Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

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Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Tsavo » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:49 pm

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/hal ... vey-428728

A new saddle study has shown an unexpectedly high degree of lameness in sport horses — with nearly half of those assessed being lame or stiff.

Dr Sue Dyson, head of clinical orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and Line Greve, a PhD student, looked at 506 working sport horses. They were all assumed by their owners to be sound.

The horses were videoed in-hand and ridden, including in 20m circles in both trot and canter. The study showed 46% of horses were lame or had a stiff, stilted canter.

Dr Dyson said she was “shocked” by the results.


Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/hal ... CY1ogEB.99

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Ponichiwa » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:24 pm

I'm not all that surprised, to be honest. "Lame or stiff" encompasses a lot of area. I know I've had several horses with low-grade arthritis stiffness that they warmed up out of.

Would be interesting to see what other horse populations average using similar methodology. Are pasture pets or trail horses just as lame as this sport horse sample? My gut says that after a certain age, stiffness will show up regardless.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby kande50 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:33 pm

Ponichiwa wrote:
Would be interesting to see what other horse populations average using similar methodology. Are pasture pets or trail horses just as lame as this sport horse sample? My gut says that after a certain age, stiffness will show up regardless.


Now that would be interesting. It's a shame that mri's are so expensive because they can "see" so much. And even though all of what they pick up isn't necessarily significant (doesn't actually cause lameness/discomfort) it would be interesting to see a compilation the results.

The big problem though, is that in spite of the fact that diagnostics are so much better than they were, too many humans are still too self involved to use that information to improve horses' lives.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Ponichiwa » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:40 pm

Having been on the bargain-dressage-horse hunt sporadically over the years, I can say that the low-mileage quintessential trail horses that I've looked at have not appeared dramatically sounder than their sporthorse (i.e. trained) counterparts.

That said, I'm hardly habituating the rarefied air of the Wellingtons or Aachens of the world. I have no doubt that stress-related injuries occur at higher frequencies with harder work.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby highoctane » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:36 pm

I'd venture a guess that at least half of human athletes are sore/lame or stiff. ;-)

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:29 am

Wasn't there a study that found that ninety percent of warm blood foals had coffin bone fracture. This means that they start out with an unsoundness before they are even ridden. I think the study found sixty fractures in twenty foals.
Young horses are just not supposed to. Move extravagantly.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Tuddy » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:49 pm

Chisamba wrote:Wasn't there a study that found that ninety percent of warm blood foals had coffin bone fracture. This means that they start out with an unsoundness before they are even ridden. I think the study found sixty fractures in twenty foals.
Young horses are just not supposed to. Move extravagantly.



Gosh, I never knew this! How sad.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:41 pm

Tuddy wrote:
Chisamba wrote:Wasn't there a study that found that ninety percent of warm blood foals had coffin bone fracture. This means that they start out with an unsoundness before they are even ridden. I think the study found sixty fractures in twenty foals.
Young horses are just not supposed to. Move extravagantly.



Gosh, I never knew this! How sad.


I was shocked and saddened when I read it.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Abby Kogler » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:31 pm

My response to the study in the OP, well, duh.
'
With all of the talk about how good for the horse 'dressage' is, the way so many trainers and riders work their horses honestly I am surprised that the number isn't higher.

Horses drilled behind the vertical on endless circles will break. Horses worked in sidereins too often will also break. Horses worked in Gaitmasters will break. Horses ridden by a low level of amateur who badly sits the trot while holding her horses head in will break. Not all, but too many riders misunderstand 'contact' and they ride as if it means 'pull and hold'.

Its so obvious to me and its a soapbox anyone of you who is familiar with my rants will know...horses are not made to go in circles. They are physiologically meant to go in straight lines at the trot primarily. Yes, circle work will strengthen and improve their balance etc for the work we want to do (performance) but it needs to be done judiciously and sparingly without confining their heads. Human athletes know that repetitive movements without break can lead to injury.

You know I live in dressage mecca. But that means I also see all the discards that are tossed by the wayside. I have four of them and have had many many more. Every one that I have not been able to save has had cervical spine damage. Zeus's necropsy said 'cervical spine damage ie Wobblers that we used to see only in young AQHA types but are now seeing commonly in middle aged warmblood geldings' . Who rides their big growing young horses out and gallops across the country any more? These horses don't even get much turnout at most of our facilities here. Maybe an hour, always by themselves...I am not by any means a natural horseman paddock paradise sort of person but horses need to move, and when they get that hour a day of work and that hour is spent often being drilled with an incorrect 'contact' they break.

