Oct 27, 2009

Plus ça change...

An excerpt from William Youatt's "The Horse" on the demise of the racehorse industry:

"Childers and Eclipse did not appear until they were 5 years old; but many of our best horse, and those, perhaps, who would have shown equal excellence with the most celebrated races, are foundered and destroyed before that period.

Whether the introduction of short races, and to young horses, be advantageous, and whether slowness and usefulness may not thus be somewhat too sacrificed to speed: whether there may be danfer that an animal designed for service may, in process of time, be frittered away almost to a shadow of what he was, in order that at 2 years old, over the 1-mile-course, he may astonish the crowd by his fleetness..."

Still rings true today, doesn't it.  Amazing that we have been grappling with the same issues for over 100 years now.  I've been quick to defend early 20th century racing and breeding as superior to our own, but maybe it's all been on a slow decline since the late 1800s.  Kind of astonishing to think about.

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