Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Liberated From Illegal Butcher, Horse Inspires



From my friend, Susan Salk's "Off-Track Thoroughbreds" blog.  Thanks for sharing this story!

Richard Couto ROCKS!!!!!!!  ~Declan


Liberated from illegal butcher, a horse inspires

Freedom's Flight was next in line to be slaughtered in a Florida slaughterhouse when he was saved. He inspired the creation of the Animal Recovery Mission.
Freedom’s Flight was next in line to be slaughtered in a Florida slaughterhouse when he was saved. He inspired the creation of the Animal Recovery Mission.
Tied to a tree in the Florida Everglades, the Thoroughbred with the fortuitous name Freedom’s Flight awaited his fate: death in an illegal slaughterhouse.
He stood on a shattered leg that had snapped in April 2008 at a Gulfstream Park race, as his face swelled grotesquely and oozed mucus from Strangles, a contagious disease so severe he was nearly choking with it.
Awaiting the thrust of a knife deep into his heart, like the horse in line just ahead, the great-great grandson of Secretariat was far from the eyes of the public, and adoring horse fans. He was in the C-9 Basin in south Florida, only 20 miles from Miami.
And just when it seemed life was really going to end this way, the rattling sound of tires on gravel heralded the arrival of help. The Miami-Dade Police Department along with the SPCA had arrived on scene to the chaos of death and terrified horses.
And it didn’t take the poor horse long to choose a friend among his saviors.
Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder and lead investigator for the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), was a SPCA volunteer when he accompanied an associate to the killing ground of the C-9 Basin. As the horror of the place washed over Couto, he rushed to the side of the meek ex-racehorse, wanting to comfort him, seeking to reassure him that help had arrived: Freedom’s Flight would not die this day.
Freedom’s Flight
Sire: Pulpit
Dam: Heather’s Flight, by Seattle Dancer
Foal date: Feb. 16, 2005
“The second I saw Freedom’s Flight, I took a picture of him. I couldn’t believe it. Then I went up to him and he put his head and full weight onto me,” Couto says. “Before I started volunteering with the SPCA, I’d vowed I would not adopt a horse, and I certainly never planned to adopt a horse with a broken leg.”
However, as he assisted the others in helping the sick, emaciated gelding get onto a rescue trailer, his thoughts were already forming. And when he later visited the animal in quarantine within a stone’s throw of other illegal slaughterhouses, Couto made a new vow.
“Standing in a horse pasture at the SPCA, I could hear the screams of animals at the illegal slaughterhouse across the street,” he says. “While I listened to the animals being tortured on 97th Avenue, where there were 18 illegal farms at the time, I vowed to this horse that I would seek redemption for him. One day, I told him, I’ll do it.”
Couto spoke truth that day in the field.
Freedom's Flight was the next in line to die in an illegal slaughterhouse in the C-9 Basin of Florida when the SPCA, the Miami-Dade Police arrived.
Freedom’s Flight was the next in line to die in an illegal slaughterhouse in the C-9 Basin of Florida when the SPCA, the Miami-Dade Police arrived.
He adopted Freedom’s Flight from the SPCA and visited him regularly in his quarantine field. It was hot that summer, as he hosed off the sweat and flies, and promised to avenge the suffering animal.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

US Senate Committee Approves PAST Act to Protect Walking Horses





U.S. Senate Committee Approves PAST Act Favored By Humane Society Of The U.S. For Protecting Walking Horses

