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View Full Version : Bucked Shins...avoidable??



Nicodemus
Jan. 17, 2008, 03:59 PM
A question to any experienced trainers/track vets...I have an owner who seems to think that bucked shins are caused by irresponsible training and that they can be fully avoided...any thoughts?

I have researched the topic quite intensively and think that many variables come into play...

Track surface (dirt- hard/ soft, hog fuel, poly, grass, etc.)
speeds used in works
length of works
strength of bone
maturity of horse, etc

Look forward to your replies...thanks

hipsdontlie
Jan. 17, 2008, 04:05 PM
bucked shins are basically a lot of tiny fractures. some are more prone to it than others. we are asking very young horses to do a lot at a young age and its hard on them. horse show diva dot com

Laurierace
Jan. 17, 2008, 04:05 PM
I don't think they can ever be avoided 100% of the time, but I think they can be avoided the majority of the time. I have been following what has been nicknamed the Maryland shin study that was done at New Bolton for several years and only had one case that was close to being a bucked shin. I backed off before we got to that point but we were headed there if I hadn't backed off. In her case, I think it was a conformation issue more than anything else as she tended to pound her front end on the dirt, she was much lighter up front on the turf but is virtually impossible to train on the turf in this area so I had to get her to the races before we could get to the turf.
Many trainers still believe it is unavoidable and therefore something to get out of the way so they actively seek to buck their shins asap. My experience has shown to be otherwise.

Texarkana
Jan. 17, 2008, 04:38 PM
This paper is quite lengthy, but it's a good summary of a lot of the Maryland Shin Study research, current school of thought, etc. It's worth a read. If you skip to the last couple pages, it summarizes the conclusions and outlines the recommended training regimen for prevention.

http://www2.vet.upenn.edu/labs/corl/files/onbuckedshins.pdf

SleepyFox
Jan. 17, 2008, 05:07 PM
I think in reality some cases can be avoided and some can't. I've got a horse just getting over bucked shins right now and I can tell you there is a shocking amount of misinformation out there on this injury.

In the case of this horse, I'm wondering if we could have prevented it. The last time I saw him prior to his bucking, I thought his shins looked iffy. Trainer assured me all was okay. He then breezed really well but the rider said his feet were stinging. We assumed it was due to the track being hard and him having just been trimmed. He shinbucked a little over a week later. In hindsight, I should have insisted the horse get a little break, but who really knows. I am not however, complaining about the trainer - I don't think he was irresponsible.

Bottom line: it makes me nervous when someone says "young horses always shinbuck" but on the other hand, I wouldn't call anyone with a shinbucked horse in their barn an irresponsible trainer.

Equus34
Jan. 19, 2008, 08:29 PM
Some of the most careful trainers of young horses still have an occasional young horse buck shins. I have to agree with one of the earlier comments that someone said "we are starting to demand to much of young horses before they are fully ready to do such hard work"

One trainer I rode for, had great success with young horses and not bucking shins because we started doing Micro works with them. This built them up slowly and gradually, so their legs weren't over taxed. Bucked shins are micro fractures that can occur through stress, concussion, strain, and bad footing.

www.cmmbarnbrats.com

ElonGrad1997
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:53 PM
What problems do bucked shins lead to over time? Are we talking off/on lameness issues? I've seen a few OTTBs with them, but never really paid much attention it them.

Equus34
Jan. 22, 2008, 07:55 AM
I'm taking this information right from the Horse Owners Vet Book, so I don't get the information wrong.:winkgrin:

Bucked shins occur frequently in young Thoroughbreds during the first weeks of training. Horses that run on turf rarely develope this problem. As the foot strikes the gound, the front surface of the cannon experiences greater compression than the back. This causes the front surface to buckle and tear. At the same time the bone can develope cracks and fissures. The bone then responds to the percussion injury by periosteal remodling, while new bone is deposited at the sites to maintain strength and durability.

Relieve acute inflammation and swelling with ice packs, pressure bandages, and Butazolidin, apply support bandages rest the horse for a least 1 month.

If the injury becomes calcified, a permanent blemish results. However, this does not interfere with performance.

Hope this information helps.

WWW.CMMBarnbrats.com

Rubs Not Pats
Jan. 22, 2008, 09:06 AM
Sorry to divert this but do you ever see bucked shins behind as a result of training or conformation. I have one that got stuck over a fence and did it to a hind leg and am having quite the time explaining it was an injury vs. a conformation issue. P.S, the horse has great hind leg conformation.

NancyM
Jan. 22, 2008, 10:56 AM
The equivalent of bucked shins can happen to just about any and every weight baring bone in the leg and frame of the horse. Most commonly seen and most easily diagnosed in the front of the cannon bone.

LOL it is so amusing and annoying at the same time to have owners who truely think that the "cause" is avoidable or due to "poor training"... sure, it's avoidable if you have xray eyes and can fortell the future. Some horses can avoid them, with careful training and good luck, and pre-existing good bone density, a predictable track surface, and a trainer who listens to the horse and backs off training regularly and as required, without training to a prechosen goal of a race date. Another trait I've seen that effects shin problems or lack thereof is how aggressively the horse ran itself as a yearling the year before, in the pasture. Hard running, active, aggressive yearlings may have already developed better bone density before breaking started than the more sedate ones. Horses raised on hard ground pasture also will have better bone density and development than horses raised on soft footing. Horses who move "softly" over the ground, pat the ground with their stride rather than the ground pounding type may escape more shin problems. Horses without talent are less likely to warm up shins, they can't run hard enough to hurt themselves. I've had a few of those LOL.

