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hey101
Jan. 30, 2007, 10:49 AM
As we absorb the loss of Barbaro, even with the huge effort to save his life with the most modern veterinary technology available, I can't help but think back to Secretariat.

I was not even born when he won the Triple Crown, and fairly young when he died. It wasn't until I was older that I learned that laminitis was the cause he was put down.

My question is: what was the triggering event that caused him to develop laminitis? Was it something like eating spring grass too quickly, he was fed something inappropriate, or he broke into the feed room? I just wonder if 20 years later, new understandings of horse management and feeding would have prevented the trigger event, or if it had still occurred, new advances in surgery and corrective shoeing could have saved his life.

I am NOT trying to say that those who cared for him caused his death. I am wondering if his laminitis had developed today, could his life have not been tragically cut short because we would have had better tools and knowledge to save him?

I'm EBO
Jan. 30, 2007, 11:04 AM
Not to second guess his vets, who were probably the best in the business then, but a vast amount of information on the causes of laminitis has been discovered just in the past few years. From just the look of his body condition in his later years, I would bet a $10 bill that he was insulin resistant--which nobody knew about at the time, at least in horses. Or he could have had one of several metabolic conditions that lead to laminitis; Cushings, for example. (That was one of, if not the only, cause of the laminitis/founder that took Coreene's Willem.)

I have a big, beautiful Hannoverian, whose diet I have to strictly control in order to prevent laminitis and founder. While we'll never know if diet or medication could have saved Secretariat, I expect that would have been the case. Of course, in Barbaro's case, it was a case of too much weight on feet that weren't designed to carry it; a cause, imo, that's in the same category as road founder (too much work on hard surfaces).

In years past, a horse was thought to sometimes develop laminitis from grain or spring grass overload, retained placenta, excessive weight on one or more hooves, and/or poor shoeing. Now we know more about causes, but I'm pretty sure we don't know it all.

Laurierace
Jan. 30, 2007, 11:32 AM
Secretariat had cushings disease which lead to the laminitis. I think there may have been enough advances in cushings research since then that things may have been different if it happened today. Once the laminitis sets in it either gets better or it doesn't, so there is no way to know if that would have been different.

Glimmerglass
Jan. 30, 2007, 12:00 PM
Secretariat was examined by the best around in 1989 and frankly advances in medicine and/or shoeing haven't change that much although detection of the disease has improved a little bit. I truly doubt however after it set in that the Hancock family would have changed their ultimate decision.

There are multiple causes and I don't recall ever there being a determination as to "the culprit" for Secretariat. He suffered and was humainly euthanized due to complications from laminitis. The cause of laminitis (http://www.laminitis-advice.co.uk/laminitis_causes.htm) ...


The cause of almost all laminitis is poor digestion. When food is not broken down properly in the hindgut of a horse, acids and toxins are produced which leak into the body and damage blood vessels and organs throughout the body. When blood vessels and cells that feed the feet are affected in this way the amount of blood flowing down to the sensitive laminae is reduced and they become swollen. (Some alternative theories also suggest that toxins more importantly affect horn growth and that these are the cause of most laminitis). Swelling or inflammation of laminae means that they cannot do their job of holding the pedal bone in place properly and this results in a lot of pain. As the situation gets worse and if the flow of toxins is not reduced then the laminae can be so damaged that the foot bone sinks right through the sole of the foot and the horse will have to be euthanased. When the foot bone sinks a little the pedal bone is said to have 'rotated'.

The sort of food that causes laminitis is rich young spring grass with high levels of fructans. However rich grass can cause the problem at any time of year and even frosty grass in the winter can damage the digestion in the gut so much that the wrong sort of bacteria start to multiply and release toxins. Another cause of laminitis is the sudden ingestion of large amounts of cereal or concentrate feed. Large amounts of such rich food in the gut cause a lot of acid production and again encourage the growth of the wrong sort of bacteria

Food is not the only cause of laminitis however. An increasingly common cause of the disease is a hormonal imbalance called Cushings Disease. In addition any infection in the body might produce enough toxins to damage the blood vessels and thus cause laminitis. Womb infections after foaling are a particularly well-known example of this cause of laminitis. In addition pounding of the feet can cause sufficient damage to the laminae to cause laminitis. This form of the problem is called concussion laminitis. Stress can also make horses more likely to get laminitis and any other disease.

Dr. Ric Redden has been the foremost expert on the subject in the US. His clinc, Equine Podiatry Center (http://www.equinepodiatrycenter.com/about_history.html) in Lexington is pretty amazing. A close friend of a friend is a co-owner of it and I've had a chance to see their operations.

They offera Q&A on-line (http://www.equinepodiatrycenter.com/laminitis.html)

Regarding Secretariat, Bill Nack his biographer perhaps one of his greatest admirers outside of Penny, wrote "Pure Heart" as well as other articles on him.

An excerpt:


Just before noon [11:45 am actually] Secretariat was led haltingly into a van next to the stallion barn, and there a concentrated barbiturate was injected into his jugular. Forty-five seconds later there was a crash as the stallion collapsed. His body was trucked immediately to Lexington, Ky., where Dr. Thomas Swerczek, a professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky, performed the necropsy. .....

Secretariat was buried at dusk on Oct. 4 in the horse cemetery at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky.

Miss J
Jan. 30, 2007, 01:28 PM
ok correct me if i'm wrong or just slap me one...but whne I remeber reading about his autopsy(sp) and it was stated that his heart was double the size of a regular horse heart...is this bs?

Slewdledo
Jan. 30, 2007, 01:31 PM
No, not BS.

Oakstable
Jan. 30, 2007, 01:36 PM
The large heart syndrome, or X factor, is considered a really good thing for a racehorse. Oddly, I had a Hanoverian baby who fell out of a sale because he had a murmur. And the heart specialist said he had a heart the size of Secretariat's. They joked about cosmetically removing his Hanoverian brand and puttin him on the race track. The vets really liked him, BTW, but it killed the sale.

Sally

Sarabeth
Jan. 30, 2007, 01:41 PM
Secretariat appears to be obese in photos taken after his racing career ended. Maybe that had something to do with it as well.

hitchinmygetalong
Jan. 30, 2007, 01:52 PM
Secretariat had cushings disease which lead to the laminitis.

Laurierace, was this a definite diagnosis made while he was still alive, or a diagnosis made post mortem based on his body condition as he aged?

Glimmerglass
Jan. 30, 2007, 01:57 PM
.. that his heart was double the size of a regular horse heart...is this bs?

Supposedly it is the largest seen at an estimated 22 lbs vs. the normal size of 8.5 lbs of a thoroughbred; the second largest heart disovered was Sham's at 18 lbs; the great horse Eclipse had a heart clocking in at 14 lbs in 1789.

Source: The X Factor "Heart of the Matter" (http://www.premierpub.com/crossroads/xfactor/heart-1.htm)


Secretariat appears to be obese in photos taken after his racing career ended. Maybe that had something to do with it as well.

I've seen photos of Secretariat through the late 1980's and I don't recollect him being obese whatsoever in my view. Example: Secretariat at Claiborn Farm (http://www.thoroughbredmemories.com/galleryresults.asp?Base_ID=1248) or how about him in the pasture in the late 1980s (http://www.thoroughbredmemories.com/galleryresults.asp?Base_ID=763) - by no means obese. He was a big boy not a fat boy ;)

Kenike
Jan. 30, 2007, 02:00 PM
I'd love to find out about the cushings diagnosis, as well. Kinda' close to the heart right now for me, but that's a totally different subject....

Glimmerglass
Jan. 30, 2007, 02:15 PM
I have to be honest that I've never seen a cushings link/diagnosis with Secretariat before. That doesn't mean I know everything but it isn't cited on "his web site" or other resources on him either. Laminitis of course is but not the further diagnosis of cushings.

Laurierace
Jan. 30, 2007, 02:16 PM
I got my information first hand through the vet who worked and traveled with him during his triple crown campaign. I don't know if even they knew that was his problem at the time, so it may not be documented anywhere.

hitchinmygetalong
Jan. 30, 2007, 02:45 PM
So, was it or was it not definitively diagnosed via bloodwork? I only ask because I'm not sure if the defining test for Cushings was even available at the time.

summerhorse
Jan. 30, 2007, 02:47 PM
Secretariat didn't really look like a Cushings Horse and this is the first I've ever seen it mentioned. I don't think that was even thought of in connection with his death at the time. Back then they knew very little about Cushings or treating it. If he had it I doubt anyone would have known at the time. He was still sleek and shiney but he was OBESE and no doubt insulin resistant. That alone is enough to bring on laminitis. Pulpit is also obese and is headed down the same road if he isn't put on a diet soon. Of course there are fat stallions all over. It's like the stallion world hasn't heard of the link between fat and founder.

