McLaughlin On Lasix: ‘We Should Be Able To Be Without It In America’

by | 01.29.2016 | 1:33pm
Kiaran McLaughlin

Kiaran McLaughlin spent 10 years training racehorses for the Maktoum family in Dubai, where horses cannot be given any medications within seven days of a race. The trainer referred to the ability to run horses without Lasix or other race-day medications as “eye-opening” in an interview at thoroughbredracing.com.

“There is no Lasix worldwide, and I feel that we should be able to be without it in America,” said McLaughlin. “I think if you could go major league racing, with no Lasix, and minor league racing, with Lasix, might be a great answer to it, but I think people in America, for the most part, feel they can't race without it.”

Currently, McLaughlin trains for both Shadwell Stable and Godolphin Stable. Both have been outspoken in their aversion to Lasix, and the trainer makes every effort to not run their horses on the drug in North America, at least until the horse shows him it is necessary. “I think both parties would love to see someday no Lasix,” McLaughlin said, “because the rest of the world has no Lasix, but while there is Lasix, our horses are allowed to run on Lasix.”

Read more of the interview at thoroughbredracing.com.

  • Roark

    Runhappy won a sprinting Eclipse without Lasix (or Bute). By definition that makes him the fastest 6F horse in the world on dirt. If Kiaran wants to see how a drug-free horse should be conditioned, he’s welcome to look at Runhappy’s worktab. Hint: works the length of races (or further) and just a few ticks slower. Breezing a router over a slowish 4F isn’t sufficient, ask Rock Fall (R.I.P). Sorry to be crass, but it’s well past time for niceties in regards to this issue. The drug free path has been proven on our country’s biggest stage, in spades, thanks to Runhappy.

    • Roark

      Can’t edit above, I didn’t mean to insinuate that Rock Fall was a router, he was the fastest sprinter in the country – for a while. But he never breezed a bullet, yet was routinely asked to race fast as lightning. It caught up to him. Mr. McLaughlin hit the nail on the head as to why the rest of the world doesn’t need Lasix; early paces are much slower and over more forgiving surfaces. Bingo. That’s less demanding on bones and lungs.

      • takethat

        Just an FYI about the history of Lasix use in the US. I guess early pace was not a factor until 1995 in NY – LOL. Then they started bleeding.
        Embraced by horsemen and racetrack operators, Lasix was first legalized by the Maryland racing commission for raceday use – reportedly with little or no controls – in 1974. By 1976, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Kentucky, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and other states had followed.
        Supporters argued it would allow horses to handle the rigors of a full-year schedule. Horses then averaged about 10 starts per year.

        New York held out until September 1995. Fearful of losing horses, it made a business decision to legalize it.

        The original rigid scopes gave way to flexible endoscopes in the early 1980’s. Once minute amounts of blood could be detected,
        trainers could argue that their horse deserved to race on Lasix. Nowadays, every jurisdiction affords Lasix, no proof required.

        • Roark

          Thanks for that, I am very familiar with the history. One NY based bozo even claimed that adding Lasix would INCREASE the number of starts a horse made – which we all know was the opposite of what happened. McLaughlin himself tacitly admitted that if even a drop of blood is seen in a scope, it’s Lasix City from there on out.

          Back in the 90’s I watched vets and trainers take a syringe, withdraw some blood, then shoot it back into the nostrils to qualify for the ‘bleeders list’ compiled by track personnel. ‘Horsemen’, huh.

          Lasix, like all drugs, is a shortcut with questionable long term effects.

        • Ruffian31

          Actuall NY held out until Cigar’s connections threatened to not run in NY in 1995 if they didn’t allow Lasix. And since the BC that year was in NY…no brainer. Personally I liked they held out because you could always tell the real hard knockers and those that didn’t need medication to run. I remember Devil His Due’s stud ads advertising that in 43 starts, he only ran on medication (bute) in once race. Pretty impressive in my book.

