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  1. #1
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    Default Question about steeple chasing

    Not sure where this goes..and please, this isn't a slam but questions as I saw things today at our Gold Cup race in VA where each time we have it I am an EMT there. Because I love horses, I usually stand and watch them come in then go out.

    Several things caught my eye again this year. First, after those horses run, and watching them, the jockeys seem to be really holding them steady as well as how fast they run, the horses come in with bright red blood around their mouth and muzzle. Is this from them biting their tongue? Is it due to blood vessels breaking in their lungs?

    Many of the horses have a flash, I believe this is what it is called on an english bridle, that goes over their nose and fastens under their jaw to keep their mouth shut. If you watch closely, it looks like a wider version of a shoe string is in their mouth and tied to either one side or the other to keep their tongue down. If this is so, why do they do that?

    Also, some of the grooms just seem really harsh with the horses leading them in our out. Yes, the horses seem ready to go and race, but one yanked hard on the lead shank and told the horse to behave. Wouldn't it be better to be firm but talk to the horse in a less threatening tone of voice since he is still full of adrenaline?

    Thank you to anyone who will answer these questions...



  2. #2
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    come on...anyone???



  3. #3
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    Jan. 30, 2008
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    Default Questions about steeple chasing

    Not sure where this goes..and please, this isn't a slam but questions as I saw things today at our Gold Cup race in VA where each time we have it I am an EMT there. Because I love horses, I usually stand and watch them come in then go out.

    Several things caught my eye again this year. First, after those horses run, and watching them, the jockeys seem to be really holding them steady as well as how fast they run, the horses come in with bright red blood around their mouth and muzzle. Is this from them biting their tongue? Is it due to blood vessels breaking in their lungs?

    Many of the horses have a flash, I believe this is what it is called on an english bridle, that goes over their nose and fastens under their jaw to keep their mouth shut. If you watch closely, it looks like a wider version of a shoe string is in their mouth and tied to either one side or the other to keep their tongue down. If this is so, why do they do that?

    Also, some of the grooms just seem really harsh with the horses leading them in our out. Yes, the horses seem ready to go and race, but one yanked hard on the lead shank and told the horse to behave. Wouldn't it be better to be firm but talk to the horse in a less threatening tone of voice since he is still full of adrenaline?

    Thank you to anyone who will answer these questions...I tried posting it under racing but because of the death of a young filly, seems to be forgotten.
    __________________



  4. #4
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    Aug. 27, 2007
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    Good questions -

    If I'm not mistaken, the bleeding is typically from capillaries bursting in the lungs from the exertion/heavy breathing.

    The flash is typically used to hold the bit steady and keep the horse from crossing it's jaw. It's not tight. If it's too low it can impede breathing, but that's rare.

    The rough handling just depends on the situation. Safety of the handler is obviously first. The horse could have had a history or dangerous behavior or could be so pumped full of adrenaline that it tunes the world out and needs a sharp reminder that someone is beside him. It could also just be someone being too harsh.



  5. #5
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    Try posting in the Racing forum. You'd likely get a lot more asnwers
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  6. #6
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    The blood is probably because he is what is known as a 'bleeder" , which is not a good thing, but is not uncommon with horses that undergo high speed runs.

    If you have ever been on the end of a shank, with a big, fit, high energy horse, you would understand the importance of having his constant attention.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  7. #7
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    Crosspost on hunting for more answers than you've already gotten.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  8. #8
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    I don't know where the blood comes from, but some race horses do run with their tongues tied down. If I ever knew the reason, I've forgotten it.

    I believe that the grooms are as harsh as they are because you cannot reason with a 1200 pound adrenaline-fired horse, and the very last thing you want is for the horse to get loose. Many horse shows of the calmer variety require that the horses be led around the grounds with a "stud" chain across their nose (at least) to give the leader more control of the horse for the same reason--avoiding the havoc a loose horse would cause. If the leader has a clue of what they're doing with a stud chain or a lip chain, the horse is not hurt unless it misbehaves.
    Barbaro Cultist, Metabolic Nazi



