A lot of times pin firing was used as a preventative. For bowed tendons, sore shins, etc. They are not always a sign of injury, my father grew up on the track and some trainers did that with youngsters even before they were injured.
Well, either the trainer is an idiot, or they are in an area where there is a track that has vets/trainers that pinfire and they want to reduce the chances of their clients getting ideas about finding/buying inexpensive horses instead of paying them a hefty commission to find more expensive ones.
Oh I'm such a cynic....
No not a cynic. You went exactly where I wanted to go ( the idiot comment) but like I said, having been out of the eventing world for many years, thought on the subject does change. And yes, I do think it was a self-serving sort of idiocy in that the OTTB's who are selling for less can certainly have been pinfired so by this trainer's proclamation they will be eliminated from the field of potential purchase prospects. And unfortunately these OTTB's really need good homes where they can be made into useful citizens and have a good life after the track. So, is it safe to say that the majority of you horsemen/women agree that pinfiring DOES NOT categorically exclude a horse from a career as a jumper/eventer, God forbid hunter?
" It's about the horse, and that's it."
Pin firing still occurs at tracks today, albeit it is not quite as common practice as once was. The theory behind it is that the holes burned into the periosteum(the thin cover of the bone) of the bone will send a message to the body that it needs to send extra blood to that area to heal it, promoting faster healing then normal. The body may then lay down extra bone which calcifies over the shin. Line firing is what I believe they did to tendons. But a bowed tendon will never be as strong as the original tendon as opposed to shins. Now days most shins are blistered, or shockwaved. Tendons also used to be spliced frequently but now can be injected with the PRP(Plasma) or Stem Cell with great success. All in all time still warrants the best healing in conjunction with these methods. But I would not be hesitant about buying a fired horse. Tendons can last forever or a day!
My OTTB was born in 2003 and came to me previously pinfired in 2008, so it is still being done. It is very clearly over an old and set shin splint. It's 100% healed and had nothing at all to do with a bowed tendon. I would not hesitate to jump my gelding.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this trainer thinks that pinfiring is done only for bowed tendons. Definitely not the case. There was a lady at my barn who saw the pinfiring scars on my guy's leg and was shocked that I would even ride him at all. Upon further questioning I realized this lady had pinfiring confused with a neurectomy!!!
my boy was born in 1991, raced for about 6 yrs....I got him when he was 10...he is pinfired in both front legs, apparently because of splints, as far as I can tell.....I have evented him up to training level, done a 1/2*, he has, (knock wood!!!), taken hardly a lame step in the almost 10 years that I've had him. (Actually, he has been off all of 3 times, for only a couple of days, and that was due to feet and VERY minor) At coming age 19, we are still tooling around at novice level, and he is still going strong! So no, I would not worry about pinfiring, if that was the only issue. I would probably think twice about purchasing a horse with a bow history, though.....JMO....
I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert!
If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning!
My old eq horse was pinfired and it certainly didn't bother her one bit. That was back when it was more common. We jumped a lot and we jumped big a lot at that barn and the only time she wasn't sound was from a shipping accident. Wouldn't bother me but it does seem like a pretty old school practice.
"look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."
Once upon a time, I obtained an OTTB stallion that had had a basilar fracture of the sesamoid and had been pinfired prior to that. We rehabbed him slowly, and he eventually went prelim before a pasture accident gave him a high and low bow on the other foreleg at 9yo.
Rehabbed him again, and retired him to his breeder (a lovely, responsible breeder!). He seemed so healthy that her sons took him out field hunting until he was retired due to old age!
So, I guess my take would be that if all things are equal (ie: no remaining or underlying problem), a pinfired horse has every chance of being as sound or lame as a horse that wasn't pinfired.
WA, I typed my novel while you were being the soul of brevity!
Last edited by frugalannie; Mar. 23, 2010 at 09:35 AM.
Reason: Added note to War Admiral.