    • Rosemary Homeister

      One horse

      • Ruffian31

        Um, how about the fact ALL Casner horses run without medication, and there are several others who don’t either. If one horse and others can run without it, so can everyone else.

        • Rosemary Homeister

          The horses get 5 other shots like in newyork before lasix

          • Bourbon Man

            And the Rest Of The World, Rosemary? How do they manage?

          • Rosemary Homeister

            Europeans don’t scope so they don’t know they’ve bled until it becomes obvious or out of their nose

          • Alex

            You are right. The European way to diagnose EIPH is to wait until blood comes gushing out of the nostrils. Since endoscopy has been around for more than 60 years, wondering when they are going to catch up?

          • Rosemary Homeister

            And still smoke cigarettes too

  • Kellye Pikul

    Years ago, I read an Australian study that said horses don’t need anti-bleeding medication if allowed to really open up the lungs and RUN for a few seconds before a race.
    I’ve watched many races where the runners barely jogged before post time, but then bolted out of the gate at top speed. It makes sense that it would be a shock to the system.

    • longtimehorsewoman

      I would agree with that. We do not really warm horses up before a race. I blame the use of lead ponies for this (read, lack of training of the racehorses). Just like us, horses need to warm up and just a short, slow, gallop is not enough. Look at Standardbred (whose times continue to improve), they go out between races and warm up for their upcoming race.

      • Michael Castellano

        Good point.

  • Alex

    Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH is a progressive disease. Each and every time a horse bleeds/ EIPH damage is done to the horses lungs.
    Many areas of the world that do not allow horses to race on Lasix for preventing the disease Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH, also don’t consider a horse to have Bled /EIPH if blood is not in the nostrils. In other words they don’t use an endoscope to officially diagnosis EIPH. In the Western Hemisphere Bleeding /EIPH is diagnosed with an endoscope. Failure to use an endoscopy for respiratory problems in horses may be considered malpractice in the United States.
    The Jockey Club did an extremely well documented study on Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH recently in South Africa. The results of this Jockey Club’s study was that over time nearly all horses racing suffer from EIPH, and Lasix was highly effective in preventing EIPH, or dramatically reducing the the level of EIPH. This was not the results The Jockey Club was interested in.
    Dr. Stephen Sellway and others just completed a study of EIPH and the prevention of this disease with the use of Lasix and in a press release had similar findings. Most horses racing suffer from EIPH and Lasix is highly effective in preventing and reducing EIPH in racing horses.
    Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has the option to not use Lasix for the prevention and management of Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH, and run all of the horses he trains Lasix free. However McLaughlin regularly uses Lasix. McLaughlin’s statement on the use of Lasix (stop using Lasix) is like the pot calling the kettle black.

    • Matthew Fitch

      It’s really not a pot/kettle situation. He thinks it is primarily a performance enhancer rather than theraputic.He thinks it should not be allowed. All his competitors use it. He trains for clients who expect that he won’t deliberately put them at a competitive disadvantage. He follows the rules that exist now, and is advocating for what he considers better rules in the future.

      • Rosemary Homeister

        Id like to see Moheyman run without lasix in the Derby

        • ben

          Why giving any other horse, an advantage from more than 2 sec,s. As is fully proved in a couple of serious studies.

    • Rosemary Homeister

      Finally an educated answer to this controversy that horses bleed and can prevent it with lasix. All American trainers know this and continue to use it for breezing and racing. We honestly didn’t need any official testing to prove to us that lasix is preventative. The public has to be convinced and the track officials have to admit it but to real hands-on horseman, this is old news!

      • ben

        Every one is talking about preventative, but where are them proofs that the stuff is preventing something. Hardly proof by some investigations on a two race, one with the stuff and one without it.

        Showing less than a drop blood in the lungs is hardly excepted as bleeding.

        The average lifetime starts declined to less than 18, from thirty in the seventies.