  9. #9
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    You have to take into consideration the length of the races... 2.5-4 miles, much longer than the average flat race. If the jockeys didn't keep the horses firmly in hand, they be "battling it out" far too soon. And no, a bleeder is not good, but sometimes it happens. As someone else said, the flash is to keep the jaws from crossing and bit from sliding, and in no way cruel. Some of the horses may have their tongues tied down to keep them from getting it over the bit, which would hamper control. Some grooms might be a bit harsh, but a horse full of adrenaline is NOT easy to handle, especially one fully fit, and sometimes a loud voice is the only thing that the horse will pay attention to.
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belplosh View Post
    . . . . First, after those horses run, and watching them, the jockeys seem to be really holding them steady as well as how fast they run, the horses come in with bright red blood around their mouth and muzzle. Is this from them biting their tongue? Is it due to blood vessels breaking in their lungs? . . . .
    Exercise induced pulmonary hemmorhage (EIPH).

    . . . . Many of the horses have a flash, I believe this is what it is called on an english bridle, that goes over their nose and fastens under their jaw to keep their mouth shut. If you watch closely, it looks like a wider version of a shoe string is in their mouth and tied to either one side or the other to keep their tongue down. If this is so, why do they do that? . . . .
    The tongue tie is intended to help the horse keep its tongue in the appropriate place so the tongue does not interfere with breathing. You will hear the expression that the horse "swallowed his tongue". This cannot actually happen but the palate can displace & interfere with breathing. The flash would interfere with breathing only if it was tight & too low over the nostrils. Horses can NOT breathe through their mouths, only through their nostrils.

    . . . . Also, some of the grooms just seem really harsh with the horses leading them in our out. Yes, the horses seem ready to go and race, but one yanked hard on the lead shank and told the horse to behave. Wouldn't it be better to be firm but talk to the horse in a less threatening tone of voice since he is still full of adrenaline? . . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by merrygoround View Post
    . . . . If you have ever been on the end of a shank, with a big, fit, high energy horse, you would understand the importance of having his constant attention.
    Merrygoround answered your question. You would not ask such a question if you had ever had a racing fit 17 hand stallion on the end of a lead. It would be a tremendous danger to every member of the crowd as well as the horse & other horses if one were to get loose. The groom knows the horse in question & what the horse responds to.



  11. #11
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    I have heard the tongue is tied down because so many of the horses hang it out of their mouths. Don't know if that is true.

    As for the blood, I wonder if the bit is causing that. Years ago when I got my first OTTB she would get out of control when riding in the field. One day she was hot to run and I fought her all the way home. Once dismounted I was horried to see frothy blood around her lips. The bit was bloody. We did not go back out to the field for months and months. We stayed in the arena learning what half-halt meant.



  12. #12
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    Well, I don't know the circumstances surrounding what you saw yesterday, but if a horse bled (EIPH) then it is likely that there would be blood from the nose, and the horse will basically almost stop on the track.

    As for around the mouth, it may be from the rider being hard and yanking on the mouth, or could be from other things. As for the tongue tie, it's not necessarily for the horse just "sticking it's tongue out." It's for horses that try to put their tongue over the bit or those that also suck back on their tongue. I don't have all the time to explain at the moment.

    Hopefully, HR will chime in.

    Also, the grooms are that way because, if you try to "talk with and reason" with a 1200 lb animal that wants to drag you around while they are still "high," it's likely not going to happen. Some are very well behaved and it doesn't take much. But being in steeplechasing for quite some time, there are LOTS of the horses that ran yesterday that can be quite the handful. You also want to keep them moving which is why you just want to get theme off the track and cooled down.



  13. #13
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    Jan. 30, 2008
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    Thank you all for the answers to my questions. I know very well what a stallion can do when loose, we had an 18H Clydesdale stallion get loose at a draft show we were attending. No it wasn't my stallion, I don't deal with stallions, I have mares, thank god my own mare wasn't in season as when he bit her several times then tried to mount her she laid his front leg wide open when she bucked and kicked out. I have also worked at TB farms, worked with breeding stallions at an Arabian farm, and then moved on to Quarter Horses. So please, because I asked about why they growl at the animal, do not assume to think that I don't know what I am talking about.

    As for the "bleeders", there were more than a few in that bunch of horses, at least 2 or more per race, and each race has anywhere from 8 to 12 or so horses in it, depending on scratches and what not. Over time, isn't this bad for the horse? What do you do for this.