They don't call me frugal for nothing.
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
Fractures on the other hand do come back stronger than they were before the injury because the body lays down extra calcium. They almost never repeat the same fracture in the same leg.
Slightly OT, but I see most of y'all saying you would choose a pin-fired horse over one that bowed. Regarding the above quote, would you choose a horse with a slab fracture of the knee over one that bowed?... slab fracture of the knee surgically repaired with a screw. In an OTTB.
Which would be riskier in an eventing prospect? Just curious.
I've seen many jumpers and eventers that have been pin fired. At one point, it was so commonplace that horses were pin fired on the track, that you hardly saw an OTTB that had not been fired just a little bit.
I also know of a local ottb placement place that does not let horses with bowed tendons go to jumping homes, suggests them for flatwork only.
And I know of quite a few with old cold bowed tendons that have competed sucessfully. One with both fronts bowed that competed in the JR/AO jumpers and then went on to compete at 1.20 meters until he was in his 20's. Depends on the bow and how it was treated. As far as pin firing goes....there was awhile where horses were pinfired as a precaution....not that I worked for any of those trainers but I had heard of the procedure.
Back in the day, pin firing was done profalactically (boy that isn't spelled right) - the idea was, as I was told by a trainer, that the pin firing created scar tissue on the shin which strengthened the bone. It was along the same idea as when someone says that if you break a bone, the healed part is stronger than the bone on either side of the healed break. Trainers thought if the shin was fired, it would be less likely to buck. (bucked shins same as popped splint). The trainer who told me about this thought that pin firing after the splint was popped was useless. I tend to agree. If one agrees that the premise of scar tissue on the bone/shin is stronger to begin with. Why pin fire after the shin is popped, the injury of the popped splint will create scar tissue anyway. I suppose you might be createing more fired area up and down the whole shin, so that would be useful. If pin firing is even useful.
I had never heard of it for tendons, but I could be wrong, I don't know much. I just thought it strengthened the cannon bone for popped splints.
Anyway, I would never blink twice at a pin fired horse. Makes no never mind to me. Either it makes the leg stronger or not, but it has nothing to do with injuries or not. Doesn't mean a tendon was bowed, anyway. Its to prevent popped splints.
These days I don't think folks do it much, buy some race trainers might. Who cares? Doesn't bother the horse for the rest of his life.
Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.
Back in the day, pin firing was done profalactically (boy that isn't spelled right) - the idea was, as I was told by a trainer, that the pin firing created scar tissue on the shin which strengthened the bone.
I have heard this argument, but the counter argument is that there are many less drastic measures that can be taken to ensure long-term strength of a horse's legs. These include (but are not limited to): modified training regimens, rest after periods of strenuous work, allowing the tissues of the young horse to develop more fully before subjecting the horse to such strenuous work. I realize that these approaches require a re-structuring of the racing industry in many instances, but when it is necessary to preemptively injure horses in order to toughen them up I think that alternatives need to be sought.
The bottom line (IMHO) about buying a previously pin-fired horse is that a good PPE should be conducted but it does not categorically suggest that the horse is unfit to jump. It DOES say something (again - IMO) about the quality or sophistication of care that the horse may have been given at the track. I feel the same way about horses whose records show that they were claimed a million times. It sometimes suggests that there is little ownership or investment in the well-being of the animal and it leads me to want to do more through investigation before handing over a check.
Again, this is my personal feeling on the matter and represents a general rule that I adhere to based on my own experiences as a vet tech at the track.
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant
So in the short term, they bounce back quicker from a slab fracture? Or are more likely to re-injure a tendon on the track, I guess you're saying.
In the long term, though, I assume arthritis would be a concern for a slab fracture of the knee.
Both. They would be ready to start back into training much sooner (6-9 months) after a slab fracture. They need a ton more time off to fully recover from a bow and are likely to rebow at any time regardless of how long you give them off before putting them back in training.