Wednesday, April 09, 2014  As posted on The Chattanoogan
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Wednesday approved the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406/H.R. 1518) by voice vote. The bill is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, which said the PAST Act "will end the decades-long abusive training method of soring, which involves the use of chemicals and devices on the legs and feet of Tennessee walking horses to force them to perform the high-stepping 'Big Lick' gait."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn is sponsoring a bill that HSUS claims would protect owners and trainers who allegedly abuse horses.
Senator Lamar Alexander has submitted a bill that he said is a compromise between the two measures.
Keith Dane, vice president of equine protection for the HSUS, said: “Horse soring is a disgrace, but growing momentum for the PAST Act means that reform is within reach. Today’s committee action was a significant step forward. Congress should ensure a sound future for Tennessee walking horses by passing this legislation on the Senate floor without delay.”
The HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund "expressed their thanks to Senators Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va., for their leadership on S. 1406, and to Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Ranking Member John Thune, R-S.D., and Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for their support during today’s committee markup.
"The PAST Act will fortify the federal Horse Protection Act, which was passed in 1970 but contained loopholes that have allowed soring to thrive in factions of the Tennessee walking horse industry. The bill's needed reforms include eliminating the failed industry self-policing system, banning devices used in the soring process from the show ring, and strengthening penalties to provide a meaningful deterrent against abusing horses to cheat at horse shows. 
"The PAST Act is co-sponsored by 51 senators and 269 representatives. It is endorsed by the American Horse Council and more than 50 other national and state horse groups, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and state veterinary groups in all 50 states, key individuals in the Tennessee walking horse show world, and many others."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

20 Things You Didn't Know About Zebras


Here are some pretty cool facts about zebras that I didn't know!! ~Declan

20 things you didn't know about zebras

From their smart stripes to the power of their kicks, behold the wonders of zebras.
As posted on Mother Nature Network      
      

Photo: Joel Shawn/Shutterstock
Few animals are as striking as the zebra in a purely graphic sense. Giant pandas, penguins and skunks may share the same bold color combination, but the zebra’s contrasting stripes make it an animal that stands out from the crowd. Its dazzling mod pattern has made the zebra a muse to fashion designers, a mascot for advertisers, and a delight to legions of zoo visitors. But the zebra is much more than a horse with stripes. Consider the following:

1. There are three species of zebra and in the wild they are only found in Africa. They include: Burchell's zebra, also known as the common or plains zebra; Grevy's zebra, named for Jules Grevy, a 19th century French president who received one from Abyssinia as a gift; and the Equus zebra. All three belong to the genus Equus, which includes horses and donkeys.

2. Why oh why does a zebra have those stripes? Theories abound. Most commonly, a zebra’s distinctive stripes are thought to offer protection – they provide camouflage against grasses and make individual animals difficult to single out in a herd when viewed by predators. But new research suggests that the stripes may have evolved as a deterrent to blood-sucking insects. (Note to self: Try stripes during mosquito season.)

3. The skin of a zebra is black. Does that makes its stripes white? The conundrum ensues.

Close up of a zebra's head
Photo: Michal Ninger/Shutterstock
4. Each species of zebra has different types of stripes, varying in width and pattern distribution.

Curiously, the farther south on the African plains the zebra lives, the father apart its stripes will be.

5. Within each species, no two zebras have the same stripes; they are as unique as fingerprints.

6. "Tijuana Zebras" are not zebras, at all. They are painted donkeys used in the Mexican town as a tourist gimmick.

7. Zebras weigh anywhere from 400 to 850 pounds, depending on the species. The Grevy's zebra is the largest wild member of the horse family.

group of zebras
Photo: Chantal de Bruijne/Shutterstock)
8. Zebras are social animals and live in small family groups that combine into large herds. Even when grouped in a massive swath of other zebras, they remain close to their families.

9. Constantly on the watch for lions and hyenas, a herd helps with all of its extra eyes to monitor for danger. If a zebra is attacked, other zebras come to its defense and form a circle around it to ward off the predator.

10. Zebras are often found mingling with antelope herds, adding extra protection against threats.

11. In the wild, zebras usually live to be between 20 to 30 years old; they can live until 40 in zoos.

zonkey
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
12. We have been cross-breeding zebras with other equines since at least the 19th century; the resulting "zebroids" come in a number of newfangled names, from zedonk, zorse and zebra mule to zonkey (pictured above) and zebrine.

13. Zebras don’t run as quickly as horses; they max out at around 35 mph, but they have excellent endurance and their zigzagging gait helps them to better evade predators.

14. A cornered zebra rears, kicks and bites in defense. There have been numerous recorded cases of zebras killing lions, generally by a swift kick to the head that at the very least breaks the jaw, resulting in the cat's eventual starvation.

