How far apart were the races separated? Were there any other key words in the notes that may stand out as a red flag?
Originally Posted by FlashGordon
It isn't stifles because stifles (less there are chips) would get better with work and turnout, not worse. It really sounds like hips or pelvis, and having been on the track, I lean towards a broken pelvis - it can happen quite easily actually - by falling on their side, sliding into something, banging into the starting gate, being run into by another horse. Not all are obvious or life threatening - some don't even show up until a while after the initial incident. If you can, you might get a nuclear body scan done on her.
Oh, man....FG, her race record is really indicative that something could have happened to her at the track.
She was 1st in her first start and second in her next, then got put away really in the MIDDLE of the season (end of June) and did not come back again until the next year, where she second to last three times and last once. That is SUPER suspicious. It doesn't look like she was injured in her second start, as she finished well, but I'd say there's a good chance something happened to her later.
You may be able to get some info from her trainer if he or she is still around, but I'd at least let your vets know that you might be looking at some sort of track injury. Purchasing her workout history from Brisnet for 75 cents might shed more light, too. It looks like she had the same owner throughout, so perhaps that's the person you want to try to find.
Yes, this is suspicious and what I was hinting at finding out about her race history- was she brought back in lower level races than what her first races were? (sorry, I don't know her name or I'd look her up myself) I'd definitely look into her pelvis as the culprit. If she is still not sound 3 years after the possible injury, that is not good because things have just increasingly compounded the original issue.
Originally Posted by Simkie
Oh I didn't even know about the workout history.... I will go check that out.
KTB Her first two races were in June of 2008. 1 win, 1 second. 6 furlongs.
Didn't race again until May of 2009... raced twice then.... not again until mid-August, and then last in September 2009. Those were all 5-5.5 furlongs. Performed poorly.
The notes on the first race where she won say "driving." The notes of the last 4 races say "wide turn, sluggish, tired, stopped."
I agree with your synopsis that there could have been something that tweaked her pelvis, whether it was catastrophic at the time or not.
I just pulled out her paperwork and found an email addy for her trainer at the track... zipped an email off to her, that I am not looking for anything at all except information that may help me along in trying to get her comfortable.
Hopefully the trainer replies and if she remembers your mare, can hopefully provide insight. It definitely sounds like she had gotten injured and was still NQR when she was brought back, hence performed poorly and then was retired. Please keep us posted! I worked with racehorses (both on a breeding farm and at the track) and adore them and am always advocating for people to buy OTTBs so hopefully you can get to the bottom of this and get the mare comfortable and sound :-)
It does seem to indicate that she started strong and then something happened.....I would think it would be safe to assume the "sluggish, etc." might well be due to her pelvis/SI soreness.
Originally Posted by FlashGordon
FWIW, My guy raced 10 times as a 4/5 yo (he was a big guy and relatively slow developer, so his owner delayed his start) and the notes on all of his races say things like he "was not a contender," "sluggish," "exhausted." I know the guy that owned him and he had a nice life from birth to race time. No significant injuries or issues along the way. His was something that he likely developed at some point along the way without ever causing him to be technically lame. His owner was also his trainer and never noticed anything "off" other than the fact that the horse didn't like to run (as a side note, he likes it a lot more now that he's not put together like two offset legos!)
I think with a pelvis issue there *can* be a major trauma, or I think a more likely scenario is that something gets the horse to start compensating (think minor strain, simple abscess, or something else minor) and the compensating turns into a kind of snowball effect. I would put money on that being the case with my guy. And then add in an owner/trainer who's not a "bodywork person," and you get a horse that gets into a bad cycle and ends up a pretty major mess. And it does sound like something happened to your mare....could have been minor and not much of an issue at the time, but that changed her ability to use her body.
But to the point, I think that even if your mare is a trainwreck, that doesn't mean that it's impossible to fix if you can find the right person. It will be interesting to hear what the trainer has to say, if anything. But it's kind of a moot point. Horses are absolute masters of compensation, and I think the path back to "sound" is the same whether it was a big accident or a minor nagging thing.
Wish I could stick my vet/chiro in an envelope and send her to you! :)
PNW, you have convinced me to give the bodywork a shot before I go crazy with any other diagnostics.
I'd second what PNWJumper says. I'd give bodywork a shot, and I'd maybe try to get in touch with a vet or bodyworker who does shockwave therapy a shot. If you get an experienced person who does shockwave therapy, he or she may be able to give you some opinions on what her prognosis is.
I've been dealing with a right hind lameness that was probably initially caused by arthritis combined with a mild injury (slipping on a hill). Hock injections helped a bit, but it seems as though my mare was compensating so much that it resulted in tightening of ligaments and muscles in the leg and hip, as well as body-soreness. I'd had two vets (one of whom is a very respected lameness vet), x-rays, blocks, injections of hocks and of the SI, and she wasn't coming right.
