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Time for the Grand National to take a running jump.

Posted by Tickled_Pink, 15 April 2012 · 861 views

Two horses died yesterday at the Aintree Grand National. It's always been pretty dangerous. Some of the fences are ridiculously high ... so high in fact that the horses don't actually jump them but go through them. Then you have fences like the infamous Beecher's Brook, which have a drop at the other side that the horses don't expect.

If you've watched the Grand National then you'll have seen some extremely fit animals pound around the course, jumping these fences (which must take their toll on their own) not once, but TWICE. There's barely a year that goes past when at least one horse has to be put down following an injury.

I was explaining to my daughter about the race after hearing the news yesterday. I haven't watched the Grand National for years. She asked me why the owners put the horses through it. Quite simple ... the owners and trainers couldn't give a shit about the horses. The insurers pay out. That was drummed home when I read the comments from the trainer of the winner today. He's one of the 'so long as the horses make money for me' fraternity. He lost a horse in last year's race but put another horse in again this year and has since defended the race.

On the flip side, I have some sympathy with the owner of one of the horses that died yesterday. Unlike the owner and trainer of the winner, he's more of an amateur racehorse owner who runs a couple of small businesses. He's said that he will never put a horse into the Grand National again. The horse he lost was more like a family pet who had a small paddock behind a garage he runs. Like he said, you only think that it'll happen to someone else's horse. Unfortunately he found out the hard way that where the Grand National is concerned, it has to happen to someone. So it may as well be you.

The Grand National was the brainchild of the Victorians at a time when people respected bravery and heroism above everything else. It was introduced to test the bravery and heroism of the people who rode the horses, not of the horses themselves. Since then, the sensibilities of most of the UK population has changed. Animals come first. They rely on us to take care of them, not abuse them. What's interesting is that if you or I put a horse through something like that in a field, we'd be hauled before the courts for animal neglect.

The Grand National has had its day - at least in its current form. It is outdated and past its sell by date.