Anyway they never found any "cause" except that he was fat. But causes are not always apparent. Even stress can bring on a bout of laminitis.

2ndyrgal
Jan. 30, 2007, 03:41 PM
Secretariat was also much older than Barbaro at the time of his death. I'm sure that might have had something to do with a decision as well. I had never heard of him being "obese".

MU George
Jan. 30, 2007, 06:10 PM
I had the pleasure of meeting Secretariat while on a private tour of Claiborne farm in 1988, less than a year before his death. His groom brought him out of his pasture for us to pet him, and he was a muddy happy horse. He was, however, not obese. Wide chested and muscular, but not obese. He was something special indeed.

KGC

DeeThbd
Jan. 30, 2007, 09:01 PM
[QUOTE=Glimmerglass;2179783]
Dr. Ric Redden has been the foremost expert on the subject in the US.

Ric Redden IS a great source of info...he has often been referred to in the Equine Cushings forum that I'm a member of in YahooGroups. If it's an area of interest, you might enjoy Dr. Eleanor Kellon's research related to the subject. Awesome, awesome lady who is happy to share her knowledge with us average folk. I lost my little mare last month to a non-Cushings crisis....irony after getting her sound again that it happened. Miss her terribly....
Although insulin resistance is frequently associated with Cushings, I don't think that there's a specific cause/effect relationship (meaning that a horse with IR will not necessarily develop Cushings). A horse can be IR without Cushings (at young ages), while a horse can also have Cushings and not IR. Basic philosophy is to be preventive and feed an IR appropriate diet to a Cushings horse as Cushings horses are more prone to IR (as well as other health issues).

As for Barbaro....any legitimacy to my theory that he stress foundered from compensating off his hind end? In the BloodHorse article online, they mentioned him showing signs up front too.
Wouldn't wish founder on ANYBODY>
Dee

Carol Ames
Jan. 30, 2007, 09:13 PM
Dee. wecertainly we can consider stress,and weight bearing/unloading, poor circulation, the many drugs he was on, and, so much more :eek: , unfortunately horses often survive the initial insult, fracture , and surgery only to be put down due to laminitis, or colic, :( as I sadly told a friend who watched th Preakness and its' aftermath with me.

summerhorse
Jan. 30, 2007, 09:50 PM
Secretariat was also much older than Barbaro at the time of his death. I'm sure that might have had something to do with a decision as well. I had never heard of him being "obese".

He was 19 when he died, hardly ancient. OK whatever you want to call it he was too fat. His crest was too thick, he was just fat all over. Pretty but fat. After a certain point fat is fat. He wasn't the equivalent of the 600 pound man but he'd definitely be a walking heart attack about to happen if he were a human.

Beezer
Jan. 30, 2007, 11:56 PM
He was 19 when he died, hardly ancient. OK whatever you want to call it he was too fat. His crest was too thick, he was just fat all over. Pretty but fat. After a certain point fat is fat. He wasn't the equivalent of the 600 pound man but he'd definitely be a walking heart attack about to happen if he were a human.

Actually, if you look back at pictures of him in his racing days, he was just a plain BIG horse. He was always larger (i.e. bulkier) than any other horse on the track, and Lucien Laurin was famous for saying he didn't think he'd ever get "the fat boy" in racing shape or keep him that way.

So, he apparently was calorically challenged all his life; I can identify with that! :winkgrin:

I tended to think of him in later years as the pro athlete (which he was) settling into retirement (which he did) whose muscles turned paunchy. I honestly don't know how, if all at, he would be managed differently today. He was simply a BIG horse with an appetite that was well-known for being equally as big. Whether that contributed to his laminitis, well ... I keep hearing they know what killed Phar Lap, too. ;)

I adored that horse and still consider him the very best of all time. I have my own theory about why he was seemingly euthanized so quickly after the onset and have always wondered that if his value as a broodmare sire and, to a lesser degree, sire of sires had been known then, would they have been so quick to pull the trigger (so to speak)? Would that be different now with the advances we've made?

I honestly don't know.

hopashore1
Jan. 31, 2007, 12:08 AM
Really summerhorse? Can you find a picture illustrating that? I'm not trying to be snarky--every picture I've seen though has pretty clear muscle definition. Not that he didn't have a big crest, but I never saw him as "fatty all over." But, I don't know the years of all the pictures I've seen, and maybe that was a later development?

I thought Mill Reef, the steeplechaser, had the 2nd largest heart? Maybe I'm pulling that out of thin air, though!

Glimmerglass
Jan. 31, 2007, 12:24 AM
I thought Mill Reef, the steeplechaser, had the 2nd largest heart? Maybe I'm pulling that out of thin air, though!

Paul Mellon's horse was an X-Factor, yes, I don't know about the heart's actual weight.


The list of champions determined by researchers to have carried large hearts is awesome and also includes Man o’ War, Count Fleet, Citation, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Mill Reef, Nijinsky II, Northern Dancer, Native Dancer, Kelso, John Henry, Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Easy Goer, A.P. Indy, Forty Niner, and Cigar.

Lynnwood
Jan. 31, 2007, 12:39 AM
As far as the X factor goes involving amazing performance and the ability to withstand circumstances that were challenging it would make you wonder if Barbaro also carried that gene.

He did litteraly run away from that Derby Field.

I'm EBO
Jan. 31, 2007, 01:26 AM
Here's a link to a picture of Secretariat looking pretty hefty to my eye.

http://www.mightyforum.com/family_album/images/secretariat.jpg

Glimmerglass
Jan. 31, 2007, 01:30 AM
Here's a link to a picture of Secretariat looking pretty hefty to my eye.

I think you might be viewing his very thick neck and chest as being bloated girth, whereas I just see that as more common muscle found in breeding stallions.

Louise
Jan. 31, 2007, 06:20 AM
As others have said, he isn't morbidly obese, but what I noticed is that you can't see a shadow of rib anywhere. He could have dropped a few pounds, definitely.

djnorth
Jan. 31, 2007, 10:02 AM
Interesting thread. At this point in my life, I can't really accuse anyone or anything of being fat!:winkgrin: However, I did want to share a little bit about Secretariat's laminitis. I didn't see it first-hand, but it sounds like, when it hit, it hit hard. The DRF had a story about him getting it in one foot (I think) a few months before he died. It seemed like he was stable but then it hit in all four feet. There was a guy working at the Horse Park who said he'd been to Claiborne a few days before he was put down. The guy said Secretariat was bloated and very sick-looking, a mess, he said. I also seem to remember that the necropsy may have showed a kidney problem. It may be that no one euthanized him too quickly, but the disease hit too hard too fast. Bill Nack wrote a very touching piece about it in SI. Claiborne didn't even want him to visit Secretariat before they put him down because "you won't want to remember him like he is now." Maybe someone was there who can tell us if this was true, but Nack's article was poignant and touching. Even if Secretariat were here today and got laminitis, there's no guarantee that he would have survived.

tma
Jan. 31, 2007, 11:55 AM
For whatever it's worth (or not). Just tossing this out for consideration:

I have a stallion, diagnosed with Cushings.

He does not, nor has he ever, "looked" like a Cushings horse. No "classic" hair coat. Nor had he ever had laminitis prior to diagnosis, a cresty neck, etc. Never "obese". But he is tested and confirmed, and has now been on medication (Pergolide) for almost 6 years.

We went looking for a problem thanks to a rapid shift in fertility, and massive amounts of gel with the semen in a pre-breeding season collection and evaluation. We didn't test for Cushings initially, as he didn't have any other apparent signs of a Cushings horse--of course we know that there can be many different symptoms, or combinations of symptoms...or in some cases, none at all.

It took us a few months to finally come back to test for Cushings - I think we tested for and ruled out, or treated for, just about everything else in the meantime.

Finally, we came back to Cushings. Bingo. Almost immediate elimination of the excessive gel once he was started on Pergolide. And we did see a rise in energy levels, a decline in which we hadn't really noticed, or previously attributed to anything else, other than maybe age. Unfortunately, we were too late to preserve his overall fertility, and he was retired from breeding. (He went from being fertile and "shippable" to not impregnating mares via live cover in four months' time).

In joining the EquineCushings group on yahoogroups in order to learn more after the diagnosis, I was surprised to find that mine was the only stallion recorded in the group's statistics at that time (with over 800 members at that time).

