Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Suicide Horses: a digression

It's been a long while since our last sports-related digression, and we're not sure what took us so long. Because this tradition has been around long enough to have merited attention before now. The event is the World Famous Suicide Race, a cherished part of the annual Omak (Washington) Stampede, wherein riders and horses race down a 62-degree slope and into Okanogan River, swim about 100 yards, and then charge up a 500-yard incline.

Why is this colorful equestrian pageant called that, you may wonder. The spectacle has been around since the mid 30s, and from 1984 to the present, at least 20 horses have died from injuries sustained during the race.

What slots this right alongside our usual niche is that word, suicide. See, the horses choose this dangerous sport and make it their own. They volunteer for it. Their human partners honor the horses' wishes, helping to make their dreams come true.

So when they crash down Suicide Hill and tumble into the water… Well, after all, this is what they wanted.

(Image source: IDA USA.)

1 comment:

Cavall de Quer said...

Dah! Load of pantywaists: 741 racehorses killed in UK racing in 1600 something days:Racehorse deathwatch from Animal Aid pages. That's REAL horsemanship! And they're only allowed to hit the horses 5-6 times with a whip (despite scientific evidence that whipped horses don't go as fast as unwhipped ones).....