15. Humans have certainly tried, but zebras, in general, have been resistant to our domestication efforts. Bless their stubborn souls; although perhaps more accurately, it’s their aggressive nature that has spared them such a fate. It’s not a docile creature that survives the plains of Africa and can kill a lion.

Lionel Walter Rothschild was able to train zebras to draw his carriage through London
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
16. While eccentric zoologist Lionel Walter Rothschild (1868-1937), 2nd Baron Rothschild, was able to train zebras to draw his carriage through London (pictured above in 1895), he knew that zebras would be unsuitable for riding and further domestication.

17. During the zebras' annual migration in search of food and water, it is the responsibility of the oldest male in the family to ensure that the group never strays too far from water.

18. Burchell's zebra are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, though their numbers have gone down significantly in the last century. Both the Grevy's zebra and the Equus zebra are listed as endangered. Humans are the biggest threat to zebra populations; hunting and habitat destruction are to blame for their decline.

19. Of all the Fruit Stripe Gum mascots, the zebra, “Yipes,” has outlasted the rest and has become the main spokesanimal. In 1988, Yipes was made into a promotional bendy figure, one that can fetch relatively high prices in the toy collector’s market.

zebra foal
Photo: H. van der Winden/Shutterstock
20. And last but not least, zebra foals can get up and walk a mere 20 minutes after they’re born. All together now: awwww.


BLM Illegally Rounds Up Wild Horses - Ships Them to Slaughter



Government rounds up 41 horses






The U.S. government just rounded up 41 wild horses that were roaming public land and shipped 37 of them off to a Canadian slaughterhouse.  4 young foals were rescued are now under the care of a veterinarian in Colorado.

About 48,000 are now under government control.  Many of them are being held in holding pens in the American West.

Critics say this latest roundup was illegal.  The Bureau of Land Management says "regarding the 41 unauthorized domestic horses...The Bureau of Land Management had no authority over these animals under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act other than their removal.”  But the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act clearly states "'wild free-roaming horses and burros' means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States."

Jane speaks to Ginger Kathrens, the executive director of the Cloud Foundation, who saw these horses just before they were rounded up and says they were unbranded.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cosequin Presents OTTB Showcase: Thoroughbred Proves Best Match


OTTBs (Off Track Thoroughbreds) can be re-trained to have new jobs and a second chance.  This story is a great example of that!  ~Declan


Cosequin presents OTTB Showcase: Thoroughbred Proves Best Match


        
Carlye and
Carlye and "Bling"

Most moms love to gush about their daughters, and most equestrians love to gush about their horses. Michelle Yanstick is a proud mom who can’t say enough about her daughter’s OTTB, a horse who completely changed the Yanstick family’s views on off-track Thoroughbreds in the hunter ring.

Carlye Yanstick was four-years-old when she started riding horses, and by age six she had her first pony. Riding was her passion and as she grew, she progressed from her pony to a small horse and eventually to a big, beautiful Warmblood that she showed in the hunter divisions.

“She’d been competing since she was five and was ready to show in the three-foot hunter division, but unfortunately her horse was unpredictable and landed both my daughter and her trainer in the hospital on separate occasions,” explained Michelle.

“We made the decision to sell him and find something new, and as a mom my first priority was safety.”

The Yansticks looked at a number of horses, mostly Warmbloods, who were capable of doing the three-foot division, but were just not finding the right match for her 16-year-old daughter, Carlye.

“We were in Pennsylvania looking at yet another such horse and saw an ad for a just-turned-four-year-old OTTB,” said Michelle. “Why we even went to look at him remains a mystery to both of us.

The horse was only walking, trotting, cantering and trail riding and had no show experience whatsoever…certainly not what we were looking for.”

Or, so they thought.

They contacted the owner, who was using the horse as a trail horse since a back injury was preventing her from doing more than light flatwork with him, and made an appointment to go out and see him.

“He was adorable and seemed so quiet, especially for a four-year-old,” said Michelle. “Carlye got on him and tried him at the walk, trot and canter, since that’s basically all he knew how to do.”

Michelle took a video of the pair and showed it to Carlye’s trainer to get her input.