Certain trainers I know have signature injuries. One barn is always having suspensory issues. One is annular ligament tears. One its always neck issues. They just get new horses.

My beautiful DWB Dilbert was abandoned in a field. Wilbur was a Craigslist freebie after being nerved, with tendon fasciotomies, dead lame. George put his nice girl in the hospital and was a Craigslist freebie. Waldo was an import that wouldn't pass a PPE, talk about stiff and stilted. There is always another new one to buy, another new one to get all excited about. Bye bye, wrecked one.

Seeing these discards through the years is a big reason I became interested in the Legerete work. It makes so much sense physiologically.

What a sad study. One could hope it would be a wake up call to some of our trainers.

Yep. Middle aged WB geldings.

And thinking back on the George Morris thread, maybe horses in those days were ridden out as young horses, and not worked in sidereins every day. I remember Bill Steinkraus, Jimmy Wofford, and others talking about how they rode their young horses across country, not in arenas, and trotted and galloped them to 'break' them. So many that difference in young horse development is also a factor in Georges comments. Its not that everyone is anti science and loves to burn money on useless woowoo, its that our horses are paying the price for current training practices.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby musical comedy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:38 pm

Abby, we don't know what the sport horses in Dr. Dyson's study were doing. They could have been event horses or jumpers. Sounds like you are assuming they are dressage horses ridden badly. UK riders are known for riding out cross country, galopping, and riding in crappy footing. Perhaps that's the reason so many were lame? I tend not to think galopping young horses cross country is a wise thing to do. That's why eventing and jumping horses have shorter careers than dressage horses.

I'm sorry you see so much horrible treatment of sport horses where you live. I'm not pleased with a lot of what I see here too, but it's not nearly as bad as you write. I've spent a lot of time in top dressage barns. They don't do a lot of circles. The ones doing circles are the lower level riders in lessons where the trainer keeps them on the circle.

As for foal injuries, many of them have them whether they are fancy movers are not. A lot of people think when they buy an unstarted horse they are getting a clean slate. They don't xray foals. If they did, they'd probably see things. Foals living out get hurt.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Abby Kogler » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:19 am

musical comedy wrote:Abby, we don't know what the sport horses in Dr. Dyson's study were doing. They could have been event horses or jumpers. Sounds like you are assuming they are dressage horses ridden badly. UK riders are known for riding out cross country, galopping, and riding in crappy footing. Perhaps that's the reason so many were lame? I tend not to think galopping young horses cross country is a wise thing to do. That's why eventing and jumping horses have shorter careers than dressage horses.

I'm sorry you see so much horrible treatment of sport horses where you live. I'm not pleased with a lot of what I see here too, but it's not nearly as bad as you write. I've spent a lot of time in top dressage barns. They don't do a lot of circles. The ones doing circles are the lower level riders in lessons where the trainer keeps them on the circle.

As for foal injuries, many of them have them whether they are fancy movers are not. A lot of people think when they buy an unstarted horse they are getting a clean slate. They don't xray foals. If they did, they'd probably see things. Foals living out get hurt.


I don't see 'horrible treatment'...I see what I consider incorrect training from a physiological point of view.

And you are right, most of the ones doing the endless circles are the lower level riders. But the lunging in side reins is in every barn at every level. Its just a given, a matter of course. Me no likey.

And referring to what I think breaking in young horses in past days didn't mean galloping through muck, just letting them gain strength and balance out, rather than in the arenas; trotting out, little ditches, banks, uneven country.

San Diego has more horses per capita than any other county in the US. We have it all, good, bad, mediocre, awful. We have a ton of ammys, with good and bad trainers. So yes, by virtue of sheer numbers and since I spent so much time in public facilities and also at horse shows (since our Chapter of which I am Chair puts on horse shows three times a year, I volunteer at other Chapter shows, and I do some FEI Stewarding) I see a lot of horses. And I see a lot of lunging and work on the circle.

When I was around more jumper people they didn't have the dependence on lunging in side reins. Yes, the hunter people lunge for an hour but at least usually their heads are free.

When I get some new project/reject the ones who were jumpers have better hocks and necks than the ones who were dressage horses. Its been very consistent.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Abby Kogler » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:26 am

This was in response to a now deleted post from Tsavo referring to taking an ex=jumper and turning it in to a second level horse in a year.

