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Re: [RC] Will a horse run itself to death? YES!//MAYBE - Mary Ann Spencer

I was told several years ago that one of the many differences between horses and mules is that you CAN push a horse to go until it dies but not a mule.  I have been told stories of mules who will work to a point and then won't go again until they are ready, ie not tired.  I think a horse would run itself to death under certain conditions related to fear and not being conditioned.  That fear could be from the rider, ie spurs, whips etc.   There are many other factors that could be involved such as any weakness in the heart or other major organ, weather conditions and such variables.  The horse may die from kidney failure or electrolyte imbalances that can then cause the heart to fail.  This can be complicated.  Race horses tend to have 'lung' bleeds when over exerting.  Perhaps a lung collapses?  The horses lungs are one and not 2 like humans and will die quickly from a pneumothorax.  There can be lots of variables here.  I saw a horse die from being kicked in the ribs which caused the lung to collapse.  Perhaps others have some info to share on this.   What about the horse who thinks he/she HAS to be the lead but is not conditioned to keep up??  But goes for it anyway?   Hence why we must condition BEFORE the ride. 
How about some input from others who have seen horses die after exertion. 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 10:47 PM
Subject: Re: [RC] Will a horse run itself to death? YES!//MAYBE

In a message dated 2/13/2006 8:41:57 PM Pacific Standard Time, sensei@xxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
I don't doubt that some horses will give their all to a rider who pushes
them them unto collapse/cardiac arrest. But left to their own devices, and
in absence of a predator, I don't believe a horse will run himself to death
because he "can't feel his oxygen debt."
I would respectfully disagree with this premise. The HUGE adrenaline thing that happens to horses at the beginning of a ride/race (IME) appears to set some of them up to just plain run themselves to death.  It just depends on the temperament of the horse, but after that you bet they can quite literally run themselves to death. That's why they need good partners (us).

Re: [RC] Will a horse run itself to death? YES!//MAYBE, Dbeverly4