do not show good results.

The jockeys themselves are rarely caught in violations, and even then, it’s either dabbling in marijuana or abusing diuretics for weight loss.

The list of prohibited substances is divided into absolutely prohibited and allowed only outside competitions. That is, before the race, all traces must be eliminated from the body. Equestrian sports do not allow doping for medical reasons. A sick horse should not perform; the health and welfare of the animals is a priority.

Fixed Races

Unfortunately, even in the equestrian world, there are fixed competitions; more precisely, sometimes, a jockey or trainer can “hold back” a horse for a bribe, prevent it from performing at full strength, and cede victory to another. It is also punishable, but before, there were fewer video cameras, and on the far side of the track, cheating could be successful.

Sometimes, to prevent a horse from performing at its best, it is enough for it to drink too much water before the start. Avoid drinking for 24 hours before the beginning of the race, and then place two buckets in front of it. Other little things can affect the purity of the races, which is why there is a lot of security around the race participants; outsiders are not allowed into the stable area on the day of the competition.

Horses Welfare

Horse racing, which was started to promote the spirit of gaming, has now become a gambling market and is often the cause of cruelty to animals. At the same time, debates about what constitutes cruelty do not subside in society. For some, the cruelty may be in how the jockey rides the horse. For some, it may be the poor environment and lack of quality nutrition that animals need to exercise in.

Some main points that cause maximum resonance among animal rights activists:

  • Unnecessary use of whips.
  • Despite the limit, excessive breeding.
  • Slaughter of old and retired horses.
  • To artificially enhance performance using dangerous drugs.
  • Premature use of horses for riding and heavy training.
  • Forcing young horses to run on hard surfaces can cause serious limb problems.

Safety of Races

High stakes often force jockeys to take risks and do anything to win. Therefore, racing is traumatic for both the rider and the horse. The main problem is fractures and serious injuries resulting from mistakes or non-compliance of the racetrack with safety requirements. Sometimes tragedy results from the cruel tricks jockeys use to throw competitors out. Moreover, such situations can result in the death of the horse or its rider.

You might think it is impossible to ensure safe racing conditions: the enormous speed and overheated horses are difficult to control. However, this is not entirely true. Racecourse owners can ensure the surface and obstacles are in good condition, and jockeys must follow basic safety precautions. Fortunately, the situation with horse racing safety control in Kenya is gradually improving.


Horse racing has many problems and dark sides. However, it is still a wonderful sport. With proper supervision and the combined efforts of all involved, most of the shortcomings of this discipline can be corrected. To be honest, most of the problems are common to all popular sports, so this situation requires comprehensive measures.

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