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How much of an issue is bleeding to you?

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  • How much of an issue is bleeding to you?

    OK. I have to say this.

    Horses become unsound for many reasons. If they are lucky, their owners are knowledgeable enough to notice it, treat it, fix it if possible. If they aren't -- the horse continues on, races, etc. and then no longer competitive, ends up moved off the track, and into various avenues of rehoming.

    Not every horse bows a tendon, or does something obvious. Sometimes they just tail off, no longer "competitive", and if there were actually a little money spent, they would find the problem -- the horse has a collapsed vocal chord, or bleeds, or has a bone chip, or torn suspensory not showing up or something that would take a little veterinary detective work to find. But diagnostics are expensive.

    When these horses get some time off, a little better feed, and some turnout, they start to look and feel better, but is the problem really solved?

    And now, with all the ways a thoroughbred can get into a new home from off the track, just exactly how well are they vetted and examined before being sent off to be Mary Ponyclubber's new Preliminary Prospect? You know, if they came off the track as a bleeder, what makes one think they wouldn't bleed as an event horse?

    I know what a bleeder acts like, and feels like, because I've been around a few racehorses in my time. I'm always on the lookout for the signs whenever I gallop my event horses. I'm wondering how much YOU - if you have a TB - ever worry about that or watch for it in training your event horses.
    Did you scope your horse when you bought it? Have you ever scoped it? What would prompt you to scope it, if anything?

    Just wondering? How much of an issue is bleeding to you?
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

  • #2
    Not much. Because at the level I compete (so far, up to prelim) the horse doesn't come close to the effort a race entails. So yes, he's galloping for a longer distance, and making extra efforts over fences, but at 550mpm he's not putting nearly the pressure on his lungs that he is when's he's flat out, racing fit at 1200mpm. And it is that extreme effort that causes the bleeding.

    At least that's what I have been told by trainers and vets with track and retraining experience.

    I'd be much more concerned about a horse who tied up racing. Or one who roared or flipped his palate.

    But if you're asking would I ask a trainer about bleeding when buying? Yes. Just so I'd know.


    • #3
      I don't know . . . I'm interested in others' answers.

      And curious about the degrees of bleeding that all get lumped together as in race records where the comments say "bled" or those that ran on Lasix.

      I've owned 2 prelim horses that were bleeders on the track, but still had careers (1 had about 50 starts, on Lasix after the first couple, the other went and steeplechased until age 9, per my vet had the best lungs/endurance of any horse he'd met).

      Neither bled eventing.

      I just got a new one that also bled on the track, but was also high in starts and had wins. I have watched a number of his races on youtube and he finished in reasonable if not winning form. So I have my fingers crossed it will not impact him either while eventing.

      Thinking back to that CANTER NE thread where the horse bled and collapsed, I wonder if there are degrees of bleeding (because of course that does sound alarming in an event prospect) or if it is black and white, like you can't be a little bit of a bleeder?


      • #4
        I really don't think that it matters as much in eventing unless you are looking for an advanced level prospect. It is very easy to look up every single race using equibase.com that now has free charts. That gives you a lot of insight on the horse and if there might have been any underlying issues. I ask trainers about bleeding/breathing issues and anything that would affect performance but it has been my experience that trainers will just plain tell you if a horse bleds as it is often the reason they are selling them. Working with CANTER there have been several times they told me the horse bleds and is just not running well because of it.

        As far as other injuries being the cause of a horse retiring them and not discovering them I suppose my belief is that any horse heals with time off. I took in two 3 yrs who both had bucked shins. One was given to CANTER because they didn't want to spend the time to rest him and then bring him back. They just need a few months of rest but there is just plain nothing wrong with them than having the typical track soreness. Others have minor issues but I find with the 2-3 months we give them whatever was bothering them typically doesn't crop up again since most injuries are treated with rest anyway.

