A Farewell to Rio Good, the Horse That Did Not Survive the Indian Relay Races in Billings [Opinion]
This weekend, hundreds gathered to watch the All Nations Indian Relay at the Metra. At these events, spectators are guaranteed some thrills due to the inherent danger that goes along with the high speed, bareback races.
I did some searching and found a video that gives you a look at what it's like from the rider's point of view. As you can see in the video, changing horses, when done correctly, happens incredibly fast and of course tests the skills of the riders that execute this risky maneuver.
In any horse racing competition, there is always a danger to the horses as well. One divot in the horse's path can result in a broken leg which will require the animal be euthanized. Sadly, this is what happened to Rio Good on Saturday. In the second heat, Rio Good broke his leg and had to be put down.
There are activists who want all horse racing banned because they endanger the animals who take part in them. This sad event will no doubt fuel their fire.
I don't claim to have any training that would qualify me as an animal expert, but I would have to disagree with the banning of horse racing. To me, the controlled environment of a race track seems less likely to be deadly to a horse than running them in a pasture or riding them on a mountain path. Personally, anyone that I have ever known who raised competition horses has treated them with love, respect and kindness. I don't know the team who rode Rio Good, but I would be willing to bet that they are grieving for the loss of their horse, not for the loss of a race.