Personally, I feel that signs of strain on the horse's young and developing body need to be taken seriously, and treated with required rest and rehabilititative exercise, the training ebbing and flowing with what the horse is telling the trainer. Does it happen this way very often? Probaby not in many cases. Owners pay the training bills, and often don't understand why the horse is not training hard and approaching race readiness, though the bills remain the same, when the owner often can not see the horse "limping". Trainers too will often decide to "take the chance" pushing a horse who they know has minor problems that may include shins, hoping that they will hold good enough to race just once before turning the horse out for a while. Though training fees can cripple the owner, they don't result in an actual paycheck for the trainer, so pressure is put on the horse that sometimes shouldn't be, if the horse's best interest is at heart. All these things effect the horse bucking his shins, and how bad the shin buck will be. Those trainers who are still of the outdated opinion that "shins need to be bucked right out in order to strengthen properly" will result in more cases of fully fractured (fatal) cannon bone breaks in babies. I think the trick to handling shins is to stress them somewhat, slowly increasing the length of the speedwork, after a good long preparation of long slow distance work in advance. But there are no guarantees that they can be avoided entirely, they may be able to be managed by a good trainer and still get some training done at least, if not get to the races.

Florida Fan
Jan. 22, 2008, 12:14 PM
Agreeing with many of you who have the experienced this themselves. I have trained for many years, and there although there is a lot of reading on this, you have to be there. I know some owners imagine they have many more answers than they really do. A big factor is the surface you train over, plus pushing them faster than they mature. Bucking shins involves the remodeling of the shinbone involving the extensor ligament as it crosses there. If you wait till the shins look "iffy" you're already in trouble. The ligament pulls away from the shin, and it may or may not involve small fractures. I have a very wise lady in Ocala who has started many of mine--she starts the long yearlings on the turf, slow conditioning, when they have attained a measure of fitness, she alternates dirt and grass, then pretty much finishes on the dirt. This has been my best rate of success---but we check daily for any tenderness, and if the "kids" are having issues, we ride at the walk till they progress. Weight of rider is of course a big factor, and cconformation of horse. All this being said, there still no guarantee-----but it does really increase the odds that it won't be a real "layup". And yes, I have seen many rear legs with bucked shins. If you are diligent and catch them in time, there is virtually no cosmetic evidence.

Laurierace
Jan. 22, 2008, 01:08 PM
Agreeing with many of you who have the experienced this themselves. I have trained for many years, and there although there is a lot of reading on this, you have to be there. I know some owners imagine they have many more answers than they really do. A big factor is the surface you train over, plus pushing them faster than they mature. Bucking shins involves the remodeling of the shinbone involving the extensor ligament as it crosses there. If you wait till the shins look "iffy" you're already in trouble. The ligament pulls away from the shin, and it may or may not involve small fractures. I have a very wise lady in Ocala who has started many of mine--she starts the long yearlings on the turf, slow conditioning, when they have attained a measure of fitness, she alternates dirt and grass, then pretty much finishes on the dirt. This has been my best rate of success---but we check daily for any tenderness, and if the "kids" are having issues, we ride at the walk till they progress. Weight of rider is of course a big factor, and cconformation of horse. All this being said, there still no guarantee-----but it does really increase the odds that it won't be a real "layup". And yes, I have seen many rear legs with bucked shins. If you are diligent and catch them in time, there is virtually no cosmetic evidence.


I agree with more or less all you said but wanted to clarify one thing. Bucked shins do not involve a ligament or a ligament pulling away from the bone. That is more in line with a popped spint. Bucked shins are microfractures in the covering of the bone, the periosteum, that can separate from the bone itself causing the classic bucked shin appearance.

Florida Fan
Jan. 22, 2008, 02:26 PM
Yes, I stand to be corrected---it is the periosteum, not the ligament itself. What I was stressing was the fact that a trainer can take all sort of precautions, and there are many different training theories--that is what makes racing, but that many owners who have never been a trainer and listen to everyone and too many other sources have difficulty in believing that some things are only avoidable/preventable in degrees. Also the young horse's previous history such as nutrition and having space and other babies to exercise with is yet another factor in maturing and soundness issues.

caffeinated
Jan. 22, 2008, 02:36 PM
bucked shins are basically a lot of tiny fractures. some are more prone to it than others. we are asking very young horses to do a lot at a young age and its hard on them. horse show diva dot com

hips, why don't you just add that url to your actual signature, instead of typing it out each time?

Laurierace
Jan. 22, 2008, 02:42 PM
Yes, I stand to be corrected---it is the periosteum, not the ligament itself. What I was stressing was the fact that a trainer can take all sort of precautions, and there are many different training theories--that is what makes racing, but that many owners who have never been a trainer and listen to everyone and too many other sources have difficulty in believing that some things are only avoidable/preventable in degrees. Also the young horse's previous history such as nutrition and having space and other babies to exercise with is yet another factor in maturing and soundness issues.

I figured you just mistated it, I wanted to clarify for the less knowlegeable posters who may read it. I didn't have the heart to tell you there was no such thing as an extensor ligament, we will assume that was a boo boo as well! Otherwise, I agree completely.