        Some trainers do quite a bit of diagnostic work..or at least the better trainers do. They know how much time the horse will require and whether it is worth giving them the time or not. It all depends on what the injury is and how good of a horse it is in terms of is the time off worth it or should the horse just move into a riding home. I see so many horses who are sound but just not running at a high enough class to pay their bills. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time and end up with a really nice horse because the trainer got tired of it taking up space when they aren't making money.


        • #5
          its thought that every single racehorse bleeds to some extent on the track. There are plenty of successfull upper level thoroughbreds in eventing so i dont worry about it too much. Many will never show signs either.


          • #6
            I am pretty sure that all of our OTTBs, of which there have been very many, have EIPH stamps on their papers. How many of them actually really bled to get the stamp, I do not know for sure.

            We have had a couple that bled once when conditioning for a long format, but never bled again. None have bled in a competition, so far.

            That is the number 2 thing that I look for when one of ours crosses the finish line. First I look at their eyes and ears as they go galloping by, check for red if I am close enough to see, then I watch the transition to trot and walk, then I look again at the nose, then I look for signs of tying up. I know a lot about how they are/did before I actually get to the horse and touch it.

            I pay close attention to those little snorts, nose blowing, and coughs and such as they cool down. The "I might be a bleeder" usually has a little cough after hard work.

            I suppose that we have had or have bleeders in our string, but I think that conditioning them to the work lowers the incidence of bleeding.

            570 meters per minute is not fast by race horse standards.


            • #7
              Degrees of bleeding

              Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
              I don't know . .Thinking back to that CANTER NE thread where the horse bled and collapsed, I wonder if there are degrees of bleeding (because of course that does sound alarming in an event prospect) or if it is black and white, like you can't be a little bit of a bleeder?
              Yes, bleeding occurs with a severity anywhere along the spectrum from 0 (no external hemorrhage; no subclinical bleeding identified on endoscopy and lung washes) to 100 (massive hemorrhage with copious blood visible externally). This is why suspect bleeders need to be scoped or washed to determine whether or not it has occurred. Coughing, sputtering, and repeated swallowing during intense exercise are suggestive.


              • #8
                I have little input but I am also curious. I think we may be seeing a lot more focus put on bleeders. I would be hesitant to purchase unless it is a very mild condition, except for the lower levels.


                • #9
                  The largest majority of recent sales of my OTTB have been to eventer.
                  Bleeding was always a non-issue.
                  The stress on the pulmonary system is not the same for several reason. Foremost the horses are gotten fit for more of an indurance exercise. Way diffrent cardio/pulmonary training. Most normal bleeders do not have re-occurance when eventing.
                  98% of the time horses I sell go thru a thorogh pre-purchase, including physical comprehensive, flex n jog extensive, cardio run up n scope, sometimes both sides if nostrils not just single,the most commanly seen. X-rays of everthing and tox screen pulled and run before paying. Customers will spend more to vet than they will pay for a horse.

                  Regarding throats a bad throat is a bad throat paralyzed full or partial,collapsed tracyia etc will be evident @ rest and most certainly after exercise. Let down and turn out will not disquise or mask a bad throat.
                  Just studying a horses Past Performance form will give you some indication if horse ran out of gas w/ no air.
                  Running on Lasix is NOT an indication of anything. Majority of trainers want to run on Lasix to keep the playing field level w/ those who are using it.

                  There are schools of thought that since the nerve for the throat runs down the neck and back up, use of IV injected tranqualizers can contribute to throat paralysis, temorary an permant. There is a universe full of information on the webb.
                  Surgery is not always the answer. I have a horse (not for sale) who had a tie-back. by the pre-eminate surgeon in this field..failed.. a tie forward...and a 3rd to undo the 1st 2, now he makes no noise what so ever @ full throttle. Go figure. And a now broodmare w/ a full throat myectomey who did race several times after that radical surgery and still got no air. Had a lovely big guy with a tie back stll made terrible noises,got retired from racing only to discover he had such a bad infection in his jaw/teeth that it affected the throat. 6 months of treatment for all the infections in teeth n jaw bone, he stopped making noise @ gallope. Go figure.