That made me wonder if more stallions don't have Cushings, but maybe go undiagnosed (or diagnosed later) because they might be less likely to exhibit a combination of symptoms that might be suspicious of Cushings? Just based on my own personal experience with our horse.

As an example, I'm just thinking that stallions generally, tend to have a finer coat overall (and especially their winter coats) than their mare or gelding counterparts.

I just can't help but wonder if it's possible that some of the same factors possibly contribute, when it comes to a stallion exhibiting symptoms of Cushings...?

As time has progressed and his fertility dropped further, our horse did have one minor laminitic episode with no other obvious cause, despite management as a Cushnoid horse (feed and medications, etc).

And there are definately some changes in the hair coat now, several years later (somewhat thicker/heavier than ever before, and a tad later shedding now compared to our other horses). Still not what we'd define as a "classic" Cushings coat -- but as we have had him since he was foaled, we ourselves see the slight differences/changes.

We consider ourselves fortunate to have picked up on the Cushings as early as we did (thanks to our wonderful veterinarian!). We hope that we have extended our horse's life, and improved the quality of that life as a result by minimizing some of the potential effects of Cushings, with overall management and meds.

minnie
Jan. 31, 2007, 12:01 PM
It's been a lot of years and my memory has a lot of holes in it, but I do remember there was some kind of systemic precursor to Secretariat's laminitis - either kidney or liver problem, I don't remember which. I saw him a couple years before he died and he not only wasn't obese, he wasn't fat. cresty and well-fleshed, but you could see a hint of the ribs when he walked.

summerhorse
Jan. 31, 2007, 12:08 PM
I'm sure Cushings does go undiagnosed in a lot of horses even in the late stages which most of us would pick up on right away. Not every horse owner is familiar with Cushings. If Secretariat had it it is unlikely he would have been suffering much from the effects yet but i do not think that was even a thought nor did anything show up in the necropsy that was ever announced.

I sold all my Secretariat stuff a few years ago but there were many pictures taken of him in his last years and he was TOO FAT (just as he is in that picture above). Don't mistake fat for muscle. That's an old halter horse trick. Since he wasn't regularly exercised he wouldn't have had a LOT of muscle anyway (no running around in the paddock doesn't do it!)

I remember the Knack article, that went with my secretariat lot and he did say they said he should wait and not remember him that way so he must have looked awful. But they battled in for 3 months or so with the last month when the more severe stuff came back (he got better as many do then crashed with the same terrible swiftness that Barbaro did). They didn't just give up on him, they did what they could and there is nothing to indicate he would have survived now vs. then. Horses are still dying from laminitis that seems to have no known cause. There was a standardbred pacer who came in to NBC in the summer with laminitis in all 4, don't know if they knew how he got that but he was there for a couple of months or more when he crashed too and had to be put down. HIs thread is in here somewhere.

FourWands
Jan. 31, 2007, 12:20 PM
My understanding, as relayed from a groom at Claiborne, is that Secretariat had not eaten, or even stood, for 2 days prior to being euthanized. :(

Poor guy.

LotsofSlots
Jan. 31, 2007, 02:39 PM
Boy he was beautiful. I remember him winning the Triple Crown, I was 13 and I fell in love. He was always my favorite TB (after my own girl of course!) and I cried when he died. It was my first intro to laminitis and it has to be the about the worst thing that can happen to your horse. I would think nowadays they may have been able to pick up on things in the blood work but who knows if they could have saved him. I helped nurse a horse with it once, and that was enough. We did everything, no stone unturned, called experts, 24 hour nursing, no good. It took a month of ups and downs. She was only 7 and looked so beautiful when we put her down. She was in uncontrolable pain Sorry , this is giving me flashbacks. It is in a book about him that Claiboure (Bill Hancock) told the author to remember him as he was, I have it somewhere....

Carol Ames
Jan. 31, 2007, 06:14 PM
Was Man of War also considered to be too fat? I did speak with someone who had seen Secretariat shortly before his death, who said that Secretariat was at hat time in very poor bodily condition:( , the "ravages " of laminitis had taken their toll:cry:

libgrrl
Jan. 31, 2007, 06:37 PM
If I remember correctly, around the time Secretariat was euthanized there was a lot of second-guessing about the condition of TB stallions at the big breeding farms.

Three Chimneys (who had Seattle Slew at the time) was hailed as model for the way they handled their breeding stallions because they were ridden daily.

fish
Jan. 31, 2007, 06:49 PM
FWIW, I saw Secretariat 2 weeks before he died. He was standing outside, being given a bath. His feet were bandaged, and we were told he had laminitis. I remember being struck by how fat he was, and yet still so beautiful. I cried on the way home thinking myself fortunate to have had the chance to see him in the flesh before he was gone. One of my fondest memories remains that of watching his Belmont in the TV department at Sears because we didn't own a set: 20+ Secretariats thundering home by 33 lengths. Pretty overwhelming.

During that same trip, BTW, I also visited Three Chimneys and was very much impressed by the comparative condition of the stallions there.

When I lived in Florida I knew of a large barn in which 6 horses contracted fatal colic and/or founder because of walnut in a shipment of shavings. Two (the colics) died within the first 2 days. The last founder case was put down after 4 months.

sid
Jan. 31, 2007, 06:49 PM
Stallions have big crests and are typically well muscled, so it can be very hard to detect either of these conditions until the problem is on top of you...laminitis.

They don't have to be "fatty all over" or have the lumpiness one often sees in horses with Cushing's or insulin resistance...or even overweight.

My stallion is going through this very problem now...sudden onset of severe laminitis in early August and he's still trying to recover. Other than an increase size of his crest (not horribly so) we had no idea he had become insulin resistant because his body didn't "fit" the pattern.

I suspect that may have been the case with Secretariat as well.

We were discussing on the breeding forum when Bo first foundered that it seems (anecdotally) that when stallions develop laminitis they don't seem to recover very well -- Secretariat, Pilot, others that I can't remember right now.

Beverley
Jan. 31, 2007, 08:56 PM
For what it's worth, I was told at the time that Secretariat had mildly foundered previous to his fatal case, and his handlers were advised by the vet to eliminate the grain. Allegedly, they continued to grain him so that he would be sleek and shiny for his public. Nothing to do with Cushing's or any liver or kidney issues, just too much grain.

sid
Jan. 31, 2007, 10:01 PM
Beverly, I doubt that is the case. Grain changes or a sudden overfeeding can cause laminitis for any horse. That's horse care 101. I very much doubt that Secretariat's caretakers would have assaulted him with a "sudden" grain increase.

I suspect it is more likely that he had developed insulin resistance and no one knew it. Not much was known about IR even a few years ago. I also suspect he could no longer tolerate a diet that had served him well throughout his life, which is what happens with IR horses. When insulin resistance occurs, ANY quantity of grain or sugars can set these horses over the edge (even 1/4" cup or a lump of sugar or a carrot), but it doesn't often occur until older age...esp. in TB's. A bit like Type II diabetes in the elderly.

The metabolism has changed without notice. Unfortunately in stallions the changes can be subtle or unseeen .. and "unexplained" laminitis is often the first indicator, instead of the the lumpy fatty deposits and fat crest that can alert us to the predisposition to laminitis and allow us to stave off a founder in other horses.

When laminitis is the FIRST indicator because the physical, body changes were not apparent, the damage is done...the management changes in diet just come too late for some to ever really recover from the devastation to the hoof.

Because stallions have superlatively muscled bodies and large neck mass anyway, I also insulin resistance is hard to suspect as they don't fit the "look"...so unexplained founder may be the first indicator.

Painted Wings
Jan. 31, 2007, 10:21 PM
I saw Secretariat in 1985. He had the classic body type to be prone to laminitis. I went to a veterinary lecture on Laminitis a couple of years ago and that is one of the things the recent research has found.

We have a 20+ year old QH on our farm that also has that body type and he founded a couple of springs ago on the same pasture he had been on for years. As they get older they do get more prone to founder also.

Fairview Horse Center
Jan. 31, 2007, 10:40 PM
When I saw photos of Secretariat for quite a while prior to his death, I actually commented to several people that he was so fat, I was shocked he had not foundered yet.

I have had several cushings horses here - no meds, on grass and grain (sweet feed), no founder, BUT we kept them from being too fat. IMO, what many people say "just looks good" it really WAY too fat. The 11h, 19 year old pony we had here was severely foundered when we got her. She was down for about 2 months. Six month later, she was sound, and out with the herd on grass, eating her 1/4 lb of sweet feed 2x daily, lots of apples and carrots, & sugar. She lived anther 12 to 15 years, totally normal except for her hair that did not want to shed out. (Typical cushings, but no special care needed)

Moderate - score of 5 is what we all should be aiming at, not the 8 that is what horses show at.