“[Carlye’s trainer] thought he was cute, but couldn’t understand why a teenage girl would want to take on the project of training a baby Thoroughbred who clearly would be a long way away from jumping three-foot fences in the show ring,” said Michelle.

photo (10)

Her trainer, however, respected Carlye’s tenacity, and told her that if she was willing to put in the time and understood the challenges she was going to face training a young ex-racer, she’d help her through the process.

“Carlye said there was just something about Bling that made her want to own him, and I am a firm believer that our animals find us,” said Michelle. “We drove back to that farm in Pennsylvania the next day and brought Bling home.”

Bling had a long road ahead of him. He’d never even trotted over a ground pole, but he had a good attitude, and Carlye had faith in his abilities and potential.

Just a few months after she began working with him, Carlye decided to take him to his first show.

“I tried to discourage her – I felt it was still too soon in his training,” said Michelle. “She had faith in Bling and, as fate would have it, in his lesson the night before his first show he decided to understand what a lead change was!”

The next day, Michelle’s hope was that Bling would simply behave and keep her daughter safe as they navigated their courses. He did that and so much more, as in their first show together Carlye and Bling earned Grand Champion in the Baby Green division.

“Competitions are one thing, but the greatest joy we have in owning Bling is his fabulous personality and great mind,” said Michelle. “He is the youngest horse in the show barn where he is boarded and time and time again he proves he is more reliable than horses two and three times his age.”

Carlye and Bling have a blast together, riding around the farm bareback (sometimes double with her friends), trail riding, and even swimming in the lake.

“The bond Carlye shares with Bling is unlike any she’s had with any other horse,” said Michelle.

“My daughter’s dedication to him, our trainer’s knowledge, and Bling’s attitude all contributed to their success. As a mom, Bling is worth a million bucks because he takes such great care of my daughter.

“My impression of Thoroughbreds before we owned Bling, I’m ashamed to admit, was that they were all high-strung and unpredictable. Being in the hunter world, we were all far more impressed with Warmbloods. Bling has changed my mind for good. He is the friendliest, most trustworthy, calm-natured horse we have owned. I could not ask for a better partner for my daughter.”


My Little REAL Pony: Mum Plans Parties Where Children Make up Their Own Horses


This is a really creative idea! ~Declan


My Little REAL Pony: Mum plans parties where children make up their own  horses

  • By Liam Moffett  As posted on WalesOnline


Michelle Inch said pampering and dressing up dogs has become mainstream so she had decided to go for horses

Michelle Inch and her horse Roseleigh

Blinged up, she’s the mane attraction with her dazzling hot-pink hooves and shimmering ponytail.

Roseleigh, a six-year-old horse, loves nothing more than to be pampered and turned into a real life My Little Pony, according to her owner.

Michelle Inch, 25, from Barry, now plans to run My Little Pony parties, where children can make up their own ponies, after harnessing her creativity to develop body art and paint for the animals.

She said: “As a child I loved dressing up My Little Pony toys in their glitzy outfits and brushing their sparkly manes.

“And decorating Roseleigh with coloured sprays, polishes and diamanté makes grooming her just as much fun. People have said they think it’s cruel to dye a horse’s mane and spray her with colours.


“But I only have to approach with my grooming brushes and ­Roseleigh is nuzzling up to me.

“She loves nothing more than being pampered.

“Applying the pink polish balm to her hooves feels as if I’m giving her a wonderful foot massage, not abusing her.”

Michelle, who has a daughter, Brooke, six, and is expecting a second baby with partner Sean Wilkin, 29, runs a dog grooming business.

She decided to start using her skills to give horses makeovers after rescuing Roseleigh and paying £100 for her.

She said: “Within six months I’d got her back to full health. By then she’d grown to adore being groomed.”

Michelle started with £5 pink polish ointment on her hooves. “The pink balm is like a foot cream so it helped get Roseleigh’s hooves back into a lovely condition,” she said.

“Then I decided to add pretty glitter to it.”

Michelle – who uses non-toxic chalks and dyes to colour her horse’s mane – has set up an online business, Equidivine, which sells horse pampering treatments. She says she has 7,000 customers.

