Friday, March 17, 2006

Cheltenham Festival Mayhem

We live close enough to Cheltenham to be affected by the crush of visitors for the festival - actually a week of horse racing over hurdles, otherwise known as steeplechasing (where the steeples are being chased I know not). I am actually very ignorant about the sport and, based on the behavior of the average race goer, I'm likely to keep it that way! Suffice to say that I will be pleased when things get back to normal next week and all the punters have left. (BTW, you can tell a serious punter by the "enclosure badge" he wears on his lapel when quaffing a drink in the pub long after the last race of the day has been run - a status symbol to be worn with pride!)

But this post is more about the fact, reported today by the BBC here that nine horses have died (actually I think it more accurate to say some were put down) as a result of accidents on the course. This all sounds quite shocking in what is supposed to be a civilized world. The other night in the pub I heard the rationale "horses enjoy jumping otherwise they wouldn't". But maybe they don't know the risk of being put down should they break a leg?