Moderate is described as Ribs can be felt but not easily seen. That means you CAN see them a bit. I was always taught that ideal weight is when you can see a hint of rib when the horse moves, or turns a bit.

I also try to mimic a modified natural cycle. I want horses to come out of the winter a bit on the thin side - the same as they would in the wild, but not as severe. That allows their bodies to deal with the lush spring grass growth. They gain thru the spring, and then drop a bit thru the summer dry. That gets them prepared for the secondary fall rain growth. The fall grass, again fattens them for winter. This has always been a very healthy program for me, and I have not had the issues to deal with like founder. IR, or cushings problems.

My motto has always been, coming in to the spring, err on the side of too thin (BS of ~4). Coming in to the winter, err on the side of too fat (BS ~6).

I also don't plant lush grass to make my pastures into a golf course. I would MUCH rather be able to turn ALL the horses AND ponies out on 40 acres, then to have a pretty field.

Remember Ferdinand
Jan. 31, 2007, 11:58 PM
Supposedly it is the largest seen at an estimated 22 lbs vs. the normal size of 8.5 lbs of a thoroughbred; the second largest heart disovered was Sham's at 18 lbs; the great horse Eclipse had a heart clocking in at 14 lbs in 1789.

;)


Wasn't Phar Laps heart enlarged as well? I once spoke to a racing Quarter Horse breeder who was trying to explain the X factor to me. She said it traveled through the dam. She said a lot of breeders were making a mistake by breeding through the sire. Well, she completely lost me, but she did say the Xfactor came around about every 50 years.

Freebird!
Feb. 1, 2007, 12:21 AM
What an interesting thread.

I don't mean to sound morbid, but I too, am interested in what happened before his death. So, would those who were close to his connections mind posting any and all facts regarding his last weeks before his untimely death?

BoyleHeightsKid
Feb. 1, 2007, 07:52 AM
Secretariat had cushings disease which lead to the laminitis. I think there may have been enough advances in cushings research since then that things may have been different if it happened today. Once the laminitis sets in it either gets better or it doesn't, so there is no way to know if that would have been different.

I would like to see where they said he had cushings. I have one of his grandson's and have read everything I can find on him and not once did anything mention he had cushings or the cause of the laminitis. I understand that they wouldn't have known what cushings was back then, but it's wrong to say for sure he had cushings when they probably never knew what actually caused the laminitis.

hey101
Feb. 1, 2007, 09:54 AM
I would like to see where they said he had cushings. I have one of his grandson's and have read everything I can find on him and not once did anything mention he had cushings or the cause of the laminitis. I understand that they wouldn't have know what cushings was back then, but it's wrong to say for sure he had cushings when they probably never knew what actually caused the laminitis.

This has been such an interesting discussion. I am in no way involved in racing, but to me Secretariat is The Horse of horses and always has been.

Boyles Height, I don't read that people here are definitively saying he had Cushings, or IR... more that those that knew him, or saw him in his later years, have indicated they remember at the time that he was overweight and displaying some of the symptoms that we NOW know COULD be those diseases. Since so much has been learned about these two diseases in just the past few years, and he died quite a while ago, I think my question has been mostly answered- it seems that YES, if he'd lived now, things like his body condition and metabolism would PROBABLY have been managed differently. Again reiterating that his caretakers didn't take BAD care of him then; quite the contrary they were giving him what was thought to be the best care in the world at the time.

Please continue discussing, this is fascinating to get some insight into the behind-the-scenes of this superstar.

Gnalli
Feb. 1, 2007, 10:13 AM
Here's a link to a picture of Secretariat looking pretty hefty to my eye.

http://www.mightyforum.com/family_album/images/secretariat.jpg

He still does not look FAT to me, big yes, thick yes, but I like the way he looks there.

Gnalli
Feb. 1, 2007, 10:17 AM
As others have said, he isn't morbidly obese, but what I noticed is that you can't see a shadow of rib anywhere. He could have dropped a few pounds, definitely.

Ok, a TB person I am not, but this comment struck me as HUH? Educate me please (not being snarky, I swear it, just confused) Why would you want to see a shadow of rib? I understand lean on a racing horse, but on a breeding stallion, why would you want him lean to the point of ribbiness? Is there something that I am missing (and being a TWH QH person, this is likely since I am learning of TB)I have a picture of Rebel on my webshots that shows him eating hay where he is ribby, and I hate that picture b/c it implies a lack of care on my part.

Gnalli
Feb. 1, 2007, 10:23 AM
When I saw photos of Secretariat for quite a while prior to his death, I actually commented to several people that he was so fat, I was shocked he had not foundered yet.

I have had several cushings horses here - no meds, on grass and grain (sweet feed), no founder, BUT we kept them from being too fat. IMO, what many people say "just looks good" it really WAY too fat. The 11h, 19 year old pony we had here was severely foundered when we got her. She was down for about 2 months. Six month later, she was sound, and out with the herd on grass, eating her 1/4 lb of sweet feed 2x daily, lots of apples and carrots, & sugar. She lived anther 12 to 15 years, totally normal except for her hair that did not want to shed out. (Typical cushings, but no special care needed)

Moderate - score of 5 is what we all should be aiming at, not the 8 that is what horses show at.

Moderate is described as Ribs can be felt but not easily seen. That means you CAN see them a bit. I was always taught that ideal weight is when you can see a hint of rib when the horse moves, or turns a bit.

I also try to mimic a modified natural cycle. I want horses to come out of the winter a bit on the thin side - the same as they would in the wild, but not as severe. That allows their bodies to deal with the lush spring grass growth. They gain thru the spring, and then drop a bit thru the summer dry. That gets them prepared for the secondary fall rain growth. The fall grass, again fattens them for winter. This has always been a very healthy program for me, and I have not had the issues to deal with like founder. IR, or cushings problems.

My motto has always been, coming in to the spring, err on the side of too thin (BS of ~4). Coming in to the winter, err on the side of too fat (BS ~6).

I also don't plant lush grass to make my pastures into a golf course. I would MUCH rather be able to turn ALL the horses AND ponies out on 40 acres, then to have a pretty field.

Oh that makes a lot of sense on the pasture deal. I honestly never looked at it that way. It also makes sense about the ribbines that I asked about prior to reading this post. Thanks

AC & Ty
Feb. 1, 2007, 10:54 AM
I am, and always will be, 150% enamored of Secretariat. To me, this is the greatest racehorse that has ever lived, and I can only HOPE that I see a horse even RELATIVELY worth comparing to HIM.
I have visited his grave @ Claiborne and kneeled and cried, leaving a single red rose atop the headstone. I have a wonderful picture of this.

I do NOT think that he was obese. I think he was a BIG BOY. That said, I don't feel that re-hashing everything about his death is necessary. I prefer to remember him for what and WHO he was....not what went wrong. JMHO, of course.

I will always cry when I see ANY replay of his Belmont win. I would visit his grave every single day if I could. I would buy a grandson or daughter of his JUST to say I owned a horse with his blood in their veins. I love this horse that much.

Sorry I cannot offer anything of worth to this discussion. I just hope that others out there also wish to remember his greatness, not his pain. :sadsmile:

Fairview Horse Center
Feb. 1, 2007, 10:55 AM
I have a picture of Rebel on my webshots that shows him eating hay where he is ribby, and I hate that picture b/c it implies a lack of care on my part.

I couldn't find it. The 2 photos I saw of him eating hay IMO were what I call "Devon fat" a nice weight, but heavier than I want them coming into the spring grass. Probably close to a 6 - just a bit more than the idea weight. That is the weight I want on them to be ready to show at Dressage at Devon. It would not be enough for the Hunters, unfortunately, and I also may want just a bit more to head into the winter.

Lady Counselor
Feb. 1, 2007, 11:27 AM
As others have said, I too am and will always be a diehard fan of Big Red. I so wish I could have seen him in person before he died. I was a few years to late. He was the best in my eyes.

I can say from personal experience that it's always a balancing act trying to keep the right weight on a Thoroughbred. I constantly monitor and adjust portions as needed. In the winter, I rely on running my hand over the barrel to see how the flesh is under that fuzzy coat. I like to feel the individual ribs under a layer of flesh.
I had one stallion who was tricky to maintain. He'd go from too skinny and ribby to round and fat in the blink of an eye. His best body condition is when you can just see his ribs as he moves. He was built a lot leaner than Secretariat was though. No huge crest or muscled up body.

