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23rd Horse Dies in ‘Suicide Race’

23rd Horse Dies in ‘Suicide Race’

Yet another horse has lost its life to the Omak Stampede Suicide Race in Washington, which is taking place this year from August 9-12, marking the twenty-third death in the past three decades.

The race includes a run down a 225-foot slope at a 62-degree angle, otherwise known as ‘Suicide Hill,’ which is followed by a swim across the Okanogan River, which is about the length of a football field.

The horse, Little Big Man, fractured a foreleg going down the hill during his third and final qualifying race. When he hit the water, he couldn’t swim and drowned before rescue boats reached him.

“The horse had difficulty keeping his feet in the river current making it difficult for the boat crew to retrieve the horse,” said Pete Palmer, president of the Owner’s and Jockey’s Association, which sanctions the race.. “Ultimately, the horse went under water and surfaced downstream near the Omak Bridge.”

Four riders also suffered from broken bones and several other water rescues were performed over the weekend. Of the 27 horses that passed a veterinary check, only seven have fully qualified to compete in the races this weekend.

Everybody feels bad …so bad they’ll keep doing it and will continue trying to ‘improve safety measures,’ even though nothing they do will ever make this safe.

“When we lose a horse it impacts the entire racing community. We are saddened by the loss of Little Big Man and extend our prayers to the Jerry Ford Racing Family,” the horse’s owner, said Palmer.

Animal advocates are protesting and calling the race animal exploitation.

“What it is, is animal abuse, pure and simple. For some reason, there’s an exception against rodeos. So if you have a rodeo, you can have all the animal abuse that you want,” said Mark Coleman, spokesman for PAWS of Lynnwood.

The horses, some of who have been borrowed for the event, have suffered heart attacks from over exertion, broken bones from shocking collisions and tumbles, and more horrifying deaths by drowning, according to PAWS.

The race is allegedly run to continue American Indian traditions, but PAWS argues that it was created as a publicity stunt to draw people to the rodeo long ago. PAWS hs counted 22 other deaths in more recent years, but no one is sure how many have died in the previous 50 years the race has been going on.

Related Stories:

More Horses Die at Calgary Stampede

Video Exposes Rodeo Cruelty to Horses and Calves

Cruel Hot Branding of Horses Banned in Germany

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Photo credit: snjr22

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456 comments

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8:50PM PST on Feb 7, 2014

Thank you for sharing...

11:15AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

There need to be a Federal law against animal cruelty whatever form it takes!

11:32PM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

Wendy, may I suggest you do some homework on the spirituality of Native Americans as to their relationship with the environment, earth, and it's inhabitants? You were pretty sarcastic and negative towards Native Americans. I am not of that culture, but if I were, I'd feel very insulted by your remark.

Nancy G., please feel free to to to Omak and fight with your bare hands to try to stop this event next year. It's already done with for this year, however. Since it's a legal "event", be prepared to be arrested and tossed in the local jail, though.

Christina, I hope I'm reading your post correctly. If so, I agree with you that it serves NOTHING to wish humans dead just because there has been injury or death to an animal and it was not intentional in the first place. Got to love that mentality........NOT!

3:55PM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

Suicide races, dead horses and... prayers? This is too idiotic for words.

@Kimberly H. "Hopefully" a rider dies? Are you serious?? Next time, I suggest you THINK before writing anything as idiotic and hateful.

2:12PM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

Is there a petition to stop this event? If so, I'd sign it!

8:22PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

If they are humans -I´d rather be an animal!

8:54AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

why do they not leave the horse behind and run down the hills themselves. See how many would do that to themselves and be injured..an animal who cares...I do Ann

8:01PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

What makes me madder is the fact they are saying it's an American Indian tradition. I highly doubt that! Native Americans love the Earth, the animals and all living thing.

1:08PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

I'VE COMMENTED ON THIS BEFORE, AND EVERYTIME I READ ABOUT IT OR THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN, I AM MORE THAN FURIOUS. IF I WAS THERE AND THEY WERE ABOUT TO DO THIS TO THESE INNOCENT HORSES. I'D SCATTER THEM REAL QUICK. AND ANYONE TRYING TO CONTINUE WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH ME. I WOULD FIGHT WITH MY BARE HANDS TO SAVE THESE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS FROM SUCH HORROR.

1:03PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

YES KIMBERLY, THIS IS A TERRIBLY SICK "TRADITION". ONLY SADISTS COULD PARTICIPATE IN AND WATCH THIS HORRIBLE, CRUEL THING. THE POOR HORSES ARE GIVEN A DEATH SENTENCE WHEN THEY ARE MADE TO DO THIS FOR MANKIND'S ENTERTAINMENT. IF THEY MANAGE TO MAKE IT DOWN ALIVE AND UNHURT IT IS A MIRACLE, BUT JUST UNTIL THE NEXT TIME THEY ARE MADE TO DO THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN. IF A PERSON HAS NO REGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF ALL ANIMALS, THEN MANKIND IS TRULY LOST.

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