        Proven is the fact that the stuff is an diuretic and proven aswell is that diuretics are performance enhacers.

        • longtimehorsewoman

          Exactly!!! If, supposedly, all horses bleed and bleeding is progressive. How to proponents explain the declining number of starts? Horses raced longer before Lasix. Lasix is a performance enhancer, and a side effect is bone de-mineralization. It is not helping horses.

          • Rosemary Homeister

            A decline in starts can be be attributed to other reasons such as soundness and year long racing

          • Ben

            CAN BE, if the sky is dropping on our heads, we, re all dead.

          • Rosemary Homeister

            It’s hard dealing with idiocracy

          • Ben knows that only too well.

          • circusticket

            Ben is right. The South African study was done with only two races. One with and one without Lasix. I don’t know any human who would take a drug themselves that was “proven” to work when used only once or twice yet we’re giving it to the horses. They deserve better. There has been no research study done on the long term effects of using Lasix so we’re essentially giving the horses an untested drug. Sounds like malpractice to me.

          • Rosemary Homeister

            McLaughlin takin an edge with lasix in the Holy Bull stakes at gulf

          • Alex

            Incorrect, there were hundreds of horses in thr South Afficran study done by Hinchcliff et.all

          • circusticket

            Sorry, I was correct. There were many horses as you mention but each horse only ran twice, once on placebo and once on Lasix. The research checked how one dose of Lasix could affect a horse. There was nothing done to learn how long term use would affect horses. Don’t you think that’s an important thing to bother researching?

          • Alex

            Lasix pharmacological is very short acting in horses and compared to the use humans (often daily use in humans) is given to horses at a relatively low doses and usually infrequently, only when racing and in some workouts. The low dose infrequent use of Lasix in horses hasn’t be proven to be detrimental. The benefits of using Lasix for the prevention and control of EIPH for the health and wellness of are numerous.

          • ben

            Alex, a very small dosage 3CC is working just as good as 10CC.

            The results ( pissing like a horse) are the same.

          • ben

            Ales, you know that statistical studies, are the reason from the lie.

            You can show everything, that you like to see, in those studies.

            It is the same b…t with the study done in Florida lately, that study was done by vet,s that were PRO USING lasix. So yes horses do bleed when you are forcing to overachieve their natural fit, or when the horses are acting up seriously at the gate, or in the parade ring. At that time the heart beat and the bloodpressure are already sky high.Probably bleeding at that time aswell.

          • ben

            It is really hard, to met idiots which are not understanding, that the source from the ailment has to be fighten off Instead they think that pushing the wrong needle and stuff will do any help.

            Are you having any experience in handling a bleeder, like I did.? You need to spent a couple of yrs, to understand how this ailment comes to fruitation.

        • Alex

          Ben; Facts, especially Scientific Facts based on extensive research escapes you.
          The Jockey Club funded research with hundreds of horses and thoulands of starts proved that over time nearly all horses racing suffer from EIPH and Lasix is highly effective in preventing EIPH. This comprehensive study was headed by Dr. Kenneth Hinchcliff B.V.Sc., PhD., a very long time researcher of EIPH and a professor of veterinary science at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and Dr. Paul Morley D.V.M., PhD., a professor of epidemiology at Colorado State University, Colorado Springs, U.S.A.
          As far as less life time starts, this is a function of many of the lessor or cheaper race tracks that that no longer have racing. Once a horse gets a step or so slower, economically there are few places for these horses to race, thus less life time starts.

          • ben

            Less than 1,5% is having epitaxis, 20% from the horses will not ever suffer any bleeding at all.

            Why on earth you would give all kids anti astmatic drugs if just a small % will get astmatic.?

            It is an ailment that might occuring in the long run. How many horses are ending up getting epitaxis.???