Maybe Secretariat was carrying more weight than was good for him. I don't know, I wasn't there. Photos can be deceiving too. (just ask Tyra Banks!) But I tend to think that Claiborne might just have a clue as to how to take care of their horses.. :)

fish
Feb. 1, 2007, 01:20 PM
He still does not look FAT to me, big yes, thick yes, but I like the way he looks there.

I don't like the way he looks in this picture at all-- which is very similar to the way he looked when I saw him a couple weeks before he died. I saw all the other stallions at Claiborne and at Three Chimneys on the same day and was very much struck by the difference in condition at the two farms, IMHO, because of the exercise program at Three Chimneys. In the photo posted, not only is Secretariat very thick, especially in the neck, but the top of his hindquarters lacks the rounded muscling characteristic of horses in good condition. At that time, Three Chimneys was quite unique in their practice of regularly exercising their stallions and I do think it did a great deal to improve their health as well as their appearance. I am sorry to say that Secretariat, Nijinsky (who had elephantitis), Hawaii, Conquistador Cielo, Spectacular Bid, Vanlandingham and the other horses at Claiborne did not look anywhere near as well as Seattle Slew, Slew of Gold who I saw at Three Chimneys the same day.

Case in point, BTW, came up in a conversation with my farrier just yesterday. I asked him about a neighbor's WB mare I happen to like very much. The sad news was that she recently came down with serious founder: she always had a tendency toward overweight, her owner injured her knee, turned her out to grass because she couldn't ride her, and the horse quickly became overweight and foundered. Now they're fighting to save her life.

A few years ago a couple friends of mine visited some stud farms around Lexington and sadly told me not only that Thunder Gulch looked very overweight, but his handlers said they "had a hard time keeping his weight down and couldn't afford to hire anyone to exercise him." Sounded like strange economy to me, but what do I know? I'm keenly aware of the fact that it's very hard to understand why others do as they do without spending time in their mocassins, but it does seem to me that a lot of extremely nice horses are kept in ways that increase the risk of laminitis. The easy keepers on my farm who don't get enough exercise are kept in grazing muzzles.

SuperSTB
Feb. 1, 2007, 01:42 PM
Well guys have to build big tool sheds for their tools :D

I don't think he was TOO fat either- I would score him at a 6 maybe 7 tops.

Couple years back I read an article in one the horse mags or online sites which speculated that Sectretariat might have had cushings. I'm glad to see others bring that up as well so maybe we're thinking of the same source?

A cushings or IR horse does not need to be overweight. I had an IR pony that we kept on the low side as a precaution though. Tried to keep him around a 4 although he probably would have been a whole heck of a lot cuter all rolly polly :)

My shetland Sunny is a problem now. I also tried to keep her on the low weight side as she is VERY prone to laminitic episodes- pre cushings. She'll probably end up on medication within the next year despite a pretty strict maintenance plan. She's the sweetest punk of a pony I've ever known.

Laurierace
Feb. 1, 2007, 01:46 PM
I would like to see where they said he had cushings. I have one of his grandson's and have read everything I can find on him and not once did anything mention he had cushings or the cause of the laminitis. I understand that they wouldn't have known what cushings was back then, but it's wrong to say for sure he had cushings when they probably never knew what actually caused the laminitis.

I have already said where I heard this from. It was directly from his personal vet while on the triple crown trail. I am not willing to throw him under the bus so to speak and probably shouldn't have mentioned it in the first place. Believe what you want, I am done with this and apologize for getting involved.

Lynnwood
Feb. 1, 2007, 02:55 PM
I wonder if we are all missing the point a little.

No matter the speculation about chushings vs fat. The facts are that he did founder and severly enough to cost him , his life. What causes founder and how to prevent it is terribly important. On the flip side finding a way to treat it once it happened to me seems almost more important.

Focusing on wether he had cushings or was to fat seems minor compared to remembering his greatness.

I know the OP asked what caused his laminitis...the fact is other than his personal vet and those with first hand contact , unless someone comes forward now we are never going to really know only guess and speculate.

.

summerhorse
Feb. 1, 2007, 05:13 PM
Wasn't Phar Laps heart enlarged as well? I once spoke to a racing Quarter Horse breeder who was trying to explain the X factor to me. She said it traveled through the dam. She said a lot of breeders were making a mistake by breeding through the sire. Well, she completely lost me, but she did say the Xfactor came around about every 50 years.

Phar Lap had a large heart not an enlarged heart. One is good, the other is bad. A large heart can pump more blood thus more oxygen around the body to the muscles so they can run faster, longer. An ENlarged heart is a sign of pathology of some sort, some fatal, some not so bad but still a health problem.

Years ago I think it was Equus that did a big spread on weight in horses, how to rate it on the scale and the ramifications of being too fat. Secretariat was the poster child for being too fat and the big problem of fat leading to laminitis.

They did an autopsy on him but they never found out an obvious reason (beyond his weight) for his laminitis. But many cases of laminitis come from seemingly nowhere. You may not always KNOW the cause after eliminating the obviouis. It is the treatment and end result that is most important then.

Secretariat would not have been showing any signs of Cushings as a 3 year old I don't think. I've never heard of a horse that young diagnosed with Cushings.

He certainly was the easiest of keepers though. Thunder Gulch earns enough in one or two services to employ his own personal rider full time with benefits. What a cop out. And how much is a grazing muzzle? And hey what about cutting down that grain? Just like people some horses can eat what they want and others are stuck with the equine equivalent of salad and rice cakes.

summerhorse
Feb. 1, 2007, 05:22 PM
Here is the scale on how to rate horse's weight (although the upper part seems to be missing! well probably it is elsewhere on the net). On this scale the very minimum I'd rate Secretariat is a 7 but he looks like a very solid 8 to me. http://largeanimalprotectionsociety.org/henneke.html

Are there fatter horses? Oh yes, I've seen them! But that doesn't make Big Red any more svelte.

MeredithTX
Feb. 1, 2007, 06:10 PM
A few years ago a couple friends of mine visited some stud farms around Lexington and sadly told me not only that Thunder Gulch looked very overweight, but his handlers said they "had a hard time keeping his weight down and couldn't afford to hire anyone to exercise him." Sounded like strange economy to me, but what do I know?


Shoot, I'd do it for free if I lived around there! He was my all-time favorite racehorse. That makes me sad. :(

SuperSTB
Feb. 1, 2007, 10:22 PM
Great- I got a 5, 2 at 6 and a 9 in the backyard. Go ahead tell them they are on a diet I dare you! And the 9 is ridden 5 days a week and gets NO grain :O

summerhorse
Feb. 2, 2007, 02:16 AM
Great- I got a 5, 2 at 6 and a 9 in the backyard. Go ahead tell them they are on a diet I dare you! And the 9 is ridden 5 days a week and gets NO grain :O


Yup until recently my mare was an 8 or 9 in the summer, she could get fat on air. She's eats 1/2 of what my old App did even now (when she's getting older and not so easy a keeper). He was NOT an easy keeper and only a couple times got anything NEAR a 7, the rest of the time a long lean 5 or 6.

I knew some morgans up in maine that were also that way. (easy keepers I mean) They only got a handful literally of feed just so they wouldn't tear down the walls while the normal horses ate.

spidey-jack-azzy
Feb. 2, 2007, 10:11 PM
Didnt Secretariat die of heart failure, with a heart 3X to big?:confused:

skatepixie
Feb. 3, 2007, 12:56 AM
Didnt Secretariat die of heart failure, with a heart 3X to big?:confused:

No. His heart, while much larger than normal, was healthy. He had a large heart, not an enlarged heart. A large heart is a good thing that is caused by an x-linked recessive. An enlarged heart is caused by illness.

His large heart almost surely contributed to his stamina on the track.

Lovebigred
Feb. 3, 2007, 01:54 PM
I'm new to this forum because I wanted to add this post.

Here's a link to a photo I took of Secretariat in September 1988.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290042850790&rd=1&rd=1

He was more then "pleasingly plump". One thing is that Secretariat seems to have passed down his body type to his maternal grandsons.
Storm Cat(stud fee of 500,000), AP Indy(stud fee of 300,000) and Gone West(125,000). All 3 of these stallions are very important sires in Thoroughbred racing. The name of this item escapes me right now, but I do know that AP Indy never goes into his field without a basket type muzzle on his halter. This keeps AP from being able to eat too much grass. He has been limited on his grass intake for close to 5 years.

It is thru his daughters that Secretariat's name will live on in the Thoroughbred breed.

