Three horses dead in single day of racing

It was only a matter of time before the first horses were killed in this year’s New Zealand jumps racing season and now it has happened. The Queen’s Birthday meeting at Ellerslie had four jumps races – three of which saw horses die:

  • Tu Meta Peta – a 5 year-old, was euthanised after jumping the first fence awkwardly, falling and fracturing his right shoulder
  • Musashi – a 6 year-old, was killed after falling and fracturing his left foreleg
  • Bahhton – a 7 year-old, fractured his right shoulder on falling and was then euthanised 

Musashi, had been leading the field for most the grueling 4150m steeplechase, which involved two circuits over large obstacles, and twice climbing a big hill. Tired horses are more likely to clip a jump or stumble on landing and fall.

Horses die in jumps races every year. Two New Zealand horses, Fieldmaster and Cliff’s Dream, who were exported to race in Australia, were killed in May this year. A total of at least 17 horses are known to have died in New Zealand races since 2013, and the 2016 season still has four months to go.

The reality is that when an injury, particularly a fracture, is sustained by a racehorse they are almost always euthanised. Jumps racing has a high rate of injury and death because horses are pushed to jump high fences at speed, surrounded by many other horses.

Jumps racing is impossible to make safe, as by its very nature, there is a constant risk to the horse. Horses are dying on race tracks every year and the casualties will continue to mount unless action is taken to ban jumps racing.


8 June 2016