          • Alex

            YOU are only at least 60 years out of date. Blood in the nostrils , you claim is the way you diagnosis EIPH. Endoscopy has been available for more than 60 years. One that does not avial themselves to the use of an endoscope to see if their horse bleeds, that’s like not using radiographs to determine if a fracture(s) are present. Another way to put it, multiple scientific studies with the use of endoscopy have proved EIPH occurs in nearly all horses racing. Any time blood breaks out of the vascular system in horses lungs sets up a nitis for infection and lung damage.
            Your method of watching for blood in the nostrils to diagnose EIPH and not using a scope is like an Ostrich with your head in the ground hoping not to see if your horse has EIPH /BLEEDS.

        • Rosemary Homeister

          I guess it’s called trial and error after racing some without and then scoping afterwards with blood showing, a trainer decides to just protect the horses with lasix. Why does everyone argue against it, when bleeding causes panic pain and infection. Just for arguments sake is not a good reason

      • Ruffian31

        Lasix does more damage long run than helps. Ask any farrier or vet about that one. Lasix also mask other drugs as well. Lasix is only needed because humans want to spend money. Horses races for CENTURIES without medication and the rest of the world does as well. We seem to be the only country aside from Canada that seems to believe horses need it. Seems like we’re the ones in the stone age.

      • Alex

        You are very correct.
        Numerous comprehensive studies with hundreds of horses and thoulands of starts have proven It is clearly in the best interest of the horse to use Lasix for the prevention and management of Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH. Lasix is preventive medicine for the serious disease of Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH. Horsemen and Horsewomen since the early 1960’s have used Lasix.
        In fact Dr.Alex Harthill is credited with treating the 1964 Kentucky Derby winner, and all time great stallion Northern Dancer with Lasix.
        Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand ect. Don’t consider a horse a Bleeder until blood comes gushing out of their nostrils, this is also referred to as Epistaxis. Here in the western hemisphere we employ an endoscope to diagnose EIPH. Our colleges in the rest of the world know that the majority of horses racing bleed or suffer from EIPH. They also acknowledge that Lasix is highly effective in preventing and controlling EIPH. BUT they have terminology of
        “no race day medication” which prevents them from using Lasix to prevent and control EIPH. It is Old World vs New World thinking, certainly is not in the best interest of the horse when it comes to EIPH.

  • Alex

    You say “better rules for the future”.
    Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage EIPH can and does cause damage to horses lungs. EIPH can even lead to death of horses. Lasix prevents and or diminishes the disease of EIPH in racing horses. Why do you think it is not a good idea to use Lasix to help prevent the disease EIPH in racing horses????

    • ben

      There is a much better solution, supply them with a calming agent, and bleeding will not ever occur.

      • Rosemary Homeister

        We can’t use anything but lasix on race day

        • ben

          Only a calming agent will be sufficient in the treatment of bleeding.

          All others fails or are in use because of other effects.

          On the long run lasix is NOT working in the AGED racehorse. That is showed in a lot of studies.

  • Godolphin would do everyone a favour if they would distinguish between major league racing and minor league racing in Britain. Then again perhaps they feel that “they can’t race without it”.

    • Bill, when are you going to lighten up on the Arab bashing? It is kind of hard to take.

      • Barry, I’m sure that you get the same criticism on your WHOA stance. The woeful underachievement about which I generally complai about has arguably hurt British racing as much as PEDs have American. Think of it in terms of super-retailers and mom-and-pop stores, or Man. U. playing against Bury St. Edmunds on a daily basis: net result no smaller retailers and no local interest in soccer respectively. As far as “Arab bashing ” is concerned this particular post merely pointed out the irony of Keiran’s remark.

  • Figless

    I have argued his main position on here before, that Graded races should be Lasix free. Most importantly this would be easy to implement as the Committee could declare that no race run with Lasix is eligible for Graded classification. Simple, done.

    This is a logical compromise that protects the gene pool, the horses that genuinely need Lasix and the racetracks that need entries. Most importantly its gets us past the endless back and forth pro and anti-lasix arguments that serve to prevent progress.

