Thursday, October 1, 2009

Down to the Wire

It's Thursday and the weekend will be upon us before we know it. No horses in sight for me this weekend, but next Thursday I hit out for the Midwest to attend the All American Quarter Horse Congress. I can't wait to escape to its indulgent atmosphere of county fair food, jingling spurs, and horses, horses, horses! Until then, I can tide myself over with a couple of notable horsebites:

  • A follow-up audit report was issued this week by the NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson, to detail whether recommendations set forth after a state-sponsored 2007 investigation into the health, safety and welfare of the city's 203 working carriage horses had been implemented. The report found that of the 11 recommendations laid out by the 2007 audit, 7 had been implemented, 1 had been partially implemented, 2 had not been implemented, and 1 was no longer relevant. In the release, the comptroller pushed for further action to be taken to ensure the enactment of the outstanding recommendations, and further protect the safety and health of NYC's working horses. The carriage horse industry here in NYC has long found itself at the center of ethical debates because many argue (myself included) that mixing horses with one of this country's busiest, most traffic laden urban environments is a recipe for disaster. While the ASPCA has firm guidelines in place concerning the working conditions for carriage horses, one can always find horses in varying degrees of fitness and health working the streets.
  • The year's September Keeneland thoroughbred yearling sale met with a some of the most precipitous declines in sales and prices in recent history, and an increase in buyback rates from 2008. Confidence in the strength of the thoroughbred breeding industry was buoyed by the positive trends in August at the Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, but Keeneland's 42% drop in gross income from 2008 provided serious temper to that optimism. Only six horses at the sale garnered seven digit figures, including the second priciest horse at the sale, a $1.3M half sister to the famous Rachel Alexandra, out of Medaglia d'Oro, purchased by Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation.

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