The Horse Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading an article yesterday (dearly wish I had a link) about Eight Belles. In the article, it claimed the following points to explain the tendency for TB's to be injured: They are bred to be too fast for their bodies (conformation wise, I'm guessing) to handle, and since horses that are injured are usually retired to be bred, weaknesses are likely to be passed on.

What do ya'll think? Agree with the points or disagree? I just thought it was an interesting thought and would really like to know more.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,901 Posts
I don't think that they are bred to be too fast for their bodies....I think that they are trained to be too fast too soon for their bodies to handle, and then those factors are compounded by the stress of repeating the actions over and over, improper muscle development, and improper rehabilitation (not whats good for the horse in the long run, what will make them sound the soonest). Most males are gelded unless they come from fabulous lines regardless of performance or injury, but I can't speak for the mares.

I'm speaking mostly about the racing industry, since that's where these factors are most evident. Proper care and management from an early age would make a TB no more breakable than any other breed of horse. I own a OTTB and although he is clumsy, he's no more prone to serious injury than any of the other horses at my barn. Of course, there is no telling what the myriad of injuries he sustained while on the track will do to his body later on, but for now he is sound.
 

·
Chat Moderator
Joined
·
3,744 Posts
They seem to have lighter bone structure than TB from years ago. Like in car racing more power (muscle in this case) + less weight (bone mass) = a faster track time. There is the same thing in the QH world with some cutting horse and reining horses, to make those horses move faster and more catty. But the end result is the same. a horse that is more prone to injury than other horses, when compared to a heavier boned horse doing to the same job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,348 Posts
TBs may have lighter bones but you can take any breed, pull out the hot 2-3 year olds and run them through a race track multiple times and you're bound to get breaks as well. There are also different sections of TB breeding, for example a TB that is bred for racing will be different from one bred for eventing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
I read something similar to that as well. It was some article but I forget where I read it. But it talked about Northern Dancer passing on very weak legs that were prone to breaking. It also said that Eight Belles was "like a train running on legs made of china" or something like that. Wish I could remember where I read it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
TB's have been bred to be light boned and fast...they have also just about had the feet bred out of them (meaning that have small crappy feet that are brittle an chip)

These factors make them weaker. The reason this happens is everyone just keeps breeding the same TB's together...no one adds new blood. Introduce some arab and their feet would get better...introduce a slightly heavier breed (like some type of warmblood maybe?)an their bones would be stronger. But no one wants to do this cause it decreases the speed factor.

The fact that they are raced so young also promotes injuries. So its not that TB's are neccisarily weak...its that poor breeding practices combined with to much work to early ruins them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
291 Posts
I watch horse racing very, very closely. I think horses aren't bred to break down, but they might not be bred to never break down. Like they don't concentrate on that kind of thing the most, which I think they should more than they do. But I think the training is the major issue. They are being ridden as early as a yearling! Now not saying all of them, but some of them. And they are ridden at 2 at the very least. So if they don't start being ridden until say 3 or 4. And they start being more watchful on breeding, then I think a lot can be accomplished. Just my opinion though...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
957 Posts
I don't think that they are bred to be too fast for their bodies....I think that they are trained to be too fast too soon for their bodies to handle, and then those factors are compounded by the stress of repeating the actions over and over, improper muscle development, and improper rehabilitation (not whats good for the horse in the long run, what will make them sound the soonest). Most males are gelded unless they come from fabulous lines regardless of performance or injury, but I can't speak for the mares.

I'm speaking mostly about the racing industry, since that's where these factors are most evident. Proper care and management from an early age would make a TB no more breakable than any other breed of horse. I own a OTTB and although he is clumsy, he's no more prone to serious injury than any of the other horses at my barn. Of course, there is no telling what the myriad of injuries he sustained while on the track will do to his body later on, but for now he is sound.

Agreed :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,320 Posts
I agree with most of the other posters. I don't think it is any one variable that is the sole cause for all the breakdowns. A combination of all practices is the only realistic option. Like Kentucky said, TBs of today are being bred to be faster, thus more muscle and less weight (bone mass). However, that alone cannot be the reason for so many injuries, but compound that with starting them at 16 or 18 months old before bones and tendons are solid and strong, that exponentially increases the risk to an already iffy mechanism. Add in the fact that horses that realistically have no business in the breeding program are being reproduced by the thousands. Just like Big Brown. He is well known for his terrible feet but he is being put out to stud, and will likely pass on those crappy feet to countless foals that will grow up to pass it on to countless more foals. Sure he was fast but that doesn't mean that he is breeding material.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top