    • Figless

      Once again a Lasix story results in all the usual knee jerk arguments for and against. This study, that study, blah blah blah. No one addressing the suggestion made in the article.

      Horses bleed. Check. Lasix eases and even prevents the bleeding. Check. Lasix masks other drugs. Check. It enhances performance. I say yes, of course, if it prevents bleeding horses run better. Check. We know this. Everyone is right, end of discussion, old news, do not need anymore studies.

      We need a solution and McLaughlin’s is an excellent compromise to get us past this endless and frankly at this stage boring back and forth.

      • Ruffian31

        Horses raced for CENTURIES without any drugs, there’s NO reason they suddenly need it now. Especially since everyone else forbids the use of the drug. It enhances performance because it causes a horse to lose water weight, which essentially makes it lighter and faster. But it has a cost, especially since now with the drug they need more time between races and can’t race as often. It’s sad. The horses don’t need the drug…only humans feel an animal needs it. If a horse is that bad that it needs to run on a medication, it should not be running or bred from…period.

        • ben

          You are 100% right.

          As long as horses bleeds through the lasix, It is just a performance enhacer.

        • Figless

          I agree mostly, but you are getting bogged down in the details, the general pro and con argument has been going on for 30 years and accomplished nothing. Lower the bar and BEGIN the process by eliminating it at the Major League level. Compromise and accomplish something instead of arguing the minutia.

          • Figless

            Put another way, if you continue to fight for a complete ban you will get nothing. Instead, set your sights lower and at least get it banned in the races that matter to the general public, for perception purposes, and more importantly in the the gene pool for the benefit of the breed. Winning a Graded Stakes would again mean something.

          • Figless

            Even more important its a simple fix. Attempting to get EVERY jurisdiction to concurrently change a long standing rule is simply impossible and the pie in the sky Federal Law doesn’t even accomplish this goal.

            But the Graded Stakes committee can do this essentially by Executive Order.

  • Michael Castellano

    I am of course not a trainer. But bleeding from a race seems like something that in nature would probably never happen. Horses have evolved over millions of years to run fast enough to evade most predators. Bleeding because of this thus makes no sense. The few horses that exhibit profound bleeding may have become more common because Lasix masks the problem and keeps them in the breeding picture. It also seems that horses might bleed because they are undertrained, so the speeds reached in a real race are a shock to the horse’s system? Keeping the horses cooped up most of the time might contribute to this, and the occasional jogging and workouts are not enough to strengthen them for maximum performance. It may also be that horses in the wild seldom had to run at race speeds, and some bleed because they are being forced to go faster than their genetics intended. Although I doubt that, since wild horses are constantly on the move, and thus constantly being “trained.”

    • Rosemary Homeister

      Keep your day job

    • longtimehorsewoman

      Horses in the wild do not carry a rider and only run fairly short distances. And of course, we do not know if they bleed. So it is pointless to use that as an example. Also, it is not just racehorses that bleed. Even draft horses bleed. Dr. Cook has done extensive research on bleeding and it is his opinion that bits are probably one of the major causes. When the reins are pulled, the bit presses down on the tongue, and also up on the upper palate. This forces the horse to raise the back of the tongue, partially blocking the airway. Lasix is a performance enhancing drug and that is why everyone wants to use it. The horse’s lungs are massive – unless you have seen video or photos of a necropsy and actually SEE how big they are, you really do not know what you’re talking about,.

      • Michael Castellano

        Horses in the wild are chased for hours by some predators, especially wolves and coyotes. They will run short sprints to escape, and the predators try to sneak up to them again. And even according to your own facts, it is not natural for them to bleed after they run. I’m well aware that Lasix is also used because of the belief that it enhances performance, don’t need you to tell me that. And if horse lungs are so large, one would not expect them to bleed so easily without some sort of interference.