                  • #10

                    "There are schools of thought that since the nerve for the throat runs down the neck and back up, use of IV injected tranqualizers can contribute to throat paralysis, temorary an permant. "

                    wow, had not heard of that.... sure would explain one of my guys.... lost him as a 3 yr old in a claimer race- he was 100% sound of wind then (went wire to wire in a few starts back to back) i had heard that he was really bad to ride and had to be tranqued all the time, heard later that year he had to have a tie back, this failed and he had 3 lazer surgerys that i know of... he ran a total of 50 starts and over $300,000 in earnings and the day i claimed him back to retire him he again went wire to wire!!
                    If his ankles hold up I am hoping to event him and dont think breathing is an issue....
                    and in agreement- 90% of race horses run on Lasix NOT because they have been viewed bleeders but because everyone does it.... i think it is pretty much a standard school of thought that most race horses bleed at some point in their careers.... just the way they are made....
                    owner and friend of members of the Limping And Majestic Equine Society.


                    • #11
                      As an aside, don't believe the myth that event horses are only going 550 or 570 mpm, or are "only doing Prelim". The speed study that is being done has shown Prelim horses going up to 800-900 mpm on the straight stretches.

                      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                      • #12
                        The going back and forth between 350 mpm and 800 mpm and the leaping up and down and across surely has an effect on EIPH.

                        It would be my preference that our horses don't bleed,(hidden or outright), just don't know how realistic that is.

                        I would also wish for them to have great oxygen exchange. That would be the best. At least if we have one who doesn't have good oxygen exchange, well, I would wish him/her to have a stellar disposition so that he/she is suited to lower level eventing, or dressage, or H/J.

                        I am most leery of unraced TBs. I don't know of many TB breeders who do not make every effort to get their horses to the track to race. An unraced, race bred TB is a giant red flag to me. Unless I have known the horse since it was a foal.

                        That being said, we have a KY bred horse who is unraced. We bought him at the training track as a 2 yr old. He was already labeled slow, so we brought him home.

                        So there ya go, I can't even follow my own rules!


                        • #13
                          I don't know if anyone else was lucky enough to go to the EIPH lecture that the T3D candidates at the KHP got to attend, but I learned a TON. The vet that flew in was from Kansus State U, where they have apparently been doing alot of research on this subject.

                          One fact that stood out to me as amazing, was that a horse that trotted twenty minutes on a treadmill could be stressed enough to have some bleeding. Also, when these horses were scoped after exercise, almost 90% had some bleeding in at least one of the three scopes. This is a more prevalent problem than anyone realized previously.

                          I think this is a HUGE issue, and that most people, myself included, don't understand the magnitude of the problem or the consequences of repeated bleeding, which may not even be visible.

                          These were just a few of my thoughts. I'm interested in what other are thinking, but it sounds like most people are operating under the misconception, that only advanced level horses have to deal with this kind of stress on their systems.
                          "One thing vampire children have to be taught early is, don't run with a wooden stake."


                          • #14
                            to agree with Miriam-
                            this is an issue with ALL horses not just OTTBs.... and issues need to be addressed as far as training horses to their natural ability and not trying to make horses do things that they genetically can not handle..... I was riding a friends Cleveland Bay the other week and at a gallop it roared like no TB i have ever ridden.... BUT draft breeds are not built to gallop and their airways are to small to handle that much air at one time..... this is why mostof the top event horses are TB (either OTTB or TB- even 7/8 TB.....) Tbs just plain are bred to pass oxygen at high speeds- but none are perfect and the perfect ones win the Derby etc...... us eventers get the best of the rest!!!!!
                            owner and friend of members of the Limping And Majestic Equine Society.