Yet again, at a major race event, this time the Melbourne Cup, a horse takes a serious fall, this time breaking its shoulder and resulting in euthanasia.

Cliffs of Moher was a was a bay colt of very uncertain ownership…

This in itself is serious enough, but the whole story goes further on realising that this horse was just 4½ years old. He started his ‘career’ in a seven furlong (1.4 km) race at the age of just 2½.

To be able to race a horse at this age, it means starting training very early and him being under the saddle at barely 2 years of age. An abominable practice condoned not only by an industry that earns billions of dollars/pounds/euros a year, but by countless countries that refuse to crack down on this abuse of animal welfare, oft because the revenues on betting are enormous.

And we hear everyone saying that the riders, trainers, stablehands etc ‘love the horses’ – well, maybe they do, but they certainly don’t respect them.

A Safe Start – The Reality of Training Early