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Hard-working horses

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Joseph Bezzina wrote that the horse races have been held since the Middle Ages (‘Santa Marija horse races’, August 23).

The point at issue is not really how long such races have been held but, rather, whether these should be held when the sun is not at its worst, as the animal commissioner pleads.

We already see horses racing every Sunday of the week, except for a short break of about six weeks, sometimes in scorching heat. Being animals of habit, these horses would know they have to race, whether they like it or not. They, therefore, sense and get nervous and restless while still in the stables. The scene during the Sunday races is one of exhausted animals.

There are then other horses/ponies that play a chukka or two a week. Polo players keep another horse/s as a reserve because of injury or exhaustion.

Hard-working horses sweat as they exercise and intense or long-duration performance can cause a significant loss of body fluids and electrolytes. Owners need to have a fairly accurate idea of how much sweat the horse has lost so they can provide enough fluids and electrolytes (salts and minerals that can conduct electrical impulses in the body).

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