Katya Mira, from the RSPCA, said: “It is important to remember that an animal is not a fashion accessory. The RSPCA has concerns about anything which might lead people to see them as replaceable ornaments, rather than living creatures in need of care and commitment.”

But Michelle said: “Pampering dogs, dressing them up and painting their claws has become mainstream. Why not horses?

“Some horse owners have been critical. They seem to think there is ­something undignified about ­glamming up a horse.

“But I don’t think it’s any different from putting a brightly coloured blanket over your horse or plaiting your horse’s mane for a dressage competition.”

How to Get a Horse on a Trailer



A Feel Good Sunday Post



This is a cool video.  How many of your horses load like these two?  It's always good to have your horses know how to load in case of an emergency.  You really should practice trailering them and who knows, someday you never know, you might be able to get your horses to load that well too!  Enjoy the video and be sure to put it on a large screen!!  ~Declan


Friday, March 28, 2014

The Ugly Truth About Horse Racing



Not everyone in horse racing is dishonest or cruel to the horses, but the ones who are, ruin it for everyone.  And the ones who see what is going on and say/do nothing are just as bad as the abusers themselves.

Please at least watch the investigation video [WARNING: Video contains foul language] - it shows the ugly truth behind horse racing.  With the big races coming up, people need to hear what really goes on behind the scenes of horse racing and get a dosage of truth.  
Unfortunately, from the people at the tracks to those in the comfort of their tv rooms, many will still turn a blind eye.  I really hope that when people learn the truth, it will make them want to make the changes necessary to put the focus on the horses and their well-being, not just on making or winning money.  I really hope that the people who watch horse racing and bet on horses don't know what really goes on because if they do, it makes them just as bad as the abusers themselves.  ~Declan



The Ugly Truth About Horse Racing

An exposé by PETA, published in The New York Times, shows a side of the sport that the industry has tried hard to shield from public view. 

Andrew Cohen March 24th, 2014, 3:31pm ET   As posted on The Atlantic

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Having a Donkey at Your Wedding Is a Thing Now


My Feel Good Sunday post! ~Declan









Having a Donkey at Your Wedding Is a Thing Now

  • By Maggie Lange            

The latest accessory for your wedding is a donkey.

According to the wedding-trend reporters at the Knot, donkeys at weddings are literal walking icebreakers, beasts that will lighten the burden of socializing. An Arizona company called Haul N Ass Productions has trained them to walk around, distributing beer from saddlebags. They also carry their own carrot snacks.

For entirely donkey-themed nuptials, there’s the Donkey Sanctuary in England, which was registered as a wedding venue in 2013. Couples marry in a decorated stable. Two of the participating donkeys are named Mopsy and Zippo.

Donkeys are especially popular in Tex-Mex-Southwestern-themed weddings. At this wedding, the donkey wore a floral straw hat and looked pissed off. At this wedding the donkey tried to eat the fancy floral arrangement, which, in his defense, looked like hay.

Participating burros can be small and adorable or quite large. Of course they can serve as transportation. Or perhaps, the donkey will just be a cool, chill party guest willing to stick his furry face in between the newly wedded.

Sometimes a couple getting married just happens onto an unemployed donkey in the background. Hugging a donkey in a wedding dress is funny! St. Johns destination offers semi-wild roaming donkeys in the background, for when you get bored of your guests.

Or you can get a sanctioned donkey. Vanessa Rice, at Haul N Ass, reports:
The donkeys go in hotels, restaurants — they go everywhere. The first thing guests want to do is touch their ears so they have to be very tolerant and they genuinely love people. The main thing is that they are trained to stand still and they’re rewarded for their good behavior. At weddings, you’ve got people that have never met, and before you know it, they’re hanging with the donkey, meeting over the donkey and helping each other take photos.
Rentable donkeys ($250 per hour) can wear a Southwestern costume or beautiful white decorations to match your wedding dress. Haul N Ass reports that they also accessorize their burros with a discreet donkey diaper, since animals poop wherever. Enjoy your special day!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