Jumpers are pretty broke, as you would know if you had actually ever been in a jumper barn. A horse that jumps the big jumps needs to be in balance, and have an upward and forward way of thinking, and they also have their changes. Now, if you are too inexperienced to know that about jumpers, then that explains why this seems impossible to you. You would also know, if you had any experience in Big Eq, that the 19 tests that can be required in a Medals or other finals class include shoulder in, counter canter, turns on the forehand and haunch. So I am sure to you it seems terribly mysterious and impossible to take an ex jumper and turn it in to a second level horse in a year. Its not, trust me.

Added: Exvet Oy! Seriously re reiners. Talk about raise them up, chew them up.

Horses suffer in many industries and it is sad all around. Since I am primarily these days in the dressage world, the stuff I see in that discipline is in my radar most often.
Last edited by Abby Kogler on Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chancellor » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:35 am

Tsavo has left the building.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby exvet » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:03 pm

Well if we want to discuss the pervasiveness of lameness in 'sport' horses, I live next to a reining barn. I think lameness and stiffness issues have far more to do with the overall management of horses (this includes riding and training practices but also their time in stalls, etc) not the discipline they're bred for or relegated to........

As for foals and their injuries - yup and yup.......have had the heart ache of retiring before even starting because of the body crashing games a group of colts growing up out in pasture will partake in......

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chancellor » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:21 pm

exvet wrote:Well if we want to discuss the pervasiveness of lameness in 'sport' horses, I live next to a reining barn. I think lameness and stiffness issues have far more to do with the overall management of horses (this includes riding and training practices but also their time in stalls, etc) not the discipline they're bred for or relegated to........

As for foals and their injuries - yup and yup.......have had the heart ache of retiring before even starting because of the body crashing games a group of colts growing up out in pasture will partake in......



I think this is an interesting consideration. Back when I was riding hunters (you know, the stone age), our horses were outside for 12 or more hours a day. Now, if a horse goes out HALF that time it is considered all day turnout. Our horses also went out in the rain, in the cold etc.....AND we were considered negligent if at least one of the days riding wasn't a hack in the woods.
I raised a young horse from a foal through his riding years. And he HATED going in the woods because there was so much scariness out there. But I forced us out there at least once a week.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Srhorselady » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:45 pm

Personal experience. I inherited my uncles OTT when he had to go into a nursing home. The horse had been a moderately successful race horse, then a jumper who didn't quite get to Grand Prix but did mini prixs etc at Thermal and California A shows, then took a junior rider to the Southern Ca Eq championship. Then he was retired to my uncles pasture for two years until I trailered him home. His feet were in bad condition, he had been sitting for two years, and he was about 19 when I got him. In less than 2 years he was showable at 3rd level. My trainer kept bewailing that he hadnt gotten him at a younger age. So showing a retired jumper at 2nd level in one year doesn't surprise me. These horses are dead broke, very willing, and very athletic. Freckles loved to do tempes and did the twos the first time he was asked in his early 20s.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chancellor » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:56 pm

There will always be stories of animals who are sound DESPITE their environment.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby musical comedy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:35 pm

Chancellor wrote:There will always be stories of animals who are sound DESPITE their environment.

This is so true. Owner/trainers have horses that stay sound while in a less-than-desirable life style and/or training program. Then, they can say "well, I do this/that and my horses are sound". Can't say much to a statement like that. Bottom line is there is a lot of luck involved. Same goes for people. Look at all the people that smoke and live to a ripe old age. My mom was one of them.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chancellor » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:55 pm

musical comedy wrote:
Chancellor wrote:There will always be stories of animals who are sound DESPITE their environment.

This is so true. Owner/trainers have horses that stay sound while in a less-than-desirable life style and/or training program. Then, they can say "well, I do this/that and my horses are sound". Can't say much to a statement like that. Bottom line is there is a lot of luck involved. Same goes for people. Look at all the people that smoke and live to a ripe old age. My mom was one of them.


My grandfather too.

then you have those horses who you do as much as you can correctly and they are still lame.....(FYI those seem to end up with me)

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby exvet » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:26 am

Well Chancellor I think I was riding with you then....the stone age is when I grew up and yes, horses were managed much differently then, at least the majority were. I know I would hurt like hell if I were kept in a box stall 22 out of every 24 hours with 45 minutes of a lesson or exercise and maybe the rest of the time in the cross ties.......oh well. We can all just do the best we can with the conditions we must work in but I do think that proper conditioning can prevent a lot of injuries and help with longevity of soundness....now that does not in any way eliminate the untold fact that you can bubble wrap damn horses and in the end they still try to kill themselves. Not a species that was meant to continue to evolve as the beasts modern man has developed.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:22 pm

Abby Kogler i know you are one who seems to think that side reins are the root of all evil, wondering how you explain the artificial circumstances but long term soundness of the SRS horses?

