Track injuries - what to watch for

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Track injuries - what to watch for

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  • Standardbreds off the track problems pinfire

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    05-06-2011, 12:47 AM
Question Track injuries - what to watch for

Hey guys! I'm in the market for a new horse, and I'm looking for an off the track horse. I was just wondering what illnesses / soundness issues are common at the track, and what to look out for when searching for a horse.

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    05-06-2011, 01:13 AM
Bowed tendons and cribbing :(
    05-06-2011, 06:32 AM
Look for any blemish or swelling on the legs - windpuffs, thickened suspensories, bowed tendons, thoroughpins and splints are all common. Look for pinfire marks on the front of the cannons. None of this necessarily means don't buy the horse, but the injuries should be old, cold and well healed.

As Mickey said, pay attention to stall vices like cribbing and weaving.

Look at the feet - TBs tend to have flat, shelly feet. Look for a horse with a hoof proportional to it's body, where the sole of the hoof is concave, not flat or convex, with good hoof quality. Look carefully if the horse has an extremely low heel - sometimes that's actually the hoof conformation, but more often it's the way farriers tend to shoe racehorses. Getting a farrier to look at the horse is an excellent idea.

Good luck and have fun!
    05-06-2011, 06:14 PM
^^ she said it much better!
    05-06-2011, 08:29 PM
Green Broke
Maura pretty much summed it all up Good Luck in your search!!!
    05-07-2011, 10:42 AM
Depending on if your TB raced and for how long: assume they have ulcers.

There was a recent study done that suggest that up to 90% or more of racing TBs had ulcers.

We feed our OTTB one lb of alfalfa cubes (torn up, as he tends to choke) daily as alfalfa supposedly neutralizes stomach acids and helps with ulcers.

Digestive problems/colic in OTTBs is also supposedly increased vs. other horses..... supposedly due to their temperment and the stresses of the racehorse lifestyle (i.e. High protein diets, limited or no grazing time/turnout)

So, soundness issues and digestive issue would be the most common OTTB problems.....

With temperment being third.

When we got our OTTB, only off the track for three months, he was a fireball.

He'd never seen an apple, flipped out when turn out to graze (whirling and bucking and kicking out as soon as the halter was off... which resulted in me getting kicked and flying across the pasture...and subsequent visit to the ER), bit and kicked at the carrot stick when introduced to Parelli's porcupine game, bit people continously, reared and bucked when he was asked to do something he didn't like, etc. Basically, he had NO MANNERS whatsoever. Race horses aren't taught manners on the track, manners aren't necessary.....only things that are are speed and soundness.

Adjusting to being a family horse was a difficult process, but OTTBs are quick learners.

My advice: lay down the law from day one. Show him/her what behaviours are and are not acceptable with a stern, but calm and kind approach. Our OTTB cannot be approached with aggression, he'll come right back at you with it. Instead, we are firm with him....but never aggressive, loud or violent.

We've had him one year now, and the change in him is remarkable. He only needed to know the rules of his new life, and he adjusted remarkably fast. OTTBs are smart, most are willing to please....they just have to be shown the rules of this new game.

I will end by saying this: I NEVER wanted an OTTB or even a non racing TB. I was not prepared to devote the time and energy it takes to own a horse with these issues, both medical and personality wise. But looking back on it now, a year later....after being kicked across a pasture, the endless Parelli games sessions, the few but violent TB meltdowns....

Beau is the most amazing and wonderful horse in the world. I love him like I love my own children. He is my best friend, my comfort, and my joy....I cannot imagine my life without him, and I thank God I had the courage to buy him that day....despite all the bad things I'd heard about TBs in general and off trackers in particular. He will stand and cuddle with you for half an hour, he's friendly and obedient on the ground, he's smart as the devil, and funny, with quirks in his personality that makes us laugh.... as for riding, he's great indoors, but outside, his natural desire to run resurfaces. He is a very forward moving horse...outside. Not something for a beginner or intermediate rider for sure. On the plus side, OTTBs are generally not very spooky about things other horses are. Like crowds, flags, waving things...and weird hats. Lol

He is my sweet, darling angel....thank you God, for sending him to me.

Sorry for the drama, folks......
    05-07-2011, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the replies guys!

Originally Posted by maura    
Look for any blemish or swelling on the legs - windpuffs, thickened suspensories, bowed tendons, thoroughpins and splints are all common. Look for pinfire marks on the front of the cannons. None of this necessarily means don't buy the horse, but the injuries should be old, cold and well healed.
What exactly are windpuffs, thoroughpins, and pinfire marks?

Originally Posted by Beauseant    
Depending on if your TB raced and for how long: assume they have ulcers.
How would you know a horse had an ulcer? Are there any signs to look for when you see a horse before buying?

    05-07-2011, 11:12 AM
If you get an OTTB, please, I highly encourage you to get a thorough vet check before you finally committ to the purchase. And get the horse scoped.

Also, keep in mind that most TB's that come off the track will need at least up to a year off, to beable to mentally come into their own and rehabb from the life it once lived.

Majority of TB's, will have ulcers, it's because it is just "who they are". I would just assume that the TB has ulcers - but you cannot know for sure, unless you have the horse scoped.

Just because most OTTB's are cheap apon purchase, doesn't mean they are in the factor of care and rehabb.
    05-07-2011, 10:18 PM
As Eventer said, there is no way to know if a TB has ulcers unless they are scoped. But with over 90% in one survey known to have ulcers, most off track TB owners just assume there is some degree of ulceration. We were told by our ex BO to feed him a bit of alfalfa each day, as it is supposed to neutralize stomach acids and soothe ulcerations in the digestive tract. One of her 3 TBs is KNOWN to have severe ulcers due to the fact that he was scoped after his second ...nearly fatal.....bout of colic. He also has bone chips all through both legs....and is very neurotic...cribs so much he can't hold a decent weight. He is always ribby.

Some horses come off the track severely disabled, emtionally or physically...or both.

We were lucky, our OTTB didn't race long.....he refused to run, so he was sold to a used horse dealer. Still, his time on the track HAS left it's mark.....he has severe food aggression, chews constantly, and does not play well with other horses. He spent most of his time once he was fired from his racing job with COWS. He is dangerously aggressive with other horses....

So, be prepared for some degree of physical issues, be they with soundness or digestive upset....or both.....and emotional issues also.

But for those prepared and willing to take the time to invest in these horses, and able to handle the monetary strain of their upkeep....they can become the best friend you will ever have. Funny, smart, loyal and loving....
    05-08-2011, 02:14 AM
Thanks for the replies Beauseant and MIEventer!

(sorry, i'm sort of thinking up questions as I go here)

What are some illnesses/ conditions to watch for with standardbreds? Are they the same as thoroughbreds in regards to ulcers and leg injuries?


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