Lovebigred
Feb. 3, 2007, 01:55 PM
I'm sorry about that, but the photo link was cut off in my post.

Is there any way I can import the photo right into my messages?

hitchinmygetalong
Feb. 3, 2007, 02:34 PM
I

A few years ago a couple friends of mine visited some stud farms around Lexington and sadly told me not only that Thunder Gulch looked very overweight, but his handlers said they "had a hard time keeping his weight down and couldn't afford to hire anyone to exercise him."

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! If he was at Ashford stud at the time, well, that is just laughable.

I would think they certainly COULD afford to have someone ride him, but the stallion syndicate said, "NO WAY." These horses are worth megabucks and are insured up the wazoo. They are also housed at very, very, very busy breeding farms and if a stud isn't being ridden, it is because the horse is either unrideable, too busy breeding, or someone said "absolutely not."

stfatpony
Feb. 3, 2007, 02:37 PM
I think you might be viewing his very thick neck and chest as being bloated girth, whereas I just see that as more common muscle found in breeding stallions.

I haven't yet read the posts since this one, but I agree with Glimmerglass. If you look at his neck and shoulder, yes, he looks a little beefy. However, his barrel, girth, and hindquarters are not at all fat. Secretariat was a big boy with a big front end. Being a stallion makes the neck bigger and crestier yet. I do not consider this picture to show him as being obese. I see a big, solid, well built stallion.

fish
Feb. 3, 2007, 07:25 PM
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! If he was at Ashford stud at the time, well, that is just laughable.

I would think they certainly COULD afford to have someone ride him, but the stallion syndicate said, "NO WAY." These horses are worth megabucks and are insured up the wazoo. They are also housed at very, very, very busy breeding farms and if a stud isn't being ridden, it is because the horse is either unrideable, too busy breeding, or someone said "absolutely not."

As I said, there are, IMHO, some pretty strange economies out there. I once trained a horse for a woman who returned from a trip to Hawaii, showed me the art pieces she'd bought there, and responded that she couldn't afford it when I told her her horse needed shoes.

I think a lot of racehorse owners/investors might look to their stallions to support the horses they have and/or want to have in training, i.e. while a given stallion may be enormously profitable, the enterprise as a whole as not. Extreme example would be Calumet going bust despite the gold mine they had in Alydar.

eventerdmo
Feb. 4, 2007, 07:22 PM
If you read some of the books and accounts of Secretariat when he was racing -- no one thought he could win the Derby (much less the TC) because he was heavy. People thought he was too fat to be a good racehorse... So the fact that he looks "fat" in his later years should be no surprise...

Here is the quote from espn website

While Secretariat had good pedigree, there were some who thought he wouldn't be a champion because as a two-year-old in training he was too fat.

here is the website to read more

http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016467.html

FourWands
Feb. 4, 2007, 07:30 PM
Some of that espn posting is out of date. Monarchos ran the Derby in under 2 minutes as well...

eventerdmo
Feb. 4, 2007, 09:05 PM
Ok -- not sure what that has to do with what I pointed out or the subject.... But ok -- point taken...

FourWands
Feb. 4, 2007, 09:46 PM
Just stating... Sorry.

WhiteCamry
Feb. 6, 2007, 12:17 PM
Some of that espn posting is out of date. Monarchos ran the Derby in under 2 minutes as well...

So did Sham.

rcloisonne
Feb. 18, 2007, 07:13 PM
If you read some of the books and accounts of Secretariat when he was racing -- no one thought he could win the Derby (much less the TC) because he was heavy. People thought he was too fat to be a good racehorse... So the fact that he looks "fat" in his later years should be no surprise...
Defend it all you want but the horse WAS too fat. Looks to be suffering from EMS and he fatally foundered. Regular exercise is at least as important as any other aspect of responsible horse keeping. Secretariat looked overweight and very out of shape. A BCS of at least 7 (founder waiting to happen).

Here are some other pics taken in the summer before he died (1989) by the artist who created the bronze of him at Kentucky Horse Park:

http://www.secretariatstatue.com/research.htm

Fairview Horse Center
Feb. 18, 2007, 07:22 PM
IMO those photos show closer to a "9" body score.

rcloisonne
Feb. 18, 2007, 07:48 PM
IMO those photos show closer to a "9" body score.

You're right, Darlyn. I didn't want to appear too harsh. :no:

Freebird!
Feb. 20, 2007, 09:21 AM
OK, just for compasrision...

Secretariat: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290042850790&rd=1&rd=1#ebayphotohosting

Horse with body score of 9: http://www.ecmagazine.net/ecSummer06/ecsumwebphotos/Fat%20Horse.jpg

summerhorse
Feb. 20, 2007, 10:59 PM
OK, just for compasrision...

Secretariat: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290042850790&rd=1&rd=1#ebayphotohosting

Horse with body score of 9: http://www.ecmagazine.net/ecSummer06/ecsumwebphotos/Fat%20Horse.jpg

This horse has more belly but Secretariat carries more fat over the topline. I put him between an 8 and a 9. Whatever he was still too fat.

Frog
Feb. 20, 2007, 11:13 PM
Secretariat WAS too heavy. IMO, he was in fantastic shape when he was racing. He looked more like a sprinter but could somehow carry speed a distance. A real freak! When he was a stallion, he was heavy. When he was in training, his weight was no problem (althought I believe he was a typical fat 2yo). He was a glutton for food, and a glutton for exercise- and he sure could exercise! I think this was lost with his racing career. Not that he wasn't handsome!

skatepixie
Feb. 22, 2007, 03:00 AM
Seems to me that it would be hard to judge body score one way or another by the photographs, because most of the criteria involve how the horse feels to the touch. ;)

gotabuk
Feb. 22, 2007, 06:59 AM
Wow.
My horse is a great grandson of Secretariat (through Fanfreluche)
I often wondered where he got his enormous neck from...
Now I know!
:winkgrin:

GMC
Mar. 2, 2007, 12:58 AM
A bronze statue is easier and cheaper to maintain at the horse park for visiters to see......

Horsecrazy27
Mar. 2, 2007, 09:20 AM
HOLY CRAP.... In my eyes I think he looks good, healthy and round. I like round, but all the discussions about how "Fat" he is, makes me feel that my horses are too fat. I'm going to put them on a diet, because oviously what my eye likes to see it ROUNDNESS---I must put them on a diet. They look just like him (body fatness wise).... YIKES.

caffeinated
Mar. 2, 2007, 09:48 AM
HOLY CRAP.... In my eyes I think he looks good, healthy and round. I like round, but all the discussions about how "Fat" he is, makes me feel that my horses are too fat. I'm going to put them on a diet, because oviously what my eye likes to see it ROUNDNESS---I must put them on a diet. They look just like him (body fatness wise).... YIKES.

A lot of people like horses fat... a lot of show horses are kept too fat... look at the line classes for young sporthorses- many vets will tell you that you should see a faint hint of ribs and that being too heavy is not good for those babies, yet what wins in the ring is the very "round" fat young horse.

Heck, look at Popeye K- to many he's the ultimate conformation hunter, to me he looks like a tub of lard. For some reason, what humans seem to find aesthetically pleasing in their animals is not necessarily what is healthiest for them, in terms of weight.

fish
Mar. 2, 2007, 10:06 AM
The fact is that fat can cover a lot of flaws-- especially in the topline-- which goes a long way toward explaining why so many show horses wear a lot of it. There are many successful conformation horses who are kept in close to ideal (Body Score 5 or 6) condition, however. When Oliver Brown handled my colt on the line, he did not want him fat, and I did not think Masquerade Cove or the others he handled that year (2005) were anywhere near being "tubs of lard" either. Oliver has long been one of our most successful handlers of breed show hunters, so I suspect he knows the standards pretty well. All things being equal, a well-muscled animal will be more attractive than an obese one, even in the show ring. I've seen many horses with a BC of 5 or 6 pinning well at Devon and Upperville. Indeed, some 7 and 8's did well, too, but they tended to have outstanding positive attributes, too (e.g., wonderful movement) which supported the judges' decisions.

As for estimating a horse's body condition (i.e. how much body fat s/he is carrying relative to the ideal), I was given a handy little card telling me how to score BC when I took an Equine Nutrition course a few years ago. Horses deposit fat in several different areas of their bodies: e.g., tail head, crest of the neck, between the ribs, etc. Different horses tend to deposit more or less of their weight in different areas, so there is, in actuality, no single place to look which will give an accurate score. Hence, this card tells how to score each of the different areas, and then average the various scores to estimate the BC of the whole horse. I think if you google something like "Body Condition Score-- Horse," you should be able to find comparable instructions.