PETA Video Prompts Investigation of Horse Trainers in New York and Kentucky



I just hope that the truth starts to come out about what race horses go through and how some are treated so poorly and even abused.  ~Declan





Photo

Steve Asmussen lifted the Woodlawn Vase after Rachel Alexandra’s 2009 Preakness Stakes win.CreditMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

The horse racing authorities in New York and Kentucky opened investigations on Thursday into allegations of mistreatment of thoroughbred racehorses by Steve Asmussen, the nation’s second-winningest horse trainer, and his assistant Scott Blasi.
The investigations were prompted after complaints and evidence of suspected violations, gathered in an undercover investigation, were provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to the New York State Gaming Commission and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
“The behavior depicted in the undercover video and supporting materials is disturbing and disgusting,” said Dr. Scott Palmer, New York’s equine medical director. “We are working to determine what happened and ensure that proper protocols are put in place to prevent such actions from taking place again.”
Dick Brown, spokesman for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said that the commission “takes allegations of cruelty to animals very seriously.”
The undercover inquiry was conducted by a PETA investigator who worked for Asmussen — who is on the ballot for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and has a Kentucky Derby contender, Tapiture — for four months in the spring and summer of 2013 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
PETA filed 10 complaints with the state and federal authorities accusing Asmussen and Blasi of administering drugs to their horses for nontherapeutic purposes and of having a jockey use an electrical device to shock the horses into running faster. The investigator compiled a detailed report using a hidden camera to record video that showed widespread mistreatment of horses.
PETA also accused Asmussen of employing undocumented workers, requiring them to use false names on Internal Revenue Service forms and conspiring with Blasi to produce false identification documents, according to complaints filed with state and federal agencies.
The allegations come as horse racing continues to wrestle with a drug culture that its officials concede has badly damaged the sport. Congress has held multiple hearings and has proposed legislation that would create stricter rules and give the United States Anti-Doping Agency the authority to enforce them.
“We know from testimony given in front of my own subcommittee that the abuse of prescription and nonprescription drugs is rampant in horse racing right now,” said Representative Joe Pitts, Republican of Pennsylvania, who sponsored the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act. “This disturbing behind-the-scenes footage reinforces how bad things have gotten in the industry. I hope this builds even more support for needed reforms.”
Asmussen and Blasi have declined to comment through their lawyer. Through his agent, the jockey, Ricardo Santana Jr., has denied using an electrical device, an allegation that was prompted by a video recording of Blasi stating that Santana had done so.
The videos also capture some of thoroughbred racing’s most prominent figures discussing chicanery in a cavalier manner. There is a recording of a conversation about buzzers, the electrical devices Santana is accused of using, that the investigator had at dinner with the Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and the trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Stevens, 51, who has won nineTriple Crown races, talks about how he was given such a machine to race with as a young rider and how he managed to shock himself.
Lukas, who has won 14 Triple Crown races — the most for a trainer — said that in the beginning of his career as a quarter horse trainer, everyone at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico had a buzzer and that behind the gate, “it was just like a full-blown orchestra.”
The videos and the report showed how multiple drugs were given daily to Asmussen’s racehorses — whether they needed them or not — by grooms and employees so that they could pass veterinary inspections, make it to the racetrack or perhaps perform at a higher level.
Among the drugs was thyroxine, a hormone intended to address thyroid problems. It is a metabolic stimulant that promotes weight loss and the development of lean muscle mass and increases heart rate. It was recently added to a list of prohibited drugs by the international governing body for Olympic equestrian disciplines.
In a recent investigation into the sudden deaths of seven horses trained by Bob Baffert from 2011 to 2013, the California Horse Racing Board found that Baffert was giving thyroxine to all of his horses whether they had thyroid problems or not. Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer, said he stopped using the drug last March after the seventh horse died.
Dr. Jeff Blea, president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, said that all veterinary treatments and procedures should be based on an examination and a medical diagnosis.
“After viewing the video, I found numerous items to be disturbing and tasteless,” Blea said. “Everyone involved in the sport of horse racing has a fundamental responsibility to respect the horse and put the health and welfare of the horse first, in all aspects of care.”