The treatment of horses in the sport of polo has not been regulated, according to an article last year regarding the death of 21 horses prior to a polo match in Florida. The Federation of International Polo argues that the criticism the sport has received is largely based on misconceptions. The USPA (United States Polo Association) does have rules in place governing the treatment of horses during competition. They have also established Polo Pony Retirement facilities to ensure the horses are taken care of after retiring from the sport. Comparably, the sport of horse racing is still reputed to have a high occurrence of abuse, despite regulations: http://www.galondana.com/Main/Zisawen/writings/racehorses.html
Horse racing is a hugely profitable industry which makes race horses much more susceptible to exploitation than polo ponies. Race horse breeders produce more horses than the market can support, and the animals are often overbred. Horses can live up to thirty years, but many race horses are discarded when their racing careers are over, often after only four or five years.
Some members of the racing community are taking steps to improve the treatment of horses, especially after several thoroughbreds had to be euthanized during high-profile races in 2008. The Kentucky Equine Humane Center, for example, helps to find homes for retired race horses.
There have been fewer widely publicized incidents of the mistreatment of polo horses, with the exception of one sad incident. In 2009, twenty-one polo horses died after being injected with contaminated performance-enhancing supplements. The U.S. Polo Association quickly implemented random drug testing to ensure that nothing like it happens again.
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