Finally the chiro suggested having a vet who does shockwave therapy. The shockwave therapy wasn't an instant miracle, but that combined with physical therapy type use of cavaletti has helped substantially. She still has a slight hitch at the trot, so it's not a complete success story, but she's comfortable and I can work with her.
Good News..... the trainer promptly e-mailed me back and said aside from some filling in her right knee, she didn't have any issues, just didn't race well as her career went on. I know the trainer has a very good reputation, and I believe she is an eventer in addition to doing the racetrack thing. I don't think she'd have any reason to hide anything. She asked me to keep her posted.
I talked to my vet again this morning and the plan is to do some rads of the LH later this week when it is warmer. Then I will try the chiro.
Hopeful we can at least get her comfortable. Pretty sure she just wants to be retired to official leadline pony status... as carting around my 6 year old seems to be her favorite job.
I would definitely try chiro FG, though it is critical to find a good one. Ours is also a vet, and does accupuncture as well. I would never do chiro on myself lol...and I have tried accupuncture and hated it, but I have to say I've been made a believer after seeing the difference in our pony. Turns out she was out of alignment from poll to hip, poor thing, and each time he comes, she is 100% better. Unfortunately need to get him out again but her injuries will take time. he said it appeared that maybe she'd had a traumatic injury/crash/fall that caused her issues at once, and it will take time to fix. I'm sure if you got someone out it would not do more harm that good.
Hopefully you can at least get her more comfortable.
PSSM might also be a consideration. A course of robaxin would be an inexpensive way to see if her issue is severe muscle soreness. PSSM can be managed with diet fairly well.
Is this the trainer that had her for her first four starts or her last two? Actually, neither of those people is a woman...?
Originally Posted by FlashGordon
There is SOME reason she did not continue to run in 2008. She was doing VERY well at that level. You do not just put away a horse (for a nearly a full year!) that broke her maiden on her first out and was second in a dead heat in her next out, and a horse that is running that well does not come back the next year to do so very poorly without a reason, especially at a shorter distance. Even the fact that they never ran her at six furlongs again is really, really suspicious--why would you NOT send her out at the distance she was successful at?
I think it is highly likely that you are not getting the full story about her racing career...
I am sad to say I agree with Simkie. Something doesnt add up :(
I have her listed as sold as a yearling, to a woman who owned her the rest of her career, and the trainer was male. The woman is now a trainer at Finger Lakes, and unless I am mistaken, was involved in the training with this horse... like I said I know she is an eventer as well. I'm kind of out of the loop in terms of the inner workings at tracks, so not sure how the whole thing shakes out in terms of owner/trainers listed and who is involved where and what. The woman "trainer" is whom I spoke with.
I guess I'd like to believe she is telling me the truth-- I've been told by the FL peeps that she is a decent person. She didn't explain the gap, just said "the horse didn't like running." Perhaps there is more to the story, I guess I'll never know. :(
I do believe the horse had an injury to her LH last fall-- I can't get the specifics on that from either the previous owner nor the vet who treated her, only that it happened. Hence why we'll go ahead and xray/ultrasound that, since the intermittent heat/swelling is the only visible manifestation I can seem to find in terms of where the hind end lameness is coming from.
Ugh all the more reason I am just burned out on horses.... seems the story is never straight, no matter how I try to be forthright on my end with people it doesn't ever seem to come back around. I'm tired of having to guess and fill in the blanks. Half the time I don't even think that it's people being shady, just that horsemanship/communication from one person to the next varies greatly.
All I can do is follow through w/the vets and hope for the best.
Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. I wouldn't be too quick to point fingers. You're making the assumption that something major happened and someone is covering it up. Could be as simple as: mare had fill in her knee and trainer took it easy. Mare came back technically sound but not running as well as before so they started her "easy" only to have her not even do well there. The guy who owned my horse said a very similar thing as this trainer, and I've got several friends who know him (but are better friends of mine) who back up his story.
Originally Posted by EqTrainer
Just because there was a break does not mean the horse had a catastrophic failure of any sort. And while a big break could indicate that, it could also indicate a responsible owner/trainer who didn't want to push a mare who had initially shown such promise.
I know I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but I dislike the implication that break in the race history = big lie or cover-up = track trainer is a shady one.
I have made no assumptions on WHAT happened to cause the break, only that *something* happened. You do not lay off a winning horse for a year for the hell of it. And a horse that breaks her maiden the first time out and nearly gets there the second time out is definitely not a horse that "doesn't like running." That just doesn't jive at all.
Perhaps the money tree went dry, or perhaps the mare hated the environment at the track, or perhaps she chipped and was turned out for awhile, or perhaps something else happened.