Hope this helps.

horse-loverz
Mar. 2, 2007, 10:30 AM
I also have a decendant of Secretariat out of Gone West he didn't like the race track very much but he loves the jumper ring now:D I see now where he gets his thick neck and body from. I'll try to post a link to a pic with my trainer riding him in a show if I can he's the one going over the red and yellow oxer. That was one of his first shows. http://www.royalhillfarm.com

Fairview Horse Center
Mar. 2, 2007, 11:05 AM
Fit racehorses usually carry the idea weight - body score of 5. Not many show horses out there at that weight, and if so, people are usually whispering about the skinny horse.Most show horses I have seen, show at a 7 to 8 body score. At the best weight, you will be able to see a hint of the ribs as it moves. Most people like them porked out, and think that is actually a good weight. Heck, I love the look of a 7, but it is just not healthy for an athlete.

spookhorse
Mar. 2, 2007, 11:14 AM
I don't know how many of you guys are familiar with typical feeding regimens of TBs on Kentucky farms, but they usually just load them up on sweetfeed or pelleted grain feed if they want them to gain weight.

I worked at Darby Dan for a short time and the stallions who I would have already considered way too hefty were getting midnight feedings. They also fed the crap out of the stallions at Winfield. Haven't dealt with stallions too much otherwise.

Got a yearling before the sales with a skinny topline? Add more sweet feed and some body builder. Got a mare dropping off? Add more sweetfeed. After a mare foals, double the sweetfeed! Pretty much that's all they would do on any farm I've worked on. Most of them don't even seem to do much for the pensioned horses that could use Senior feeds.
How about balancing rations without heading for the starches? :confused: The lady I do part-time work for on her small TB farm tries to do more balancing with supplements than most places I've seen, but she still ups the sweetfeed and wonders why some yearlings develop that bottom heavy/big belly appearance and drop the topline.

Just my observations... take 'em as you will!

Horsecrazy27
Mar. 2, 2007, 05:28 PM
Well, you all have convienced me and my husband will be thrilled that I have seen the "light". I took Rice bran out and deducted 3 lbs from each horses feed and waiting to see how that helps.

I can see the back 2 ribs on 2 of the horses....all the others, their ribs are fully covered, but easily felt. But, still look to have "hay bellys", but not on "hay" they are fed pellets.

I LOVE Secretariat and think he was a gift to the TB lines!

fish
Mar. 2, 2007, 07:40 PM
Fit racehorses usually carry the idea weight - body score of 5. Not many show horses out there at that weight, and if so, people are usually whispering about the skinny horse.Most show horses I have seen, show at a 7 to 8 body score. At the best weight, you will be able to see a hint of the ribs as it moves. Most people like them porked out, and think that is actually a good weight. Heck, I love the look of a 7, but it is just not healthy for an athlete.

I was told by a nutritionist at a Veterinary Conference in 2003 that the main reason most racehorses looked so "tucked up" has less to do with "fitness" than acidosis from being fed too much grain (which is also related to the high prevalence of ulcers among them). He said racehorses as a group are not particularly fit-- especially if you compare them to endurance horses, for example, which I do not recall having that tucked up look (although I have honestly not looked at very many of them-- just the ones owned by the endurance riders in my nutrition class.) It is interesting to me, though, that fit horses working full time in different careers typically look very different from one another, just as human athletes do. Fit basketball players look a whole lot different from fit weightlifters, fit jockeys, etc., so it would come as no surprise to me that what's ideal for a dressage horse would be very different from what's ideal for a hunter, racehorse, etc. As I suggested above, too, when taking a BC score, you have to look at a whole lot more than the ribs-- and it's a good idea, too, to do some poking around to make sure you're not mistaking muscle for fat.

Interestingly enough in terms of fitness and conditioning, however, I have read studies done at the Tevis Cup which indicate that the horses who perform best in endurance races have body condition scores closer to 6 than 5, with those scoring above 5 or 6 doing much better than those below. Apparently "lean and mean" is not the way to go in endurance-- not too surprising, come to think of it, if one considers that a few fat reserves might come in handy on a 100 mile run. I've read studies of fertility in broodmares, too, which indicate that it's better to breed a mare with a BCS of 7 than 5-- so it may not be a good idea to take "5=ideal" too literally.

I've read studies on nutrition in TB racehorses which focused on protein, fat, and various vitamins and minerals, but never seen one on body condition scores, carb or fiber consumption as it relates to health or performance on the track. Of course that doesn't mean it doesn't exist....
I'd love to know if it's out there and I've missed it.

What seems to be at issue here, though, is not what's best for racehorses, or even horses being ridden, but rather horses retired to the breeding shed. It seem to me that most of these horses belong in the "idle" category of a modern feeding chart, and will do best on forage, a ration balancer-- and in many cases a grazing muzzle, too. IMO, it's gotten pretty hard to keep idle horses from getting obese on today's grasses-- which have been selectively bred not to produce athletes, but to fatten cattle and/or produce the highest possible yield per acre.

With regard to the TB yearling sales, it does seem to me that the fashion in prepping has (thankfully) gotten away from "fatten them up" and more and moved more toward conditioning. I know that my own nutritionist is designing the diets for some of the biggest Kentucky farms represented at the sales (and very proud of "his" babies" radiographs), and I've seen a lot of yearlings at Keeneland whose beautifully rounded toplines were made of muscle from conditioning programs, not fat.

marespooscats@mac.com
Jul. 15, 2012, 11:34 PM
IF Secretariat DID have cushings then there was no hope. My OWN precious mare had cushings and foundered 3 times - last time I had to put her down as it was in BOTH front feet.

ONE year later the pony next door had the same thing but by then they had meds and he got to live!

So what happened to my Princessita Fa Sa Bay A is what happened to Secretariat - if ONLY they could have held on a few more years! :(

Eventer55
Jul. 16, 2012, 08:22 AM
IF Secretariat DID have cushings then there was no hope. My OWN precious mare had cushings and foundered 3 times - last time I had to put her down as it was in BOTH front feet.

ONE year later the pony next door had the same thing but by then they had meds and he got to live!

So what happened to my Princessita Fa Sa Bay A is what happened to Secretariat - if ONLY they could have held on a few more years! :(

I'm sorry about your mare, but Wow I think your statement is painted with a broad brush:) I have 2 Cushingoid horses and one is almost 30 the other is 26. Their mother had Cushings and she loved to be 30 and died from a tumor on her small intestine. All my Cushings horses are quite thin and I monitor their diets closely and none of them are on meds.

I saw photos of Secretariat before he died and I was shocked at his condition, he was cresty in the neck and screamed of Cushings with fat pockets. He should have been galloped every day and not allowed to get that obese. FWIW I love the way Three Chimneys keeps their horses. . .

My opinion only, but as I've stated, I have and am currently managing Cushings horses.

nasalberry
Jul. 16, 2012, 09:08 AM
I have to wonder why this ancient thread was even dug-up!

:confused:

Glimmerglass
Jul. 16, 2012, 09:15 AM
I have to wonder why this ancient thread was even dug-up!

:confused:

And dug up with someone's very first posting, too, no less.

caryledee
Jul. 17, 2012, 09:35 AM
I know this is an old thread, but this video moved me to tears.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oyQPvoXMvs

shiningwizard255
Jul. 17, 2012, 03:09 PM
Zombie thread!!

Grataan
Jul. 17, 2012, 03:42 PM
Zombie thread!!

Nice necro, dude.

Ghazzu
Jul. 17, 2012, 03:53 PM
And dug up with someone's very first posting, too, no less.

Possibly because a noob would see all the threads coming up as "unread", and might have just started going from top to bottom in a given forum.

It's not the first time that's happened.

nasalberry
Jul. 17, 2012, 05:51 PM
Zombie thread!!
:lol::lol::lol:

Dispatcher
Jul. 18, 2012, 07:26 AM
in addition, had he/she posted a new thread about it, someone would have commented "there's already a thread out there on this. Do a search"

Ghazzu
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:09 PM
in addition, had he/she posted a new thread about it, someone would have commented "there's already a thread out there on this. Do a search"

:D:D:D:D

Glimmerglass
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:40 PM
Then again maybe the zombie poster thought Secretariat isn't actually dead ... I mean can you fault him/her as the Maryland Jockey Club said he just set a track record last month and on a Tuesday no less! (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/06/after-39-years-secretariat-sets-another-record/1#.UAc60fVFk5A) :D

Strange days (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NSz-9qqgKE)!

