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Thread: Horses

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    Horses

    So every year after the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont, we hear about horses being put down after the race. Do horses have that weak of legs that they fracture all the time, or are we expecting too much of them for them to run that far? It always saddens me when a horse stumbles across the line and therefore has to be put down (unless your name is Barbaro).



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    Re: Horses

    There are allot of factors that go into it. Race horses are bread to have as high of a muscle to body weight ratio as possible, which leads to breaks. In any horse, if they break a leg, they are usually put down because their mass makes it nearly impossible for it to heal. Race horses have breaks more often though because of their physiology. (my mom is a horse nut)



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    Re: Horses

    Face it, horses are fragile creature. It's pretty easy to kill a horse through misuse or overuse.

    Add to that, that race horses are fastest before they completely reach maturity, and the 2-3 year old horses develop injuries that are tough to fix while their bones are still forming.

    I'm sure a Vet student knows the details better, but the race horses that win tend to be 2 year olds, and when I grew up, we waited until a horse was 3 to even break them to saddle.

    An interesting note: In historical military planning, horse-borne troops could only move faster than infantry in campaigns of less than five days. Horses need much more rest time than men, and if you travelled farther than five days, the men could outmarch the horses.


    Last edited by Phaedrus; 05-04-2008 at 02:18 AM.
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    Re: Horses

    It is sad, for sure.



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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    An interesting note: In historical military planning, horse-borne troops could only move faster than infantry in campaigns of less than five days. Horses need much more rest time than men, and if you travelled farther than five days, the men could outmarch the horses.
    I think it's amazing that anyone can get a bunch of horses to march in step for almost 5 days...



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    Re: Horses

    My wife (a vet student) has commented several times that horses are some of the most poorly built creatures on the face of the earth in terms of survivability. The spindly little legs are one reason. Horses also are unable to burp or vomit. I think they might have some other quirks too, but I can't remember at the moment.


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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad View Post
    I think it's amazing that anyone can get a bunch of horses to march in step for almost 5 days...
    If I remmber correctly from Basic Training,it's amazing to get a bunch of people to do it for 20 minutes!!


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    Re: Horses

    Horses aren't meant to be run to the limit for a 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile or whatever. This is what happens when we push the limits.


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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoneyr View Post
    Horses aren't meant to be run to the limit for a 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile or whatever. This is what happens when we push the limits.
    Maybe should end the 40 yard dash for humans. It is pushing the limits and does cause injuries at times.


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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    Add to that, that race horses are fastest before they completely reach maturity, and the 2-3 year old horses develop injuries that are tough to fix while their bones are still forming.

    I'm sure a Vet student knows the details better, but the race horses that win tend to be 2 year olds, and when I grew up, we waited until a horse was 3 to even break them to saddle.
    My fiance is a horse person/owner her whole life and she said the same thing. They just push these race horses too far too early. It's sort of a shame and sad.

    Also, another reason they need to put them down is because horses have very poor circulation and cannot lay down for too long at all. Meaning, with a broken leg, they cannot just get off of their feet, otherwise they would die just from lying down (this would not be a good way to go). If you remember pictures of Barbaro, they had him in a sling-thing trying to keep him off of the foot. Also, without 4 feet to spread their massive weight around on, the hooves on the other 3 feet will start to split and decay, which would be unbelievably painful (think fingernails splitting open).



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    Re: Horses

    Man, I had no idea horses had this many problems. That was really really sad to watch a horse get second place, and then just be completely finished.



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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ficklone02 View Post
    Man, I had no idea horses had this many problems. That was really really sad to watch a horse get second place, and then just be completely finished.
    Well the horse isn't completely finished.

    The horse will live on in the form of glue, Alpo, Jell-O, hot dogs, paint brushes, violin bows, and other fine products.


    Last edited by ketchupnmustard; 05-04-2008 at 02:09 PM.
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    Re: Horses

    We usually wait until our horses are 2 years old to start them in training and wait to race them until they are 3, so they have more time to develop and are less likely to breakdown. A lot of factors can influence such injuries such as jockey experience, track conditions, number of horses in the race, number of races/experience of the horse.

    If something goes wrong at such speeds, it is likely to be bad for all who are involved obviously the horse, jockey, as well as, horses and riders behind the injured horse. Most horses that I have seen break their legs on the track have been more severe than Barbaro and Eight Belles in that the leg breaks to the point that only a small portion of skin and muscle attach it to the horse's body.

    Watching a horse named Pushmybuttons break its leg at Aksarben with my grandparents left a lasting impression on me when I was younger, but it is important to remember that these animals are bred for this purpose. It is also important the note that these injuries are not that common. Eight Belles owned by John Mayer is the first horse to be euthanized/die from injuries sustained during the Kentucky Derby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clone9 View Post
    Also, without 4 feet to spread their massive weight around on, the hooves on the other 3 feet will start to split and decay, which would be unbelievably painful (think fingernails splitting open).
    Horses usually develop laminitis in uninjured foot due to stress and poor circulation from the chronic weight baring on the opposite foot. The laminae that become inflamed hold the hoof wall tight with the P3 (3rd Phalanx or Coffin Bone) which is the last bone in the foot. Once the inflammation is severe enough, the bone will completely detach from the hoof wall and dive into the sole of the foot causing great pain.

    Laminitis of the healthy foot/leg greatly complicates the healing process of the broken leg. Include the fact that the animal is a prey species and their first resonse is to flee only makes things more difficult.

    You can try corrective shoeing, but it will likely not work because you can only shoe the uncasted foot. NSAID's may offer some relief, but the drugs will cause gastric ulcers if given for an extended period of time. They made the right choice to euthanize the animal especially since both legs were broken. It is really too bad because that filly really gave the boys a run for their money.



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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by chadm View Post
    Maybe should end the 40 yard dash for humans. It is pushing the limits and does cause injuries at times.
    Not to sound like a PETA member, but the 40 doesn't cause death. (unless you are grossly overweight and smoke :) )



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    Re: Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by LindenCy View Post
    Not to sound like a PETA member, but the 40 doesn't cause death. (unless you are grossly overweight and smoke :) )
    Really? When our guys pull a hammy we take them out back and shoot them in the head. What good are they to us then?




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