Although the are retired at 25 from performances, they often live to 35 years of age. but OMFG they had side reins. the horror.

wrt to management of injury, I am a tennis fan, managing soundness and injury is a top priority in human athletes too. Andy murray, dropped out of top four, hip surgery, Rafael Nadal, ( uncertain as an entrant to the Aussie Open due to knee injury.)
Novak Djokovic, trying to return in time for the Aussie Open with elbow injury. Serena Williams, trying to return to active playing after childbirth and blood clots, I bet i could list any number of top human athletes and you would find that they are managing sports related stress or injury.

Humans perplex me

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:38 pm

I am in agreement that there are a large number of horses that have been lived good lives and been well managed that still end up unsound. A large part could be genetics, where animals are reproduced with other characteristics being the main criteria for selection, ( as humans will) be it color, a certain look, or speed, whereas nature, or circumstances of being feral, the main criterium is keeping up with the herd. I think i read a study where most mustangs if they survive the first two years of life, stay sound and fit for a long time. this would seem to indicate that feral life tends to eliminate the unsound at a young age, ie before they are significantly contribute to the gene pool. i cannot find the study, to link, it , i apologise

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Abby Kogler » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:11 pm

I do not think that side reins are the root of all evil, how silly. I do think they contribute mightily to the breakdown of many sport horses. I think they are overused, and misused, and misunderstood. I do not apologize for that.

The SRS horses live outside in herds on the countryside until they are mature for work. They are also worked in hand. They are also generally smaller, shorter backed, with different body types than our modern WBs. To compare the training at the SRS to the usual procedures and lives that many horses endure is not applicable IMM.

I would also venture to guess that one reason the SRS horses stay sound is that many are barefoot. The most well managed horse in the world is not going to stay sound if his feet are not healthy and balanced. I find it very interesting that certain barns that have certain farriers tend to have signature soundness issues.

There are many reasons and factors involved in soundness. Training practices, farriery, management, genetics. None of these things can be addressed in a vacuum.

I had a horse who was given to me due to 'navicular syndrome' discarded at 6 yrs. The dam had been euthanized at age 6 due to chronic foot issues. The dams sire had been retired at age 11 due to hoof issues. Gee whiz, what a sad state of affairs! Must be a genetic weakness in that line! Hmmm...gee, none of the other offspring at other barns had this weakness. What did those poor horses with the genetic weakness have in common? Hmmm.....well, the trainer, and the farrier.

The original horse who was given to me is going strong, barefoot, four years later, is sound, has been sound. Who knew.

I do not apologize for expressing frustration with some current training practices. Everyones mileage may vary.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:25 pm

Abby Kogler wrote:I do not think that side reins are the root of all evil, how silly. I do think they contribute mightily to the breakdown of many sport horses. I think they are overused, and misused, and misunderstood. I do not apologize for that.

The SRS horses live outside in herds on the countryside until they are mature for work. They are also worked in hand. They are also generally smaller, shorter backed, with different body types than our modern WBs. To compare the training at the SRS to the usual procedures and lives that many horses endure is not applicable IMM.

I would also venture to guess that one reason the SRS horses stay sound is that many are barefoot. The most well managed horse in the world is not going to stay sound if his feet are not healthy and balanced. I find it very interesting that certain barns that have certain farriers tend to have signature soundness issues.

There are many reasons and factors involved in soundness. Training practices, farriery, management, genetics. None of these things can be addressed in a vacuum.

I had a horse who was given to me due to 'navicular syndrome' discarded at 6 yrs. The dam had been euthanized at age 6 due to chronic foot issues. The dams sire had been retired at age 11 due to hoof issues. Gee whiz, what a sad state of affairs! Must be a genetic weakness in that line! Hmmm...gee, none of the other offspring at other barns had this weakness. What did those poor horses with the genetic weakness have in common? Hmmm.....well, the trainer, and the farrier.

The original horse who was given to me is going strong, barefoot, four years later, is sound, has been sound. Who knew.

