What is pin firing? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum

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post #21 of 31 Old 02-12-2012, 12:14 PM
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Pin firing is being used less and less frequently these days. And, while I would never turn a horse down because he had been "fired" I would give the horse intense scrutiny in any prepurchase exam.
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post #22 of 31 Old 02-12-2012, 12:30 PM
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Pin firing is done several ways and the term "pin firing' covers them all. Many years ago I worked on a track as a walker and exercise jocky. The whys of it I DO NOT agree with, but many track folks thought it worked.

Anyway, at one of the barns I worked at, the trainer would decide to have it done on a certain horse. Depending on what he was trying to accomplish, he might try a blistering agent first. So the groom would rub a chemical paste on the legs then wrap them, which in turn would burn the horse. More often than not the horse would stomp and rub his painful legs and get the paste all over his face, thereby burning his face too. Once time a horse rubbed his head, which was covered in the paste, on me. Hurt like h**l and blisted my skin right up.

If that didn't work, or the trainer decided to go for the harsher treatment right away, a vet would come out and plug in this nasty device with a little metal rod sticking out of it to the wall to heat up. Yup, red hot, just like a branding iron. The horse would be sedated, then burned with the red hot rod up and down the legs. Usually these things were done in the afternoons when most of the staff was gone, but one day I had to hold a horse and help out. Well, after a minute or two I handed the lead of the drugged horse to someone and ran off to toss my cookies.
The stench is unbearable and up to that point I had only heard about it, never witnessed it because the horses were always kept with standing wraps to cover everything up.

Needless to say I quit that barn and looked for one where that didn't happen. Not all race horse trainers do that, just some.
Nowadays I'm sure the liquid nitrogen method is safer (although just as painful I'm sure) but there are probably trainers who still use heat and chemicals.
Hence the name pin firing.
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post #23 of 31 Old 02-12-2012, 05:18 PM
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That is sad. Looks like they just went nuts with that stupid tool. Hard track surfaces, undeveloped, young feet etc. and these are testaments to the trouble the horse had with it all, why he's not on the track now still winning races, which is where they wanted him, cause its all about money. I'd love to see an xray. I'll bet there is permanent residual damage from this....a miracle if there isn't. Pin firing may outlawed in Canada, not sure.
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post #24 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 11:41 AM
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I've also heard of trainers pin firing horses nowadays just because the owners won't let them just turn the horse out when they need it. So they pin fired them and say, oh have to turn them out, vets orders. Very very sad. Now it's used with liquid nitrogen (no different than freeze branding I think).

Blistering is common, it can be very mild or very severe, just depending on what is used and how it's used. It can be effective, but I don't agree with aggressive use of it.

The great racehorse Cigar was pin fired I believe on his hock as well.
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post #25 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 12:02 PM
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When I was in highschool and going to equine science programs we had many standardbreds that had been pin fired. The majority of them were younger horses and had been pin fired in the hocks or rear cannon and had white dots a couple inches apart. These guys were done with the cold nitrogen, I watched it get done and they seemed fine. Even after waking up from being sedated they did not seem to be in much pain, most didn't seem like they were in pain at all, just mildly uncomfortable. It is used mostly in cases of a chronic lameness which they can not solve in any other manor.

You know how to make a miniature horse even smaller? Leave them in the dryer a little longer!
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post #26 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 11:44 AM
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My mare has (I think) 4 pin fire marks on one of her hind legs. I can't remember the exact injury she had, but I believe she had a splint that wasn't going away with stall rest, light walking and wrapping. At the barn where I worked, our vet tried everything he could think of before suggesting pin firing, and even then... he did the absolute minimum that he thought would do the trick. Vanna was about 2 years old when she had it done and to my knowledge, it has never affected her. She's 16 years old now and she is 100% sound on that leg.
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post #27 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 04:20 PM
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I was at the KY Horse Park this summer, and one of the retired racehorses there (I forget who it was) had those marks on his legs; the handler said they were treating some condition with it. Is that what it was? I can't believe a modern-day vet would do that.

ETA: Picture attached.
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Last edited by equiniphile; 02-14-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 08:14 PM
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^^^Those are pinfire marks. It is still used as it is pretty effective but the majority of it going on is the cold version, not the hot.
Maybe it is just the picture also, but look at the ankle/fetlock area on that horse on the same leg as the pinfire marks are! It is HUGE! Go into most standardbred race barns, you will more likely than not find at least 1 with them.

You know how to make a miniature horse even smaller? Leave them in the dryer a little longer!
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Last edited by minihorse927; 02-15-2012 at 08:16 PM.
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post #29 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 08:26 PM
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Sick, we humans are selfish creatures. In all of the years of owning horses, I have never heard of this.
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post #30 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 08:34 PM
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Here's another picture. It does look swollen to me. I think this is Cigar, actually.
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