        • Rosemary Homeister

          Has anyone scoped a wild horse recently?

          • Michael Castellano

            After you.

          • Neal Baker

            Nice comeback Michael. Rosemary has the credentials in this industry that you could only dream to have.

      • circusticket

        Actually, the Pony Express horses galloped 10 to 15 miles between relay stations and there’s no record of bleeding although there’s a very detailed history of all the other problems they encountered. Good thing they didn’t bleed because it would be a big disaster if they bled galloping through hostile territory.

        And about the short distances you mention that horses run in the wild, how do you explain that many barrel racing horses also bleed and they don’t run very far.

        Bleeding is caused by high pulmonary pressure. Horses that bleed are not as healthy as they should be.

        • Michael Castellano

          Do they jump over the barrels? And are they also inbred? And does the jumping also effect Steeplechase horses? I don’t think that just one factor is at play.

        • longtimehorsewoman

          First, I was saying they don’t run as hard as racehorses, and we don’t know if they bleed or not, so there was no point in using them as an example. I DID say other breeds bleed, including draft horses. I agree with you, do not know why you are arguing.

      • Michael Castellano

        Horses should not bleed from racing itself, if they do it’s likely because of inbreeding. Similar to the Kings and Queens of Europe coming down disproportionately with hemophilia and other conditions because they married within the family. It makes perfect evolutionary sense that negative traits like bleeding after running would be extremely rare. That they have become more common infers inbreeding. That doesn’t eliminate other factors, like being choked down in a race or being pushed past the horse’s abilities, but hereditary influences seem like a primary cause of the tendency.

      • horsewhisperer

        OK then let’s have some disclosure. Where is the list of standing Stallions that are bleeders? Are you (longtimehorsewoman), The Jockey Club, The Thoroughbred Breeders Assn., or is any State or breeding organization able to produce such a list?

        • ben

          No, and such a list would be fighten off nails and foot. It could devaluate the most valuable stallions and mares.

    • Ruffian31

      Bleeding is an inherited trait. It’s not something that just happens. If you breed to a bleeder, chances are you are going to get a bleeder. Same goes with breeding to horses that are unsound, or have certain genetic flaws/dispositions. There was a time when horses with problems were euthanized to prevent them from producing such traits.

  • Northern Dancer

    I 100% agree with Kiaran McLaughlin. I support a 100% drug free policy on race day. I don’t support a needle (which supposedly has Lasix in it) going into a competing athlete 4 hours prior to competition. It doesn’t happen in any other sport nor should it happen in horse racing. This is an integrity issue.
    Everybody here quoting studies, but fail to mention the fact that (most vets agree) Lasix is a performing enhancing drug. Also, it can serve as a possible smearing agent. This has all been agreed upon via reputable equine vets.
    It seems to be yet another window of opportunity for cheaters to prosper.
    So I say close this window of opportunity, and get back to clean drug-free racing.

    • Rosemary Homeister

      Don’t waste your time the results are in horses bleed

      • Northern Dancer

        The results are in: there is multiple drug violating trainers still training while other trainers with lesser violations are getting more severe punishments. So the results are in: there is a history of cheating. Therefore, any needle going into a racehorse on race day should be disallowed in order to eliminate the opportunity to cheat so that honest owner/trainers can get a fair shot and level playing field. Those are the results that most people in the industry want to see.

        • Rosemary Homeister

          Is that really fair to the horses?

          • Northern Dancer

            Absolutely. Lasix creates much more problems then it ever resolves such as electrolyte imbalances. Since it has been established as a performance enhancer it’s very possible that it contributes to horse breakdowns. Anything that enhances the natural ability of a racehorse increases the possibility of that racehorse breaking down because it is running beyond its capabilities.
            Further, I don’t think it’s wise to continue to run a horse who is a bleeder and especially not to breed a bleeder since it’s an inherited trait.
            Racehorses are running all over the world completely drug free on race day so there is no reason why it can’t be done here.