My only point is that there is a reason the mare was pulled from the track in 2008, and it is really pretty suspicious that she ran so very poorly when she was returned to the track in 2009 and that her connections only tried her shorter, rather than the 6F she ran well at before.
If I *were* to make assumptions, yes, I would guess that the mare was injured fairly badly in 2008 at the track and the owner/trainer was now not being forthcoming (or has forgotten the finer details of the history), but I certainly concede that that may not be the case and is influenced my own general pessimism regarding human kind ;)
FG can interpret the info however she likes and I only wanted to point out the inconsistencies in the horse's record.
The entire and only point of racing horses is to make money.
The trainer may not even remember what happened, or be thinking of a different horse. Maybe she js telling the truth as she knows it, maybe the horse didnt want to run because she had damaged her pelvis, it wasnt diagnosed at all, and after a rest she STILL didnt want to run. And all she remembers is what she knew - didnt want to run.
But it is beyond odd to pull a *successful* horse off the track for a significant amount of time without a real reason. No one makes money doing that. The usual reason is an injury.
Edited to add: if the woman was the owner at the time and not the trainer, she really may have no clue other than what she was told. Talking to the actual trainer at the time might be miore helpful.. Also, looking at her works.
I agree with Simkie... Having worked at the track with racehorses (and worked with yearlings on a well known breeding farm) it just seems very likely that SOMETHING happened to the mare.
The old owner/trainer very well may not remember the exact horse in question and rather than admit that, they just said she didn't like racing. If the old owner did eventing, you'd think she would have kept the mare for herself to retrain and sell or whatnot...
Owners and trainers are not always into fully disclosing issues or past injuries with potential buyers (or people who own the horse down the road) There are a few horses I worked with or raised that have issues or had issues that really would prevent them from doing certain jobs, things that future owners should know... but do the owners disclose that information when the horse passes on to a different owner? Not often. Like when a trainer claims a horse, they never know what they are getting - sometimes the horse gets to their barn and they realize the thing is practically a cripple. Or completely insane. Just the way it is, you take a risk. That's always how it is when buying any horse, but more so when buying off the track for the simple reason that records do not always follow the horses.
Case in point - TBs rarely come to a new trainers barn with anything other than a halter & coggins. No other records - not on shots, when they were last shod, what kind of feed they were on, nothing. So really, it is a guessing game - if they don't eat sweet feed, that means they must have been on pellets so we swap them to that. If they won't eat X hay, we try Y hay. They get tranq'd before going out in the roundpen for the first time, etc. Depending on the barn, they will get their vaccinations and dewormed when they arrive. Soooo.... I am way off topic now - but basically, what I am saying is that track records aren't great so finding out what happened to the mare really may be a like finding a needle in a haystack.
I hope the vet exam can find something so at least the mare can get started on a good rehab plan :-)
I saw the inconsistencies too and part of me was hoping I'd talk to the trainer and get an Ah Hah answer as to *why* she is lame like this. But like I said I don't have any reason to believe the track people are being untruthful... the horse has been off the track for almost 3 years and what could they need to protect? Then again it is not clear how involved the woman was (that is the only contact info I have) so maybe she's not privy to everything that happened. Who knows.
I gambled on this mare and lost, in some ways. I thought it was a good bet, she'd spent some time at the barn where I was boarding, I got to know her, and I assumed the lameness was coming from being barefoot and having an abscess. I guess I was feeling a little cocky thinking I could get her sound enough for pleasure riding, as she didn't look anywhere near as bad as the previous two "rehabs" I'd had.
On the flipside, she's a lovely horse and while she's not been sound for me, she is quiet enough that both my husband and my daughter have enjoyed her. My daughter did her first leadline class on her. She's been wonderful to deal with even when she's ouchy, poor thing, and it has been refreshing to go to the barn and deal with a horse that is innately pleasant, through and through. The previous two rescue/rehab/ouchy horses just wanted to kill me every time they were sore.
Now I have a responsibility to make sure I've explored every avenue I can afford reasonably..... because the buck stops here. I don't think there are any other options for this horse aside from me, except euthanasia. And frankly I cannot justify keeping a horse alive if it can only stay sound by standing in a stall 24/7 on pain meds. :(
So we'll just see where things go, I guess.
FG, have you spoken with the trainer on the phone? She may be more forthcoming via that medium. IME, track people just aren't very good at the online thing.
I think there are some potentials here that are fixable and some that are not, and you're just not going to know until you investigate. Don't give up hope yet! I know it looks bleak now, but it might not be so bad.
I still think that gabapentin could prove to be VERY useful and is certainly worth a shot, since the bute is not particularly helpful for her :) If you're going to hold off on Cornell for a little while, I would really give the gabapentin a shot in the interim. Print out the article about it I linked here or in PM and show to your vet for dosage, then hit up CostCo or Walgreens for the drug.