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So it's 2013....Where do we stand on bowed tendons?

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  • So it's 2013....Where do we stand on bowed tendons?

    The title mostly says it all. I was chatting with another ex track person and we both thought that horses that had been rehabbed well, over at least 9 months, but preferably a year would be fine. Unless we're talking about a banana bow.

    But then she had been told that old bow horses were having trouble getting respected. This kind of surprised me. I bowed a mare back in the 90's and she came back to do done steeplechasing after as well as finally going Intermediate.

    What is the current opinion?

    * fyi I don't have any horses with this issue, I am just curious to the modern opinions *

    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

  • #2
    As a kid I knew a horse with a pretty ugly bow. He was sound and working into his 20's on it. Had been a stallion, then was gelded and ridden by kids. Nothing crazy, but lots of miles. So for me personally, if I was shopping for myself, a horse with a mild bow would not bother me, dependant on his conformation. Especially if I knew it had been rehabbed properly.

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    • #3
      Honestly bows dont bother me. Didnt Custom Made have a bow on his leg? I remember him winning a gold medal. I usually dont get hung up on them if the horse is sound. For some its still a deal breaker.
      I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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      • #4
        I probably wouldn't buy a horse with a fresh bow or a healed bow that hadn't been "proven" yet, but I wouldn't be totally set against them. I've lived the heartbreak of a horse who wouldn't stay sound after his first bow, so I know how frustrating they can be, but I also do realize a lot of horses come back just fine and never ever have a problem.
        Amanda

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        • #5
          What did she mean by "being respected"? I sincerely doubt the pathology of bowed tendons has changed much, or that there is any less of a variety of bows from mild to devastating, now vs. 10 or 20 years ago. What may have changed is the availability of horses WITHOUT them in terms of nice ones coming off the track, with the advent of organizations like CANTER and FLF that make 100s of horses available to look over in a matter of minutes for anyone anywhere.

          OPINION FOLLOWS. Take it or leave it.

          Personally I wouldn't buy one with an old bow unless everything else about the horse was absolutely 10+ stellar AND there were no other options. It's just too easy to find horses without them, and although that doesn't mean that perfect horses are a dime a dozen, it IS easy to find clean-legged ones for starters.
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          • #6
            I agree w/Deltawave. Unless the bow was old and the horse was doing what I wanted it to do NOW, I would find a horse who didn't have that flaw. Today, things like chips in joints can be removed with less difficulty than 20 years ago, and arthritic issues can be treated with injections and supplements that were not available 20 years ago. I don't think bow treatment has changed much, although we now have technology to look at the actual damage via ultrasound. I suppose you can see exactly what is wrong, rather than guessing by feel.

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            • #7
              I have one off the track with two huge bows. She's a very very nice horse, my dressage mount. We don't jump the moon, and she's never taken a lame step due to the bows. I do get the odd sideways glance from people looking at her legs when we have been out at shows, though. And I will never forget a comment that a local trainer said when she first saw her: "she'll make a great broodmare". WTH!! The bows are unsightly, but they didn't "ruin" a good horse!

              One complaint I have is that she is hard to fit when buying fitted boots for her front legs, they never seem to fit right, and always slip.
              Not sure if you can see this pic, but here is a link, I did a quick look and found this pic of Adelaide, only one side is visible, but both fronts match in regards to the bows.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
              Last edited by up-at-5; Jan. 6, 2013, 09:52 AM. Reason: adding link
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              • #8
                Originally posted by up-at-5 View Post
                I have one off the track with two huge bows. She's a very very nice horse, my dressage mount. We don't jump the moon, and she's never taken a lame step due to the bows. I do get the odd sideways glance from people looking at her legs when we have been out at shows, though. And I will never forget a comment that a local trainer said when she first saw her: "she'll make a great broodmare". WTH!! The bows are unsightly, but they didn't "ruin" a good horse!

                One complaint I have is that she is hard to fit when buying fitted boots for her front legs, they never seem to fit right, and always slip.
                Not sure if you can see this pic, but here is a link, I did a quick look and found this pic of Adelaide, only one side is visible, but both fronts match in regards to the bows.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
                She's beautiful!
                Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                The Grove at Five Points

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                • #9
                  As you know Em, Jack has a huge low bow. But I knew that he was just left in a field for 3 years and my vet ultrasounded it. He hasn't had a problem with the bow, just his freaking tendon thanks to and old farrier.