I do not apologize for expressing frustration with some current training practices. Everyones mileage may vary.


then i suggest that you refrain from wording your posts as if side reins are the cause of all badness. Yes, it is just damned silly to do so

I happen to like reading your posts and find a lot of good information in them, but the silliness of certain phrases really gets me riled. ( i am sure you will consider that to be my failing)

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Moutaineer » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:07 pm

exvet wrote:Well Chancellor I think I was riding with you then....the stone age is when I grew up and yes, horses were managed much differently then, at least the majority were. I know I would hurt like hell if I were kept in a box stall 22 out of every 24 hours with 45 minutes of a lesson or exercise and maybe the rest of the time in the cross ties.......oh well. We can all just do the best we can with the conditions we must work in but I do think that proper conditioning can prevent a lot of injuries and help with longevity of soundness....now that does not in any way eliminate the untold fact that you can bubble wrap damn horses and in the end they still try to kill themselves. Not a species that was meant to continue to evolve as the beasts modern man has developed.


I sometimes think that this sounds like my desk-bound life :) I'd quite like to be my horse...

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Abby Kogler » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:24 pm

[quote="
then i suggest that you refrain from wording your posts as if side reins are the cause of all badness. Yes, it is just damned silly to do so

I happen to like reading your posts and find a lot of good information in them, but the silliness of certain phrases really gets me riled. ( i am sure you will consider that to be my failing)[/quote]

Oh Chisamba, I have never professed to be a perfect poster. If we all had to only post in measured phrases and neutral points of view the board would be quite dull. You are blunt and outspoken and it is one of the things I like best about your posts here and on FB. I am not going to pretend that my 50 years of being in show barns and working for vets and in the industry has not led me to have strong opinions on certain issues. I do not consider you silly or your comments silly. But as I said, I am not going to apologize for my view on sidereins. IMO and IME, most people really have no idea why they are using them. This includes people who 'know how'. I certainly 'knew how'. But I have since seen enough necropsies, starting with a horse I had in 1991 that was neuro and spent lots of time at Tufts under the care of Dr. Paradis...his necropsy showed cervical spine damage/issues. Since then I have seen countless, endless horses, primarily dressage horses, with the same neck issues. the AQHA industry, with its training practices on 2 yr old, gee whiz, maybe that is why Wobblers is this amazing genetic problem in Quarter Horses! Funny that you don't see a lot of Wobblers in Quarter horses that are ranch bred and broke and don't come up the the Western show disciplines. Have I done a double blind? No. Can I "prove" it? No. But can I look at the anatomy and physiology of the horse and see that confining the neck while putting it on a circle for a length of time could prove deleterious to the neck and spine? Yes.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby musical comedy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:48 pm

exvet wrote: I know I would hurt like hell if I were kept in a box stall 22 out of every 24 hours with 45 minutes of a lesson or exercise and maybe the rest of the time in the cross ties.......oh well. We can all just do the best we can with the conditions we must work in but I do think that proper conditioning can prevent a lot of injuries and help with longevity of soundness....now that does not in any way eliminate the untold fact that you can bubble wrap damn horses and in the end they still try to kill themselves. Not a species that was meant to continue to evolve as the beasts modern man has developed.
My bolding. Isn't that how the SRS horses live? For sure, the majority of performance horses live that way. Do I favor it? Absolutely not. Yet, as I wrote above, many of these horses live like that, stay sound, and continue to compete late in their years.

AbbyKogler wrote:. If we all had to only post in measured phrases and neutral points of view the board would be quite dull.
True, but imo most posters prefer it that way. Heaven help the person that has a minority opinion that goes against the grain of what the majority think. BTDT

AbbyKogler wrote: I am not going to pretend that my 50 years of being in show barns and working for vets and in the industry has not led me to have strong opinions on certain issues.
Same here. When you have been involved with horses that long, and especially if one has kept them at home, one gets some pretty strong viewpoints on things.

Chisamba wrote: I think i read a study where most mustangs if they survive the first two years of life, stay sound and fit for a long time. this would seem to indicate that feral life tends to eliminate the unsound at a young age, ie before they are significantly contribute to the gene pool.
Similarly I have heard that if racehorses retire from the track sound, chances are they will stay that way a long time. I may be wrong, but I think the purpose of the 100 day stallion test is to separate the men from the boys, so to speak. It's a rigorous test, and those that make it are strong. My boy did that test a Medigen and he has stayed serviceably sound until now at age 24. Grant it, I don't use side reins :lol:

One of the reasons I see for causing problems is that people don't warm up and cool down their horses properly or long enough. That is so important.
A couple of the top training places I know of use the walking machine, tread mill, or have working students take the horses out multiple times a day to limber up. So even if there is not actual turnout, they at least get movement. And really, mine are out all the time, but they don't move as much in 24 hours as the stalled horses do on the walking machines.

