Why I will not be watching the Grand National

Hey Sweeties,

The Grand National is a death trap for both horses and riders. I disagree with the number of horses entered; 30+ horses galloping at speed all trying to clear huge fences is just stupid and making injury inevitable. While I acknowledge the National is for the elite degree of horses and riders (much of its appeal), the height (and width) of the jumps is too great for a race; and the distance of the course –have you tried jumping a fallen log in the woods when you are feeling a bit tired? Try jumping 30 (two laps of 16) huge hedges, most with ditches before and after, across a five mile stretch.

Sandown races

Sandown Races last August

Horse Racing is not Cruel

To get something straight, I do not find (normal) horse racing cruel, I actually really enjoy it and my husband and I regularly attend the races. The ‘sport’ dates back centuries and while in the past horse racing was unsafe, horses today are well vetted and cared for, and proper rules and regulations are in place to ensure its safety. The occasional fall is inevitable, I was at the races a couple of weeks ago and a horse randomly tripped on the track, fell and never got up. While incredibly distressing, any horse ridden at a gallop can suffer the same fate in the same way you and I could trip while running and break a leg… the difference is we don’t get put down as a result.

The Olympics of Horse Racing

The Grand National for horses and jockeys is a bit like the Olympic Games for athletes; it can be the pinnacle of a sporting career and to win or even place, the level of physical and mental fitness is high. However, in the same way a top athlete can be taken down because of another’s error, so can a horse –it doesn’t matter if they are tipped as the favourite, if that horse gets tripped up by another runner, supreme fitness becomes an obsolete factor in its ability to finish… or even survive.

For a full report on the health and safety regulations set out by the British Horseracing Authority, click here.

The Grand National is Difficult Viewing

In the past, I have had a bet on the Grand National -I worked with the promotions team for a high street betting company during one summer at university, and naturally being involved I took part in the betting side of the race. It was unfortunate that 2011 was the year two horses died because of the race. The years before I would also watch the Grand National at home if I was about and able to (by which I mean, not out with friends). However, I have always found the Grand National difficult viewing and a few years ago, I made the decision to stop watching and supporting it all together. I do not condemn those who still watch and bet on the Grand National, and if that is you then that is okay.

Growing up, horses were my big love and they still are to this day, I have yet to be in the fortunate position to own my own horse but I hope to do so in the future. I am also a strong supporter of animal welfare and while I eat a 90% plant-based diet because it suits me, I have adopted it into my lifestyle because I am not comfortable with the eating of animals. I cannot be someone that loves horses, supports animal welfare, and support the Grand National, I just can’t. Do you understand?

Until next time x

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1 Comment

  1. Claire 6th April 2017 / 9:58 am

    Thank you – I meant 30 fences in my original copy to account for the course being lapped twice, so I’ve updated this.

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