                  So all in all it wouldn't deter me in the least.

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                  • #10
                    Compromised soft tissue is always a risk.
                    There's not "opinion" about that.

                    No different that buying a horse with an old suspensory.
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                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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                    • #11
                      I've bought two TB's w bows and would do that again. Hardpressed to imagine buying a rehabbed suspensory though!
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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Many thanks for the replies to this point.

                        My friend was commenting that in her experience with the new technology some folks were trying to "rehab" a bow with Irap and such and putting the horse back in work at 6 months instead of 12. Thus she had heard there were some re-bow situations. And as such I believe folks who hadn't put the full time in were complaining to the world that a bow was "always a problem."

                        That was not my conversation though, so I am pontificating on a 3rd party discussion. But it caused me to wonder if a broader group of people (aka the COTH crowd) had seen similar things? Those that rehab too quickly and then try to jump back into full work and experience a second set back.

                        I should have phrased my initial post better.

                        ~Em
                        "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

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                        • #13
                          Just read this cute story from the horse's POV: A Thoroughbred's Dream
                          http://www.amazon.com/A-Thoroughbred...bred%27s+dream

                          He bowed 3 times and was still racing - a work of fiction of course, but interesting noneless...
                          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

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                          • #14
                            I don't have an issue with an old bow that has been rehabbed properly. The problem though, is that last part: bows that has been rehabbed properly. Most horses I have seen, have just not had the correct rehab, with time needed to fully heal. To me, these bows are like ticking time bombs.
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                            • #15
                              In that case I would run even faster from a bow - I completely misunderstood your first post, interpreting that "today" we have better care and therefore a bow is less of a big deal.

                              I guess the jury is still out as to whether the new therapies are in fact better than Dr. Green and his wife Madame Time. (with their kids Ice and Bute)

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                              • #16
                                I don't like a bow. Ever.
                                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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                                • #17
                                  Yes, sorry, I misunderstood as well. I would certainly not "disrespect" a bow by bringing a horse back too quickly, no matter what alphabet-soup potion-du-jour had been stuck in there. Boscoe had a tiny traumatic (from a blow, not a locomotion issue) "bow" (no fiber damage, even) in late October and I've just now started tack-walking him--never seen any point in hurrying things like injuries!
                                  Click here before you buy.

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                                  • #18
                                    My horse had a minor bow, was never clinically lame on his injured leg, we spared nothing in treating him (PRP, stem cell, etc, etc), and our rehab program went very smoothly with no major setbacks... and it was still solidly over a year from initial diagnosis until he competed again (at a significantly lower level than he'd been doing before - it was 18 months before he was completely 'back').

                                    He's been very sound and injury-free since then (touching wood like crazy as I type that) but it was definitely still a long, long road to get him back, even with tons of modern veterinary science on our side.
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                                    • #19
                                      Haven't had a whole lot of experience with a bow and when I realized one of my project horses had one, I was VERY concerned about her resaleability. However, I think my mind has been changed. Yes there are those who won't look at her despite being gorgeous and the fact that the bow is old, was rehabbed properly and she came back racing sound (just didn't like it anymore -- decided that she would let everyone else break the gate first before she did). I think I'm in the camp now that I won't completely rule bows out, but I have to have a lot more detail on the injury and as others have said, it has to be rehabbed properly and not rushed.
                                      ************
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                                        Compromised soft tissue is always a risk.
                                        There's not "opinion" about that.

                                        No different that buying a horse with an old suspensory.
                                        Except there is.

                                        Tendons connect muscle to bone. Ligaments connect bone to bone (at a joint). The ligaments don't have as many collaborative (synergistic) opportunities as the tendons, and when they're compromised, the joint is compromised ... period.

                                        While I agree with the sentiments of letting time and performance qualify the concern over a bow, I believe anecdotal evidence would indicate far more "old bow" success over long-term ligament success. The high suspensory injuries common to top-level performance horses - especially event horses - certainly don't prohibit continued/returned performance, but seldom do we see prolonged performance, like we do with a bow.
                                        When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

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