The other thing I see as a problem is not keeping a horse on a regular work schedule. That's not going to be a big deal with a pleasure horse going on a leisurely hack, but it can become detrimental when you give a horse multiple days off and then bring it out and work it as though it never had those days off. Even after one day off, I start back with light work. Also, taking a lot of very short breaks while schooling. Not doing repetitious strenuous exercises.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby exvet » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:48 am

"A couple of the top training places I know of use the walking machine, tread mill, or have working students take the horses out multiple times a day to limber up. So even if there is not actual turnout, they at least get movement. And really, mine are out all the time, but they don't move as much in 24 hours as the stalled horses do on the walking machines."

I guess my horses have always been 'different' because my horses do move in turn out and often. So may be we agree that soundness might depend on proper use and conditioning of the joints and muscles. Standing stagnant and worked without proper conditioning and preparation (that includes warm up and cool down) is what often leads to soft tissue injury. But what do I know? Oh and I'm too uncouth to know how the SRS horses are kept. Like Abby I've seen a few necropsies too and many a surgery of animals not properly managed or simply not in a fashion that would keep any animal fit and in shape to sustain a long athletic career; so, like she and you my experiences have shaped me and it seems that my experience with horse turnout has and continues to be far, far different from yours. Even older welsh cobs appear to play and play hard in my small turnouts. I was noticing the tracks in it today as I was picking up manure. It rained yesterday washing away previous tracks and the foot pattern revealed that the two stinkers turned out in it practically traversed every inch over the past 24 hours. I could see where they played, where they ran, where the two stooges were on their hind feet play fighting........to me it doesn't matter if they do it on their own or if it's a manner of regimen to get them out to hand walk them, lounge them, hack them and so on. It's allowing movement, circulation, and don't forget I ride them too ;) forcing the poor beasts to miles of trudging on trails. .......I'll stick to my premise and my ways so far I think my grandfather has taught me well :)

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby musical comedy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:29 am

exvet wrote:I guess my horses have always been 'different' because my horses do move in turn out and often.

What do you consider a lot of movement? My horses are out in very large fields with grass. They walk a few steps, graze. Walk a few steps, graze. Stand and rest and sun themselves, etc. I live where there are many farms with lots of turnout. I drive past them. Horses mostly just stand or walk a little bit. I don't think that is as much exercise as walking at a clip for 40 minutes on a treadmill. That said, did you fail to read that I said I turn my horses out 24/7???

exvet wrote: So may be we agree that soundness might depend on proper use and conditioning of the joints and muscles. Standing stagnant and worked without proper conditioning and preparation (that includes warm up and cool down) is what often leads to soft tissue injury. But what do I know?
And didn't I write that same thing? Are you looking for an argument?

exvet wrote:Oh and I'm too uncouth to know how the SRS horses are kept.
Again, you either overlook or misunderstand what I write. Let me be clear. I think the SRS horses live a crappy life. They are schooled in a small court and then live in a stall all day. They do repetitious work. I brought them up because people point to them as the gold standard for everything.

exvet wrote:Like Abby I've seen a few necropsies too and many a surgery of animals not properly managed or simply not in a fashion that would keep any animal fit and in shape to sustain a long athletic career; so, like she and you my experiences have shaped me and it seems that my experience with horse turnout has and continues to be far, far different from yours.
. Again, why are you indicating that my views on turnout are different than yours or Abby's. They are not.

exvet wrote:Even older welsh cobs appear to play and play hard in my small turnouts. I was noticing the tracks in it today as I was picking up manure. It rained yesterday washing away previous tracks and the foot pattern revealed that the two stinkers turned out in it practically traversed every inch over the past 24 hours. I could see where they played, where they ran, where the two stooges were on their hind feet play fighting........to me it doesn't matter if they do it on their own or if it's a manner of regimen to get them out to hand walk them, lounge them, hack them and so on. It's allowing movement, circulation, and don't forget I ride them too ;) forcing the poor beasts to miles of trudging on trails. .......I'll stick to my premise and my ways so far I think my grandfather has taught me well :)
If your cobs play hard in small turnouts, then that's good. I stand firm on my thinking that 'most' horses that are accustomed to 24/7 freedom do not spend much time running and playing unless something startles them.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:24 pm

I agree, from observation, horses in turn out and accustomed to turn out do not self exercise very much. This is why i do spend quite a lot of time walking horses that are returning from injury even if they are in turn out.
I also agree with whomever said that horses are often not walked enough after work to cool down. since i started insisting on a timer being used it is fairly obvious that people think they have walked for at least ten minutes when they have not.

