Punishment doesn't equal the crime
What penalties should a rider face then he or she kicks a horse?
Harness driver Tim Tetrick repeatedly kicked Captaintreacherous, that sport's No. 1 star, Saturday in the stretch drive of the Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile in Lexington. While it's impossible to condone kicking an animal, Tetrick's not the real villain here. It is these systems -- whether in standardbred or thoroughbred racing -- that levy penalties so laughably lenient that there is no serious deterrent against breaking the rules.If the penalty for robbing banks was $100 there would be a lot more bank robbers out there. Quite often, when harness drivers get locked in battle in the stretch they take a leg out of the stirrups and strike the horse with their foot in the area of the hocks. It's not a whole lot different from using the whip. The kicks are supposed to make the horse give something extra as they near the wire. Not only did Tetrick do it Saturday, so did Brian Sears, who was driving Vegas Vacation, the horse fighting Captaintreacherous to the wire. How much does it hurt the animal? Is it even effective? I have no idea. Some argue that it really isn't that big of a deal and is less offensive than whipping. That could be, but it's obvious that the practice should be banned, if for no other reason than it sends a horrible message to the general public that the sport is fine with humans kicking defenseless animals.
In Kentucky, Tetrick had reason to believe he could kick away and receive no penalty whatsoever.
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