Horseracing - Enhancing natural ability and instinct

I read with interest Susan Buckley's letter with regard to the Aintree Grand National;, complete with the usual ill-informed rhetoric.

Has this lady ever tried to force a horse to do anything? You have more chance of knitting fog.

I am an ex-racehorse owner and breeder.

All horse sports emanate from enhancing an animal’s natural ability and instinct and, yes, they love what they do, contrary to what they would have you believe.

When it was decided to downgrade the National course, it was against the advice of over 90 per cent of jockeys, who expressly wished for the fences to be made higher and more robust. This was to specifically reduce speed - the biggest danger of all - and to create respect for them by the horses.

The greater problem is the very fact that there are far too many flat-bred animals coming into National Hunt.

Of course, there are a few exceptions - the most famous being Red Rum - but most of the horses who do cross over are not bred for the job, hence the diminishing of any type of fence to accommodate them.

This is rather unfair on your true National Hunt bred chasers, as chasing is fast becoming a speed rather than an ability sport.

Also, contrary to what animal charities would have you believe, welfare is paramount in any equine sport, in which the horse racing is the world leader.

These animals are revered, respected and loved by all who are involved with them and their happiness, comfort, well-being and security is everything.

Should we all be so lucky. Failing hospitals and GPs’ surgeries wish, I am sure, that they could match the care and attention these incredible animals receive.

Let’s have less of the hysteria please over this vital industry, which is the largest left to us in England - and the largest employer, including all the other services dependant upon it.

G P Hoblyn


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