Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Dangerous Living Conditions at Calder

As I'm sure you've all heard, hundreds of horses stabled at Calder Race Course have been kicked out of their stalls and moved into tents. I'm also sure you've seen the video online of the tents flooding. Obviously, people are not happy about these tents, but I think you need to see what they are really like.

Lots of posts and ropes in the ground

Check out the amount of space between the posts and ropes. Not much,

Very little moving space inside, made worse by the numerous poles

The terrain most of these tents are on is not ideal; very little grass, hard ground

Just a reminder about the posts and ropes

     One thing we all know about racehorses is that they get sharp. Some of them are pretty high strung, and sometimes they wheel and rear and kick. That's a reality of horses. It's never going to change. Look at the pictures again and ask yourself: "What if a horse wheels inside and hits one of those poles?" or "What if a horse spooks at something while walking between the poles and ropes?" Because these are very real possibilities. If anything like that were to happen, the horse, it's handler, and any other people or horses that are nearby are at risk of serious injury. These tents are an accident waiting to happen. These are not safe living conditions for horses.

    Other things you should take into account: despite the fact that the stalls have mats, the ground they are on is not level. There is very little grass around. There is no real designated parking area, so several vehicles are parked very close to the tents. 

    A lot of the discussion about these tents has been people playing the blame game. Most people are blaming Calder's owners, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) for evicting the horses from their original stalls, while others are blaming The Stronach Group for not having a real Plan B in case Churchill wouldn't let them stay in the original stalls. At this point, who's at fault is not important. What's needed now is a real solution. CDI needs to be called on to just allow the fenced-off section of the Calder backstretch be reopened. Stronach should be called on to create a better stabling alternative at Gulfstream or Palm Meadows. Whatever needs to be done to get these horses out of these tents.

    Something needs to be done to fix this situation. These tents are not safe for anybody, human or equine, Our horses deserve better.

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