    And I posted this in the racing forum, but currently the death of the filly takes presidence over the questions as emotions is running high.
    Last edited by SmokenMirrors; May. 4, 2008 at 09:12 PM. Reason: added info



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belplosh View Post
    Not sure where this goes..and please, this isn't a slam but questions as I saw things today at our Gold Cup race in VA where each time we have it I am an EMT there. Because I love horses, I usually stand and watch them come in then go out.

    Several things caught my eye again this year. First, after those horses run, and watching them, the jockeys seem to be really holding them steady as well as how fast they run, the horses come in with bright red blood around their mouth and muzzle. Is this from them biting their tongue? Is it due to blood vessels breaking in their lungs?

    Many of the horses have a flash, I believe this is what it is called on an english bridle, that goes over their nose and fastens under their jaw to keep their mouth shut. If you watch closely, it looks like a wider version of a shoe string is in their mouth and tied to either one side or the other to keep their tongue down. If this is so, why do they do that?

    Also, some of the grooms just seem really harsh with the horses leading them in our out. Yes, the horses seem ready to go and race, but one yanked hard on the lead shank and told the horse to behave. Wouldn't it be better to be firm but talk to the horse in a less threatening tone of voice since he is still full of adrenaline?

    Thank you to anyone who will answer these questions...

    Darnit, I had a lOOONG post answering all your questions. And then ZAP, gone.

    Ok let me start again..

    1.) Grooms "Shanking" a horse.

    Many things can contribute to a horse being nervous prior to a race. Anxiety, anticipation, adrenaline pre-race drugs and their side effects or even the groom's own adrenaline that the horse is picking up on. In these cases its far far far safer to use a chain shank to remind a likely distracted horse to pay attention to those guiding him. I have seen unruly horses that were a danger in the paddock because they were not properly handled. In one such instance a women had her leg broken by a horse being allowed to get too close and kicking out. I would still prefer a little shanking to a broken bone.

    2.) Flash nosebands.

    Yes it's a flash noseband. The flat tracks, jump horses and show horses all use them. All for the same reasons. To keep the mouths shut. In racing it helps to allow the air processed most efficiently if the mouth is not gaping open.

    3.) Red mouths and muzzles after a race:

    A couple reasons for this.. One is a horse can easily bite their tongue during a race. And the tongues bleed very much like most other head injuries human and horse, they gush a lot. Another possible reason is that the horse could have suffered from EIPH, or Exercise induced pulmonary hemorhage. The horses receive drugs to help with this but horses all have different metabolisms and as such its possible the dosages were not enough.

    4.) Tongue ties.

    Tongue ties are used to help racehorses with better air intake and lung functions during races. Horses can hold their tongues in such a way that they block their optimal breathing capabilities. And as such the loss of air can lead to bleeding. So tying their tongues can make their air functions more useful and also keep the tongue in a non-intrusive location. Additionally tying a tongue can help with problems from flipping a pallette. This is another issue that can inhibit the air.

    And just for some info, a tongue tie is made up of a couple different materials. Many people use flannel wrap materials. Additionally some use polo wrap materials. I found the most success with womens knee highs as they allow more circulation than the less elastic materials.

    I hope this helps. If you have more questions, ask away!!

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  15. #15
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    We combined your threads under racing, as they'd both gotten a number of responses, to keep the info together.

    Thanks,
    Mod 1



  16. #16
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    Gack. I'd responded INSTANTLY to your queries and they are not showing up. :>( Sorry.
    What XCo said is all true.
    Mostly figures 8s on chasers, though.
    I saw several horses Saturday at VGC (Miles Ahead, notably) that had clearly bitten their tongues. Not a big deal. If a horse suffers EIPH its from the nose, and unless its a severe case, you (the spectator) would be hard pressed to 'see' it. MA definitely bit his tongue. Simple.
    Re: shanking a horse. For real I'd want my groom or myself to get and keep a horse's attention rather than have him loose - literally or figuratively. 1200 pounds of lit racehorse ain't gonna listen to any sweet talking. :>)
    Hope this answers your q's. Sorry my other (lengthy) a's got eaten. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly for more info.
    * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.



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