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Racing Horse Leg Care

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  • Racing Horse Leg Care

    Wandering over here from the eventer forum

    Can anyone give me an idea of what race horse leg care looks like nowadays?

    Poltice, icing, wrapping, pre-race, post-race, training days?
    \"Let the civilized world go to the devil! Long live nature, forests, and ancient poetry.\" --Theodore Rousseau

  • #2
    All of that and sweat, PEMF, ice.... whatever we can do


    • #3
      My gut response is any trainer worth their salt can't answer that question because it depends upon the individual horse and what their needs are. Some trainers do their horses up everyday for example but they won't all be done up in the same thing. If its warm, make it cold, if its big, make it small etc.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        And yet thoughts on vague care not specific to anything is far from harmful. It was just a q on things done on the backside. The shroud of mystery or of shooting people down doesn't help out beloved industry any. Why not just vaguely answer instead of continually shooting people down in a time when racing actually doesn't look like the devil.


        • #5
          I wasn't shrouding anything in mystery. I don't have a set protocol. I take a look at the horse at any given moment and decide what I think would benefit them the most. Lots of the time that is nothing. Some of the time it is something. If I had to pick one sort of generic thing it is my back on track no bows which I adore and sore no more.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Are they still pinfiring at the track?

            I have 2 off the track. One has an outstanding pinfiring job on a set of curbs (I took a shot with this one, 10 yrs later is still sound), it is very hard to tell the scars are that small...The other horse looks like he was pinfired with a hot poker; he has significant white scaring on both front legs...


            • #7
              laurierace is right

              except for the "packing and painting" schedule, you could have dozens of combinations depending on what those legs look like on any given day. Probably still a poltice after the race when you do him up, but really it can be anything from a brush off and a kiss on the nose to up to his eyeballs in poltice. The protocol is "whatever he needs". If you have a barn with 20 different horses, it might be (and probably is) 20 different things.


              • #8
                Although this isn't related to post-race or work care, can anyone tell me why horses in a race never, or at least hardly ever, have their front legs wrapped? The hind wrap seems to be fairly common, but not front.
                Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MintHillFarm View Post
                  Are they still pinfiring at the track?
                  I see it less frequently anymore, but my trainer friend next to me has a 3 year old racing who is pin fired on the front (about halfway around) lower legs. That surprised me but didn't shock me.

                  Originally posted by clint View Post
                  Although this isn't related to post-race or work care, can anyone tell me why horses in a race never, or at least hardly ever, have their front legs wrapped? The hind wrap seems to be fairly common, but not front.
                  I can't say that I've seen the same you have, but I can tell you many of the reasons why you would see fronts or behinds or both. Fronts are often for support or/and protection, so if they have bows, suspensories, other tendon problems, or interfer on the front end with themselves you would likely see fronts. Rears are common on horses who run down. If they come back with their pasturns rubbed the rears will take some or all the abuse rather then the skin. Also they may wear hinds again because they have interfered with themeselves.

                  Or it could be like the new trainer down the way who admittedly says he puts them on all fours because he likes the way they look. Eh, it's his $8


                  • #10
                    Front wraps are used quite often--some trainers put them on for basic support, others put them on to "fool" potential claims (if you follow handicappers, they always make a big deal about a horse wearing front bandages, like it indicates a weakness).

                    I don't think $8 is a huge investment to protect a horse's legs, but in reality, a vetwrap is not really going to prevent anything from happening on a 900 pound horse racing at 40 miles per hour. That having been said, I used to put bandages on all four legs of my guys "just in case."
                    Turning For Home, Inc.
                    Philadelphia Park Racehorse Retirement Program


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dahoss
                      The real anwser to this question is, unless poulticing, much of the leg work from many of today's mexican(grooms) goes something like this when there is no one other than themselves around watching...
                      1) dry pads and bandages
                      2) one squirt of brace in hand, rubbed on in one or two wipes, and on goes pads and bandages.
                      3) one squirt of sweat in hand, rubbed on in one or two wipes, and on goes cotton, plastics, pads and bandages.

                      For many barns and many horses, the days of truly rubbing the medication into the legs/joints in no longer.
                      You may have been exposed to the wrong people. That's no one I've come across. The GROOMS work and work hard! Which includes any and everything rquired without question. Bonuses are dependent on their horses performing well.
                      I don't babysit. Not enough time in the day.


                      • #12
                        Agree with Barbara and BlinkersOn

                        Front bandages can be used for support, disguise or simply to protect legs from proximity to other legs...going really fast...with potentially destructive results. Hind bandages are often used routinely to prevent run-down, which is caused by contact with the track surface that results in burning. I have good friends whose filly was saved by her hind vet wrap when another horse in her last race clipped heels with her and tore her up rather badly. Without bandages, she could very well have sustained life-threatening injury.

                        As for the practices of grooms in tending to legs, it's dependent on the stable, the trainer, the groom responsible for any given horse. There are trainers who don't place much import in "doing up" legs. There are others who insist that their horses have bandages each and every day, whether or not any "rubbing" happens. And....drum roll please....there are lowly grooms who spend a great deal of time on their charges to help them reach their full potential, even if they are low-level claimers.

                        No doubt there are people on the backside who are there because they have nowhere else to go. Even they can learn and achieve a high level of responsibility because they truly care about their horses.

                        Just a hunch, but I'm guessing that work-load is a factor. For example, if you start your day at 5:30 a.m. and work until 11:00 getting horses trained and cooled out, you're pooped by the time it is to "do up" your horses. Ask me how I know!?

                        If, at the end of the training portion of the day, you're looking down the shedrow and seeing a looooong line of heads that need attention, you will pick and choose who gets tended to. A well-run shedrow has enough grooms to give adequate attention to every horse and they will be medicated/bandaged according to their needs. Need icing? Go to the ice house early and have it ready for boots/tub when back in stall. Then medicate as needed.

                        Wow.....why do I do this??? I think I need a sanity check!


                        • #13
                          Naw no reality check needed... we do it 'cause we love it!!!


                          • #14

                            Well said Blinkers On!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MintHillFarm View Post
                              Are they still pinfiring at the track?

                              I have 2 off the track. One has an outstanding pinfiring job on a set of curbs (I took a shot with this one, 10 yrs later is still sound), it is very hard to tell the scars are that small...The other horse looks like he was pinfired with a hot poker; he has significant white scaring on both front legs...
                              White hair indicates freeze 'firing' - the iron is fairly large so will leave good sized white dots rather than the numerous little holes from hot irons
                              Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                              Member: Incredible Invisbles


                              • #16

                                Is blistering still popular??
                                breeder of Mercury!

                                remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Carol Ames View Post
                                  Is blistering still popular??
                                  Internal blistering, you betcha. External, I hope not.
                                  "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Carol Ames View Post
                                    Is blistering still popular??
                                    Very much so.....internal & external. Just had a gelding leave a very well-known vet clinic -- had a fractured cannon -- #1 on the Discharge instructions is:

                                    1. Blister both knees & shins 1x a month for 3 months.

                                    ...after that horse can start light work again if x-rays check out. There are many different type of blisters, though, from light that last a few days & can be just sweat off very quickly to the heavy blisters (like this gelding is getting) that last for approx. 30 days.