Health and Safety Advancements in Horse Racing

Horse racing is one of the oldest sports and despite developing from a primitive contest of speed or endurance into a modern spectacle involving fields of runners, sophisticated electronic monitoring equipment and enormous sums of money it retains a core concept that has remained unchanged over centuries. The horse that crosses the finish line first wins.

While the sport has evolved into a global industry with a number of technological advances, the most important advancement for horse racing is in the health and safety of horses. As the world’s fastest land animals horses are at risk for a number of medical conditions. These include respiratory diseases and neurological disorders, and horses are frequently pushed to their limits. The pounding they take while running at high speeds can cause them to bleed from their lungs, a condition known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). To reduce the risks of EIPH and other conditions, racehorses are regularly given cocktails of legal and illegal drugs.

The most commonly used drug in horse races is Lasix, a diuretic with performance-enhancing properties. Another common medication is a blood thinner called phenytoin, which reduces bleeding in the lungs and stomach. Both of these drugs can have serious side effects, however, especially when administered to horses in excess or over long periods of time. The risk of side effects is so great that many people do not bet on horse races anymore.

As a result, racehorses are constantly monitored and treated by veterinarians on the track and off. They are surrounded by expensive imaging equipment, including thermal imaging cameras and MRI scanners, which detect overheating and other health concerns. In addition, they are routinely tested for banned substances.

When a race begins, the horses are led into a starting gate made up of small metal stalls. Attendants will hold each horse to keep them calm until the gate flies open at the start of the race. The start of a race can be a dangerous time for the horses, and injuries are common. Most of the injuries occur to lower limbs and in some cases, even the head.

The horse race method of choosing a company leader has been successful for a number of well-known companies, but there are some critics. Some directors fear that a protracted horse race will hurt the company’s business and can lead to lingering disruptions. Those who favor the approach argue that the horse race signals an expectation that executives will be held accountable for their performance, and that the competition for the top job can attract and motivate the best talent. They also say that the horse race approach can cultivate a culture of leadership development in which potential future stars are spotted early and groomed through a series of critical roles that give them the competencies and seasoning necessary to lead a company.