          • Bourbon Man

            It is beyond fair – it is the correct moral choice

      • Lynelle White

        You might want to qualify that by pointing out that US horses bleed – they seem perfectly able to run dirt races in Japan and elsewhere without the stuff….

    • Lehane

      It is banned in Australia.

  • circusticket

    When wild horses are being rounded up with helicopters, they run miles. You’d think that someone would have seen some blood out of some nostrils, but nobody ever has. The wild horse advocates against the round ups are looking for problems but they have never found any evidence of bleeding. They have found sore hooves and some tying-up.

    Wild horses eat as horses were meant to eat, grazing for most of the day. They have a social life. We feed horses high calorie meals and isolate them from their friends. No wonder it causes high blood pressure.

    • longtimehorsewoman

      You make a good point. Althoiugh those same roundups result in the deaths of foals and others. There is little concern by those doing the rounding up for the horses. So if any bled, I doubt they would mention it. I agree totally that we keep horses in a manner which is not in their best interest as far as health goes. And I do believe Dr. Cook that bits are part of the problem. I currently have a colt by Bullet Train who has been foaled and raised in a herd of 11 other horses. He is out with the herd 24/7 (no he is not gelded yet, but in a herd, babies are not allowed to breed, and my 9 mares have all rebuffed him and he no longer pays attention to them – he will be gelded next month) and has as natural a diet as possible – pasture and hay, along with a feed designed for young, growing horses. He does not get much of it – only 4 quarts a day, in two feedings. He is a slow eater, which is good, so that it take him 20 minutes to eat. The plan is to race him at 4 or 5. His training will begin this spring using the kikkuli method of horse training. The method requires all early work be done by ponying in the open at increasng distance. He will not carry a rider until he is 3. Which will allow his joints and back to develop a little more before carrying weight. The goal, to bring a horse to the races at nearly full power (6 or 7 would be better, but I’m not sure a 7 year old first time starter is allowed.

    • Bourbon Man

      Wild horses range 18 -20 miles a day in search of food, water and to remain elusive prey.

  • Figless

    One simple press release could fix this, please explain why this can not be accomplished;

    Beginning in 2017 no race restricted to 2 yo’s will be eligible for Graded Status if any race day medication, including Lasix, was allowed in the prior year.

    Beginning in 2018 no race restricted to 3 yo’s will be eligible for Graded Status if any race day medication, including Lasix, was allowed in the prior year.

    Beginning in 2019 no race will be eligible for Graded Status if any race day medication, including Lasix, was allowed in the prior year.

  • Robert Cook

    For the sake of racing worldwide, the question that needs to be asked is what causes ‘bleeding’? The US debate over whether or not ‘bleeding’ should be managed with Lasix will end when an answer to this question is acknowledged. Evidence I have published since 2013 supports the conclusion that ‘bleeding’ is a sign of asphyxia. Additional signs of asphyxia include poor performance, falls, catastrophic injuries and sudden death. Obstruction of the airway occurs at the level of the throat and is caused, I deduce, by instability of the soft palate. The instability arises because the soft palate is no longer vacuum-packed on the root of an immobile tongue, as in a horse at liberty. Loss of the oral vacuum occurs because a bit breaks what should be an air-tight lip seal at exercise, allowing air to ‘float’ the soft palate. ‘Bleeding’ in the horse is comparable to negative pressure pulmonary edema (NPPE) in man. An online search for NPPE will explain. A bit also asphyxiates by enabling a horse to be ‘rated’ by poll flexion and by triggering gag reflexes. I recommend the coordination of bit-free training and racing trials to demonstrate to racing jurisdictions that dispensing with bits and tongue-ties will enhance the health and safety of horse and jockey, improve performance, reduce accidents, refute excuses for race-day medication, and promote the image of racing.