There are some horses with certain dispositions that move a lot, be it in a stall or a small or large turn out, there are stall walkers, fence walkers, and horses who play actively. I think for the most part these are the exception not the norm but they do exist. When i am evaluating a horse for purchase, if i have an opportunity to do so, i prefer a horse that is relaxed in turn out, non aggressive in play, and one that does not tend to arch its neck and prance around. I suppose i look for easiness in disposition. Of my three horses, Kimba is probably the least talented but has progressed the most because she has an easy disposition, Deneb is the most talented but has progressed the least. Clearly i work better with horses that have an easy disposition, and that is probably why i prefer them.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby khall » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:12 pm

My horses have always moved about pretty regularly in TO even being TO a good bit (TO here is weather dependent, heat/bad weather they are out 24/7 when appropriate). Yesterday as I drove down the driveway in between two big fields two of the horses had a gallop to the gate. Rip the other day was at the far end of his TO, he saw me and came galloping up. My filly is probably the least likely to run around, she is pretty laid back compared to my WBs, that is until she isn't! She can have some woo wee days, especially cool and windy, but the WBs and my boarder (Perch/TB) all like to have a gallop fairly regularly, along with some airs. Even my older mare (23 this yr) Gallie, Rip's dam.

One of the things that I have seen in what Mark taught was about the balance of the foot and how important it is in the long term soundness with horses. I can't tell you how many times I saw Mark make adjustments to a horse's hoof (when they were barefoot) to help them out. Mark started out as a farrier before moving to training horses, he was a very good farrier. Always interesting to see him watch the horses and make adjustments when they needed them. He was also a huge proponent of WIH to keep the spinal column in good shape, always starting with releasing the horse's TMJ and the neck out and down. The focus of this along with good dentistry were cornerstones of Mark's work.

I do think some horses are just more prone to issues regardless of how good we do in our care and work. Conformation IMO also plays a role. I was at a GOV inspection with Gaila years ago and the inspector at that time was comparing two mares who were there. This was at Judy Yancy's place, one was her mare (Qredit's dam) and one was a lovely lovely R line mare. She preferred Judy's mare who was sickle hocked because she felt that meant the mare could get her hind legs under better. (I totally disagree with this) The R line mare was straighter behind, but still a beautiful mover. I gravitate towards a strong hind leg and would prefer a straight hind leg to a sickle hock. Yet here is this breeder/inspector saying the total opposite, even though studies have shown that horses with sickle hocks do not stay sound for upper lever work. I see this in quite a few baroques and I really steer clear of them.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Rosie B » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:18 pm

I have read a fair bit of Jamie Jackson's work on natural horse care and I also have his paddock paradise book.

In his books he has graphs that show how much horses move on average vs how much turnout space they have. It turns out you see the biggest increase in movement when you go from a very small paddock to a medium size paddock, but I can't remember the specific dimensions. I'll have to look those up but I think the very small paddock was maybe the size of a roundpen and the medium was maybe twice the size of a dressage arena. Increasing the size of the turnout area above that did not have a very significant increase in movement. There was some increase, but it's certainly not linear.

Enter the paddock paradise idea. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the concept but the idea is that in nature the wild horses travel significant distances to get back and forth between the grazing areas and their water supply, and the only way to mimic that in smaller spaces is to turn them out in an area with a defined "path". Ie if you have a huge paddock (let's say an acre) and you fence in the perimeter to be about 20' wide and you distribute the things the horses want (hay, water, sand for rolling, etc) around the perimeter, horses will move continuously around that track, whereas if you just turn them out in the whole paddock with no fenced perimeter, they'll just mosey around and not get much movement.

I would love to do this at my place, but my largest turnout area is only about 30x50 meters, so that's why I haven't done it yet.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby exvet » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:44 pm

Musical comedy I'm not looking for an argument and I actually do think we agree on many premises. It's usually you who counters to my points first and have done so for many years. I grew up with work horses who did actually work. I also spent time on the track (was literally, not figuratively thrown out, when they found out I wasn't even 14 yet but the 16 year old I was with lied about our ages and we got work - then I was back at a later age to breeze horses for someone - spent a lot of time doing both rehab and training for an old tracker) where we did hand walk A LOT for all the reasons mentioned as to why it's valued. I like others take time to warm up and cool down when my horses are worked as opposed to just stick them back in a stall or grab them out tack them up and rush to do some specific 'exercise'. All I know, and believe me I'm knocking on everything wood in the room, is that I've been fortunate to have had very few lameness and the only career ending ones were acquired out in turnout - playing rough and slipping in footing that was slick. I believe it's also true that some horses are prone to injury be it disposition, genetics, conformation, etc despite doing all the deemed 'right' things. Evolution with man's hand has not developed a truly sound animal as is evident.