RiderWriter
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:30 PM
Zombie thread or not, I was tickled to find this today (I wasn't around the board in '07). I'm a diehard Big Red fan, and unlike someone who posted above, I haven't sold all my "Secretariat stuff" - it's all over my house! :-) I deeply regret that even though I lived in OH I never made to down to see him. I thought there would be time...

When Red died, I was heartbroken. Being a former pre-vet student, I'd hung around the barn at the Ohio State vet hospital while an undergrad, and seen many laminitis cases come and go. I really wanted to know what kind of treatment(s) had been tried with Red; mainstream newspapers certainly weren't saying, and they were the only source I had then. So I wrote to the vet quoted in the news articles, c/o Claiborne, and asked him. To my great disappointment I never heard back.

Knowing what I know now about IR and Cushings, along with the veterinary world, I think that everyone who said Secretariat had Cushings or at least IR is absolutely right. He was definitely overweight and had "inappropriate" fat deposits. I would hope that nowadays the poor boy would be managed differently.

Unfortunately, the recent photos of Monarchos that I've seen (and I did meet him in person when I finally visited Claiborne, as he used to stand there) indicate that he is a giant tub o' lard now. Not good for the horse who holds the record for second-fastest time in the Derby.

dressagetraks
Jul. 18, 2012, 11:46 PM
When I visited Claiborne on my WEG trip, one of the horses they brought out was Pulpit. I thought at the time that he looked awfully fleshy to me but wondered if I just wasn't used to seeing breeding stallions. Then the groom happened to mention, while talking about him, that he weighed 1460 pounds.

He's not a great big, tall horse, either. 1460 pounds.

Not that my opinion is close to an expert one, but that does strike me as awfully heavy for a TB.

He did have a gorgeous head. I was just looking through my pics of him, and most are head shots. Not a single real conformation shot among them. Very pretty boy - but definitely plump.

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk8/dressagetraks/WEG%20Claiborne/DSC03430.jpg

Fairview Horse Center
Jul. 19, 2012, 07:44 AM
Then the groom happened to mention, while talking about him, that he weighed 1460 pounds.

He's not a great big, tall horse, either. 1460 pounds.

Not that my opinion is close to an expert one, but that does strike me as awfully heavy for a TB.



When I boarded a 17+ hand Hanoverian, he weighed in at 1485. He was a bit on the heavy side. When we weighed a 16.1 (3/4 TB/QH) at pretty much perfect weight, he was 1085. <why do we always get the "85" number :confused: >

nasalberry
Jul. 19, 2012, 11:09 AM
You would think these huge breeding farms would join the 21st century and embrace the latest equine medical findings, and adjust their feeding and exercise programs accordingly.
Or do some of them think as the halter people do: "Fat Hides Conformation Faults: The Fatter The Better!!"

:confused:

Fairview Horse Center
Jul. 19, 2012, 11:28 AM
You would think these huge breeding farms would join the 21st century and embrace the latest equine medical findings, and adjust their feeding and exercise programs accordingly.


Most people don't. In fact it is getting worst all of the time. I see posts about severely obese horses, that I would body score 8/9 and a vet scores them a 6 :no: Vets don't want to tell their clients they are abusing their horses by making them obese.

I also see horses "rescued" that are just showing a hint of rib, and their owners getting neglect charges. That hint of rib used to be thought of as pretty darn close to perfect.

As we become fatter and fatter, so do our animals. :(

What really shocks me though is to see a thin person making their animals overweight. :sigh:

Glimmerglass
Jul. 19, 2012, 12:40 PM
That hint of rib used to be thought of as pretty darn close to perfect.

Case in point: this is a picture I took last Saturday of Musketier (GER) (http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7109/7604134102_606a569392_k.jpg). He's 10-yrs old this will be his last year racing. Note the hint of rib on the old guy. Poor horse, right? Ha! He toted 7-lbs more than the winner in the 1 1/2 mile race - a graded stakes one no less - and only lost by a length while closing like a bullet.

This "thin" horse has this year made 4 starts, in addition to his 2nd in the Stars & Stripes (Grade 3); took 3rd in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (Grade 2); 4th in the Elkhorn Stakes (Grade 2); won the Singspiel Stakes (Grade 3)

Those are fantastic results that could never be achieved by a horse that wasn't in excellent shape. Extra weight on those bones wouldn't help him one bit.

Fairview Horse Center
Jul. 19, 2012, 12:47 PM
Case in point: this is a picture I took last Saturday of Musketier (GER) (http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7109/7604134102_606a569392_k.jpg).

Your horse is in a very healthy weight, but I have seen threads where owners were arrested for their horses being in similar weight. :mad:

Where are the "rescues" that are rescuing the obese ones??

Glimmerglass
Jul. 19, 2012, 01:45 PM
Your horse is in a very healthy weight ...

Ha! I'd love to own Musketier! Although Ms. Stella Perdomo isn't apt to ever part with him.

FLeventer
Jul. 22, 2012, 08:33 PM
My horse has ribs showing in the back but eats a ton. Ive been called abusive and been told how 8 have been starving him by people who came to the barn to look at the sleek QHs and WBs next to him.

He is sleek, muscled, and rides great but he is not near fat. I wish that horse people would back off from the fat is good for horses.

Calamber
Jul. 23, 2012, 06:07 PM
Case in point: this is a picture I took last Saturday of Musketier (GER) (http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7109/7604134102_606a569392_k.jpg). He's 10-yrs old this will be his last year racing. Note the hint of rib on the old guy. Poor horse, right? Ha! He toted 7-lbs more than the winner in the 1 1/2 mile race - a graded stakes one no less - and only lost by a length while closing like a bullet.

This "thin" horse has this year made 4 starts, in addition to his 2nd in the Stars & Stripes (Grade 3); took 3rd in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (Grade 2); 4th in the Elkhorn Stakes (Grade 2); won the Singspiel Stakes (Grade 3)

Those are fantastic results that could never be achieved by a horse that wasn't in excellent shape. Extra weight on those bones wouldn't help him one bit.

He may be fast and strong but he is too thin. I like to see one to two ribs tops, not six or seven but then I always think about what will happen if they get a bit sick and go off feed. He has too many ribs showing in this picture however it may be because he is bending his torso at the monent of the shot.

Carol Ames
Jul. 23, 2012, 10:49 PM
Shoot... There have been so many "causes" projected:confused:; all the way back to "Monday morning disease"



in addition to not cutting feed on a "rest day", allowing horses to drink too much cold water after work, before being cooled out totally. there was walking a hot horse on hard footing/ rocks while cooling out:o I had read, I thought on this forum:cool: that, Secretariat did have Cushings:sadsmile::( more "old wives tales" allowing horses to graze on wet pasture, i.e., too earely in the morning. it was a relief :yes:to read about Rick Reddens' "Laminitis seminars" and to learn about scientific :cool:research being done;

Carol Ames
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:17 PM
I , too, think he is too thin; I really get concerned when I see the pelvis as we do on this horse
a; I would be interested to know , on the scale used by animal control agencies, humane control ;)officers as well as vets :cool:how this horse would score;





He may be fast and strong but he is too thin. I like to see one to two ribs tops, not six or seven but then I always think about what will happen if they get a bit sick and go off feed. He has too many ribs showing in this picture however it may be because he is bending his torso at the monent of the shot.

Carol Ames
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:36 PM
rank "Pancho" Martin (http://www.horseracingnation.com/person/Frank_Martin), one of the greatest trainers in the history of New York thoroughbred racing, died Wednesday night at the age of 86. The Hall of Famer trained horses on the New York circuit since 1951. His career included almost 19,000 starters with 3,240 winners and earnings over $47,000,000.
Martin was probably most famous as the trainer of Sham (http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Sham), the horse that battledSecretariat (http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Secretariat) in all three of the 1973 Triple Crown races. Sham may have been his most famous horse, but Martin dominated the trainer standings in New York in the 70’s and early 80’s. While training for his primary owners Viola and Sigmund Sommer he won over 20 training titles. Martin was honored 10 times by the New York Turf Writers Association.

Martin trained two champions with Autobiography in 1972 and Outstandingly in 1984.Autobiography (http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Autobiography) won the championship for Older Horses after winning the two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup by 15 lengths defeating Key to the Mint and the Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge. An Eclipse Award went to Outstandingly (http://www.horseracingnation.com/horse/Outstandingly) based on her wins in the 1984 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly by disqualification and the Hollywood Starlet.

Carol Ames
Jul. 24, 2012, 12:04 AM
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/196072_382845148439767_2117114956_n.jpg

Laurierace
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:55 AM
Pretty sure the cushings came after he retired. Like a decade or so later.