    References:
    doi:10.1111/evj.12205
    doi:10.1111/eve.12196
    doi:10.1111/eve.12455/abstract
    doi:10.1136/vr.h767

    • longtimehorsewoman

      I will be training my horse bitless and hope that successful gallops and works on the track will convince the stewards to allow him to race without a bit. I have seen a photo of a racehorse in Germany who is wearing the LG brildle and appears to be racing as he has a jockey and numbered saddle towel. I am trying to figure out how to verify that he actually raced.

      • Bourbon Man

        Jan Ladewig, professor emeritus of domestic animal behavior at the University of Denmark and an honorary fellow of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES), isn’t sure if a bitless bridle used incorrectly could do as much physical damage as one with a bit. “I doubt we would see as many blue tongue scandals if the hyperflexion riders used bitless bridles,” he says. “A horse with a heavy-handed rider on his back would probably be better off without a bit in his mouth. On the other hand, a horse with a bitless bridle in the hands of such a rider would not necessarily be better off psychologically. The truest thing you can say about equipment used for horse riding is that it’s not so much what kind of equipment you use. What is much more important is how you use it. And that is true of bitted and bitless bridles.”

    • Bourbon Man

      Dr. Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Diplomate ACVSMR, MRCVS, professor and McPhail dressage chair emerita, (yes, one of the world’s best authorities on equine biomechanics) would heartily disagree:
      “…“Soft tissues like the tongue can conform somewhat to the shape of the bit, whereas the hard tissue—the hard palate, the bars or the front of the nose—cannot,” she says … Before assuming bitless bridles are gentler, Clayton suggests riders first examine the mechanics behind their designs. In a bitless model, she says, “pressure is applied in a different place—the contact point on the nose and possibly other parts of the head—but is not necessarily kinder. The cross-under bitless bridle puts pressure under the jaw and on top of the poll, and some bitless bridles use leverage, so the pressure is actually magnified.”

      • longtimehorsewoman

        I would disagree with Dr. Clayton. If you doubt me, try putting a pen in your own mouth and push down. There are also photos online of what happens inside a horse’s mouth with both curb bits, and broken snaffles. The bitless bridle I ride with applies pressure only to bone of the nose, and I really am not required to apply much pressure at all, as once the pain of a bit is removed, horses are quite easy to guide. No more pressure than a halter and just a plain lead rope – not a shank. There is a video on YouTube that shows a TB (not a racehorse) being ridden with a bit. He was hard to stop and fussed about it. He was then ridden with a bitless bridle and was easier to ride and stopped much sooner without fussing. Bits cause pain, and they were DESIGNED to cause pain. I have ridden bitless for 13 years, and saddle trained a 2 year old TB filly bitless,

      • longtimehorsewoman

        I used to believe in the myth of good hands. But the fact is that any bit causes pain, and affects the mouth negatively. This has been proven to me by my own horses who are so happy to go bitless, and by my clients’ horses who also transform when ridden bitless.

      • Bob Cook

        There are many different designs of bitless bridles. Some are designed to be painless and others are designed, as all bits are, to cause pain. But the harm that even a painful bitless bridle can cause is nothing to the harm that a bit can cause. My study of ridden behavior in the same horse, with and without a bit, showed that in 66 horses the average number of unwanted behaviors when bitted was 26 and when bitless 4. Unlike with a bit where the physical damage is internal and hidden from view, any physical damage that may (rarely) be inflicted by, say, a mechanical hackamore, is external and visible – a reminder to the rider to avoid repeating the mistake. In contrast, the direct damage caused by a bit includes bone spurs on the bars of the mouth and erosion of cheek teeth, both of which are common, together with occasional lacerations and amputations of the tongue. To this must be added indirect damage to the lungs. There is nothing kind or gentle about waterlogging of the lung (NPPE), fatigue, falls, fractures and fatalities.

  • Bellwether

    Good trainer/interview but the subject has become worn out and nothing is going to change…Period…

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