Of course my horses now consist of a mustang and welsh cobs. My mustang was 5 when he wandered off the range. He's now coming 7 (I've had him just over 15 months). He's solid and sound when allowed to work in his frame which isn't straight. He's not lame when worked straight but you can tell that his preferred body posture developed a very strong and very weak side so stepping through with his left hind (coming underneath) is difficult for him and continues to require a lot of warm up, stretching exercises and gradual building up on strength on that side. For this reason I giggle a bit when I hear how hardy and sound wild horses must be if they survive. Don't get me wrong I was quite happy to see what a stout bag of bones he was and he traveled sound with good paces. His feet are out of this world rock solid and balanced I might add; but, survival of the fittest for him didn't necessitate dressage defined straightness or balance. He ran to get away from danger and he walked and stopped frequently to get what little food he and his band of mares had access to.....and in our terrain that in and of itself required a lot of self prescribed exercise.

I still am a firm believer that it's not the discipline that causes unsoundness but the management practices (which includes training as well) that contribute the most influencing factors that causes unsoundness. Some horses you just can't win with and it always seemed (though no real studies and in no way claiming fact just my impression which is slanted on this) those are the horses people become determined to throw money away on trying to 'save' them and I find what's worse they're the same horses people insist on breeding........yup evolution by man's hand.........at least it's job security for some of us.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby musical comedy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:06 pm

Rosie B wrote:I have read a fair bit of Jamie Jackson's work on natural horse care and I also have his paddock paradise book.

In his books he has graphs that show how much horses move on average vs how much turnout space they have. It turns out you see the biggest increase in movement when you go from a very small paddock to a medium size paddock, but I can't remember the specific dimensions. I'll have to look those up but I think the very small paddock was maybe the size of a roundpen and the medium was maybe twice the size of a dressage arena. Increasing the size of the turnout area above that did not have a very significant increase in movement. There was some increase, but it's certainly not linear.
It may be true, but I find it hard to believe. Assuming it is true, what kind and how much movement would a horse get in such a small turnout as a round pen or a dressage arena?

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Rosie B » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:40 pm

I'll see if I can find the graphs when I get home tonight.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chancellor » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:47 pm

On the subject of movement.....Someone may sleep on their side with the legs bent for many hours and be able to do it easily. But can you imagine being in a box and WANTING to unbend your legs and not be able to? Horses may not move a ton in turnout.....but they CAN if they feel the need to do so.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Rosie B » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:37 am

Found it. It was in Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot. The contributing author was Brian Hampson. Brian conducted a 4 year long PhD project on the wild horse foot and since then has continued to research equine foot care and foot rehabilitation.

"Lightweight GPS data loggers mounted on collars were used to monitor the movement of domestic horses in a range of paddock sizes and internal fence designs for 6.5 day periods. Feral horses were also tracked for up to 4 months in a variety of habitats. In the domestic horses, as paddock size increased so did the mean daily distance that horses traveled. It was not surprising to find that horses kept in small paddocks are quite sedentary in comparison to their feral relatives. Horses kept in a 6x6m yard moved a mean of only 1.1km per day. Horses kept in a 16Ha (39.5 acre) paddock traveled 7.2 km per day in comparison to feral horses in an open rangeland that traveled 17.9 km per day."
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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:41 am

By the way, having re read the original article. It's evaluation of soundness is faulty. Some horses were described to be unsound because of a stilted canter. Imho, soundness is evaluated at the trot and was specifically about gait stiffness and saddle slip.

Canter is a learned gait

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby exvet » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:41 pm

Hmm.....well I'm not an expert but soundness is evaluated at all three gaits. When you're conducting studies you must be consistent in your application of evaluations; but, I can think of a couple of neurological/orthopedic issues that show up more at the walk or the canter than these conditions do at the trot.

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Re: Half of all sport horses are lame apparently

Postby Chisamba » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:09 pm

exvet wrote:Hmm.....well I'm not an expert but soundness is evaluated at all three gaits. When you're conducting studies you must be consistent in your application of evaluations; but, I can think of a couple of neurological/orthopedic issues that show up more at the walk or the canter than these conditions do at the trot.


unfortunately they did not actually describe their method of evaluation nor did they give the link to statistics that i could find


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