Can one horse ‘break the heart’ of another?

sad horseReading a post on The Racing Forum, someone suggested that Big Buck’s had, perhaps, broken horses like Punchestowns.

They used to say Arkle broke Mill House’s heart.

Do you think horses have the emotional capacity to feel humiliated or psychologically battered by not being able to catch a rival?

Does a horse even see another one as a rival? Racehorses are not competing for food, although it might be argued that some genetic/historic drive compels them to compete not to end up as food by leaving others behind for predators?

But even that tactic might be questionable; many would see the safest place to ‘hide’ would be in the middle of the herd.

If only they could talk!

All thoughts most welcome in the comments section


6 thoughts on “Can one horse ‘break the heart’ of another?

  1. In watching racing a lot you can see that horses have different attitudes to racing; some will give their all in a finish, some will ‘save something for themselves’ and some will give nothing. I believe a horse that gives everything but comes up against a horse that it can’t beat would be psychologically and physically battered and may not recover.

  2. Good question maybe what we need is a list of proposed ‘broken hearted’ horses…

    Punchestowns would appear to have been beaten by Big Bucks over hurdles, fair enough so is everything else. He then went on to chasing and although he won races he isn’t as good over jumps as at hurdling. My guess it was the trainer’s heart that was broken by Big Bucks more than the horse’s

  3. I agree that Arkle broke the resolve of Mill House Joe, though they were two exceptional horses and though Big Bucks has excelled in recent times, he has done so in one the weaker divisions of the sport, taking both sectors into account.

  4. Dubai millennium must of broke sendawars at royal ascot, he tried to make a race from a long way out but couldn’t carry on and finished 4th where he may of come 2nd if he avoided racing him and he was soon retired after never winning again .

  5. I was slow to accept this theory, but there seem to be quite a few occasions recently where this appears to have happened. Punchestowns is one. Barbers Shop and My Way de Solzen showed no form after being well beaten by Kauto Star (its debatable how good Barbers Shop was anyway, but MWDS certainly appeared to be promising). It’ll be interesting to see how Sanctuaire fares in his next race. I don’t think he’ll have enjoyed that experience on Saturday.

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