The first thought that comes to mind is the use of "buzzers" in the training of animals. It sounds benign enough. The word buzzers conjures up the image of a clicker or some sort of buzzer sound that would be used in training. A buzzer type device can be used in training; however, the "buzzer" that is being addressed in this article is used to prod race horses to run faster. It is a hand held device similar to a cattle prod that can be hidden inside a jockeys whip or equipment. This device is a way for the jockey to cheat by jolting his mount. Although prohibited at American racetracks, buzzers are part of the sport's seedy lore!

An article from theHorse describes the buzzer in this way: "The device, often wrapped in black electrical tape and about the size of a disposable cigarette lighter, uses a small battery, wire, and a pair of short metal posts for contacts--one of them usually spring-loaded. It is applied to a horse's neck and releases an electrical charge when the spring-loaded post comes into contact with the horse. Those familiar with the use of a 'battery' say riders who use them will test a horse's response, usually during training hours. ..." Winning Jockey Allegedly Used 'Buzzer'

"...In 1999 jockey Billy Patin won the Arkansas Derby aboard Valhol but later was found guilty of using a small handheld electrical device. He was fined $2,500 and eventually suspended five years for possession of what is called a 'buzzer.' Valhol also was disqualified from the race, and his owner ordered to return the winning purse. A buzzer, illegal in horse racing, is a battery-powered vibrator used to shock a horse. It produces about 3,000 volts, the same voltage in stun shields sometimes used to control prison inmates. A buzzer, generally hidden in the palm of a jockey's hand, is used to give a horse a mild charge to run faster. Patin's buzzer was the size of a cigarette lighter." Horse Racing

An article in the New York Times Sports Section, Saturday, March 29th, 2014, entitled "Jockey Club Backs Legislation to Give U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Oversight of Sport" addresses this and other issues. Article: "Jockey Club Backs Legislation to Give U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Oversight of Sport"

For More Information:

Seamy Side of a Sport: Prodding Horses With Shocks
Winning Jockey Allegedly Used 'Buzzer'
PETA accuses Asmussen stable of mistreating its horses
First posted: Mar 29, 2014, 2014
Last update: Mar 29, 2014